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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 - 07/02/2011 : 14:17
Anni, I was going to keep this short and sweet but just for your delectation I shall give you most of the gory detail:

The scene, Monday morning at opening time in a crowded branch of Barclay's on Church Street. Two lady tellers, no sign of the lad I dealt with last time. I let people go in front of me until I was only going to be holding a couple of people up.

I had to start by giving the lady a brief run down of the story so far.

  • Face to face interview on 29/12/2010; Account put in credit to stop charges, their form of wording to close the account and the letter to be sent by Margaret to Customer Relations at the Barlick Branch. Letter posted by Margaret on 30/12/2010.

  • 03/02/2011, no word from bank and a further £57 in charges debited to the account which was in credit.

  • 05/02/2011 various long distance telephone calls. First by Margaret to International Accounts Customer Relations. Margaret told that charges were accurate and could not be rescinded.

  • 05/02/2011 Margaret calls International Accounts Customer Complaints and finds a lady who says the charges are wrong, will be rescinded immediately and gives Margaret explicit instructions what she should get me to do.

  • 06/02/2011 Margaret and I get our act together and she mails me two letters, one closing the account and the other giving me authority to act for her and Mick. I write a receipt to be signed by a named person to signify that the letters had been received. All this on the direct instructions of the lady in complaints.

At this point the lady I am explaining all this to throws a wobbly, says she can't sign a receipt and passes me to her colleague who is more senior. I open the conversation by telling her that I am not angry with her but with the bank's system. I explain everything again.

  • She immediately tells me that as I haven't an account with Barclay's I can't do anything about the account. I point out that she has a letter of authority signed by both account holders in her hand.

  • Then she says that she can't sign the receipt. I point out that of course she can it is simply to acknowledge receipt of the two letters. She reads the letters and says that all letters sent to the branch have to be forwarded unopened to Barclay's HQ. I point out that this is of no interest to me, she has the letters in her hand and they are quite clear.

  • She says that she can't close an account, it will have to go to higher authority. I tell her that this is contrary to what the complaints lady said and further, that she had told me to get back to her immediately if the matter wasn't dealt with, she stated specifically that the branch could deal with it. The lady digested this, accessed the account and then played her trump card. We can't issue personal cheques! So she couldn't give me the closing balance.

  • I suggested that she try the old-fashioned method, open the till and put £8.83 in my hand.

  • Silence for a moment then more key-tapping, small piece of white paper popped out of the printer and was pushed towards me without explanation. I looked askance and was told to sign it, it was the receipt for the closing balance.

  • I asked whether this meant that the account was closed and she said yes so I signed, was given £8.83 in folding money and also, wonder of wonders, she clipped it on the receipt I had asked for, printed her name, signed it and pushed it towards me. At this point I must have lost my presence of mind, I asked her to add a codicil saying the account was closed. She took it back and did so.

  • I thanked her, apologised to the waiting customers and gave them a short lecture on checking monthly accounts looking for small unexplained charges. I then bade everyone a very good morning and went home to give M the good news and mail her a copy of the receipt bearing the magic words.

All this took about half an hour but we have made a giant step forwards. However, some people can see further through millstones than others. Remember the original letter? It is being digested by the Barclay's system and will create another bureaucratic tangle. It remains to be seen if they are up to the task of realising that a determined customer has short-circuited their system. We await developments. 
 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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

Anni
Regular Member


634 Posts
Posted - 07/02/2011 : 14:51
Way to go Stanley!

But what I don't understand is why an account in credit can accrue such charges - or was it because it was a business account?

Anyway, I enjoyed reading that - made me feel a whole lot better Laughing


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 07/02/2011 : 20:06
A blow struck for the common man (and woman)! Well done Stanley, you've set a good example for all of us. Have a whisky - have two!


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 08/02/2011 : 04:23
Thanks for that Tiz, I did feel as though I was striking a blow, that's why I gave the queue the short lecture. I got the impression over the half hour at the counter that a lot of people were getting a wake-up call.

Anni, you've put your finger on exactly the right question. Why was an account in credit attracting £57 in penalty charges in a month. Note my last sentence, this isn't over yet. I have asked Mags to try to access her online account and let me know what the result is. If she can get into it it still exsists and I won't let her be satisfied  until we are sure it has been destroyed.

Once we are sure of that I am going to ask some very awkward questions of the Barclay's management. It ain't over till the fat lady sings!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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


5150 Posts
Posted - 09/02/2011 : 20:24
Sadly I won't be surprised if you still have problems. My dad keeps having to tell Lloyds TSB that his monthly statements have stopped arriving. They promise to start them again and it's OK for a few months then stops. For all we know they may be sending the statements to someone else. They just don't seem able to make their systems work correctly. I'm increasingly losing whatever confidence I had in British businesses and other organisations.

Edited by - Tizer on 11/02/2011 09:25:10


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 04:49
Tiz. You voice what I have told Margaret, the fat lady hasn't sung yet. However, M has checked and can't access her on-line account. This could be a reliable indication that the account has ineed been zapped. A reason for hope!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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


36804 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 08:47
Just listened to the ergregious Angela Knight, spokesperson for the Banking Association telling us that it was wrong to characterise the problem of the banks as a conflict between the banks and the mass of the electorate. Really?

