another bad experience

I want to first apologise to anyone inconvenienced by the loud and angry telephone conversation I just finished with a manager of C Banking group.

C bank decided themselves to place a transaction limit of 3000 for external transactions made without an I.D card. According to their Banking terms and conditions, which I, the customer must abide by, and am legally obliged to recognise, the bank can decide at any time to increase these limits, at the request of the client.

I did so. I got no response. The manager was apparently not even aware of these conditions, at article 4.2. However he was aware of the conditions that worked in the banks favor, those concerning penalties for early cancellation of dep0sits. Selective memory?

So, I have been in C branches (formerly P bank) on many occasions asking about the use of I.D cards, card-readers, and so on. Not once was I told I would need to sign some form to activate the use of these cards. There were many logical occasions on which this would have been an obvious thing to do. But it was not done.

And so after being a good client for over a year, I come to make the first transaction over 3000. I arrive at the library early, and attempt, at around 10 a.m, to perform my transaction. I place my I.D card in the reader. I attempt to log in using it. It fails, notifying me that ´authentification failed´.

And so my horrible journey begins. I message the bank, asking about this. After some time I am informed quite flippantly that I must go to a C branch, which in fact closed that day, to fill out some forms which will allow me to use the I.D card.

I respond that I am over 2 hours away from any branch. After a little time I am told they can send the forms by email, and I can digitally sign them. I spend the next few hours trying to do so, with the help of various people. We find a way to digitally sign the forms and do so, sending them back.

A while later I am informed by email that the attached files have the wrong file type. My computer would only allow me to sign the documents as .odt files. They are clearly signed. The computer states this in writing (signed) on the document. I send it off.

Later I get an email telling me the files are of the wrong type. They need to be .ddoc files. So I send back the files as .ddoc files, using different software another helper helped me find online. We send them back.

Still later I get an email telling me that the files are not right again.

And so we send them again, using digidoc online software. Again, later, I am informed the files are wrong.

Everyone helping me says the files are definitively digidoc .ddoc files.

However everyone at the C branch assures me they are not.

And so, giving up, I make a term deposit with the same bank, rather than lose interest over the days it will take to sort this out.

The library staff call the local university computing people. They confirm that what I did was correct. C say it is not. I then use the link the C staff sent me, and follow their instructions step for step. I send the document. Again C tell me it is wrong.

And so the next day I go to the University computer people. People whose job it is to digitally sign documents all day long. And so they know what they are doing. They check my files, and tell me they are definitely .ddoc files, and signed, using the accepted digidoc system.

I send them. I am told they are no good. We call the person who sent the emails. Three times we talk with different people at the branch, over a hundred kilometers away.

Yesterday one suggested I fax a signed copy of the document. We fax a signed copy. But no, since yesterday something has changed and now they will not accept a fax.

We speak with them on the phone as we send the digitally signed forms again. They insist they are wrong.

Later I get an email with no attachment, but a long string of data, informing me that the forms I sent back did in fact have my digital signature. But they did not have the banks!

And so they asked me to digitally sign some new attached files. There is no attachment. I email again, but get no response. They are apparently enjoying lunch while I go without, trying to meet their demands, so that I can use the internet banking I have been trying to access since the previous morning. Nice courtesy that. Just leave me waiting as usual, because they cannot sort out their own system, and are themselves unwilling to meet the terms and conditions that they demand I, as a client, were legally bound to.

Article 4.2 of these terms and conditions allows them to increase daily banking limits at the request of clients. Really? What? Where? That is in the contract we signed? Really? All I remember is all the penalties clients must pay for early cancellation of deposits and so on.

I am nervous and worried, on top of being angry and frustrated. It is very suspicious. This bank has a record of problems. And now they are coming up with all these wild excuses as to why I cannot take my money out of their bank. And I have more than the government guaranteed covers. I have put more trust in this bank than the government have. And so I am genuinely worried.

I send a continuous stream of emails and messages on their netbank system, insisting a manager call me. I give up, and state that I insist that the bank allow me to take out all of my money, without any penalties or lost interest. I email the television station telling them I have really concerns, and believe there may be an important story here. Is the bank having problems with liquidity? Their parent bank experienced a ´run´by investors on their deposits in 2008, and the government took over the bank. Is history repeating. After over a day of ridiculous excuses, and in this context, I feel really worried. In fact they had just closed one of their branches, representing on third of their total branches!

