Friday, September 01, 2006

I have a tip for you: don't get your handbag stolen.

Since losing a variety of my personal possessions last Wednesday, I have been gradually putting my life back together. At first, I quite liked not having a mobile phone; enjoying the Luddite bliss of just letting go and acknowledging that people very rarely really need to get hold of me, as I'm just not that important. However, I am terrified that I might one day lose my email address (I haven't considered how, just the vague amorphous threat scares me enough) as I really don't think I could cope with that. Luckily, I have at last count seven (count 'em) working email addresses, so the chances of this happening are reasonably remote.

Sorting out another bank card has been more frustrating. I wondered why it just wasn't appearing, and called customer services. There some adenoidal twelve year old told me that there was no longer an address registered for my account, and therefore the replacement card had been sent to a branch of my bank. In Worcester. Also known as 'a town two hours away on the train, in which I no longer live'. I suspect this is the call centre worker's revenge for me trying to update my address from my parents' place to London, which he informed me I could not do without a password. How do I get a password? We'll send it to your address. Which address? Your old address. Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Thank God I hadn't moved.

All of this Kafka-esque circularity had left me wanting to stick forks in my eyes, and I suspect I was a little short with Adenoid Boy. Anyway, without telling me he must have removed my parents' address from the account and declined to tell me. So now I have to order another card. Oh, and did I mention I can't do this over the phone? No, I have to go into a branch. Because, apparently, they can't add an address over the phone. New Boy seemed slightly non-plussed when I pointed out they clearly had the capacity to remove addresses over the phone, so why not add them?

I hate call centres. The very thought of them makes me want to shout at someone, but you can't hold the nine-year-old minimum wage slave on the end of the phone responsible, so screaming at him/her just makes you feel a shit. There's just no accountability, no comeback. The only way to register a complaint effectively is to stop using the company, but I just can't face switching my salary, loan repayments and direct debits to another account. And they know that, of course they do. How dare they exploit my inherent laziness?

Anyway, for what it's worth, I did complain. Or rather filled out a 'complaint form' over the phone. "Someone will ring you within 48 hours," promised the boy, after which we had a short but pointed discussion about how my phone had been stolen, along with my card. And I still have to go into a bastard branch on Monday if I ever want a bank card again.

When my arteries go pop at the age of thirty from stress, I want someone to go and force-feed my ashes into the mouth of the Barclays chief executive.


Blogger Tamburlaine said...

Sounds a horrible experience, and I'm so glad it hasn't yet happened to me. My own bank utilises a call centre, but I generally find them quite efficient.

I think that some banks, desperate for your business, will switch over all functions from one account to another for you. You probably have to fill in one form, and the whole lot's done for you. But I'd check which banks do this!

9/01/2006 6:05 pm  
Anonymous Chew said...

Though on the upside, you can actually speak to someone at O2. Orange have come up with the inspired idea of getting rid of loads of their already over-worked call centre staff:

See here

9/03/2006 9:46 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

I think this whole business has lopped about five years off my life expectancy. I have now made six calls to 02, the latest to ask why I called to register a new sim card (which I had to go into a shop and buy because they sent me ANOTHER 3G one) on Saturday, to find my phone still blocked on Monday. "Ah," said generic Scottish O2 worker. "You can't register a sim card and unblock the phone at the same time." So that'll be another 2-24 hours without a phone then. "," he agreed mournfully, then perked up. "Just try making a call every half hour!"

I could have throttled him, despite his sweet David Tennant-esque accent.

9/04/2006 12:46 pm  
Anonymous tinay52 said...

Too bad! My handbag was just stolen last week. Now I have no cash and all my Identification cards, credit cards are there! Dreadful experience!

9/14/2006 8:11 am  

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