Bank boss told tumour victim: ‘get binoculars’

Tommy Murray says the compensation offer is derisory. Picture: Esme Allen

Tommy Murray says the compensation offer is derisory. Picture: Esme Allen

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A BANK customer with several tumours in his head and spine has told of his outrage after he was ‘verbally abused’ by a branch manager for having poor eyesight.

Tommy Murray put his card into a machine the wrong way round while attempting to pay a bill at the TSB branch in Corstorphine, before apologising to staff for forgetting his glasses.

He said a manager sitting across the office then intervened, shouting loudly across the bank: “It’s not glasses you need, it’s binoculars.”

Mr Murray, a sales representative for a home improvement company, has been left irate by the insult, especially as his eyesight has deteriorated since being diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type two – a rare condition which causes tumours to grow on the nerves.

The bank has apologised to Mr Murray, 54, but he branded its offer of £50 compensation and a free gift as “derisory” given the upset the remark has caused.

He said: “I don’t have a problem dying, but I do have a problem being insulted.

“He shouted it over ‘it’s not glasses you need mate, it’s ­binoculars’.

“I’d just gone in innocently to pay my Visa. Why he picked on me I’ll never know.

“I was absolutely boiling mad, as you can imagine. I’d never seen the guy before in my life. It’s customers like me that keep people like him employed.

“It’s bad enough that these banks took all the taxpayers’ money, without their managers going and insulting you.”

Following the incident, on August 16, Mr Murray, of Silverknowes, made a formal complaint.

A TSB regional director told Mr Murray that he had launched his own investigation and that while the results would remain internal, his colleague was “very apologetic” and “embarrassed” by his actions.

He said that the manager had offered to apologise directly – something Mr Murray rejected, saying he had no desire to speak to him ever again.

The complaints department then wrote to Mr Murray, saying “we apologise we let you down this time” and that the comment was “certainly not an example of the high level of service we consistently strive to deliver to our customers”.

The bank’s customer relations department said that the staff member “regrets making the comment and also explained that no offence was intended by what he said”.

TSB said the offer of £50 and a gift was in line with guidance issued by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

But Mr Murray, who has now sought legal advice about the incident, believes a more appropriate offer would have been £500 – saying it would represent £100 for every tumour in his head.

Mr Murray, who has another two tumours in his spine, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type two in October 2011, a genetic condition that affects around one in 35,000 people.

There is no cure, with tumours that develop inside the brain and spinal column placing a strain on the body that are expected to lower life expectancy.

daniel.sanderson@edinburghnews.com