Wednesday, 4 March 2009

What is wrong with the Royal Bank of Scotland

apart from the obvious.

1. About five years ago they suddenly and without warning removed from my current account just under one hundred and sixty thousand pounds. It turned out that someone had mistyped a sort code. They repaid it, and also refunded the eight thousand pounds in unarranged overdraft charges and interest which had accrued in the few days before I noticed. But they did not say sorry.

The odd thing is that when I saw that I had about one hundred and sixty thousand pounds less in my account than I was expecting my immediate reaction was to try to work out what I had spent it on. Then I realised that I had not recently bought any houses.

2. A few years ago it was impossible for me to go into the branch without them offering me large sums of money at (they assured me) very reasonable interest rates. The conversation would go something like
me: I'd like to pay in this cheque please.
cashier: Certainly. Did you know that you are pre-approved for a seven thousand pound unsecured personal loan? You can take it away today!
me: Thank-you very much but I'd prefer not (seethes inside with concealed anger).
I think this is immoral. I've had times of dodgy finance when I might have said yes. Also immoral: mortgages of 100% or more.

3. The first time they sent me a customer satisfaction survey I filled it in, with a warm feeling that they cared what I think. The second time I filled it in, grumpily. The many many times since then I have just thrown them in the bin. I have also refused to complete them in the branch -- about a year ago they stopped trying to get me to take loans, at around the same time that I cleared my overdraft, the cynical bastards, and started pushing surveys on me instead. They still send me the surveys, maybe every month or two. They are glossy and expensively produced, and rouse me to unhealthy, disproportionate paroxysms of fury!

4. Today I popped in to pay in a cheque. The cashier said that I had not had a premier account customer discussion. I said yes. She said why don't you do that right now. I said because I have other places to be; can't I just have a leaflet? She said No; how about tomorrow? I said I'll be at work -- what a shame that this branch isn't open at weekends! Here she wrongfooted me -- apparently it is now open on Saturdays. Could I make eleven o'clock? she inquired. I don't know, I said, I might be out of town on Saturday. Well, she said, here is a letter confirming your appointment, you can call to rearrange if you find you can't make it. Maybe I should have been really firm with her but she was young and hyper and aggressively helpful in a way that scared me a bit. The letter says I have to bring two forms of ID and bank statements for all my bank accounts and other financial holdings or liabilites. I wonder if they're all running a pool on how long it'll be before I phone up to cancel?

But basically, not to over-react or anything, they can all f*** off and die. I'm so fed up with the new tone of bank adverts on TV. Dearie me, they say, have you been a foolish customer? Have you been saving too little and spending too much? Never mind, we're here to sort you out, you silly billy. Whereas in reality we're here to sort them out, whether we like it or not. People complain about the government but I'd rather be patronised by them than by any sort of corporation. Couldn't we have some sort of revolution? Perhaps a twitter-based one, so that no one gets physically hurt? In the meantime my mortgage is with RBS so I think I'm stuck with them. Don't even get me started on my endowment account...

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