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Richard Hawley • View topic - Banks Use Robots to Bully Customers

Richard Hawley

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:35 am 
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I've got a bank on my case over what they claim is a £30 debt. Yes, as much as that!

It consists of three late payment charges because the cash I put in the bank to settle the credit card balance of around £50 did not clear by the due date (the next day).

They have rung about 25 times over the last month, mostly an automated 'interactive voice messaging' robot, including calls to my work number, mobile and home number.

I just tell the robot to 'fuck off' which of course does no good apart from making me feel slightly better.

Despite making requests to the bank to stop harrassing me, they have just rung again.

Radio Four did a report on this tactic being increasingly used by banks.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/m ... 429028.stm

I dispute the £30 charge in the first place, but my main complaint is over the relentless hounding of someone they consider a debtor.

I've got a battle plan and have given the bank a few days to sort out the mess and apologise before I decide which course to take, but I'm happy to hear any views...or shall I just tread dog shit into every branch?

I haven't named the bank here in case they give our administrators grief.

Libel law in relation to internet forums is largely untested, but an organisation could, at the very least, reasonably ask for posts to be taken down if they show similar frankness to some of our Hawleyboard posts. :shock:

So it might be best to steer clear from identifying banks in any responses. They are all the same anyway.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:18 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:36 am 
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Too much time on my hands
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:23 am 
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If you recognise the bank's number on your phone, try answering the calls but not speaking. The robot won't respond. After a suitable number of calls, report an increasing number of nuisance calls to your telephone provider. If the calls are made anonymously then you surely have a greater case? Not sure if it will have any effect, but it may cause the bank a nuisance in having to deal with a complaint :*:

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:01 pm 
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It's hard to fight back against faceless corporate bullying...

The dog dung approach seems OK by me - except I would use cat muck as its stink is positivley evil...

My bank stung me for £50 a few months back - unatuhorised overdraft for one day - so I'm looking to change to a bank that offers a £50 account credit when joining...

I'm taking my time as I've been with my bank since leaving school [about 35 years ago] and I have some weird misplaced loyalty for them...

The bottom line is that in the 21st C how do you get by without a bank account...


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:02 pm 
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Some "online" or virtual banks offer really good rates, no fees, etc. They probably have some of the same evil practices, but at least they don't fee one to death. I've been thinking of switching to one. I've been banking with my bank since I was twelve... talk about misplaced loyalties.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:19 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:36 pm 
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Shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86 year old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.

"Dear Sir:
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month.

By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your 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 answer 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 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 check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact 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, at MY convenience, 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 modeled 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.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:

IMMEDIATELY AFTER DIALING, PRESS THE STAR (*) BUTTON FOR ENGLISH

#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 is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.
#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.
#10. This is a second reminder to press* for English.

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 to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

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

Your Humble Client"



Brilliant! :*: :*:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:41 pm 
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Haha... Oh, I love it :*: :*:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:19 pm 
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I once went overdrawn by a few quid by accident for the first time in 15 years, they charged me £30, I paid it off but because of the interest on the payment I was overdrawn again the next month, so they charged me again. So I phoned them up.

A very nice person answered the phone, referred it to their manager, who, erm, apologised and refunded all my charges.

Ahem. It was the Co-op by the way.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Have to admit (different bank) but if I've picked up an unauthorised overdraft fee I've always managed to get the bank to refund ... sometimes it's just who you talk to :?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:39 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:34 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:37 pm 
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