Friday, March 16, 2007

Daddy's Week Part Two

Emily and Daddy have had a fab week. I think they've both thoroughly enjoyed it being a break from the normal routine. Together they've painted their flower pots, done loads more English work, studied the tarot again, made a crystal radio with a science museum kit (except they couldn't get it to work....typical with these flippin' kit things!) and done tons more maths and maths notebooking, with Emily getting to grips with some pretty complicated calculations. She did end up in tears over maths one morning though. Glad it's not only me that happens with! She soon calmed down and whizzed through it well after that.

Had to laugh at one point when she came upstairs to tell me maths had been really hard. I was making all the right noises when she added that she had tummy ache. Now, I've heard this a million times, 999,999 of them connected with maths harder than one plus one. I suggested that it wasn't a great idea to try that one on again. Little minx actually giggled and said "No, I really have got tummy ache now. I'm not pretending. I do that with you but I wouldn't do it to Daddy!" Well, it's good to know where I stand in the scheme of things!

So it's been a good week. I've "kinda" got to grips with the writing for money malarky and know where I'm headed with that now, so it's been good for me too.

Today none of us got very much done, though, as it was dominated by The Bank. Frankly, it's been a bit of a day from hell. I mentioned that I wrote a long letter of complaint to Royal Bank of Scotland a fortnight ago. This week we had a holding letter back, making polite noises about investigating it and that it was a complicated matter but that we could expect to hear from them again in x amount of time. In the meantime, however, our beloved bank managed to artificially engineer a situation whereby they've taken £560 in fees from us in just THREE DAYS, and that's just unpaid item fees, it doesn't yet include excess overdraft fees and interest. Very, very long story. All this in just three days, because one item that actually for once *should* have been bounced (and for which were were fully prepared with a contingency plan from an alternative account) was allowed through, purely so that they could shove us into a massive overdraft and then refuse to pay any of the other numerous smaller items which we were confidently expecting to clear and which were too far into the system to stop. The inconsistency with which they are allowing items through or not allowing them through, with no apparent rhyme nor reason, has been a major factor in our cashflow problems and a major part of my detailed, itemised complaint. We can categorically prove that decisions they claim were policy one day didn't follow what happened another day, and there is a very clear, demonstrable pattern to show that their decisions have been based purely on maximising their own fees.

Oh yeah, and to top that a final demand arrived from a supplier. Fortunately, we were able to talk them round away from taking legal action against us, but ironically we did have the money due in next week to pay them - except that most of it will now be paying the bloody bank instead.

In the end we were left with no option but to take my Mum and Dad up on an extremely kind offer to lend us some money to cover this huge overdraft so that the account would start functioning again. The bank refused to consider an emergency overdraft extension, failed to return calls, failed to offer any kind of customer service whatsoever. My parents were able to do something (is it an expedited bank transfer?) that got the money from their account to ours same day (today). Had they not, the bank would have been quite deleriously happy to continue charging us well over £100 a day indefinitely. Money due into the account next week would have just been swallowed up by the fees in a vicious circle. I know we have financial difficulties (although in our opinion, our problems began with a major mistake by this bank which they admitted WAS a mistake) but we don't deserve to be treated like this. Banks are supposed to "help".

Anyway, suffice it to say that the emotional stress this latest incident has caused has been enormous. As far as we're concerned, and as Jon by phone and I in writing have made very clear, we believe they are acting not only unethically but also now illegally. Our complaints with this bank stretch back nine months and cover all kinds of crap behaviour and extorionate fees but this last three days they have incensed me so much that I am absolutely determined to wring from them a full apology and every single penny back. Of course they're not going to offer that, but we will go from them to the Banking Ombudsman via a solicitor and the small claims court if necessary. They are doing their very best to put this small family business OUT of business and it's a very long time since I've been so FURIOUS.


Mrs. Darling said...

Tink fakes tummy ache too.
Man what a huge bank mess! I feel your pain.

Nikki said...

Thank you, Mrs Darling. Maybe I'd better start faking illness with the bank, lol - although I'm sure they'd be quite happy to persue people to the grave and beyond.