I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Financial institutions and me

Why is it so difficult to get anything done with banks? Credit card companies fall over themselves to give me good service -- nothing bad to say about my BA Amex, and MBNA have given me an 18k limit on a single card, for crying out loud! But banks fucking hate me, and I don't know why. This is what has happened this year.


My NatWest debit card expired in 02/08. Having not received a new card in the last week of February, I phoned them up asking when I'd get it. They said they hadn't sent one out (what the fuck?) but would do immediately, and suggested they send it to my local branch, Surbiton. I asked if they'd inform me when it arrived and they said no need, just go in to pick it up. I went in on March 4th and they had no card, and told me to wait to be called.

I didn't get called. So I called back. They'd lost the card, and said they'd send a new one out, this time to my home address. That didn't arrive either, so I called them again and they had no idea what had happened to it. A stop was put on it and a third new one was being sent to the Wandsworth branch. My account is still held there because they advised me not to bother moving it when I moved house. Wandsworth is a pain in the cock to get to from work or Surbiton.

A week later, beyond the Easter bank holiday and 4 weekends since I should have got my automatic replacement, I went to Wandsworth and picked the card up. Because it was a replacement the man explained I would not need to activate it, it would just work immediately. I went back to work. That evening I tried to draw some money out, and my PIN didn't work. I called them up the next day and they said no, of course it didn't, my previous card was stolen and they needed to send me a new one.

Fucking useless. I went a month with no debit card/cash card. They offered me £12 compensation. This was less than the amount in charges I had to pay for using credit cards to withdraw cash during that period.


Also in March, I opened an account with Tesco savings. I have some money put aside and wanted to take advantage of a bonus clubcard points offer they had for new account holders. I opted for the "Internet saver" account, the main benefit being that you can manage everything online. It is October 28th and I have still never once managed to log in to my Tesco account.

The initial application happened online. One of the things it asked for was a password, which I provided. All the details were sent to me in a form I had to sign and return, but "password" had become "mothers maiden name", so I scribbled out what was there and wrote the term I use for that instead.

A week or so later they sent me something else in the post, saying that since I'd changed something they needed an extra signature. So I sent that back and waited.

Sometime later I got more stuff in the post. Spread apart by a few weeks I got a one-time registration number, my account number and sort code, and my online customer number. Precisely because they all came in the post, and were sent at different times, I could never manage to lay my hand on all of these things at once. Massively frustrated by the amount of things I'd had to do through the post for an Internet saver account, I gave up for a while. About 2 months, in fact, after which I had a huge hunt for stuff and found all the details. I went through the, what, 3rd stage of online registration? And hey presto, their site says they need another signature. I have no printer at home, so I had to wait another week for them to send me a copy of the form themselves. I signed it and returned it, 4 weeks ago. I still can't login to my savings account. I do hope the money's safe.


Because of the NatWest fiasco, I wanted to move away from them. Fuck them if they can't do a simple fucking thing like send out replacement debit cards. Oh, what a mistake this has turned out.

I started opening the account in June. Another fill-stuff-out-online-then-do-stuff-offline load of nonsense, it took me almost to the limit of 90 days to get round to visiting a branch with proof of who I am and stuff.

When my account finally opened, Nationwide gave me a cash card. No overdraft, no chequebooks, no debit card, no chip + PIN. It seems I am 12 years old or something. Nationwide come with a great reputation and I tried to find out what had happened and if I could change it, by using their recommended way of contacting them: through secure messaging on internet banking. They aim to respond within 5 working days. I sent them 2 messages on October 10th and here we are on the 28th with no responses at all. So now I have two bank accounts, both of which I need to keep, because my direct debits have made their way across but I'm not transferring my salary + spending money to an account that doesn't have a bloody debit card on it.

Why do banks hate me so fucking much? I'm really angry and depressed by them all.

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