Bureaucratic letter arrived today


Wednesday:  matter resolved.  That’s what head office sent out; what the branch did was an entirely different thing and in fact, as I found out, I’m ahead of the game with a bigger overdraft than they’re giving the flagship account holders in London.  Needless to say, I shan’t be shifting just yet.


This is a simple little tale, no worse than any of yours and perhaps better than the situation you find yourself in.

A letter came today from my bank. It was one of those glossy letters which cost a pretty penny to send to every customer in the UK.

Now, as regulars know, I’m having a semi-hiatus at the moment because of a couple of bureaucratic bombshells dropped on me which don’t just involve jumping through hoops but involve a quite nasty attempt to unsettle with outrageous and ultimately illegitimate demands, forcing me to go here, there and everywhere in order to get documents which I don’t need as I should never have had those demands put on me anyway.

This is the bureaucratic mind – someone sends down a blanket rule and the petty pen-pusher misreads the file and puts the householder under enormous pressure. Hence my belligerence in response. I live quietly, I don’t harass anyone, I expect to be left alone. But these incompetent idiots won’t do that, will they? They invent things to send to customers for no valid reason.

OK, with the blog measures I’ve taken, that’s relieved some of the pressure and I can tackle things better so far this week.

Until this letter. People like pensioners or people below that level like me are being super-careful in the weekly shopping, we’re walking or cycling, have the boiler on intermittently only, are watching the water, have only one lightbulb on in the house etc. etc.

We’re saving a pound here, a pound there. I have the electricity down to under £7 a week and I never eat out. One chicken breast does two meals and is cheaper than the rubbish in the convenience food shops.

So, with the saving of £3 a week a major victory, this letter said that they are reviewing one of the accounts I hold and are making it my “main” account now. As the “main” account, which it is not and I don’t wish it to be, unless I put in £750 a month, not only do I not get the bonus which I couldn’t care less about but I also attract a charge of £15.

Obvious solution is to change banks but it’s no better over the road, so I discovered.

OK, I asked, I’ll run my direct debits off my passbook account, thank you very much. Will you arrange that for me?

Ah, no sir, you can’t do that. Only this new account can have direct debits coming from it.

But I already have a direct credit on my other account, the one I use as my true main account – why can’t I run direct debits too? It’s still my money.

Those accounts are being phased out.

No, hang on, listen please – I do not wish to have that account “phased out”. The whole reason I and many people like me come here is to have that sort of account. That’s the whole purpose of being here.  You offered it and that’s why I originally walked through your door.

Now, you forced me to have this other shiny account I don’t want and I don’t even need the debit card but you said it was free so I don’t mind. I only put £75 a month into it from my main account because it only needs to just cover the direct debits by two firms. It does that, I’m not overdrawn but now, with your outrageous £15 a month charge for me using it, I will go overdrawn.

Well, it is a main account, sir. Main accounts attract these kinds of fees.

But I don’t want it as my “main” account, I don’t need it and don’t use it except for direct debits.   Which part of “don’t want” did you not understand?   Go ahead, look at it – the only transactions are for those things.

All my major transactions are on what I want as my main account.

Sorry sir, we can’t do that. A main account –

Give me the complaint form please.  [It was available right at the desk.]

Someone said to me – well don’t pay by direct debit then. But I have to, otherwise the two bills with those companies jump from £18 to £28 a month and from £34 to £63 a month – the whole deal is predicated on there being direct debits in place.

And with that, I can keep in the black.


Plus I’m starting a ridiculously useless course tomorrow which I don’t need, I don’t want and will get me nowhere. An utter waste of time run by incompetents whom I have an enormous problem not winding up.

That’s a pressure in itself.

11 comments for “Bureaucratic letter arrived today

  1. haiku
    January 22, 2013 at 17:20

    Write letters of complaint to all in sundry, accusing the bank of profiteering etc

    At minimum the following should be included:

    1. The registrar (or what ever they call him/her in the UK) of banking;
    2. Your local MP;
    3. Local newspapers;
    4. Some unions – you don’t have to belong to write to them;
    5. The EU commissioner – there must be one somewhere that has a responsibility for banking e.g. the World Bank;
    6. Downing Street; and
    7. Start a government e petition …

    I am quite sure that the readers can add suggestions …

  2. January 22, 2013 at 19:20

    Not all banks do that, I should shop around if I was you.

  3. Steve Brown
    January 22, 2013 at 20:10

    Some of the smaller (and not-so-small) Building Societies, those which have not become ‘banks’, are much more flexible in their dealings with customers. The one I use understands only too well the need for parsimony and assists in many innovative ways.

  4. MadPiper
    January 22, 2013 at 20:33

    We have Credit Unions that are more reasonable than banks. Do you have such alternatives?
    Hang in there James.

  5. January 22, 2013 at 20:46

    Yes we do have credit unions over here.

  6. ivan
    January 22, 2013 at 21:00

    Is this a case of ‘the computer says no’?

  7. Amfortas
    January 23, 2013 at 00:30

    Mad rules.

    Some rules though, while mad, can be turned against the bastards. Over here we have ‘Ombudsmen’, ‘Offices’ to which one can ‘complain’. The Office is funded by a charge against the organisation one complains about, be it a bank or a telco or a provider of essential services.

    A flat fee of $21 is charged. For every complaint. There is no limit on how many complaints an individual can make – against the same provider, for the same matter.

    Few people know of this fee or the charging regime.

    I have used this fact several times in argument, telling the po-faced voice on the phone that I will send an email to the Ombudsman every minute for the next 10 hours unless…. ensuring thet they get a bill for $n,000, unless they drop the silly invoice or charge of $20 they are trying to get me to pay.

    I usually add, “I have nothing better to do today”.

    Worked every time.

  8. January 23, 2013 at 05:24

    Down with the capitalists and their running dogs!

    Bring back the building societies!

  9. Mike Power
    January 24, 2013 at 00:14

    Open a basic account at Barclays. No fuss, credit references etc. No fees and minimum deposit is £1. Direct Debit facility too.

  10. ubermouth
    January 24, 2013 at 07:06

    @ Amfortas- Is that in the UK or Canada or US?

    I need their number on speed dial lol.

  11. Amfortas
    January 24, 2013 at 07:15

    Oz, Ubermouth.

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