Saturday, 1 February 2014


I'm not sure if it is a word, 'unrant', but it is as important to praise when things go well, as it is to chide when things go wrong. So, credit where credit is due (intentional pun).

The Tense Towers sense of humour has been known to fail on a few select occasions, most significantly in relation to personal banking. This has been the subject of several ranty blogposts (here and here) and has necessitated the sweeping up of the expletive equivalent of dust bunnies from the corners of the room.

However, in a fortuitous turnaround of events, my bank had something of an epiphany. It helped me with a problem and saved me money into the bargain, and so received excellent and positive customer feedback. I know! I'm still not sure I haven't just dreamt it.

As you may be aware, we're in the process of buying a house. Much thought and deliberation has gone into sifting through the pros and cons of all the various contenders for the title of 'Tense Towers 2'. Old or new, town or country, sprawling vistas or sheltered from the weather? After lots of angst and plenty of humming and hah-ing, we've 'chosen' the one Our Lass likes best. She was correct about the original Tense Towers, so her record is impeccable.

This week, after an amount of estate agent-induced inertia, we were suddenly informed that we had 24 hours to complete. As we had been asking for some kind of notice period to allow us to put the necessary funds all in one place, this was... less than optimal. Firing up my pc, I transferred some money online from a couple of savings accounts and into our current account to make up the necessary funds to purchase our dream home. As these were two different financial institutions, I then checked our account to see if the amounts had come through [drums fingers and stares at screen]. Of course they hadn't, we all know how this works.

However, after I had logged out, but was still on the bank's website, a little window popped up asking if I needed any help. Eh? I looked around. Who? Me? Uncharacteristically, I decided to respond to the unsolicited request. Following on from some fact finding about what we were trying to do, the Good Samaritan at the other end of the pop-up window informed me that I could transfer up to £100,000 a day from our account, online, in seconds, for free, in instalments up to £30,000. No BACS (free but annoyingly slow), or CHAPS (fast but expensive), just simple, instantaneous transfer as part of the Faster Payments Service. This was a revelation.

Luckily, we had enough in the account, due to the sale of the original Tense Towers, to forward the daily limit amount across to our solicitor. A quick email proved that the system worked and I was buoyed up by that fact. But the remaining funds that were now stuck between the two banks were a real problem. The next morning I checked if the money had come through. Nope. A call to the support line of the originating bank confirmed my worst fears, they were still using BACS and the transfer could take between 3 and 5 days.

Next, I contacted my bank to ask when they thought they might have visibility of the transactions. Astonishingly, I was connected to the same representative as the previous day, which convinced Our Lass that our bank has a staff of one. Again, he proved to be a Good Samaritan, reassuring us that we wouldn't have to wait for even 3 days, let alone 5. The bank would see the funds by midnight and I would then be able to forward them from our account and on to our solicitor, without waiting for the next working day.

So this morning, I was able to finish paying for our new home, on my debit card, instantaneously, without incurring any charges, and all from the comfort of the sofa.



Katie (Nature ID) said...

On the very rare occasion you actually get good customer service, I hope you let the superiors know and vow your undying fidelity to their company.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thanked the guy in person and then completed their customer satisfaction survey with a glowing report. 'Undying fidelity'? They don't have a branch on the island and not everything can be done online. Mind you, I've been with them longer than I care to remember!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

ps - the "undying fidelity" was a bit of a joke.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Gah, you got me good and proper. Must be all that rain :o)