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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.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 06/10/2010 : 06:08
Morning Walter! Nice to see you about. Still banging away here.....


Stanley Challenger Graham




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


5150 Posts
Posted - 09/11/2010 : 10:04
Thanks Gugger for that link. What probably annoys me most is that the very people who caused the banking crisis have in most cases been the least affected by it. The bank executives responsible for the crisis have either retired on Fred-the-Shred type pension packages (£17 million I think was the last estimate) or are still in the driving seat and paying themselves astronomical salary and bonus packages. How have we let them get away with it?

The governments that presided over the rapidly inflating bubble leading to the crisis have been ejected in the UK and USA but the individuals seem to have escaped and are busy writing books and giving lectures (even Bush has just had his book published).


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 10/11/2010 : 07:17
Annoying isn't it but read last week's Stanley's View again. All governments since 1960 are culpable. ConDem is trying to address the symptoms without attacking the disease. So did the last government. We need a very radical overhaul of the relationship between large capital holders and society. Marx put his finger on the problem in 1870, we haven't learned yet! (Yes, I've just read Das Kapital!)


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 27/11/2010 : 07:02
I had an interesting exchange with BT yesterday that demonstrates the difficulty of getting them to rectify their sneaky methods.

A bit of background first. Because I value having a direct relationship with BT I pay my line rental to them. My ISP is Orange and I make all my calls through what used to be Onetel but is now TalkTalk. (Most calls are to USA and Oz and they have the cheapest rates as well as a very clear billing system. They itemise ever call, duration and cost on one sheet of paper). I could have a combined accout for all three and probably save a small amount of money but I feel comfortable with multiple accounts because I have more control, worth the extra as far as as I am concerned.

I got my BT bill yesterday and did something I have been meaning to do for a while. I pay £13.29 /month for line rental, they charge a direct debit of £16.50/month and I have a credit of £12.38. The bill stated that my DD would remain constant. Apart from any other consideration they are drawing interest on my £12.38. I have no doubt that their computers are programmed to have this bias with all customers if possible. How much interest accrues to BT per month from what is over-charging?

So I rang th 'help line'. You don't need me to tell you the number of options I had to go through before I ended up talking to an incredibly polite Asian gentlemen, god knows where! I stated my problem clearly, asked him to reduce the DD to £14/month and refund my £12.38. No problem, he did it, evidently a well-oiled procedure. Problem solved! But, where are the business ethics in this? They knew they were overcharging me but did nothing about it and pocketed the interest. If I sent an inflated bill to a customer and pocketed the extra when he didn't complain would I be guilty of fraud? Discuss.

Moral is, watch the buggers, keep them up to scratch. By the way, Talk Talk debit me the exact cost of calls each month, no more, no less. Simple, accurate, ethical and perfectly satisfactory to both parties. Orange debit me the exact cost of the service each month. Well done!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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wendyf
Senior Member


1439 Posts
Posted - 27/11/2010 : 09:46
The solicitor dealing with my Aunty's estate has told me that British Gas are sitting on a credit balance of over £1500. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to refund it.


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 27/11/2010 : 12:02
Watch out if you have any dealings with `Post Office Savings' bank accounts. We tried to open an online savings account with them recently and have had so much trouble we have told them to forget it, we'll keep our savings where they are.

To cut a long story short, we had to send them all sorts of copies of documents to prove our identity and our permanent address and they had to be certified and signed by an accountant or solicitor, and also fill in application forms and send them a cheque for the opening amount. We sent it all by recorded post which gave us confirmation it had been received. We then received an email from PO Savings saying we had failed to send the correct documents, do it again - but they didn't tell us what we were supposed to have done wrong! We rang them and the man said they didn't have our letter, and asked where sent it. We told him and he said that was wrong. We pointed out that we followed the instruction on the PO application form. It turns out they have shifted the offices across the country but haven't changed the address on the forms. Anyway, he searched the computer database, found we were listed but as having failed to send correct documents. But he couldn't tell us why and couldn't help us further, his only suggestion being to `wait and see what happens'.

Nothing did happen and I wrote to the PO managing director in his London `ivory tower' headquarters explaining the problems and saying I was worried about their security because they now had copies of our personal information, passport details, utility bill, address, cheque details etc but seemed to have lost them. Eventually we got a 4-page letter from the Business Services Manager trying to tell us (but with some difficulty) what we'd done wrong and offering us money to sign an agreement that we were satisfied with their actions. The document problem was because their application form was badly written and ambiguous about what had to be certified, yet they still wanted us to re-apply.

They can stuff their money bribe, I wrote and told them I wasn't going to go through all that identity verification again when "As professional people, born in the UK and having spent our working lives in the UK, and having lived at this address for the last 14 years, owning our own international publishing business and dealing regularly with Royal Mail and the Post Office" they should easily be able to verify who we are (we have an account with Royal Mail). I told them we would keep our money with the banks that treat us well and are reliable and secure. They could return our documents and cheque.

The day after I sent that letter we received, independently, a letter from PO Savings containing all the documents and cheque. It was dated 21 days earlier and our names were spelt wrongly and I was addressed as Mrs and Janet as Mr! It repeated the comments about wrong documents and whoever wrote it seemed to have no knowledge of the other correspondence.

All this might have turned out for the best - they might have unwittingly done me a favour. We had chosen the PO Savings Online account because it had one of the highest interest rates and although it was with Bank of Ireland UK the monies in the Irish bank are guaranteed to an even higher level than in British banks. But in the month since we applied, the economic situation in Ireland and with the Euro have got so much worse that even a guarantee from the Irish government doesn't look safe any more!


