back to article Tweeting bankers warned: U better not mislead customers...LOL

Banks must remember regulatory compliance issues when interacting with customers via Twitter, says an expert. Banks face regulatory risks when responding to customers through social media channels, a legal expert has said. A new study by Virgin Media Business has revealed that 63 per cent of banks now respond to customer …


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  1. cyborg


    Just why would I want to be discussing my finances on Twitter for world + dog to read?

    1. Pen-y-gors

      Re: Why?

      Well, YOU (as a typical Reg reader) obviously wouldn't, but typical FB/Twitbook user may well want to, and probably wants to tweet 'Hey everyone, I've just got a new bank card - a/c 12345678 and the PIN is really cool 6666! LOL! OMG!'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pen-y-gors

        Not sure if clever troll or serious...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        Funny you should say that:

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Could be worse. They could be suggesting we setup accounts online in Second Life, again.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Why?

        Why not? The money's just as real as the stuff in your First DirectLife account.

    3. NightFox
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why?

      Not just banking, but I've found Twitter is good way into any customer service. The choices are often phone (hold for 30 minutes and then get some bottom tier call centre mule in India), e-mail (might get a reply in a couple of days), or tweet and get a reply from someone relatively high up the CS chain within the hour, often in a matter of minutes. Sure, I'm not going to be providing my bank details over Twitter, but for less sensitive personal information there's always DM, and often once you've got in touch via twitter and explained an outline of your issue within 140 characters, someone's often willing to give you a call.

      But of course it's cool and elitist to scoff at anyone who uses social media.

      1. cyborg

        Re: Why?

        Nothing about scoffing just pointing out the obvious: I cannot think of much that I've ever called my bank for that did not involve sensitive information.

        What your saying reduces to:

        "Twitter is high profile right now so if you hassle your bank on it you'll bypass the normal queues. This doesn't solve any real problems but at least for the moment you can pretend it does and also pretend that it's actually anything fundamentally to do with Twitter."

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: Why?

        But of course it's cool and elitist to scoff at anyone who uses social media.

        Nothing to do with cool, or elitist.

        Social media, along with third party mail handlers involve company-related documents that cannot be traced.

        Be prepared to deal with the perils of that if you think tracability doesn't apply to you.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Just why would I want to be discussing my finances on Twitter for world + dog to read?

      In the hope that your bank won't be able to include the relevant regulatory claptrap in 140 characters and that they'll have to compensate you, or write off a loan they've given you? (cf Northern Rock's £270m snafu for leaving out the small print).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        Too funny - I just checked and our outgoing email disclaimer is 1,309 characters, almost 10x what Twitter allows. Guess we won't be sending many tweets.

  2. Ian 62

    I've never wanted to tweet my bank

    But I have wanted to twat them a few times.

    Do people really tweet questions and complaints to their banks?

    OMG LOLZ wherez my pay pckt gon?

    Oops our bad 8-) computer crashed again. Bob in Manchester,India is working on it now. But it ok the bonus for the boss is safe.

  3. spiny norman

    Warez it gonna end?

    I'm wondering how long companies are going to be able to keep this up. If a large part of the customer base works out they can a quicker response by complaining in public, it'll take more and more resources maintain the response. And the quality of the response needs to be better, so you can't just switch over the current call centre staff, or not without a lot of retraining.

  4. Colin Miller

    About the only time I'd want to tweet the bank is to report that their online banking/ATMs/card processing has gone tits up, and what's the ETA for a fix?

  5. Terry 6 Silver badge


    So they can pay afford to pay staff to sit and Twit almost instantly, but if your ordinary, everyday customer wants to get on the phone to find out why the bank just screwed up a direct debit it's a twenty minute wait for one of the the three part time staff they have in the Bangalore call centre, ( after we've navigated through six levels of marginally relevant automatic switchboard).

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Re: Phone?

      Twitter personnel must be cheaper than phone personnel: it's impossible to see if a message is written by a semi-literate bonobo or a helpful droid, within the limits. Also, they can confer for a minute or two if they cannot haz reading comprehensionz, but on the phone they must reply instantly.

      I find the suggested problem spurious --- if a client (surely a kuztomr) asks you help in tweet format and you reply in tweet format, they cannot whine that it's too short. There has to be a symmetry in communication format. [If an OAP writes a letter and you tweet the answer, that would be a different matter.]

      *tried to submit this by telegram but failed.

  6. jake Silver badge

    I just call the manager of my local branch when I have issues.

    Or I drop in in person (the branch is on my way into town). Why add a third party to the equation? Especially, why would I go through a third party that is an international advertising-driven multi-billion dollar corporation known for data-mining?

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: I just call the manager of my local branch when I have issues.

      Hail Jake. How many times has FB made things public that were previously private? Care to have your communications with your bank suddenly public and including your account numbers and other sensitive information? Don't say that it will never happen. FB's track record isn't all that great when it comes outing your info. Maybe it won't be "public", but they sell your information to all sorts. Who's to say your account numbers aren't part of that package?

      If your bank leaves you on hold for ages or the help desk is obviously located in a very foreign country, be sure to write in a complaint. Be polite and suggest if they can answer a tweet in 4 minutes, they should be able to pick up the phone within 4 minutes. Oh yes, always make "suggestions" in writing and direct them to a bank's officer.

  7. DaddyHoggy

    Please don't presume either Twitter users or the banks are idiots

    Tweeting a bank especially if you don't start with the twitter ID, means all of your followers and all of their followers see the message. It's not just the banks at jump on "bad" tweets, Virgin, BT, British Gas all jump on tweets that they might find embarrassing as an equally public way of showing they "care".

    So if you tweet a bank - you go something like...

    "Oh look, @RBS stuffed up one of my Direct Debits again, yet again proving they are completely useless and incompetent."

    It's important to use negative words - they must auto search for these.

    A few minutes later...

    "Dear @<twitterID> if you DM us a contact telephone number we will call you back and run through the normal security and get this sorted."

    There is no exchange of private details save your telephone number - and they do ring you back and with the normal security checks such as the "Can we have the 1st and 5th letters of your password", "Can we have the 2nd and 5th number of your passcode," "Where was the last coffee shop you used and approximately how much did you spend on your RBS card..."

    It would seem those who are having a go are either 1) annoyed that they use the phone and disappear in the convoluted auto redirect system 2) don't like Twitter (or social media in general) 3) have never tried it and therefore presume both the user and/or the bank are happily divulging intimate details via Twitter (which neither party is).

    1. jake Silver badge

      Here's number 4, DaddyHoggy (was: Re: Please don't presume ::snippage for too log title^WSubject::)

      4) I don't need to go through social media to contact my bank, in real time. I just directly contact my bank (telephone or in person), take care of business, and done.

      The mind-set that social-media is useful is astonishing, bordering on religion.

      Oh. Never mind. That explains it. Sheeple are idiots. HAND.

      1. DaddyHoggy

        Re: Here's number 4, DaddyHoggy

        Not a religion, an alternative.

        I bank with RBS - I don't work in the town where I live and RBS don't open on a Saturday. There is no direct number for my branch - so I have to use their 0845 number, which means I have to pay for the call and I get bogged down (sometimes) in their automated system.

        I will usually call, but if the system is being particularly unhelpful - I have been known to tweet and they call me back - it works - it's another string to my bow.

        Very sad that you don't think social media isn't useful - do you think the Arab Spring would have happened with quite the same speed without Social Media?

        Personally I think people who are vehemently (for no apparent reason) anti-social media are idiots too.

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