Wednesday, 28 August 2013

On Telephone Banking: a Rant

On Friday I spent 40 fruitless minutes trying to telephone not an online greengrocery store but Lloyds Bank to ask them to waive a £6.20 overdraft fee for a small cash flow matter that was the first time I’ve ever been overdrawn in over 30 years with them and I wasn’t going to let that pass BECAUSE IT’S NOT THE MONEY IT’S THE PRINCIPLE YOU SEE so having rung up their central number and waited and waited and then pressed 1 and then 4 and then 2 and then 1 again and after ten minutes going round in circles with an aurally challenged computerised woman before they would grant me access to a real human I was then asked exactly the same questions by the desiccated moral corpse who finally came on the line before going on to ask me how much I spent in a branch of the Co-op on the 10th of August whereupon I asked how (the hell) he expected me to remember without checking my statement and he said it was one of the security questions he had to ask along with another one which was how much my account was credited on the 37th of February 1983 or something and if I couldn’t answer that off the top of my head he couldn’t get into my account and there was nothing he could do about it because that was the system so I asked for his manager and SHE said that SHE TOO was powerless to open my account if I couldn’t answer these questions and yes she AT ALL TIMES carries around a mini-statement in her head for moments like these and no she didn’t know why the bank can’t be like my insurance company and Deep-throat Danish and have a second set of questions for the non-autistic like what’s my inside leg measurement or what’s the highest mountain in Sri Lanka (Pidurutalagala, 2,524 metres) or something and when I said that I wasn’t having a go at her but could I speak to someone whom the Bank sanctions to exercise that dwindling commodity human initiative she said I could make a complaint if I wanted and I said yes please but more emphatically and intemperately than that and then SHE STARTED ASKING ME THE SAME SECURITY QUESTIONS AGAIN and I said ‘old up are you ‘avin’ a larf or sumfink and she said well sir if you can’t answer these questions I can’t get into your account so you can’t make the complaint and then I said FOR THE LOVE OF THE SWEET HOLY JESUS AND ALL WHO SAIL IN HER I AM TRYING TO MAKE A COMPLAINT ABOUT THE FACT THAT I CAN’T GET INTO MY ACCOUNT AND ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT I FIRST HAVE TO GET INTO THE ACCOUNT THAT I'M TRYING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO GET INTO IN ORDER TO MAKE IT and she said something that can be immensely shortened and de-jargoned to signify “yes” and had I considered going into my local branch at which point – from a foetal position somewhere under my desk – I asked if she meant one of the Human Interaction Facilities formerly known as high street banks that they either have or will have closed by the time I get to it and YES IT LOOKS LIKE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT SHE MEANT.

So I went into the Aylesbury branch of Lloyds this morning and a very pleasant young woman behind the help desk who had never seen me before cancelled the charge, on her own initiative, no questions asked of me or any superior, in about 15 seconds.
Human beings. I hate them and I love them AND I CAN’T WORK OUT WHICH IT IS. Do you know what I mean? WELL DO YOU?

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