Visit the historic Lancashire Textile Project with over 500 photos and 190 taped interviews|2|0
Go to Page
  First Page  Previous Page    22  23  24  [25]  26  27   Next Page  Last Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted -  25/06/2010  :  09:59
I just love banks, don't you? They go out of their way to make life exciting and to make sure we are always wondering if our account will have been emptied by tomorrow morning. They spend a fortune launching `Chip & Pin' and trying to convince us that it is infallible and that any fraud on our card in future will be due to our failings, not theirs. They do us great favours like deciding, unilaterally, to get rid of cheques. They are so good to us I thought we should reward them with a thread devoted to their marvellous escapades. Let me start with this offering but please add your own experiences and comments...

We have received a letter from Santander (Abbey Nat to you and me) beginning "We are deligted to inform you..." which always sets alarm bells ringing, and ends "As Santander we will continue to offer innovative, great value products and are committed to delivering excellent service to our customers" which sets the sirens blaring.  What they are delighted to inform me is that they have upgraded (without consulting me) my Cheque Guarantee Card to a Visa Debit Card. But I don't want a Visa debit card, I don't need another card, it's just another thing to get stolen, lost or defrauded.

But there's a sting in the tail. They then tell me to destroy my cheque guarantee card by cutting it in half. OK, I think, the new card will be used for this instead. But no, lower down in the letter it says the new card cannot be used to guarantee cheques. I know that cheques are set to be phased out (unilaterally once again, by June 2011) but it looks like the banks have devised a great scam to deprive us of cheque guarantee cards so they can say that cheques are not much use. I use cheques a lot and I would prefer that they were not phased out, but then, hey, the banks are not there just for you and me, are they?

I notice that although the letter tells me to destroy the cheque card, nowhere does it say that I cannot continue to use it. So I'm going to use it for as long as possible. I advise everyone to do the same. The banks are just hoping we will all fall in line with their demands and destroy the cards immediately.


Replies
Author
Go to Page
  First Page  Previous Page    22  23  24  [25]  26  27   Next Page  Last Page
 
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 15/09/2011 : 05:54
I heard about this the other day. It is one more example of the 'cunning wheeze' department in the banks that is constantly working on ways to squeeze more income from the milch cow, the customer. Be sure that now they have seen the future, the banks are working flat out on ways to make a profit from Main Street banking. When it comes to charges and 'cunning wheezes' we ain't seen nothing yet. Perhaps it's time the banks were regulated like trade unions, all custoners with an investment in the bank should be automatically given a vote and no rule changes allowed without a poll and a majority supporting it. The number of votes for each client being predicated by the level of their personal investment. Power to the people who provide the money. Now that would be radical and useful change. Oh, and how about a rule that said the customer was to be presumed right (innocent) until proven guilty (wrong).  The onus at present is on the customer which is neither fair nor just.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 15/09/2011 : 09:46
The next `cunning wheeze' will be increased charges far in advance of the 2019 deadline for the banking reforms. They will use the reforms as an excuse but won't wait 8 years and instead will start applying the charges early.

As for the cunning wheeze department (good term!), I often wonder who these people are that think up and authorise the cynical exploitation of customers, whether it be in banks or the many other businesses and organisations that operate this way. It won't be the directors, it will be a level down from them, but the directors (like Murdochs) will know what's going on but turn a blind eye. We'll end up needing an anti-cunning wheeze team of troubleshooters to counter the effects.


Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 16/09/2011 : 07:03
Tiz. Banking isn't the only place where the Cunning Wheeze department is operating. Look at politics, large corporations etc. Lots of parallels between this and the clever algorithmes I was talking about in Politics Corner. Short term gain, not long term effectiveness. Think of the old-fashioned firms who spent years building a base of employee and customer loyalty that served them well in hard times. Then look at modern business models.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 16/09/2011 : 10:12
The rogue trader at UBS who lost them $2 billion has probably had an adverse effect on us all through damage to pension funds...but on the other hand he did it at just the right time to be used as an example of why we need to separate retail banking from investment banking. (It's also revealing and embarrassing that UBS management didn't detect the huge loss and only found out when he told them himself; it could have gone on for longer and lost them even more money.)


