Express & Star

Andy Richardson: Laughter, but no fun with a bunch of useless bankers

It’s time to write the eulogy. The last rites have been and gone, the casket has been lowered, and the end of forever has finally passed.

The exit didn’t pass without incident...

Yes, me and the bank whose complaints team describe their own staff as ‘rude and incompetent’ are finally bye-bye-baby.

The exit didn’t pass without incident, of course, as those who don’t know what’s going on and whose ineptitude, lack of engagement, and dismal degree of arrogant entitlement made life harder than it is for a fisherman whose trying to stand on the fish-cutting deck in a Gale Force 10 storm.

They’d asked to do security checks. Which was odd, because they’d done them six weeks ago and found an account entirely compliant. But one department doesn’t know what the other’s doing, so they asked again. Fine, I said. Do as many checks as you like. Let’s check, check, check, check, then check again.

So I called, to arrange an appointment. They told me they’d freeze my account – for the third time in two months – if I didn’t provide the information within five days. But when I did call, there was nobody in the relevant department to take the call. No matter. An appointment was organised, for four days hence. Except they didn’t call. And when I called them to chase them about their non-call, they said they wouldn’t be able to call again for another four days. Yeah, right. Because it’s busy in the check, check, check department.

That means you’ll freeze my account, for no reason, and again, because you’ve not made yourself available for the call that you want me to participate in, though, clearly, I’ve made myself available, repeatedly.

Um, said the person at the other end. They decided to extend the deadline that shouldn’t have existed by another five days. Kind, I didn’t think, having spent two hours – yes, two hours – sorting out the diary of an incompetent team who’d arranged a call that they’d not been able to make.

The next appointment came. They didn’t call. Of course they didn’t. The bank in question is as dysfunctional as the contestants on Celebs Go Dating, or any other trashy TV show, for that matter. So I called. There was no answer. They must have been busy in the check, check, check department. I called complaints – again – instead. I got through. The woman listened. She phoned her colleague in the check, check, check department, who, remarkably, was able to take her call, but not mine, nor able to keep an appointment.

I asked for a timed appointment. They refused. What, I asked, you want me to leave my phone clear of all other calls until the check, check, check people phone? Even though they haven’t phoned twice. You think me waiting in the virtual waiting room is agreeable?

They did. I said no.

Eventually, the woman – Nicola – who’d been instructed to call failed. Again. Brad called instead. He asked questions I’d answered two months before. He won’t get a job in a TV detective series. Sherlock, he wasn’t.

I told him the more interesting transactions were the transfers to a different bank, which had offered me an account and promised not to be dysfunctional, toxic, disruptive, or borderline abusive.

And then came the kicker.

Having realised that the power balance had shifted and after ten weeks of chronic service and – well, who knows what – he answered the question I’d earlier asked. Why on earth are you on my case?

We’re making sure everything’s in order so that you can stay with us, he said.

I laughed. I’d already shifted most of my money and payees to a different account – having been prevented from doing so automatically by the check, check, check department, again, without reason.

But you can stay, if you like, he said. No. It’s always been no. It will always be no.

And so it ended.

The bank that tried to debank me realised it had made a fundamental error and asked me to stay. I just laughed.

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