Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Some bad news from the Royal Bank of Scotland

I am currently in California. Haven't been to San Francisco for a very long time. I love this town.

Well, on to the Royal Bank of Scotland. Guess what, my credit card was declined just yesterday. This happened after I went out of my way to call the bank prior to going here so they'd not use unusual transactions overseas as a reason to shut down the card. Its call centre staff thanked me for being so considerate. I also transferred extra cash from my cheque into my credit card account to ensure I don't run out of money while in the USA. Well, yesterday my card didn't buy me a five quid brunch in the hotel bar. I sort of have to concede that I cursed (quietly) what I thought were incompetent hotel staffers. I tried then to ring my bank to find out why my card was declined. Goes without saying that I had to call at 4:30 am local time so as to catch someone working in the UK based call centre. Of course, the hotel had since cut my outside phone line, seeing that my card wasn't valid. So, the toll free call to my bank had to be made from my mobile and cost me probably a small fortune. After spending probably 5 minutes in a (likely) expensive (for me) queue I got thru to a call centre operator. It quickly became clear what happened. I am a victim of a suitably incompetent call centre agent. When I called to top up my credit card balance (with a transfer from my cheque account) the call centre staffer decided instead to move a large chunk of money from my credit card into my cheque account. The result is that I travelled to the USA with a carefuly drained (and, in fact, overdrawn) credit card account. I'm sure the bank has since busily levied charges for my overdrawn credit card... guess it's a typical case of let the buyer beware.

The bank is currently trying to fix the problem (at least on the phone its staffer acknowledged straightaway that it's their fault), but it could be a couple of days till my card would be back in credit.

Begging is fairly common in this country, so if you see me today on the corner of Powell and Market street, spare me a dime while I wait for the Royal Bank of Scotland to fix its mistake. One has to eat after all ...

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