Go to Top of Page
Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 16/09/2011 : 10:51
I like the reports that it was the trader himself who pointed out to the bank that his trading had gone wrong.

So much for the supervision, I guess a few more will get their p45's


Go to Top of Page
tripps
Senior Member


1404 Posts
Posted - 16/09/2011 : 11:04
No one has yet mentioned where did the money go to.  If UBS "lost"  it, then surely someone else must have "won" it.  Bonuses all round......


Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 17/09/2011 : 06:33
David, the same thought occurred to me!  The fall guys in the end will be the risk management team but I fear that the blame goes higher than this. We will never know what warnings were given and whether they were ignored. The 'rogue trader' is the focus but it is far more complicated than this. Whatever the nuts and bolts, UBS as a bank was incompetent, now why is that no surprise.

I loved the comment yesterday from one of the members of the  Vickers Commission who said that UBS deserved a vote of thanks from the committee because it was the clearest endorsement of theproposed new regulations they could have had!


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 19/09/2011 : 16:28
It's now revealed that the trader's losses were a couple of million greater than first thought and that he was up to mischief at least as early as 2008.

On the Attention thread I mentioned a very interesting talk on `Start the Week' this morning by a man who has studied and written a book on cybercrime. Some of it, relating to credit card fraud, was very relevant to this thread. He said that the banks (and companies in other business areas) are desperate to hide their exposure to cybercrime to avoid it affecting their reputations. They are suffering cybercrime but not telling the police for fear it will get into the public arena. So the banks are much more vulnerable than they would have us believe. And they are still blaming fraud on customers when it is occurring in their own offices and on their computers. Now we can see why. They ca't let on that they are vulnerable so they push the blame onto the poor customer. If you tell your bank that there is fraudulent activity on your credit card statment they may not do anything about it and don't inform the police (again, because they don't want to admit it's their own fault), but if you go to the police they will tell you they won't act unless it's the bank that reports the fraud.

I started a recent post with "Another day, another kick in the teeth for bank customers." Well today it's "Another day, another kick in the teeth for insurance customers." The money expert Paul Lewis revealed on BBC's `Money Box' programme that Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) has been cheating with its bills to other insurers, which in turn increases premiums for customers. They set up a subsidiary to handle all RSA claims on other insurers. If RSA wants to claim from, say, Prudential for insured losses of a customer after a car accident it passes the invoices for repairs, hire cars etc to the subsidiary. This then inflates all the prices and sends on the new figures to Prudential, even though the subsidiary has done nothing other than change the numbers. If all insurance companies joined in this game it would boost customers' premiums by 30%.

These sorts of scams, taken together, must be equivalent to a substantial increase in expenditure for the population at large, which is especially galling in these difficult economic times. The government could do a lot to put money back in our pockets by preventing such scams.


Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 20/09/2011 : 05:02
I heard both those reports Tiz, also the report about money ostensibly being invested in the stock market to support equity funds when it was actually being used to buy the sort of dodgy financial instrument that caused the crisis in 2008. My impression is that these people think they are above the law and operating in a parallel universe.

There was a similar scam which increases customer costs advanced on the Panorama programme on water last night. If a water company invests in new infrastructure they are allowed to recover the cost from their customers. If they do the more difficult things like chasing leaks, giving competent help to stop waste or any other sensible strategy it is an expense to them. So guess which track they take? 

I know I get boring but I repeat, there is a serious erosion of diligence and ethics in our society which in times past protected us against these types of behaviour in public life, it was called 'honesty'. This is a common component of many of the problems we see like the above. I don't know what the answer is..... 


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 21/09/2011 : 07:09
Worth reading PE 'In the Back', page 29. Two articles about the banks and the problems they are facing at the moment. Lord Stehen Green, Cameron's trade ministry secretary was chair of HSBC while the shenanigans were going on. 'Toxic Fallout' the assessment of the current actions against HSBC, Barclays and RBS by the US financial regulators over the dodgy mortgages which brought down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reveals some diturbing linkages between the ConDem government and current afvisers. Will PE be attacked in the courts? Or are they reporting the truth....