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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 27/11/2010 : 12:56


quote:
Tizer wrote:
Watch out if you have any dealings with `Post Office Savings' bank accounts. We tried to open an online savings account with them recently and have had so much trouble we have told them to forget it, we'll keep our savings where they are.

To cut a long story short, ...........

I used to think that there was only me that got this sort of run-around, with various outfits, but these days I now feel less alone, but more irate and worried where it will all end.

There is just not enough money to fulfill all the averice of the  money collectors however little they spend on staff and systems.


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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wendyf
Senior Member


1439 Posts
Posted - 27/11/2010 : 15:37
I opened an online PO account about a month ago,Tiz, with absolutely no trouble at all, it was instant and no hassle at all. I wonder if they ask a random sample for identification?
Apparently all the Post Office accounts have been moved to an English arm of the Bank of Ireland and are now guaranteed by the FSA.


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 27/11/2010 : 16:26
Wendy, I'm glad you managed it with no hassle. Their information says they verify electronically (whatever that means) but if they can't get verification that way they ask for the certified documents. I suspect all they tried to do was get a credit check on us from Experian, but that company doesn't have our details because we don't owe money and never ask for loans. The sad fact is if you are financially sound you lose out!

The Post office says Bank of Ireland is `authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority' and `Deposits with Bank of Ireland UK are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme'. Wendy will probably be OK with her money but I'm being extra cautious because I can put mine in UK banks and I will do that of choice now. If push comes to shove the UK government will compensate savers with money in UK banks first. Any other time I wouldn't worry but we are in strange times - a few years ago nobody would have believed the banks would need public money (your money, my money!) to save them and the worst is not over yet. But then I'm just an old pessimist!

Edited by - Tizer on 28/11/2010 10:42:59


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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 27/11/2010 : 19:31
Tizer...a few years ago nobody would have believed the banks would need government money to save them

Surely you mean the publics own money to save itself. The government have not got any money.

 

 


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2010 : 05:55
Wendy, I suspect that BG are obliged to refund the credit by law with a simple phone call to accounts. Exactly the same process I used for my £12.83.

Catty, you're right. I listened to the account of the Irish protests (Very few arrests, no provocation) and was struck by one man who put it very succinctly. " Why should we pay for the IMF loan and the bank's mistakes". Exactly, wrap it up how you will but this is the biggest confidence trick ever. I still hold that UK should not be bailing out the Irish economy, this is more to do with protecting banks against loss than safeguarding exports. Northern Ireland exports 2/5 of their products to Eire. They are getting worried now about loss of income, do we bail them out as well, of course we do! AARRGGHH!!!

Bottom line is that the banks lost the money but are the only people who have not lost out and are profiting in the casino from the disaster. Good for major capital holders, bad for the taxpayer. The thing the government fears is the knock-on effect of losses by the capital holders, insurance, pensions etc. That would hit the public from another angle and is the structural flaw in these institutions. Their capital is in 'securities' not real money.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2010 : 10:51
"Surely you mean the publics own money to save itself. The government have not got any money."

Catgate, you're right there, thanks for pointing that out, I've edited the words.

Stanley, it's made even worse by the fact that the City financiers knew that it would come to no good (some of them have admitted it on the Today programme) but they carried on because there was still a killing to be made and they would come out with plenty of cash while the rest of us suffered.

On the radio this morning there was a discussion about `pay day loans'. There are strong feelings for and against them but what struck me was that people who used them were saying it was because they didn't trust the banks. They could end up paying very high interest rates on pay day loans but knew it, whereas the banks were not transparent and could hit you with big penalties (of unknown size) on small loans. Whatever the truth is, this is the image the banks have created for themselves and it drives people into pay day loans.


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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2010 : 11:03
I am just waiting for someone from the banking swindledustry to "come out" and admit that for generations they have been lending nothing but thin air and charging exorbitant interest rates for so doing.

They will have to do it sooner or later, because the whole thing does not add up, and iy is only a conspiratorial "gentlemens agreement" that is hiding it.


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 29/11/2010 : 06:40
Tiz, I thought it was bad enough when I realised that Visa were charging £1 interst on a debit balance of 1p! I heard that egregious sod on the Money Programme as well, attempting to justify an APR of was it 10,000%? His justification was 'convenience' , Interesting report on same programme about the way banks are modifying their charges for non-agreed overdrafts even though they won the courts case and were, in effect, allowed to charge what they wanted so long as it was in the small print on the contract. Most of them are now charging more but as daily automatic fines. Problem is that the overdraft becomes a mind-set. I once lived with a woman who hit her overdraft limit as her monthly salary cheque went in and simply started eating into the facility again. I sat her down, showed her how if she could start clean and drink and smoke less, in other words, adjust her outgoings to more than compensate for the interest she was paying, she would start to build a credit. Than I paid her overdraft off for her. (Yes, I know....)  Gusess what, withinn three months she was back in the same position. She had lived that way for so long it was hard-wired in her brain. Could the same apply to governments?

Catty, that day will come eventually but not until we have got into an even worse mess than we are in now. I fear we will not live to see it. I still hold that the trigger for this is most likely to be external, an energy price shock or some other uncontrollable  circumstance.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Big Kev
Big


2650 Posts
Posted - 29/11/2010 : 07:37


quote:
Stanley wrote:


 but I feel comfortable with multiple accounts because I have more control, worth the extra as far as as I am concerned.


A considerable extra for someone "below the poverty line". My combined monthly BT rental costs (line rental, broadband and evening and weekend calls) were around £36 a month, plus any calls outside of the "free" calls time slot. The same package, with Orange, is £19 a month and the "free" evening calls start at 18:00, BT start at 19:00. Apart from the initial set up issues with the broadband the switchover was straightforward.


Big Kev

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