Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Bank

Overall, I am fairly satisfied with my bank.  I've been banking with them since I was 12, and I have only occasionally felt the need to call shenanigans.  Recently, one of those occasions came up.

I was just sitting down to dinner when my bank called to see if I was interested in increasing the limit on my line of credit.  I have this line of credit that I've never used, and I guess they want to tempt me to start borrowing so that they can squeeze some interest payments out of me.  I thought about it and decided that it wouldn't hurt to have a higher limit, just in case of an emergency, so I said let's go ahead.

Most of the process was accomplished during the initial phone call.  I answered a seemingly endless list of financial questions as my dinner congealed.  Finally I was told that the application was complete but for my signature.  I had to stop in at my local branch to sign a paper and that would be that.

I made an appointment for 7:00 pm on the following Thursday.  I arrived at the bank at 6:57 pm.  I checked in with a teller and was told to wait.  She came back a minute later and apologized that the investment adviser (from here on, "the i.a.") had just taken in a walk-in client and that she'd be with me in a few minutes.  There was no one else who could serve me.  So I had to wait for fifteen minutes, despite being on time for my appointment.  I was seriously annoyed.  Sitting around in a bank is boring and irritating, especially after a long day of work when I just wanted to go home and change into my comfy fleece pj's.  Not to mention that I rushed to get there on time. 

Finally the i.a. asked me to come into her office.  She apologized for the wait.  I didn't say so, but that apology was a day late and a dollar short.  Obviously she didn't care if she made me wait, or she wouldn't have made me wait.  Fine.  Whatevskers.  Let's just sign the papers and get this over with.

I was all ready to sign on the dotted line and walk out of there.  But not so fast.   She wanted to ask me some questions.  Some of these questions sounded very familiar.  After three or four, I said "I do believe I spent 45 minutes on the phone last week anwering all these questions.  Are you telling me that the call centre guy didn't record my answers or send them to you?  Because I'm not going through all that again."

Oh, well, just wait a minute, they might be here somewhere... *clickity click click*  After browsing around on her computer systems for long enough that I got lost in another train of thought, she found all the information that I had provided.  Way to be prepared for our meeting, lady.   Could you not have done that before I got here?  Was it really that hard to find the information?  How long have you been doing this job anyway?  Of course I didn't say any of that stuff.  I just wanted to get things done and get the heck out of there.

Finally she printed out a lot of papers with a lot of small print and asked me to sign them all.  I don't like to sign anything without reading it, and these things were like five pages long each of tiny print, all in confusing legalese.  I forced myself to focus on them.  It was horrible.  Nothing puts me in a bad mood like trying to figure out obscure legal clauses that might have been put there to trick me into agreeing to something I didn't mean to agree to.

I read them, or at least skimmed them to my satisfaction, and signed.  All done!  Except.  Nope.  I had been told that I had to bring proof of income, which I did.  My two most recent pay stubs.  Which apparently wasn't proof enough.  She wanted a copy of my last year's T4 (a Canadian tax form which states your pre-tax income).  Just send it to me, she said, and then everything will be finalized, honest and for true. 

So, I went home, and that weekend I set time aside to find my 2009 T4.  Which of course I could not find.  I couldn't find my 2009 tax package at all.  It wasn't in the storage locker with the other tax papers.  I searched high and low.  Then my husband searched high and low.  No luck.  It wasted a lot of time and we were both frustrated.  Obviously that wasn't the bank's fault.  Somehow I had managed to lose these important papers, which was vexing.

(Here is how well my brain is working lately.  Yesterday morning, I woke up, got out a glass for my orange juice and a bowl for my cereal, and put them on the counter.  Then I took the orange juice out of the fridge and poured it into the bowl.  I think I'm going stupid or something.  I drank the juice out of the bowl.  It was a demoralizing way to start the day.)

Anyway, after we gave up the search, I wrote an e-mail to the i.a. along these lines:

"I'm sorry to report that I cannot locate my 2009 T4.  However, as you have access to all the information in my checking account since 1984, I suggest that you simply take a look in there.  My employer, X, has been direct-depositing my pay into that account since 2002.  You can get much more detailed and accurate information about my income from looking at this year's direct deposits than by looking at last year's T4.  I hope this will be sufficient."