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 21/09/2011 : 09:36
The banks are sinking into the mire. They are now in trouble from Consumer Focus which says: "If holiday makers buy their currency from the Post Office, travel agent or bureaux de change many are stung with cash withdrawal charges by their bank, effectively for the privilege of taking money out of their own accounts." Its press release says: "Consumer Focus has today issued a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) about the amount consumers pay for their holiday money. In 2009, UK travellers spent around £27 billion while holidaying abroad. The watchdog believes that a combination of complex charges and poor or misleading information means consumers are paying too much when buying foreign money or using cards overseas." See this LINK.


Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 22/09/2011 : 05:30
I heard it too Tiz. It has triggered me off and I'm working on an article in the back of my head. This super-complaint is the tip of a very large iceberg. You've all seen my posts on my aversion to communication packages that lock you into one provider for calls, internet access and even TV availability. I mistrust them and their 'introductory offers' because in the end I believe they are a marketing ploy directed at greater profit. There is a move afoot to address this problem in the energy markets, about time too. How many people have switched supplier, locked themselves into a contract and then found that their overall spend is higher? Add the effects of small print in banking contracts, the penalties often involved and the 'cheap insurance'. All symptoms of clever marketeers seeking enhanced returns. Look at the interest rates on the fast cash suppliers some approaching 2000% APR. If pressed, they will say that this only applies to defaulters but what constitutes a default? Add the general deterioration in ethics and business standards, it's dangerous stuff and not in the consumer's interest. As I say, I feel an article coming on!


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 22/09/2011 : 11:21
Good, I look forward to reading it. The `general deterioration in ethics and business standards' puzzles me and I wonder how it came about. The usual reason given is `the Thatcher years' but I think there must be more to it than that. During those years there were some great books written on business practice and how to treat customers, especially by people like Tom Peters. It was all looking good but seemed to slip backwards in the 1990s. I suspect the Internet had a lot to do with it, beginning with Microsoft swamping the market and locking in computer suppliers to their Windows product which made computing easier for the consumer but was actually a poorly designed product. Lots of small businesses were then set up, first of all based on software and computers and run by inexperienced youngsters who had never heard of Tom Peter or Peter Drucker, and they tended to follow Microsoft's model of doing business. Then as the Web became easier to use, many other types of small business were set up, again often by people with little knowledge of customer service. Finally, big business began to realise that they too could take advantage of this business model and cut staff and overheads. Knowing nothing about computers the senior executives of these big companies brought in `young turks' to set it all up, and young marketing people to sell the products or services. In the meantime, those managers who knew about good customer service (but little about computers) were moved out of the mainstream or made redundant. In the past those managers would have been training the young ones, passing on their own knowledge and experience, but it was too late - that chain had been broken. And that's how we got to where we are now.


Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 23/09/2011 : 05:37
I like the theory Peter. I always remember meeting Stafford Beers and then reading his book 'The Brain of the Firm'. He compared the organisation of a large business to the human body and suggested that the 'brain' which included the decision makers of course, was the main arbiter of how the firm was managed and run. He compared the modern model where ideas and ethics percolate downwards with the old model where ideas and innovation started on the shop floor and moved upwards. He saw this reversal of flow as being retrograde and even dangerous. Perhaps we ought to be reading him again! He was a commited Socialist, poet and spiritual guru, a fascinating man and I don't think the world quite understood him. Perhaps this is why he never gained a large audience.

I suspect that the heads of firms realised that modern technology gave them new opportunities to not only 'improve' their business model but manipulate the customers. Think of the impact of TV advertising making it possible to create new markets for products we didn't even know we needed. Previously satisfied consumers suddenly realised there were desirable items they had to have to keep up with progress. Probably one of the earliest was Listerine, a cheap disinfectant watered down with alcohol invented when one of the partners realised that  there was a condition called Halitosis that everyone dreaded! The power of advertising and measuring worth by the ability to consume.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 24/09/2011 : 07:06
Peter, I wrote the 'Cunning Wheeze' article yesterday in about twenty minutes. It will be in the paper in a fortnight.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Topic is 28 Pages Long:
Go to Page
  First Page  Previous Page    22  23  24  [25]  26  27   Next Page  Last Page
 


Set us as your default homepage Bookmark us Privacy   Copyright 2004-2011 www.oneguyfrombarlick.co.uk All Rights Reserved. Design by: Frost SkyPortal.net Go To Top Of Page

Page load time - 0.563