Thursday, December 27, 2007

Banking blues

My post-Christmas sloth has been disrupted by an outbreak of bank rage. An oversight on my part has left me with an unpaid credit card bill - and a whopping £59 in additional charges which all seem to be variations on the theme of "Late Fee" and which strike me as ludicrously draconian in the age of electronic banking. I have not yet been able satisfactorily to ascertain why the Bank of Scotland waited over two weeks to write the letter which informed me that they had returned a debit unpaid; if I had received the letter when they didn't pay it I could have dealt with the matter in plenty of time and all would have been fine. And it seems mighty strange that when all the parties concerned are in the BoS network they behave as if they didn't know what was going on - and stranger still that, despite my having made the necessary payment, my card account is still coming up as being in arrears. Why does electronic banking seem to take as long to work as it would if I sent a cheque by second class post?

A visit to my local bank bears no relation to the experience of computerised voices, button pressing and call-centre indifference - but still the letters come and the rage rises. And all because I set up a direct debit to make sure I never forgot to pay my bills. Ironic, isn't it?


  1. Anonymous1:01 AM

    Hello, the reason the bank charge is so high is so you don't notice that your interest rate will probably be raised as further punishment. By making the late fee be so high you just assume that that is the extent of your punishment. In a few months you may come to wish it was only the excessive late fee that you had to worry about.

    I've started a couple of protest websites about credit-cards. and

  2. Well, it looks like banks are banks are matter WHERE you live! We have had some strange dealings with banks that ended up costing us hundreds of dollars. One included a double payment on a charge card that ended up costing us almost $200 in fees. The icing on the cake was when we received a call from the bank from a fellow who said he actually took 9 cents out of his own pocket to pay the 9 cents I shorted them on my (nearly) $800 house payment. The idiot spent WAY more than 9 cents to call us, and he was wrong anyway. When we received the bank statement from the bank the check was written on, it included the 9 cents. I actually had written the CORRECT amount. Banks...I keep telling Mark I am going to dig a hole in the back yard and do my banking from THERE!

    I am sure this isn't going to really help you, but at least you aren't alone! Mark would suggest speaking to the bank manager. Many times, they can straighten things out faster than anyone else...depending on whether they value you or not....

  3. From my side of the pond: I made a payment on a Regions Bank (of Alabama) loan through my bank, Wachovia, electronically, as per usual, in October. However, I neglected to notice the change in mailing address on the bill I had recieved in the mail. Later in October I get a call, payment is late. No, I paid it. I did all the tracking I could do and sent them the information...confirmation from Wachovia that the money was transferred, etc.

    Mid November, I get a call, payment is late. No, I made that one in person at the bank and have the receipt in hand. Oh, they are referring to the October payment. Still can't find it.

    Mid December, I get a call. Ditto.

    Now the payment was made with the correct account number on it, that is verified. It went to the former address, but surely that is not too difficult to resolve. And the "electronic check" was deposited into Regions according to the paperwork I received.

    They just keep telling me they are trying to track it down.

    I am expecting a call mid January.

  4. Nice - or is it? - to know I'm not alone. Sometimes I think I'd be better keeping my cash under the mattress!