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Can you bank on the BB Bank?

07 March 2011

This is a true story with names changed so I don't get sued.

It starts with me needing to get some money moved from my English bank account to a friend's English account. No big deal - you'd think.

This bank says, \"96% of our customers would recommend our service to a friend.\" I'm definitely in the other 4% and guess what - I reckon this claim is hooey and that they must have surveyed their three best friends to get this result.

I admit I forgot my cheque book for what I'll call the Big British bank (BB) in my desk in New York. So I ring and am told that I need to call my branch in Oxford. I ring and ring and ring but can only get the BB National Helpline - of course each time only after the telephone tree, wait times, etc. that we all know and love wasting our time on. Why? Because it rings through there when the local branch is busy. Seems the branch is always busy. After many chats to people on the BB National Helpline, in which my having been a customer for 30 odd years doesn't impress, I'm getting a titch tetchy. I'm told that sending a registered letter to the branch may do the trick.

I do and wait two weeks, three weeks... Nothing from BB. Time is getting short. The money is needed. Fortunately I have another quiver in my bow. My friend Daisy goes round there in person. A formidable woman, she was a High School Principal.

Daisy gets back to me: the place has no customers, they never answer the phone, they haven't received the letter, and they can't/won't move the money.

Being formidable she goes back. I get a call from her mobile - she's at the BB branch. By this time she's as ropeable as me. She puts \"Kevin\" on the phone. He sounds properly cowed. \"Er\", he says, \"Well yes the letter did turn up in the files.\" I point out that BB now have my signed letter and he could ask me some security questions. \"I'll talk to my Supervisor when she gets back from her meeting.\"

Next day - four weeks after my first phone call - Kevin rings me and asks those questions. The money will be moved. \"That woman won't have to come back now will she?\" he asks.