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Friday 19 January 2018

'I've lost sales and been left in lockdown'

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A businessman told last night how the Ulster Bank computer meltdown has cost him crucial sales and left his various operations in effective 'lockdown'.

Tipperary entrepreneur George Mordaunt said that his Clonmel garage has lost sales, he has been unable to source cars from the UK and his 20-strong workforce face waiting a week for their wages.

Mr Mordaunt now wants the bank -- a subsidiary of the Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) -- to make a gesture to the tens of thousands of customers affected by waiving second quarter account fees.

"We have lost business and, at a time when the markets are particularly challenging, it is the last thing we needed to have to deal with," he said.

Mr Mordaunt has all his accounts with Ulster Bank.

He runs three businesses in Clonmel: the Mordaunt Motor Group, the Wardrobe Boutique and the Get-Your-Locks-Off salon.

His workers were due to be paid yesterday -- but may not now receive their wages until Friday.

The UB/RBS computer glitch also meant:

• Electronic payments for overseas deals couldn't be processed.

• UB staff were unable to explain balances and tell George which payments had and hadn't been cleared.

• Customers who couldn't access cash in their accounts postponed or cancelled planned purchases altogether.

"I had staff in the UK to pick up cars but they had to come back empty-handed because we couldn't complete the electronic payments," he said.

Mr Mordaunt believes waiving quarterly fees is now warranted by Ulster Bank. In the case of his companies, the fees equate to around €2,500.

"I think waiving fees is the appropriate gesture -- there is a 12-month backlog with the (Financial) Ombudsman and I think it is basically a waste of time (lodging a complaint)," he said.

RBS has already said it will refund all overdraft charges and fees caused by the computer error.

Irish Independent

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