Sunday, July 15, 2012

I'm a bit rusty

 But here they are:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to come out, Standard Bank screws up AGAIN

I thought I was footloose and fancy free after closing my very last accounts with Standard Bank last week. I was wrong. 

Having already closed my new cheque and credit accounts (see previous posts) and gotten my new FNB accounts up and running, I could finally close my old E-plan account as well as my revolving loan with Standard Bank. Big sigh of relief.

I went to the "newly refurbished", "upgraded" Standard Bank branch at Windermer Centre. And by "upgraded" they actually mean "downgraded" as you now have to walk a block from the shopping centre branch to see a consultant at a building "across the street" because they no longer have consultants at the centre branch - and no cashiers at the consultant building. Yes, banking with Standard Bank is now even more inconvenient than ever before, and I bet you didn't think that was possible. 

I met with consultant Shireen, to close my accounts. As requested, I transferred out what money was still in my account and was told, "your accounts are now closed" while she looked at my ID and shuffled around a few papers. Er... just like that? I asked her if I needed to sign anything and she said, no. I asked her if she needed to give me any proof and she said, no. I asked her (quite befuddled) if I would receive something in the post to confirm the accounts closed, and she paused and said, yes. She also said she would post me a cheque for the rands and cents that I could not withdraw/transfer. It wasn't very convincing but anyway, I left there mildly satisfied that I was rid of Standard Distaster once and for all.

Then today I thought, hang on, let me just double check. And true as Bob, I log in to internet banking and there my accounts are, both spritely and active as the day they were born; quietly awaiting the next onslaught of bank charges to be debited off them, unbeknownst to me, who years later gets blacklisted and jailed for the astronomical debt in bank fees that has steadily been accumulating....because... MY ACCOUNTS WERE NEVER CLOSED!

I think I aged about 10 years right there and then.

So I went to lunch with a friend to calm down. And then I went back to the branch (oh joy) where I promptly exploded at the poor lady who tried to put me at number 5 on the waiting list to see a consultant. She subsequently looked me up herself and reported that there was "no record of me closing my account last week". Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And Shireen was not there to explain herself. So basically Shireen had done NOTHING while I sat in front of her last week. Zip. Zilch. And then on top of that, she lied to my face by saying I did not have to sign anything. Today I had to sign stuff! Important stuff that said "closure of account" on top. Stuff that I was expecting to sign last week. But no. Perhaps Shireen had plans of her own for my revolving credit of R22 000....!

As you can probably tell, I am angry. And shocked. I am seriously shocked. Besides the fact that Standard Bank has just been one disaster after another; that she could have just sat there and spoken such absolute bull straight to my face, still shocks me. That she could have left my accounts open to accrue countless bank fees for ever and eternity on, without my knowledge, shocks me. It probably shouldn't. But it does. That she could've said straight to my face that my accounts were closed and I needed no proof nor to sign anything, makes me wonder why she hasn't been fired yet. Or at least demoted. And perhaps I will see to it that she is.

I will be reporting her to her superior tomorrow (when I have calmed down some more) and I will follow up to see what measures have been taken. That woman should not be working in a bank. Full stop.

The reception lady that did help me in the end (someone promote her please), then called me downstairs so they could issue me with a cheque for the R13.10 that was owed to me. A cheque, because they don't have a cashier. For thirteen rand. Really? And so that I can walk to the building a block away and stand in a queue for 45 minutes to cash my thirteen rand? Why, oh why, oh why?!!! Do they not have a cashier?! 

I told her to keep it. There are places I would've liked to tell her to put it. But she was the only person helping me. So I didn't.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Banking update

This follows on from my earlier post titled 'Should I open a Standard Bank Account? No you should not'.

I know you were all on the edge of your seats waiting to hear how it turned out, so here's a little update:

I did go back to the bank the following day to close my new accounts. But first I emailed the branch supervisor, Moira and directed her to my blog post. So when I arrived at the bank, Moira was expecting me and met with me herself (I did have to wait 35 minutes first though). To her credit, Moira was professional, to the point, and quite understanding of why I was upset. She got all the details from me, made a copy of the other person's statement that I had received in the post, and has since escalated it to a higher level. She helped me close my accounts, and even went as far as having all charges, including the R1240 initiation fee, credited back into my account. Turns out the initiation fee is a percentage of your total loan amount. I took a loan that was double what I really needed 'just in case', which meant I would've paid double the initiation fee. I still think it's a bit off-sides that Koovi, knowing I was only going to activate half the loan amount and only needed half, didn't tell me that I would be paying extra for that 'in case' amount! Thankfully, Moira sorted that out.

She also told me that there was currently a bad batch of new Standard Bank cards and that quite a few people had cards that weren't working. Two people came into the bank with the card complaint while I was there, and I saw a few complaints about it on the Standard Bank facebook page as well. Strangely enough, the rest of Standard Bank's staff did not seem to know about this bad batch of cards - they had insisted I had made a mistake with my pin, and even on the Facebook page, nobody was telling people about the problem or what they should do if they they had one of the bad cards. Surely it's not that hard to make an internal announcement, and post something on the website or FB page for their customers, or send an sms warning people? I read one post about a lady who had filled her tank and was stuck at the petrol station not being able to pay... and had to wait a few hours for someone to come and rescue her!! I'll bet she's loving Stranded Bank right now.

Anyway, all that aside, Moira was great, and kudos to her for saving a little of the bank's dignity. I have however, opened my accounts with FNB since then... and I haven't had to go into a bank once!  Things have gone pretty smoothly. I have loads of control over my accounts on-line (which were automatically linked for me), I can set my own limits on-line,  and I even have someone I can email directly should I have any problems or questions. What took about 5 hours of my life with Standard Bank has taken me probably one hour to do with FNB (if I add up all the time I've spent filling in forms, scanning, uploading, going on-line, activating things by phone, etc) but more importantly - I have felt looked after! They have gone above and beyond expectations already. For example - you email them the debit orders you want transferred to your new account and they not only take care of it for you but they also follow up and phone you when they can't, and then help you as far as possible: My medical aid would not transfer my debit order without my permission, so FNB phoned, told me I had to contact my medical aid myself to do it, and then, wait for it... gave me the exact number and email address to use to contact them. That's 5 minutes less hassle for me. And I appreciate it! My only worry now is that Standard Bank may have stuffed all that up, because just the other day I got an sms from SB saying they had successfully transferred my debit orders to my new Standard Bank account. Huh? But that account was closed like 2 weeks ago?! And FNB had already transferred my debit orders. So we'll wait and see.

In the meantime, I'm quite excited about trying the FNB app.  Oh! And! They are actually going to save me a bit of money in the long run, with their much lower interest rate (9.9%) on their Balance Transfer option for consolidating your debts. Happiness.

Some people say banks are all the same, but I don't.