Having survived the festive season without a disaster brought about the banking industry (see a previous post), I had relaxed my guard somewhat. Should've known better!
Our Lass and I ventured northwards and westwards this weekend, to visit First Born in sunny (ha-ha-ha-ha-hah) Manchester. Due to our early start on Saturday morning, we stopped off at a motorway services for some breakfast, which I paid for with my debit card. It wasn't a huge breakfast, you understand, it's just I tend to use plastic on these occasions. So far so good.
Before resuming the thrash up the motorway, I fuelled up the car at the same service station, but my card was rejected at the till. The nice lady tried again, but to no avail. I looked all uncomfortable and didn't offer to use another card, so said nice lady directed me to a cash point at the side of the building (Note to all, if you ever find yourself in Tibshelf services on the M1, the cash point in the main services charges £1.99 for withdrawals, the one in the fuel station is free). Anyways, the cash point wouldn't give me any money, though it did give me my card back. Our Lass came to the rescue and paid for the fuel, whilst I got on the rantline to the bank.
I tried both the telephone numbers on the back of my card, but these wanted me to type in my card number. When I did this, I was told that my number wasn't recognised!
Hmmm, by this point, all sorts of alarm bells are ringing in my head. After a period of time listening to some irksome music, interspersed with the usual helpful comments about unprecedented levels of customer calls, I finally speak to a human, who informs me that my branch cancelled my card on Friday i.e. the previous day. No reason given, but I was advised to talk to my branch on Monday.
Putting aside the fact that I had successfully used my card a scant 30 minutes earlier, just how do you contact your branch in this day and age, when a bank goes to the n-th degree to hide all branch contact information? Serves me right for living 200 miles from my branch. There are closer ones, obviously, but as they push the convenience of internet and phone banking, why change it?
After a pleasant weekend paid for by Our Lass (Thanks, pet!), one of my first actions upon returning home was to call the bank again. It turns out that they were really busy yesterday, as a batch of new cards had been mistakenly sent out on 24th December (hah, the festive curse did strike, after all). Once new cards are sent out, after 28 days the old cards are automatically cancelled, irrespective of whether the customers have received them or even know that a new one is on the way!
This is referred to as a "system failure". No sh*t, Sherlock.
Well, now we know the reason for the malfunction, that's alright then. An even-nicer lady, at the call centre, re-activated my card, lowered my blood pressure and restored my faith in Customer Service.