Barclays Lost a Family's Heirlooms Worth £750,000!

Author: Connor Campbell - Bullion & Economics Editor

Published: 8 Feb 2023

Last Updated: 10 Feb 2023


A Barclays customer has been seeking proper compensation for the loss of a suitcase containing valuable items stored at the Barclays Queensway branch in London, estimated to be worth £750,000. Despite repeated requests for information, the bank has only offered £58,000 in compensation based on their standard terms and conditions, which now require customers to take out their own insurance. The customer is frustrated with Barclays' handling of the situation and the lack of cooperation from the Metropolitan and City of London police.

Valuable Items Estimated to be Worth £750,000

A customer of Barclays has encountered difficulties in obtaining adequate recompense for the disappearance of a suitcase filled with valuable possessions, which had been stored at the Barclays Queensway branch in London. The suitcase, which held gold jewellery, precious stones, rare Persian coins, valuable editions of the Quran, and a prayer rug, was estimated to have a worth of approximately £750,000. The customer had availed the services of Barclays' Safe Premium service to store the suitcase from 1995 until the cessation of the service in Spring 2012.

Initial Compensation Offer of £58,000

The bank initially claimed that the suitcase was untraceable and proffered the customer £58,000 as compensation, citing that it was in accordance with the contract signed between the parties. However, upon scrutinising the contract, the customer found no mention of a limitation on compensation for loss caused by theft or negligence. Despite repeated enquiries, the customer could not establish the origin of the £50,000 limit that was imposed.

Metropolitan and City of London Police Unable to Investigate

The customer sought the assistance of the head of the Metropolitan and City of London police, however, was informed that the force did not possess the resources to examine the case. Despite repeated requests, Barclays has not furnished the necessary information to the police.

Barclays Requests Valuation and Offers £58,125 in May 2019

Barclays requested the customer to furnish a list of the missing items, and at the customer's behest, 61 similar items belonging to the customer's family were valued by the auction house, Bonhams. The estimated value of these items was approximately £750,000. Upon receipt of the valuations from Barclays, there was a prolonged period of inactivity before the bank finally offered to reimburse the customer £58,125 in May 2019. The offer was based on the limit stipulated in Barclays' standard terms and conditions, which apply to items that are lost while in safekeeping, subject to sufficient evidence of ownership. These terms and conditions now necessitate customers to obtain insurance coverage for their possessions.

Additional Offer of £8,000 by Barclays

The additional £8,000 offered by Barclays comprised a reimbursement of the charges incurred since 1995 and the value of three coins, which were similar to those that had been gifted to the customer's siblings by their father. Barclays was willing to accept a valuation of these coins and repay the customer accordingly, however, refused to recognise the other valuations, contending that there was no evidence to support the assertion that these items were stored in the suitcase.

Frustration Over Barclays' Handling of the Situation

Despite the customer's lapses, such as failing to take out insurance or maintaining records of the deposited items, they remain dissatisfied with the manner in which Barclays has managed the situation. The customer has been transferred from one employee to another, and the quest for the missing suitcase, the disagreements with various Barclays staff members regarding the contents and amount of compensation, and the prolonged delays have proved to be a source of vexation.

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