She is being opposed by a man in charge of a pension fund who says that the 'agreement' is simply a mass of aspirations with no concrete, enforceable sanctions. His opinion is that the banks have run rings round the Treasury and government negotiators. On balance I tend to agree with him.

Watch out for sparks when £6billion (£6,000,000,000 ) of bonuses is announced shortly. (Do you ever get the impression that the banks are operating in a parallell universe? Perhaps there is some truth in string and membrane theory after all.)


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 09:14
But if you p*** them off too much they dissapear overseas and deprive the country of 20 odd billion in tax revenue. They do live in a parallel universe but we're stuffed without 'em.,   Its a political tightrope and the noise the opposition makes is just rhetoric and they know it, when they're in government and making real decisions its a whole different story.  ( Ask Nick Clegg about tuition fees....  ).  


Need computer work ?
"http://www.stsr.co.uk"

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frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 09:16
£ 600.000.000.000 =s £348.000.000.000 for us the Tax Payer, at 50% Tax  + 8%NI. Plus the tax on profits of the banks, are the only thing keeping us afloat at the moment. OK the mistakes of the past can be laid at the Banks doors and at the door of our Goverment  ie the Regulator.
If you follow some advice ( Ed Balls)  the banksshould turn on the taps again, and hey ho here we go again !!!!

Stanley you need to come into Franks world for a minute or two.
You can't force Banks to Lend, even though that's how they generate profit. The Goverment can't decide how much a Private Company pays in Salary or Bonuses. So aspiration is about the correct word to use. What do you propose differently ?? Lend to Failing Business or what, I really would like to know what you would have done as Chancellor ???



Frank Wilkinson       Once Navy Always Navy Go to Top of Page
belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 09:59
The govt must have a say in the banks it has bailed out, presumably it is the biggest shareholder?


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frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 10:07
Yes but you punish RBS or LLoyds and the top brains leave. The Banks are making money across the World and not just in the UK.
They the Banks are keeping us afloat at  the moment, the economy does need rebalancing, but not just yet.
Slowly Slowly catch the Monkey

Edited by - frankwilk on 10/02/2011 10:09:26 AM



Frank Wilkinson       Once Navy Always Navy Go to Top of Page
catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 10:59


quote:
Stanley wrote:

Just listened to the ergregious Angela Knight

 I did not know she was that sort of girl !

 

Watch out for sparks when £6billion (£6,000,000,000 ) of bonuses is announced shortl

How many of these pounds are real and how many of them are figments of fevered imaginations....chocolate teapots....forged tokens for energy that has not been expended?


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 10/02/2011 : 11:05
Frank given the state the banks have got us into, their "best brains" can go quite happily as far as I'm concerned!


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 11/02/2011 : 05:15
Interesting article in Private Eye about the hollow threat of financial institutions leaving  UK. You should read it Frank, it's simply not happening. (See In the City, 4th Feb issue)

Once again you put words into my mouth so you can have something to splutter about. I never mentioned forcing the banks to lend. As for what I would have done, go back and read my posts, you either don't read them or you have a short memory. To recap very briefly: See my thoughts on the Glass-Steagall Act and the effects of retreat from the concept of strict regulation. See also my opinion a couple of years ago when money was being pumped into failing banks to save them. I advocated financing public works on the infrastructure as a better way of spending the money because whan used that way it has a multiplier effect as it passes through the economy and this eventually benefits the whole of the economy. Read the history, it was public spending which primed the pump after the collapse of 1929 financed by Keynsian policies based on deficit financed stimulation of the economy, the same mechanism that financed two world wars. If anyon's interested, look at this link and reflect that what we needed when the banks collapsed was an FDR. His speech applies today just as it did then. Go on Frank, break a habit and learn!

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrfirstinaugural.html

Once again Belle puts her finger on the nub. How come the 'brains' got into the mess they did? Could it be that greed and the pursuit of profit eroded ethical standards? In the current language, "Not fit for purpose".  So why not reform the institutions? The large capital holders are in control of governance for their own ends. Simple as that.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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


5150 Posts
Posted - 11/02/2011 : 09:37
"Frank given the state the banks have got us into, their "best brains" can go quite happily as far as I'm concerned!"

Agreed, and as Stanley says, it's a hollow threat. Even if some of them did go other would come from abroad to replace them.

Frank, you say "punish RBS or LLoyds and the top brains leave". What `top brains'? Top earners maybe, but they certainly lack brains. Look at the mess the top bank executives created, the stupid deals they did that wrecked the very companies they managed and brought down the economy. There's a bloke who recently paid £1.7 million for a house on top of the cliffs in Teignmouth, Devon, and now he's squealing because it's sliding down when it was obvious that it couldn't last more than a year or two. I'll bet he's a bank chief- it's a wonderful metaphor for the the way they work! Come on Frank, you've got more brains than to be taken in by the "We're too big to bust (or lose)" bankers.


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