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back to article Metro Bank in schoolboy email error snafu

Metro Bank, the newly established UK retail bank, has irked its customers with a schoolboy email error. The latest marketing missive from the bank was sent using all the email addresses in to To: field instead of using the bcc (blind carbon copy) field. In the process, the bank disclosed the email addresses of around 1,200 …

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

Not bad going!

First they don't use the BCC field, then they try to use Recall - which doesn't work unless the recipient is on an Exchange server, and quite often not then.

The usual answer by a bank, "Additional training has been scheduled..."

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Facepalm

Re: Not bad going!

Clueless manager: "What? You mean not everyone is on Exchange? I thought the Internet needed Exchange to work!"

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Silver badge
Happy

Kindle too

Recall also works on Amazon's Kindle.

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Holmes

Total Recall

I can't see a likely situation where you'd benefit from honouring external recall requests. Certainly anyone with an email archiving system will probably have a copy stored off Exchange anyway as soon as it hits their borders.

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FAIL

Schoolboy snafus never die

I don't think a month goes by when I don't get an email listing all recipients from an organisation that should know better. Beyond a doubt the worst must be the University of Sydney which runs so many of its public talks through distribution from various administrative officers' email addresses as a more-or-less ad hoc affair. There's no point trying to educate one of them, as temp staff often step in and repeat the same mistake the following month/talk.

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Thumb Down

£50 Domino's Pizza voucher

Value of said pizzas in ingredients and staff time preparing them: probably about £5.

Also, what a clever way to encourage your most-complaining customers to die sooner of clogged arteries and stop being a customer support burden...

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Britain's first new High Street bank in over 100 years

Four branches near London is not my idea of a High Street bank.

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Anonymous Coward

Anyway...

The Cooperative bank is the first new high street bank in 100 years, and they actually have branches - get this - in the high street of many towns...

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Probably not true

Somehow they got this phrase out in their launch marketing, and the media have propagated it since. I agree that four branches in London doesn't make a bank, and I strongly doubt the claim it's the first for 100 years. But memes will spread. I've not spent the time to try to find counter-evidence. The Co-op Bank traces its corporate history back to 1872 (http://bit.ly/kxCVuy) so probably doesn't count.

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Facepalm

Bank slaps forehead, can customers slap them in the face?

"Rest assured there is no need for any concern as no other information was sent."

What could possibly be wrong with lots of people you don't know being given your email address without your consent? Exactly, nothing, so there's absolutely no concern whatsoever. Case closed.

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Happy

I'll still bank with them

I'm a customer and didn't receive the email. Doesn't particularly bother me - have seen it from numerous other companies which usually don't make the same mistake again.

If you live in London and travel overseas then it's worth opening an account with Metrobank, as unlike the vast majority of UK banks, they don't charge any commission or exchange rate markup on overseas debit card withdrawals. I just transfer money in before going overseas.

I don't use them for day to day banking as their online banking website is pathetic.

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Megaphone

Re: I'll still bank with them

Have you checked their interest rates. Remember TANSTAAFL ... if they're opening sundays and bank holidays you have to pay for that convenience somehow

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"I'm a customer and didn't receive the email."

What's your point --- you honestly thought your bank had about 1200 customers, namely the recipients of said mail??

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Meh

Not unusal

The other day I was sent an email from O2 with 80 other people's emails in the CC field. If The Reg posted a story every time this happened they wouldn't write about anything else.

Still shouldn't happen.

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So...

they send "your statement is ready" emails manually using Outlook?! Who designed their IT systems, a work experience student?

Why is it that the name "Metro bank" makes me think of the Metro newspaper, which is handed out free at train stations, good to keep you occupied for about 10 minutes, and generally is a nice idea but not something to take too seriously?

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Anonymous Coward

That's nothing

Their banking engine is an Excel spreadsheet (ducks...)

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Trollface

Re: That's nothing

With Excel, they're only a step away from recreating the "old bloke writing in a ledger with a fountain pen" style of banking.

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Facepalm

No Email, but the IB is hopeless

Yep. No Email from them, but the Internet banking is useless, not to mention I think its just a off the shelf script as it occasionally re-directs to a blank page with a "Your Bank" Logo on it. Oh and it does not work correctly in anything but FF and IE.

