First-e claims hate mail came from customer

Anonymous accusation of customer 'chaos' is untrue, claims online bank

Internet bank First-E has suggested that a disgruntled customer may have sent out an email to thousands of people claiming that money has disappeared from its customer accounts.

General manager Richard Thackery says that this is the most likely explanation for the email that he describes as "factually completely inaccurate".

The email claims that First-E did not give interest to its customers, could not manage its accounts and couldn't stop money disappearing. According to Thackery this is completely untrue but does indicate that the mail may have come from an account holder dissatisfied with the bank's payment scheme.

Internet banks are not allowed to refund any money without the identity of a customer having being first verified because this could allow for money laundering. It is First-E's policy not to offer any interest until an account holder has been verified. According to Thackery this may well have miffed one of his company's customers. "It is completely legitimate and it is the law although can see why that would have annoyed someone if that was the case," he says.

Thackery says that although the bank is unlikely to try to find the perpetrator of the mail, he would like to see the matter resolved. "We could invest a lot of money trying to find him but frankly the allegations are utterly ridiculous and we have better things to do. I wrote to a lot of people asking if they'd sent it because my biggest concern is that there is an unhappy customer."

Thackery also says that he would be prepared to have an anonymous Web chat with the person concerned and has called for them to contact ZDNet so that this could be arranged.

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