I’ve been missing in action again but I’m going to blame Barclays Bank & Chess Telecom both of whom between them have driven me to such rage that I have been so beyond grumpy that it is even been worrying me as I felt convinced that I was going to suffer from a rage induced heart attack. Having made these comments I suppose that I am going to have to explain what they have done to induce such rage so sit back, strap yourself in & listen to this momentous waste of my life.
It all started when I went to login to our Barclays bank account to check on our current level of impoverishment before paying some bills only to receive a pop up message saying that there was a problem with my debit card which is required to work in the stupid little keypad thing that eventually gives you access to your bank account. Well I ring the telephone number provided only to be told by somebody in India that my card had been cancelled due to suspected fraudulent activity but that they had written to me about this along with a new card 3 weeks previously. I explained that I had not received this letter nor replacement card & after much interrogation I discovered that it had been sent to an address that we moved from 2 years previously even though they manage to send all the statements & other correspondence to the correct address.
I explained that I needed to be able to access our bank account to run the business & that this was impossible without a card that their stupid little keypad thingy would accept & therefore was willing to pay courier charges if need be to get a replacement card as quickly as possible. I was informed that this was not possible but not to worry as I would get a new card in 2 to 3 days which whilst inconvenient was not the end of the world & as at this time I had already spent over an hour of my life on the phone to India I decided to leave it at that.
Fast forward 3 days & I have spent the previous 2 days waiting to greet the postman & making sure that Eric the stupid springer spaniel did not mistake him for anybody looking to enforce the TPD regulations as he is now trained to savage them. Diddly squat is in my my mailbox other than bills that I can’t pay due to my inability to access the bank account but on the 3rd day I get a text from Barclays proudly informing that they had just posted my new card.
Even though by blood is starting to boil I decide to leave it until the end of the week & hope that the bloody thing turns up.
Monday morning 7 days later still no card so I brace myself to talk to my local branch in India & after 30 odd minutes of getting absolutely nowhere, I demand to speak to my account manager who strangely enough also has an Indian accent & after a fair amount of grumpy type pushing from me admits that she is not my real account manager & is in India & unable to help me. By this point I am going ballistic & demand to be put through to a real account manager in England which received an extremely reluctant “I will try” followed by a lot of silence. Just as I was about to slam the phone down & drive to the nearest branch with a can of petrol, the phone was answered by ever such a pleasant lady who said well you can come into a branch with ID & if you are prepared to wait for about 20 minutes we can print you one there & then.
Until that point in time, I had not realised that it was possible to experience such incredible anger & joy all at the same time but never the less I was but there wasn’t time to dilly dally around pondering on this subject as I needed to find ID & drive to Gloucester immediately.
Being me, even this did not prove to be painless as upon parking in the nearest car park & getting out of my car I could not help but notice a lady in floods of tears with 2 children hugging her. Overcoming my natural reluctance to talk to anybody in Gloucester, I asked what the matter was, expecting to be told that she had just been mugged or something equally horrendous only to learn that the Pay & Display ticket machine was broken & she didn’t know what to do. Quickly putting on my good Samaritan hat, I informed her that there was another one 50 yards away & that I was going there if she wanted to follow me. End result extremely grateful woman & me wondering where she had been let out of & what had happened to her carer.
Gentle stroll through the Gloucester to Barclays bank finds me sandwiched between a heavily tattooed girl pushing 2 children in a pushchair on my left & a clearly inebriated & suitably tattooed man on my right who starts to shout “I am going to hang myself” to which the tattooed girl shouts “I will buy you the fucking rope” & he shouts back “I fucking mean it I am going to fucking hang myself” to which she shouts “I told you I will buy the fucking rope but I don’t need this in front of my fucking children”
As they didn’t seem fucking worried about having their little tete a tete with me in the middle I stopped dead & stood there wondering what it was I had done in a previous life to deserve all this shit when all that I wanted to do was get into our bank account.
I can’t even be bothered to tell you what happened in Barclays Bank other than 45 minutes later I came out with a new debit card.