And so a manager does finally call me to ´explain´ that the banks digidoc software was a more recent, updated version of the Universityś, and so while they finally managed to read my digital signature, they could not read the banks own signature, set using the more modern software update of digidoc.

Since when did upgraded software not recognise earlier versions of itself, especially ones only a few months older? No-one I tell this story too can believe it possible. It is unheard of. However this is the story I am supposed to believe.

The manager offers to travel the 100km to visit me at home to let me sign the papers in person. I insist, in writing, that after all this I have lost all confidence in C bank, and request that I be allowed to remove some of my funds earlier than agreed, without any penalties or loss of interest.

That manager then calls back saying that they somehow managed to use the digidoc files I had sent, and that there was no longer any need to visit me. Hey, a moment ago they were insisting that I travel to them. At that moment they had no motivation to perform the digidoc miracle. But once it was them that were going to be inconvenienced etc, it seems they pulled their fingers out and found a solution.

And so, a file they could have read the day before, and thus saved me from two days of stress, frustration, worry, and constant help from total strangers, was suddenly readable.

No apology. Oh, sorry, in fact you had sent the correct files, but we had a problem here at our end. No. Nothing of the sort.

And compensation for lost interest for two days? What? Can you prove a real loss? Excuse me, but you have many failed attempts logged on your netbank showing I wanted to transfer money. And now you offer to close that term deposit I was forced to make, to avoid losing interest. And how generous. You wont charge me any penalty? I lose two days interest, up to 3.8% p.a at S bank, and you are going to be so generous as not to charge me anything?

This is what you have been trained to think of as ´quality client service´? And this manager is speaking so loudly at me, that I am threatening him somehow? Because I state that I suffered a concrete loss and a lawyer would insist on my reasonable request of two days interest? Now I am the bad guy?

And his offer, wait for it…seriously…it sounded insane… they would offer me a better interest rate than usual if I extended the term of the deposit I never wanted to make in the first place, and thus increase my risk exposure with a bank that I had absolutely no reason to trust anymore.

And by now a bank I felt absolutely no goodwill towards. I had been willing to leave the government guaranteed amount in their bank if they let me withdraw that part that was not guaranteed, without penalty or loss of interest.

They had failed to meet their own conditions and terms, but they were going to make darn sure that I did meet them! Sure I can chose to redeem my deposits early, but then I would lose all the interest, plus be required to pay them interest.

And this is how they apologise for two days of stress, worry, and actual time and effort, not just on my own part, but all the people who had been helping me, at the library, and at the university. A sleepless night, no lunch for two days.

And I am threatening them when I remind them of the fact that I had intended to keep considerable sums with their bank for the next 20 years, but that now of course I would remove all my funds, as my deposits matured, and close all my accounts at the earliest time I could do so without any penalties or losses? And that I would have told all my friends about their great products, especially their Maxi account, but would, of course, not do that now, after all this. That was a ´threat´?

That was how you dealt with valuable clients when you made mistakes that had inconvenienced them? Where on earth did they get such quality client service training?

I hate to be angry, and I hate to be speaking so loudly and angrily, first in the toilet, then outside the university.

I just hope I did not inconvenience anyone. Realising all this, I gave up trying to teach this manager anything, or trying to get any reasonable, acceptable response from him. I advise him that I will speak with the media, and that next time we speak together it can be on television, with moderation from a television host. We can let the public make up its mind about this whole story.

I have now spent almost two complete working days. I only got I.D card net access about 14 hours after requesting it. I have no expectation of anything productive coming from any further communication with C bank.

I will transfer all my available funds as my deposits mature, and in future only deal with banks that treat me like a valued client, and value my patronage. Banks that treat me fairly and reasonably.

For example, I had virtually the same problem with Sampo bank. However within an hour a manager called me and completed my transaction over the phone. I had repeatedly asked C to do this. They refused. S solved the problem two days later, without requiring me to fill out any forms whatsoever. Also S let you use both the pin code card and your I.D, whereas C will only let you use one. Which means if you lose your I.D you cannot do any banking.

The people helping me spent around 20 minutes on the phone with C. And sent a fax. And still they got nowhere at all. I had warned them. I said thought they should not call, as it would not help. It would just waste time and money. And so I fear for anyone actually calling the help line their system tells users to call, when their I.D cards fail to be authenticated. I can only imagine how much money they will waste on their mobile phones, without achieving anything at all.