Discrimination by the back door?

17 March 2014 - 11:15

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Last week I had to complete some legal papers at a bank and I needed to show them proof of identity and proof of address.

Proof of address was no problem as I have just had my latest water bill delivered. But for proof of identity they needed either a driving licence or passport and I've got neither.

I can't have a driving licence because my epilepsy still isn't completely under control  (though I'd be safer driving than many that are currently on the roads, especially those who fail to disclose conditions that might affect their ability to drive safely).

I haven't got a passport as I can't go anywhere a) I can't afford a holiday and b) I couldn't manage to get through customs and so I'm not shelling out more than seventy quid just to prove who I am.

So I took in my birth certificate as proof of identity, they also wanted my national insurance number and they accepted both or so I thought. Now I've got to take in more papers to prove who I am

It's not my fault that I'm ill and have been honest enough to admit it.

I was born in this country and have lived here all my life, paid tax and national insurance, and yet it would seem that unless you drive and or go abroad in the eyes of many institutions including banks, local and central government etc you simply don't exist

17 March 2014 - 11:34

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I'm afraid what you have experienced is standard practice. I do not have a passport or photo driving licence either and in these circumstances the banks insist on seeing at least two other items to prove identity.  A birth certificate on it's own seems not to be deemed sufficient and they ask for papers such as a council tax bill and water bill. My husband and I have banked with the same bank for decades and they know us personally but they still demand to see the necessary paperwork - and it is exactly the same with the solicitor even though they hold our property deeds, know us personally and have done previous work for us. It's annoying and a nonsense but that's what one has to do in the absence of photo documentation

Incidentally to avoid all the palaver of digging out paperwork and going into the bank just to close one account and open another i did it on the phone - no photos, birth certificate or documents and yet a few answers to questions and hey presto - job done.

17 March 2014 - 11:48

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Hi Truddles

I too have had problems with identity checking in the context of legal matters and financial institutions. In my case it was to prove my identity in the context of being the Power of Attorney for a relative. In my experience in the context of Power of Attorney the identity checks are very burdensome and either of the two documents which you mention are a necessity. It is not helped by staff not knowing their company's procedures and giving wrong advice. Institutions seem to be unable to cope with non standard situations.  I do not drive and had to buy a passport four years ago, as my last one had elapsed. My last overseas visit had been in 2002. My advice is to see a senior member of staff who is more likely to know the appropriate procedures and keep a record of all meetings and advice. The result of all this is that you accumulate vast amounts of paperwork and emails and reports of meetings and need to check all documents with great concentration. If you you have checking OCD and a tendency to hoard then it can be quite stressful.

17 March 2014 - 11:47

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Unfortunately it couldn't be done over the phone as it wasn't to do with a personal account.

What annoyed me was that I'd taken in all the documentation that they had asked for and dealt with a senior member of staff and still it wasn't sufficient.

 

17 March 2014 - 20:43

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It does sound unfair- but so many things are unfair atm. 

I don't really know what to suggest apart from the fact that you probaby need to do whatever they tell you to do (even if they ask you to come 10000 times) as they are rolling the ball...

I was not in an exact situation, but kind of same- two sub-instututions at uni wanted the original nor a photocopy of my high school leaving certificate... (within the same uni ie same institution) which resulted in me running in between departments and trying to do whatever they wanted me to... but of course both NEEDED the original so I was in a dot...

I hope they'll accept birth your birth certificate...

best wises

19 March 2014 - 8:25

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I had another example of the importance of keeping documentation stored yesterday. I had to send a eighteen month old stored email to a solicitor asking about progress on sorting out my relative's tax affairs in the context of Power of Attorney. Because of financial and legal reasons it was good that I did: because the solicitor had not acted; though the email said that she had. She blamed the government for losing documents and accepted no responsibility for not following through on instructions and ensuring certain things occurred.  My intervention will mean that things will be sorted. It is not just banks and housing associations that fail to do things. I find that in most areas of my life there is a need to check things and keep documents which are years old carefully stored. As mentioned before if you have OCD with hoarding then this causes additional stress with our tendency to feel responsible when things go wrong as well as feeling that we should try and stop things going wrong. . It is not just cognitive biases which cause us distress but when they interact with the social context of the increasing tendency for people not to follow set procedures which we all need to ensure that social and material well being is created and maintained.

19 March 2014 - 21:06

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Phew!  Everyone here seems to have one of these stories... it sometimes seems as if the only people who could find their way through all this security and open an account are the professional criminals themselves! 

I have the same problem as Truddles, no driving license and no passport.  I did try to apply for a passport a few years ago, so that I could open a bank account, so that I could claim a student grant I seemed to be entitled to (wheels within wheels...)  Trouble was, as I'd never had a passport before, it turned out I had to go and be interviewed before I could have one.  Well, given how many things can send me unexpectedly into an OCD spin, that wouldn't have been a good idea, unless a family member was allowed to come in with me who knew how to get me out of it.  Contacted them to ask whether that would be OK, but couldn't get any answer except "All our staff are trained in disability issues".  Well, "we might be able to do it" isn't a lot of good, is it?  It's like a train company that says it will sometimes carry bikes if the guard's van isn't too full.  You do rather need to know before you turn up there miles from home complete with bike!  Consequently, I still haven't got a bank account.

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