Santander Faces Criticism as Disabled Man’s Frozen Bank Card Forces Borrowing for Necessities

by Ella

Santander, a major bank, is under scrutiny as the frozen bank card of a disabled former police officer, Tony Hawkins, 59, has left him without access to his own funds since mid-August. David Morgan, a friend of Mr. Hawkins, expressed frustration at the bank’s perceived lack of care in resolving the issue.

The predicament began when Mr. Hawkins noticed unauthorized withdrawals exceeding £2,000 from his bank account. The withdrawals have now escalated to over £3,200 and have been reported to Dyfed-Powys Police, who are actively investigating the matter.


Mr. Hawkins, who relies on a wheelchair due to spinal problems and has limited speech and mobility following a series of strokes, has been unable to use his debit card for essential expenses like food. His disability prevents him from engaging in online banking.


David Morgan, a retired police inspector and Mr. Hawkins’s friend, first became aware of the issue in July when Mr. Hawkins pointed out the unauthorized deductions from his account. Despite Mr. Morgan’s efforts to contact Santander on Mr. Hawkins’s behalf, the bank declined to discuss the matter with him since he was not the account holder.


Moreover, Mr. Morgan reported the issue to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime, but received discouraging news about the feasibility of further inquiry.


The situation worsened when Mr. Hawkins’s carer, responsible for purchasing goods, discovered that his debit card was no longer functional. As a result, Mr. Hawkins resorted to borrowing money from friends and the local authority to cover basic necessities.

Santander, asserting that they could only discuss the matter in person with Mr. Hawkins, arranged an appointment at their Carmarthen branch on 30 August. However, the issue remained unresolved even after the face-to-face meeting.

Mr. Morgan elaborated on the difficulties faced by Mr. Hawkins due to his disability and stressed that despite the card being halted, unauthorized deductions continued to occur from his account.

Efforts to gain power of attorney over Mr. Hawkins’s financial affairs have been initiated by Mr. Morgan, yet the process remains pending.

Santander has indicated its willingness to explore appropriate support options for Mr. Hawkins, emphasizing their availability for customers requiring tailored assistance. They encourage customers to reach out through branch visits, phone calls, or digital channels to discuss such support.

Detailed commentary on Mr. Hawkins’s specific case was unavailable from Santander due to privacy considerations and the need for Mr. Hawkins’s consent.



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