It took a while, what with Christmas necessarily delaying things plus normal administrative process, but stubborn me sent this letter today.
Dear SirsThere. I feel better now.
Re: Account Number xxxxxxxx
I'm sure that, in this age of computers running your affairs, you would not have noticed my accounts being run down recently. Someone, though, would have received notice of all the direct debits being cancelled, and perhaps a large amount of savings being transferred to another bank in early January might have been flagged up in some report or other.
Anyway, the result is that my current account balance now matches my savings account in boasting a nil balance, with no outstanding payments or deposits left to materialise. As such, I would ask that you close both accounts, cancel my card and remove any trace of my online banking.
If you check your communication records with me, you will notice that this is in response to an incident in November where you debited me what I felt to be an unfair charge.
Now, I'm pragmatic enough to realise that incurring charges with banks is somewhat of an occupational hazard. It comes with the territory when dealing with any large, unwieldy organisation, in fact. In my 16 years with your bank, I have taken such charges with good grace, and not felt the urge to complain. You know, a bit of the old 'it's a fair cop' way of thinking of things.
However, in November, I anticipated that I might go overdrawn so transferred funds from my savings to cover the shortfall. Additionally, I also paid in a cheque for £500 two days prior to this from someone who also holds an account with you. Due to a small miscalculation on my part - that is, forgetting that I'd bought some cheese, a nice bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, and a couple of packs of minced beef from Sainsbury's on my way home a few days earlier - the cleared balance dipped into the red by a princely sum of £5.97 for less than 24 hours.
The actual balance was nearer £500, but your ability to mistrust yourselves on the five figure contents of another account held by you meant that you could levy an £8 charge on me, with an almost straight face.
All things considered, I felt this was rather heavy-handed so - for the first time in 16 years - rang you to ask that it be cancelled as a gesture of goodwill. I was expecting a genial two minute conversation, as was the young man who first answered the call in agreeing that I had shown good faith. I recall his words were "I don't think that will be a problem, Sir. I'll just put you through.".
Unfortunately, I was then transferred to a woman who, it would seem, has earned a place in your crack customer services team for her supreme skill of being able to press a button on a computer. Sadly for me, the computer said no.
I asked to speak to a supervisor but I can only assume she hasn't got one as the only option she offered was to raise a complaint, and that someone would ring me back the next day. She was, however, arrogant enough to suggest that your bank was actually doing me a favour by only charging £8! "We have reduced our charges substantially recently", she condescendingly added. I must admit to raising my voice a few decibels at this stage as I pointed out that the reduction was a result of the OFT ordering you to, rather than any voluntary largesse on the part of the bank.
I was duly called the next day by another customer service representative whose 'service' seemed to consist of ringing up 'customers' and saying that, yes, the computer really did say no. Oh yeah, and that they were doing me a favour as the charges had recently been reduced. She did at least chip in that, apparently, they would like nothing else but to over-ride the computer but that it would be unfair to all other customers. I was by now enjoying the comic nature of the situation so assured her that I would refrain from running up the High Street with a loud hailer if that would do the trick but, no, the computer still hadn't changed its mind.
The computer was similarly unmoved, as was the customer services whizz, when I said that I felt strongly enough about the matter to move banks seeing as the goodwill you attach to my 16 exemplary years with you - along with the profits you have earned from my money and loans in that time - was worth less than £8.
"That would be your decision to make, Sir", was the response, probably safe in the actuarial knowledge that most people can't be bothered with the hassle of changing banks. Sadly, I am afflicted by a stubbornness gene which reacts badly to being shafted, so I have shifted all my banking to xxxxxxxx as a result.
I got a good deal too, with better terms for my current account and a more favourable savings rate, proving the benefits of shopping around. I have since used this to my advantage by putting out feelers for a new banking provider for my business, and have had productive meetings with three different banks eager to attract our six figure monthly deposits. Sadly for you, every debit has a credit as you well know, and the bank we choose for the future will be benefiting from the hundreds of thousands of pounds per month that we currently entrust to you.
Still, at least you still get to keep that £8 towards your Managing Director's huge bonus. I hope he doesn't spend it all at once.
Dick Puddlecote Esq.