Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay
mhw

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Bank idiocy

It seems that customer service in banking works just the same as anywhere else:

1) Front desk. "It's all your fault / we have to follow procedure / no I can't explain / no you can't see the paperwork" and so on. Bypassed by growling and mentioning the banking Code of Conduct, but only capable of handing the matter over to

2) Their supervisor. "This is how it happened / no I quite understand it caused you problems / the Government make us do it / it might have been fraud you understand", etc. More than willing to express helpful intentions, but ultimately stymied by

3) The boss. Who is, as are all bosses everywhere, out of the office and uncontactable, and therefore Nothing Can Be Done.

Person #2, however, says eventually that The Problem can be fixed by my revalidating the account: in short, filling in a few forms and producing Acceptable Identification. Like my PAYE stuff (nope, selfemployed, no PAYE), my benefit book (paid direct to the Bank Account In Question, so no benefit book), my driver's licence (not a driver), my Armed Services ID (what?), my Construction Worker's Somethingorother (!!!) - or my passport. This I do have - somewhere... It seems I could actually refuse to provide such ID, in which case The Problem would escalate to Person #3, and he could decide there and then to unblock my account. Unfortunately he is The Boss, and... yeah.

So Jus drives me back home, I find my passport without too much effort, catch the bus back into town, go back to my bank, see Person #2 again, who photocopies my passport, faxes the copy somewhere, cancels all my cheque books, gets me to sign five jillion forms AND provide a new specimen signature, like the old one they had wasn't the same as it is today... and unlocks my account.

Person #1 was stupid, unhelpful, and intimidating. If I hadn't been so angry, and had Jus not been with me, I'd probably have crawled away and wibbled pennilessly forever. This would have been Bad, as my Standing Orders were (why?!) frozen, too. That makes no sense, but provided a certain piquancy of urgency...

Person #2 was sensible, coherent, apologetic and did what she could. Full marks to her.

Person #3 - *shrug* All I can say is that I hope his golfing arm falls off.

So what was this all about? Well, apparently in the 25 years I've held the account I've been issued with five cheque books and hardly used them. This I admit. Of those, one was required because I lost the bag containing its predecessor; one I was forced to have because it had stopped being the 20th century. This, it seems, is officially Suspicious Behaviour. Suspicious enough for them to stop my account without warning me - because someone might intercept their communication with me (yeah, right - phone taps? sheesh!). The only oddity is that what triggered this, apparently, is that I ordered another one on Friday. Oh no I didn't. "Not even hitting the request button by mistake on the cashpoint?" Person #2 inquired hopefully. Nope. I didn't use a cashpoint on Friday. One transaction, and one only: train ticket purchase. Even if I had, the "request a cheque book" option is buried away in a submenu you'd be hard pressed to wander through by accident. So they're now trying to find out what caused the cheque book to be ordered - and precipitate the avalanche that left me penniless for three days. If it turns out to have been some automated "he needs a new cheque book" algorithm of theirs, I swear, I'll have their heads on a plate.

With me so far? Good. So: I think I'm completely justified in demanding a written explanation of what they did. They've also caused me inconvenience in lost purchasing opportunity, embarrassment and the need to make two pointless trips to and from town. An apology and a nice little ex gratia payment for my trouble would sweeten me, I think, because I'm a nice guy. What actually am I entitled to in these circs? mrph, you're probably the guy to ask, what with the job and all, but if anyone has advice, I'd be entirely delighted to hear it.
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