Stress over until I manage to logon to & finally view our bank account only to see that Chess Telecom had taken almost exactly double the amount that our agreement was for. At this point I pick up the phone to the now incredibly slim Stacey Dunne to ask her what the agreement that she had made with Chess Telecom was as they had taken almost double what I thought it should be. She informed me that she had been calling them for months about this but did not want to tell me in case I burst a blood vessel but that they did not respond to phone calls other than to say another department would call her back but never did.
Well this was just what I wanted to get me teeth into after Barclays Bank, so I penned a rather grumpy email informing them of all their failings that they had consistently failed to remedy & as such they were in breach of contract & on that basis I was giving them notice that we were terminating the contract & that I wanted all the money that they had overcharged for that last 6 months returned.
This elicited a response from their “Customer Loyalty Team” that basically went if you want to terminate you will need to pay us £100’s possibly £1000’s in termination fees.
I felt that this now needed my personal touch so I called the “Customer Loyalty Team” to find out exactly what had changed so such since I was involved in telecoms that meant that a Customer Loyalty Team’s role was now to incense customers so much that they want to punch holes in walls & kick defenseless old ladies. Before posing this question of them I did inform them that I was quite old fashioned & had been expecting an apology & promises to rectify the problems swiftly but clearly this was not how things worked anymore. My softly softly approach only got me the address of their legal department that I would have to write a letter to as they are not contactable by telephone or email. Clearly at Chess Telecom the phrase “The customer is king” has morphed into “The customer is a bloody pain in the arse”
Now as at this point it gets even more silly as Barclays Bank re-enter the fray so I suggest that you take a break from this blog & come back to it after a nice refreshing cup of tea.
I have decided that I am not going to take this lying down so decide to call Barclays Bank (I know) & ask them to claim back the over payments taken by Chess under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme. So after 90 minutes to India detailing each invoice & the over payments taken, agreeing the exact amount to reclaimed & how the system works, I put the phone down & think job done this has to get some sort of response from Chess Telecom.
Following morning I log into the bank account only to see that Barclays have refunded us with the full amount of every invoice & not the over payments as requested & agreed. Oh shit, I have to talk to India again who can’t explain what they have done but tell me that as they also cancelled the direct debit so I need to call Chess Telecom to reinstate the direct debit & ask them to take the correct amounts. You might be surprised to learn that I completely lost the plot at this point & even my new favourite Lost Vape Therion got hurled across the room & has left a huge dent in the wall as if truth be known it is not the lightest bit of kit in the world. My bloody reason for making the direct debit guarantee claim was that I can’t get any sensible response out of Chess Telecom & now bloody Barclays India want me to sort out their bloody cock up with them. However I now know that if I am demanding enough I can make India transfer me to a UK person that might be able to help. I was very demanding!
Nice lady in UK tells me that the direct debit is not cancelled but that they are unable to claim partial payments but only the full amounts taken, to which I ask why did India make me spend 90 minutes detailing each over payment & agreeing an amount to be reclaimed? Helpfully, I was asked if I wanted to make a complaint & yes I bloody well did.
Now I start to panic that Chess Telecom will cut off our phone lines & broadband so send them an urgent email explaining that Barclays Bank are nearly as bloody useless as they are & had reclaimed all the payments ever taken so as I only actually wanted to pay them what we owed them they had my permission to take the correct amount owed. Of course they have not done this but they have sent us an automated email telling us that they are going to take the wrong amount again at the end of the month.
This one could roll & roll
I have only given you the abridged version of events but feel it is time to leave it now as I am fairly confident that it will get mentioned again in future blogs.
We seem to be punching above our weight at the Olympics & collecting a huge number of Gold medals which is actually just a cheap me way of me finding a link to the Smok OSub 40W in Gold & Black which has to be the prettiest bit of kit on the market at the moment but it’s got a lot more going for it than just looks as it really is a cracking piece of kit so come down to the shop & have a play.
Farewell until the next time.