Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why being a Banker is now a euphemism...

We, dear reader, are the owners of something like 80-odd% of RBS and 45 % of Llloyds, quite apart from the about £2 trillion that the BofE is supporting them with in loans and guarantees, so you would expect that they might just be a tiny bit interested in keeping us "on side".
Not a bit of it. Their service continues to deteriorate faster than their balance sheets are slumping.
A friend has a couple of properties that are VAT rateable, so he has to add VAT to the rents. You will be aware that the rate has changed twice over the last year or so, first down to 15% then up again to 17.5%.
So when the rate went down, he carefully filled in the standing orders for his tenants, and made sure they signed and gave them to their respective banks ( aww you've guessed already, one was HBOS, part of Lloyds, the other RBS).
And he waited for the money to arrive in his account.
Well, it did -sort of. One of the banks paid two standing orders, one with the correct 15% VAT, the other with 17.5%. The other bank paid neither. Discretion impels me not to reveal which was which.
It took a couple of months to sort it out, and eventually he managed to get both banks to pay the correct amount. The little hiccup at the beginning they could not sort out - there was an exchange of cheques...
Move on a year and the VAT rate has just gone back up.
Same scenario, properly filled in standing orders, acknowledged by both banks...
And the same bank paid two lots and the other paid none.
Except the bank that had paid two then paid a third one.
As my friend says, " And they want to abolish cheques? It's the only way there is of making sure they do it right."
I'm not so sure about that. Twice I have paid a cheque to cover a credit card bill over the counter, and the bank has managed to give the card company the wrong amount ( despite giving me an electronic receipt for the right amount).
More recently, I upped my personal overdraft over Christmas and New Year for two weeks. On the due date for the increase to expire, the account was below its original limit - except the bank had not only removed the increase, they removed the overdraft completely - and charged me two lots of £25 for being over limit.
When I remonstrated, I was told ( admittedly by a minion and not the relationship manager I have) that there was no agreement for an overdraft ( can't find anything about it she said) and the £25 was for being over limit on the expiry date.
" So what's the other £25 for?, " I innocently asked.
" Oh, that's the charge for having the "privilege" account you hold." Silly question obviously.
When my relationship manager got back 5 days later, I taxed him with the problem.
" Ah yes, " he said." Don't worry, I will reinstate the overdraft "( which had had another 9 months to run)
" And what about the ( by now) £75 of charges your bank's mistake has so far cost me?"
" Ah yes. Well, I'll see what I can do..."
By return of post came a facility letter for the overdraft. Except it only had 6 months to run, not 9.
And there was a fee which exactly covered the charges - along with his chatty letter saying he had waived the charges for the over limits.
Nice work if you can get it.

1 comment:

Winchester whisperer said...

The service we get from banks is depressingly poor. One good thing they could do is abolish outsourcing to India. As you say, abolishing cheques will only be to the ciustomers' disadvantage.