Pricewatch reader queries: Vexed by Bank of Ireland’s security questions

Plus, Meteor finally agrees to replace a faulty Samsung mobile phone

Paul Horan has a gripe with Bank of Ireland, where he has an account. "I have provided the bank with my mobile phone number and I have, from time to time, received unsolicited calls purporting to be from the bank," he says.

“I am asked if I am free to take the call, and, having indicated that I am, I am then asked to provide the answer to some ‘security questions’. To date I have refused, as I believe in these circumstances it would be more prudent for the customer to seek some details from the purported bank official to ensure it really is a bank employee who is calling,” he writes.

He points out that “as customers we are forever being warned not to provide personal information, answers to security questions, account numbers, pins and so on to anyone unless we are sure who they are. It would seem to me that the practice the bank is now adopting is flying in the face of their own advice.”

He then wonders if he were to receive a call from “a fraudster who held himself out as a Bank of Ireland employee, and were I to provide him with the answers to ‘security questions’ (most of which from my experience are fairly common) and were he then to use this information to gain access to my account, would the bank reimburse whatever sum was fraudulently extracted because I believed I was dealing with a bona-fide bank employee?”


He says he has no difficulty with the bank contacting him by phone. “My complaint is that, when they instigate the call to the designated number provided by the customer, they should not then require the customer to answer confidential security questions. Am I the only one who finds this practice bizarre?”

Bank of Ireland said it keeps all customers’ banking details confidential and “uses such information solely to provide and enhance our services”. A spokeswoman said the bank does “from time to time” make direct contact with customers.

“When a call is made to a customer we will announce that we are calling from Bank of Ireland, and we do ask a number of questions to ensure we are talking to our customer and not another member of the household. We never ask for personal banking details such as account numbers and pins, and customers should be assured that the information sought would prove impossible to be used to perpetrate fraud on an account.”

Meteor agree to replace faulty Samsung

Raymond O'Connor from Galway is having problems with his Samsung mobile phone, which he has under contract with Meteor.

“I brought it to the Meteor shop [in January] as it would freeze and then switch off. If I took out the battery and replaced it, it would work for another day or two, but then freeze again, and I would have to do the same thing to get it back working.”

The phone was sent off for repair, and he collected it a week later. A few days later the same problem occurred, so he went back to the Meteor shop. Again it was sent back, and on the second occasion no fault was found.

“Since I got it back a week ago, the same problem has happened again. I showed it to the assistant in the shop this morning, and he agreed the phone was faulty. I have spoken to four different people in customer care, who now tell me that the phone is now older than 12 months, and only a repair will be provided, even though repairs have not fixed the problem.

“Some of the team did say that the decision on a replacement is decided by the store, but they will not assist me in a replacement. This is not good enough. The problems with the phone started way before the 12-month ‘deadline’.

“Essentially I want a replacement phone; one that works. Repairs have proved futile but nobody in Meteor seems to have the authority to authorise a replacement.”

We contacted the company and received the following statement. “All Meteor handsets have a 24-month warranty. For such issues as ‘freezing’, we advise customers that this is often caused by applications loaded on the handset. Meteor accepts that a repair needs to be lasting. However, if a fault cannot be found by the authorised repair centre, it places us it a difficult position. Where a customer is not happy with a further repair, retail stores have an escalation process, which can allow for a replacement to be issued. Meteor is happy to offer this customer a replacement handset on this occasion.”