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Bureau-crazy, Part 5

| Working | January 20, 2013

(My gran has just died, and I’m trying to book an international train ticket home so I can attend the funeral. Amazingly, both the train operator’s and my bank’s websites are down. The very helpful lady at the train operator’s call centre has put the ticket on hold for me, so I can call my bank and transfer money into my account to pay for it.)

Automated Machine: “Hello, welcome to [bank]. Please select a service.”

(I pick ‘Phone Banking’.)

Automated Machine: “Welcome to [bank] phone banking. Please say your account number.”

Me: *says account number*

Automated Machine: “Please say your full name.”

Me: *says name*

Automated Machine: “Please say your date of birth.”

Me: *says DOB*

(After about five minutes of this…)

Automated Machine: “I’m sorry, you are not registered for phone banking. Please select another service.”

(I swear loudly and pick ‘Talk to an adviser’.)

Operator #1: “Hello, this is [name]. How can I help you today?”

Me: “Hi, yes. I need to transfer some money, but your website is down. I wonder if you could do that for me?”

Operator #1: “Yes, that’s fine! Hang on and I’ll transfer you to our phone banking service.”

Me: “No, wait—”

Automated Machine: “Welcome to [bank] phone banking. Please say your account number.”

(I hit all sorts of buttons, say ‘back’ and ‘cancel’ and everything else I can think of, but can’t get back to the menu. So eventually, I give up and go through the whole process again, and finally get back to the menu and am put through to a different adviser.)

Operator #2: “Hello, this is [name] speaking. How can I help you today?”

Me: “Hi. I’m sorry about this, but I’m going to start with a disclaimer: Don’t put me through to phone banking. I’m not registered for phone banking, but I need to transfer some money urgently and your internet banking is down.”

Operator #2: “Of course, I can transfer the money for you.”

(We go through the process of transferring the money. This guy is very nice and helpful, and I’m beginning to think the whole thing might go down smoothly, when…)

Me: “And can you just confirm my balance for me, to check that the money’s available now? I’d hate to book this ticket and then find out I’m suddenly £200 in overdraft.”

Operator #2: “Yes, the money is available now. Your balance is [balance].”

Me: “Great, thanks!”

(I hang up, ring the train operator back, and book my ticket. What happens two weeks later? I STILL get a letter from the bank charging me fees for a £200 overdraft. Luckily, I had remembered the operator’s name, and eventually got them to cancel the fees!)