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Childcatcher

Not a Schoolboy Error!

How many children would commit such an error having grown up with email and the internet?!

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Happy

None...

if it's my daughter, it's all facebook, twitter and SMS/MMS.

Emails are only for crappy things like homework and sending stuff to granny & grandad.

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Quite a few of them

..who are completely unaware of privacy issues as they despatch everything to their 5000 Facebook "friends".

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Silver badge
FAIL

Britain's new High Street bank?

"Metro Bank opened last year as London's first new High Street bank in over 100 years. It has four branches within the M25 corridor,"

Fixed that for you.

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Joke

Loving all the northerners getting uppity

What would you do with a new bank anyway? London's got all your money ;-)

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Whats this not london business?

It's co-op bank who only have 1 or 2 branches in London (Ealing and the square mile).

Metro bank have one in Holborn (zone 1) and earls court (zone 1/2 border).

Besides how often do you go to the actual bank.. each time you cash your pension?

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Holborn?

Holborn is where one of the other Co-op banks is, and there's another at Angel. You're right about rarely visiting a branch though, if only my customers would stop sending damn cheques, realise it's 2011 and make a transfer instead!

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Anonymous Coward

First new bank?

Wouldn't the Cooperative Bank claim the first new bank in a hundred years line see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Co-operative_Bank

While the bank formed in 1872, it wasn't a registered company until 1971 - which I believe is when it started taking customes outside of coop group. In 1975 was the first new member of the clearing banks in 40 years.

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FAIL

Schoolboy error? Idiot-proofing failure, more like

The real error is allowing marketing people to email customers direct, en masse, instead of via a dedicated distribution app or service... for a bank, this is doubly cretinous.

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FAIL

May not be the error

They may be even more stupid than that and had a app made for it but did not properly test it and it used the TO instead of BCC is some cases ... come to think of it that would still be less stupid than allowing users send out mass emails from outlook.

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The pizza company

Care more about you than your bank.

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FAIL

How to lose customers

I think we can deduce from this that on Friday Metro Bank had 1,200 customers. Today they have somewhat less than this amount...

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Happy

Cool

Just need to xref with the PSN details. Quids in :)

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Silver badge
FAIL

1200 emails.

Well it happens. I think what's worse is that their IT is so windows centric they thought that the recall button would work.

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Gold badge

Correction..

I think what's worse is that their MANAGEMENT is so windows centric they thought that the recall button would work.

There, fixed that for you..

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FAIL

Surely...

Surely this hints at deeper IT issues at Metro Bank? Some marketing wonk is getting a list of customers' email addresses and pasting them into Outlook - that this is even possible suggests to me that they don't operate the principle of least privilege.

Why does anyone in marketing need to see a customer's details? Surely they should be entering their text into a template which the system then fills in with customer data?

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Stop

M25 corridor

How many corridors go in a (poorly designed) circle?

(rhetorical)

M4 corridor, yes

M25, No.

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Go

Circular

A famous example would be the ones in the Pentagon, there's quite a few recent schools in the UK with them, and our own GCHQ too...

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Prior art

I remember a mobile phone retailer falling foul of its own similar snafu about ten years ago, when they forgot to use "Bcc" to notify the very small number of exclusive winners of a competition to win a free phone. Only went out to several thousand recipients. Needless to say the phone wasn't really free at all. No compensation there, equally needless to say, just a whole drove of potential customers (some of them hitting "reply all") insisting something about sticking pins in their eyes rather than buy anything from the culprits.

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Holmes

Why is a user sending what should be an automated email anyway

If all the email said was "your statement is ready", why was it being sent out by a human in the first place. Surely that should be done by a cron script, one email to each customer, one at a time?

Sounds to me like they do not have a proper grasp of their server back-end. Imagine how much admin time this must take to do by hand.

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Silver badge
WTF?

The logo....

... is virtually identical to Manila's Metro bank. (Same font, same colour, etc)

Reverse colonisation?

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Facepalm

oh hoo!

This is what happens when management thinks it can do an IT engineer's job.

A lot of IT jobs have potentially annoying or security implications that untrained or immature people just don't think about.

This email should have been sent via a mailing list so there is no chance of a human doing what they did.

This just exposes the bad and disorganised practises going on behind the scenes at this bank.

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