Thursday, 25 September 2008


I've learnt a new buzz phrase over the last couple of days -' in my power' !

Our problem card is with a UK based multi-national bank, as like most ex-pats, we maintain a bank account 'at home' to cover a number of occassions , spending money when we go back, birthday & Christmas cheques for the family, buying over the internet or what ever comes up. Over the last 2 days I have spent hours trying to get someone at this bank to talk us through what is happening with our account and this has got to have been the most frustrating experience in my whole life !!

I won't bore you with the full story, but just let me tell you about the start of the saga !!

I call the number left on our ansaphone (by an automated message !!)and spent the next 10 minutes pressing * or # as directed until I am told to key in my 3 digit security number - NO WAY as up to this point there has been no indication as to who(or what) I have contacted, so having refused, I hold as told and get disconnected !! 3 attempts later by sheer persistance I get through to a human - Hallelujiah !!

Human - Good morning! You are through to A Girl and in order to help you with your problem, please answer the following security questions !
Me - Do I have a problem then ?
A Girl - It is not ' in my power' to answer that question until you have answered.. etc etc !
Me - Well, before I answer any security questions, can you please confirm that I am connected to A Bank as so far this hasn't been established ?
A Girl - It is not 'in my power' to answer that question ......etc, etc !
Me - Oh Dear! We do have a problem then don't we - perhaps I should speak to your superior before we go any further ?
A Girl - Oh well, in that case I can confirm that this is A Bank ! (Duh!!)
Me - THANK YOU!! ( why isn't there a sarcastic type font ??)

Several questions later we established that I did have a problem as you all know, but being the nosey busybody that I am ,I wanted to have a little more information about this scam,after all it is my money here, and so off we went again !!

Me - Can you tell me.........
A Girl - It is not 'in my power'..........
Me - May I ask............
A Girl - It is not 'in my power'...........

Well, you've got the drift by now haven't you !! This went on for what seemed like hours and at the end of it all I still had zero information - but what really finished me off was that, eventually realising I was not going to get any sense out of this person, I decided to quit gracefully at which point she told me to "Have a good day, and please be assured that I have done everything 'in my power' to help you " !!!!!!!!!!

I have to tell you that I was not a happy bunny after this conversation and I am afraid I redialled A Bank (on a different number !!),in a very foul mood !! I was passed from department to department causing me to rant and rave even more ( Oh - I am sooo ashamed *VBG*) until eventually some poor unfortunate took the time and trouble to deal intelligently with my queries.

Is it me ?? Should this really have been necessary ?? Does the old saying ' the customer is king' no longer apply ?? Do I not have the right to be informed about what is happening to MY bank account ??

I can only hope that the ever present threat that "this telephone call may be recorded" was carried out and that someone, somewhere down the line will realise the need to deal with customers and their problems by providing the requested information, after all we help pay the salaries don't we ?

It would also be nice if this was done without being passed through multitudes of automated exchanges and staff members making supercilious remarks about 'power' ,or whatever the OK phrase of the day is, as all this achieves is anger and frustration, which does neither party any good in the long run !!

I do appreciate the need for security in this day and age, but should it be at the cost of good manners and understanding ?


Ginger_Curls said...

Oh Ann, you poor thing. Unfortunately this is all too common now. Banks have become a nightmare and the ever increasing security makes it very difficult to get to a human at all nevermind someone who can answer questions. I hope that eventually you manage to get this sorted and get your money back! I have come across an equally frustrating phrase - this time from the Tax Department: "it was correct at the time based on the information available"!

Elizabethd said...

It seems that 'big business speak'gets more and more ridiculous. 'In my power' forsooth! Slightly better I suppose, than 'Bear with me.....'

Suzanne said...

How frustrating! We ended up switching banks after 15 years. Our credit card payments were being deducted from the account, but not credited to the card (bank credit card)...I finally went inperson to talk to a person face-to-face. After a heated discussion, being accussed of not knowing how much I had spent on the card....they figured out it was their mistake.

Bye bye bank!

Glad you had a nice vacation break!

Clare said...

Frustrating isn't the word! Our UK bank is one of the smaller ones. We've had nothing but 100% service. Good morning Mrs Worthy, Sharon speaking and how can I help you today. I even ring them up to tell them when we are going to the UK and when we will be back in France so they don't stop our cards (they've done that before!)

If you've gone past the point of no return and want to change banks, I'll give you the details.

Judy said...

What a hassle everything seems to be these days with automated systems. It seems no matter who you call it is press 1 if and press 2 if and on an on. I just get so tired of it and frustrated too.

Elle Emm said...

Your blog made me smile. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who rants and raves but I call it loosing my "cool".. One of the people who commented said she calls the cc company to tell them that they are going on a trip, we do that do because otherwise, for security measures, if they see too many purchases in a foreign country, they automatically put a hold on your card... until you call them.

Karol-Ann said...

I feel for you! I have just had the same problem trying to sort my internet banking. I think the problem may be that often (not always, but VERY often) the call centres are based in countries where English is not a first language and call operators get trained, but not humanised!!
Bloody annoying! HOpe it's sorted soon!