Guess what?  Turns out it was sufficient!  I got my credit line increase.  Which means that she never needed the T4 in the first place!  It was all a wild goose chase, making me jump through hoops because I can't guess why!  We wasted time and energy searching through our storage locker, which is cold and dim and in the nasty-smelling basement, for no good reason!  Right now, I hate my bank.

Oh, and by the way, I found my 2009 tax package.  It was in the folder with all my current tax stuff, stuck in there in such a way that it was indistinguishable from all of this year's paperwork.  I guess I never got around to bringing it down to the storage locker.  Well, that's not as bad as drinking orange juice out of a cereal bowl.


Jameil said...

I HATE inefficient, badly behaved customer service agents.

Jenski said...

I'll just ask a rhetorical question - why did she take a walk-in if she knew she had an appointment with you in five minutes?

Now don't go out and use up all that credit in one place!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Woo Hoo a new credit line!!! I'll send my Christmas List, which by the way was not fullfilled by Santa :-(, I'm sure you can buy most of what I want!!!!

DarcKnyt said...

Bully for you making yourself read the endless fine print. And what is it about retail people that they think there's no hard-fast appointments? Try showing up late for one though, and see how they respond.


kenju said...

I had to laugh (forgive me) about the orange juice. I have done something similar. I was working on taxes yesterday and I found that mr. kenju had put his 2009 taxes in the box that was clearly labeled 2010! He didn't believe he had done it and I had to show him. Good thing I found them before he wanted them again.

DarcsFalcon said...

The call center guy probably didn't notify her she had an appt, and if he did, she probably just deleted the email as being call center stuff. I'd hate them too. On the bonus side, you got your credit increase, you found your taxes, and only had 1 breakfast dish to wash instead of 2. :)

Silver linings, right? :)

G said...

Oh man, bank horror stories.

I do payroll for a living and you can probably imagine the grief I have to go through (and the grief I put banks through) whenever I got a wage verification form in.

You be amazed how pissed off the bank/mortgage company gets whenver I have to tell them I have to their precious form on the back burner while I take care of trying to create a paycheck for the other 500 people I do payroll for instead of satisfying your own personal needs and I think that this comment will make a great post on my blog for next week.

Thanks for the idea.

wigsf3 said...

Banks are evil. Do what I do, keep all your money in jar stashed away somewhere.

Sparkling Red said...

Jameil: Fortunately the majority of the customer service reps I've dealt with lately have been great. So, thumbs up to them.

Jenski: EXACTLY!!!
And don't worry - it's for emergency use only.

Ron: I'd like to see that list. Maybe Santa didn't feel comfortable packing some of those items in with all the innocent childrens' toys.

DarcKnyt: I was an English major, and I struggle to understand the wording of The Fine Print.

Kenju: You should've seen how much trouble I had trying to eat my oatmeal out of the juice glass. ;-)

DarcsFalcon: Maybe I'll start a trend with a special way of drinking OJ. It'll be classy, like drinking your brandy out of a snifter. You can swirl the OJ around and admire it before you drink it.

G: I look forward to reading your post!

wigsf: It's pretty tempting, but then you hear stories like: Some old lady kept all her money in cash in her mattress. When she fell and broke her hip, her daughter decided to surprise her with a new bed. The old mattress was trown to the curb, with the old lady's life savings inside it. Neither it nor the money was ever seen again.

LL Cool Joe said...

I'm not sure what's worse, walking into the doctor's, dentist or the bank.

Actually, a blood bank would be the worse. For me anyway.

Lulú said...

You have a lot more patience than I do, Chica...especially after a long, hard day at work! I'm glad you got your increase.

PS - I think next time you should add champagne to that orange juice before putting it in the bowl for a happy, well-balanced breakfast. ;)

Hevenly said...

What a pain. Didn't they at least offer to let you mail in a signature? I have a bank in England that lets me do that.