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Old 11 April 2007, 15:23   #1
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Oh so true

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his depositing the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly transfer of funds from my modest savings account, an arrangement, which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty-one years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $40 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to the bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity, which your bank has recently become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status form, which I Require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history, must be countersigned by a Notary Public; and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof. In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number, which, he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Please allow me to level the playing field even further. When you call me, you will now have a menu of options on my new voice mail system to choose from.

Please press the buttons as follows:
1. To make an appointment to see me.
2. To query a missing payment.
3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer
is required. Password will be communicated at a later date to the Authorized Contact.
8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
9. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee of $40 to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. Please credit my account after each occasion.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.

Your Humble Customer,
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Old 11 April 2007, 23:38   #2
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Why all of us hate banks...

You absolutely hit the nail on the head with that one, absolutely!!
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Old 13 April 2007, 07:42   #3
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it is sort of re-assuring to know that you have similar frustrations over there as we have in the UK. So, it is the whole world gone crazy, and not just our little corner of it
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Old 13 April 2007, 19:33   #4
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Apparently some Barrister in UK is in your shoes and is suing the bank.
He was able to demonstrate that teh referral fee cost to the bank is circa 2.80 and yet they charged some 38 for the fee. I am sure there must be rules against this.Check it out on BBC news or SKY, cos thats where I saw it yesterday.

Bring back Jessie James!!!
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Old 13 April 2007, 20:25   #5
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Even worse

If you are a British citizen and wish to contact the British Embassy, in the USA, by telephone, you get a message that say's: "we will accept your call but please be aware that you will be charged $1.25 per minute and please enter your credit card number now." WHAT!!!!!!!!!! the h*ll are are they thinking about? . And of course you get to talk to someone that can barely speak English. probably someone in India.
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Old 13 April 2007, 20:49   #6
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Apparently some Barrister in UK is in your shoes and is suing the bank.
He was able to demonstrate that teh referral fee cost to the bank is circa 2.80 and yet they charged some 38 for the fee. I am sure there must be rules against this.Check it out on BBC news or SKY, cos thats where I saw it yesterday.

Bring back Jessie James!!!
Aidan, there are quite a large number of people in the UK successfully recovering "unfair charges" from banks in the UK under unfair contracts legislation (usually without recourse to court action).

I know one person who recently got several thousand pounds back with just 2 letters.

I have been the recipient of such charges myself in the past. I complained at the time and sometimes they were refunded and sometimes not. But here are some of the arguments why such charges are actually not a bad thing:

1. they are only levied when you break the rules of the account - it is within your powers to avoid them
2. people who operate their accounts "properly" will not incur charges and (in the UK) will normally have free of charge banking facilities.
3. the banks make significant profits from these charges - that is actually in the interests of people correctly operating their account. if the bank don't make profit this way - they will introduce charges elsewhere e.g. every time you write a cheque, use your debit card, take out money etc.
4. most of our pension funds will have investments in the banks and so if they make less profit - our pensions suffer.
5. punative charges discourage the excessive personal debt attitudes which are prevalent in the UK.

Actually I am not convinced that it is an unfair contract term. The charges are always clearly stated by the bank up front. As I understand it the cost of goods or services themselves are not subject to the regulations (that is your choice to buy the product at market value, or otherwise, as a consumer). Whilst these are "penalty" charges - they are in effect the "price" of using the service outwith the agreed limits.

If these charges are forced down (e.g. by the OFT) to the 5 level that is generally considered to be the "true cost" - who suffers? the people who operate their accounts within the terms of their contract!
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Old 13 April 2007, 22:02   #7
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Dear Poly

I am trying to figure out if you are a lawyer( solicitor, bar room or otherwise) or a used car salesman, or equiv. Please advise, so I can accurately value your posted info. which tend to come across as a bit whacky to me.
Thanks
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Old 14 April 2007, 04:45   #8
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lots of words on this..... BUT unfortunately we NEED them. The problem is to find an "honest" bank. See my previous posts on BARCLAYS BANK. Is there one? or is my Belgium mother in law right in keeping all her money in her ample bosom? i,e do we revert to a "cash" only society.
Limey you may think you have it hard in the states- but just trying depositing a modest sum of say $2000 in a bank account in Europe. Cash?? governments and banks they hate it....

It seems that the Islamic system of banking is much more honest than ours?

jonathan
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Old 14 April 2007, 05:10   #9
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or is my Belgium mother in law right in keeping all her money in her ample bosom?
no that is just deception - making her chest look bigger...
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Old 14 April 2007, 05:15   #10
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... of course you get to talk to someone that can barely speak English. probably someone in India.
oh no they could be in a UK call centre ... ...the standard of english isn't always any better - the manners / politeness etc are usually poorer if they are here and standard of helpfulness is non existent in either case.
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