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Disabled customer's two-year battle to get bank to send large print letters to her Sheffield home

Maxine Jones
Maxine Jones
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A partially-sighted woman has been waging a two-year battle to get her bank to send letters in large print to her Sheffield home.

Maxine Jones's vision is gradually deteriorating, and around two years ago she contacted her utility companies and other firms asking them to send any communications in larger font.

They complied immediately with the exception of NatWest, which she chased repeatedly without any joy before calling on Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB) to take up her case.

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It was five months before NatWest eventually began sending her statements in a size she could read, and in March last year the Financial Services Ombudsman found that the bank should have handled her request better and ordered it to pay her £200 compensation.

To add insult to injury, after finally resolving her initial complaint NatWest sent the apology card in a font she found illegible, which the ombudsman said suggested the bank 'wasn’t taking the reasonable adjustments seriously'.

That should have been the end of Ms Jones' problems, but despite now sending her statements in large print the bank has continued to send letters in a font too small for her to read.

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Almost two years since she first contacted the bank, she is still waiting for this to be resolved, and she has resorted to calling in the ombudsman a second time.

The 50-year-old from Ecclesfield says NatWest has told her some departments are unable to send letters in large print - but she claims this is 'not good enough'.

"You would have thought if I needed statements in large print it would be obvious I need letters in large print too, but I've contacted NatWest more than 30 times this year and nothing's been done," she said.

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"I just need a little help to maintain my independence, and I'm absolutely browned off by the way NatWest's behaved over the last two years."

As well as being visually impaired, Ms Jones still suffers from a brain injury sustained when she was seriously attacked 15 years ago, which also left her needing a wheelchair.

SRSB general manager Steve Hambleton said: "We always advise clients to request information in accessible formats from organisations such as banks, utility suppliers etc; it is important that people should be able to access the information that they require.

"Some people have good experiences, but we understand that others feel frustrated when they have a bad experience and we hope that organisations will improve their service."

Sean Palmer, media relations manager for RBS, which owns NatWest, said: "We apologise to the customer for any inconvenience caused, and we await the outcome of the ombudsman's investigation."