Friday 16 May 2008


Last week our Accounts Department Manager belatedly decided to respond to an invitation from the bank to set herself up for telephone banking. Unfortunately she couldn’t find the letter that had the access codes to set it up, so ‘phoned the bank.

I sauntered into the office on this sunny day and walked right into the middle of madness. My colleague and fellow director was on the telephone.

“…but I am a director of this company and a signatory on the account, why can’t you speak to me?” she looked at me “OK, I’ll pass you on to my colleague”

“Ann, Jackie wants to set herself up for telephone banking but they won’t speak to her and now they won’t speak to me either because they haven’t got me set up as a signatory on the account”

“But you ARE a signatory on the account”

“I know, but they haven’t got me set up as one”


“I don’t know”

“OK, let me speak to her”

“Hello, can I help?”

“Can I ask your name?” – I replied

“I’d like to take you through some security questions is that OK?”

“Sure, but why haven’t you got my colleague set up to do this, she is a signatory on the account?”
“I don’t know, can I go over these security questions with you?”

“OK”. Off we go. After satisfactorily answering the stupid questions she said “How can I help you?”

“I don’t know it wasn’t me that ‘phoned you, I’ll get my colleague Jackie, she’ll tell you what she wants”

“I can’t speak to her because she isn’t set up for telephone banking”

My voice must have gone up an octave or two

“Look, dear, I’m a very busy person (I’m not, but I sure as hell ain’t going to let her know that) just tell me what we need to do to set her up for telephone banking”

“Don’t speak to me in that tone of voice”

“Just tell me what we have to do”

“You will have to contact your Branch Business Manager”

“Thank you" With great restraint I didn't add “shove it up your ass you moronic bastard”, but merely slammed the ‘phone down without waiting for a reply.

Next stop? The blood pressure pills to stop me going ape shit. I think that banks will be the downfall of the world. Or am I being overly dramatic again?

The IT Manager heard some of this and sent me this email


Thought you'd appreciate this....

This is apparently a real passport application letter!!


Dear Minister,

I'm in the process of renewing my passport but I am a total loss to understand or believe the hoops I am being asked to jump through.

How is it that Bert Smith of T.V. Rentals Basingstoke has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a satellite dish from them back in 1994, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was born and on what date?

How come that nice West African immigrant chappy who comes round every Thursday night with his DVD rentals van can tell me every film or video I have had out since he started his business up eleven years ago, yet you still want me to remind you of my last three jobs, two of which were with contractors working for the government?

How come the T.V. detector van can tell if my T.V. is on, what channel I am watching and whether I have paid my licence or not, and yet if I win the government run lottery they have no idea I have won or where I am and will keep the bloody money to themselves if I fail to claim in good time.

Do you people do this by hand? You have my birth date on numerous files you hold on me, including the one with all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30-odd years. It's on my health insurance card, my driver's licence, on the last four passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the planes and boats over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that are done every ten years and the electoral registration forms I have to complete, by law, every time our lords and masters are up for re-election.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, I was born in Maidenhead on the 4th of March 1957, my mother's name is Mary, her maiden name was Reynolds, my father's name is Robert, and I'd be absolutely astounded if that ever changed between now and the day I die!

I apologise Minister. I'm obviously not myself this morning. But between you and me, I have simply had enough! You mail the application to my house, then you ask me for my address. What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthals working there? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to activate the Fifth Reich for God's sake! I just want to go and park my weary backside on a sunny, sandy beach for a couple of week's well-earned rest away from all this crap.

Well, I have to go now, because I have to go to back to Salisbury and get another copy of my birth certificate because you lost the last one. AND to the tune of 60 quid! What a racket THAT is!! Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day? But nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe make sense. You'd rather have us running all over the place like chickens with our heads cut off, then find some tosser to confirm that it's really me on the goddamn picture - you know... the one where we're not allowed to smile in case we look as if we are enjoying the process! Hey, you know why we can't smile? 'Cause we're totally jacked off!

I served in the armed forces for more than 25 years including over ten years at the Ministry of Defence in London. I have had security clearances which allowed me to sit in the Cabinet Office, five seats away from the Prime Minister while he was being briefed on the first Gulf War and I have been doing volunteer work for the British Red Cross ever since I left the Services. However, I have to get someone "important" to verify who I am -- you know, someone like my doctor... who, before he got his medical degree 6 months ago WAS LIVING IN PAKISTAN...

Yours sincerely,

An Irate British Citizen


Maggie May said...

Oh the silly telephone calls!
After lots of warnings about fraud identity on phones claiming to be from banks, (from Neighbourhood Watch), I received a phone call claiming to be our bank & they wanted us to do a survey. With all this good advice floating in my ears about never divulging anything over the phone about finances, we declined to do the survey. I then went round to our bank to check if they did ring us and yes.... they did. It was a survey about the look of their interior!!!!! Felt a bit daft.

It took one whole year to get my broadband to accept my direct debit. Bank said it was server"s fault- Server said it was Bank's fault. Any way it's OK now.

As regards the letter, not only does every company seem to know everything about us, they leave all the information in dust bins & strewn along roundabouts & lose CD's that are not encrypted!

Sarah said...

Once I found the preferential phone number service, I found my stress levels recovered, considerably.
I just find my hackles go up, every time some complete stranger phones and asks WHO I AM!
Can you imagine, saying to your telephone banking operative...
And, who are you? Do you have clearance from my personal security system? No?
I'll have a form sent out to you, you must provide all yuor personal details, and a six-digit, 2 number security password, which you'll be asked for, on each occaison.
Yes, well, I'm sorry, but you SAY you're Nadia, from Netwast Telephone services, but I don't KNOW that for sure...Can I speak to your supervisor?
Does SHE have a personal six-digit, two number security code?
It was alot simpler, when the local, village branch was OPEN, and the staff behind the counter knew who you were, and you knew who they were!
Ooh, I feel better now!
I've not had a bad day, myself.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

This is so funny and so true. Complete arseholes are running the country, our institutions and any kind of governing body that wants to micro manage our lives. Fab post! said...

Maggie, don't you sometimes feel that life is spiralling totally out of control? said...

Wouldn't it be good if we could Sarah? Along the same vein, our ex-bank manager was asked to produce ID when he tried to take money from his own account in the bank he had managed for years! Where do they get these senseless PC morons from? said...

The bottom line to this story MOB is that our Bank Manager is furious with the call centre and is going to make enquires to sort it out! Heh right!

Anonymous said...

Priceless! I love it!

Except it's a little too close to the truth.

Anonymous said...
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