Mum claims she has been mistaken for a man by her bank for a decade because of her deep voice

A mum claims she has been mistaken for a man by her bank for a DECADE because of her deep voice - so now poses as a bloke called Derek when she talks on the phone.

Lorraine Chademunhu, 42, said using the phone to contact her bank is nearly impossible.

She said she's always had a low voice, but used to be able to get round it by visiting the bank in person.

But after her local branch of Barclays closed, and she was told to use telephone banking, she said she's continuously quizzed every time she rings up.

Woman mistaken for man on home

She said she spends "at least twenty minutes" arguing back and forth with a member of staff.

But every time she makes a formal complaint, staff tell her they have added a note on her account for future employees - but she said it makes no difference.

The mum-of-two from Chessington, Surrey, said the confusion also happens when she books tables in restaurants - so now she just gives the name 'Derek'.

Nurse Lorraine said: "I can't even add up the amount of hours I've spent on the phone being passed from pillar to post.

"I'm just so insulted and humiliated.

"I get it all - 'Sir', Mr Lorraine, buddy, the list goes on.

"I tell them you are speaking to Lorraine and then they just turn around and say 'well is she there?'.

"I try to avoid using telephone banking as much as I can.

"But if I lose my wallet, my card or can't log into my online banking I have no choice.

"Sure my voice gets picked up a lot of the time.

"When I book a table at a restaurant I just give the name 'Derek' to save hassle.

"If I have to phone the AA when I breakdown or if I'm calling someone to fix the house I just go along with being a man to make life easier.

"That I'm used to and I can understand as my voice is deep.

"But when it's my own personal account and I've told them time and time again about it, it's just poor customer care.

"I provide them with my mother's maiden name, the address I have lived at for years but none of it is good enough.

"I do get that security measures are a thing but this isn't as if this has happened, once, twice or even just a dozen times.

"It's almost like I have to grow a pair of balls.

"It's the same conversation over and over again. Yes and no back and forth.

"I didn't ask for this voice.

"I've just had enough."

Woman mistaken for man

Lorraine first set up a current account with Barclays back in 1997 and said she didn't have an issue to begin with.

But after her local Barclays branch shut down several years ago, the mum-of-two said she has had to increasingly rely on telephone banking to combat any issues.

She said whenever she has to call - if she loses a card, needs new log in details or has a problem - she is addressed as 'Sir' or 'Mr Lorraine'.

She said she has even had her account blocked multiple times because of her mistaken identity.

Last week while going through the security checks with Barclays, Lorraine was addressed as 'Sir' at least 19 times when phoning for a new bank card.

Woman mistaken for man

Lorraine said: "This has only been a problem the past ten years.

"Usually when you phone up you're redirected to India and because of the language barrier they just think I'm a man.

"But even when I get put through to someone in the UK I still have to jump through the same hoops and reach the same conclusion.

"Last week they were ending every sentence with 'Sir'.

"I have honestly just had enough.

"The thing is I have other accounts with Lloyds and Halifax and I'm able to get around that because they have voice recognition.

"I don't see why Barclays haven't caught on there.

"I don't bother putting on a high pitch to Barclay's because why should I?

"If I were transgender I would be able to make a big show about it.

"I was born a woman and I'm being denied that because Barclays' customer service is that poor.

"I've been with them for twenty years.

"I've thought about changing banks but because it's tied up with the house it's so difficult.

"And every time I'm reassured things will get fixed.

"I'm a nurse and work unsociable hours.

"I don't have time to be skipping into Barclays.

"Last time I did that the person behind the counter told me I had to phone up customer services anyway.

"I did it there in store and then passed the phone across.

"I had to hear them having a chat about whether or not I was a woman.

"They look at me up and down before chuckling and say 'I know'.

"I don't dress like a bloke or look like one. It's just my voice.

"It was humiliating.

"Part of me though, do I have to take my clothes off in order for you lot to get the picture?

"After I left that bank, I got in my car and I was in tears.

"To them I'm just a number. They don't care how they make me feel.

"It really does get me down and it's horrible for my children to see.

"Of course they've grown up with me having a deep voice so never pick up on it.

"But they do pick up on my humiliation.

"I've considered taking things up legally but it's unfortunately it's not a crime.

"I've just had enough.

"It's not fair on me. It's emotionally draining having to prove who I am."

A spokesman for Barclays said: "We have apologised to Miss Chademunhu for the inconvenience she has experienced.

"Protecting our customers' accounts is our top priority, and we have robust measures in place to identify and verify a customer when they call.

"We have reached out to Miss Chademunhu to implement a verification process that will identify her more quickly in the future."

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