Bank’s deal­ing with my call so pa­tro­n­is­ing


EARLY IN De­cem­ber there was a news report in the na­tional news­pa­pers about a new scam at Au­to­matic Teller Machines. A gen­uine cus­tomer would go to the ATM, place their card in the ma­chine, re­quest a sum of money , noth­ing hap­pens and then out pops your card.

As soon as the cus­tomer moves away from the ma­chine the trick­ster comes to the ma­chine and man­ages to re­move the sum of money that the gen­uine cus­tomer had re­quested. The trick­ster had ear­lier placed some sort of de­vice in the ma­chine which pro­hibits money leav­ing the ATM.

The news­pa­per report, quot­ing the Garda, warned cus­tomers to re­main at the ma­chine and tele­phone their bank while still stand­ing at the ATM. That ad­vice seemed clear and sen­si­ble

On Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 20 at 14.26 I went along to my bank’s ATM out­side their Cam­den Street branch. .

I was in some­what of a rush and needed cash in my pocket. I took the usual pre­cau­tion, cov­er­ing the pad as I punched in my num­bers. I re­quested €40. No money is spit­ted out but my card is re­turned to me.

I im­me­di­ately re­call what I read in the news­pa­per and called; the bank’s num­ber, which is printed on the re­verse side of my bank card.

I was ner­vous and cer­tainly felt in a vul­ner­a­ble po­si­tion. The last thing I was go­ing to do was move away from the ma­chine. I asked the per­son with whom I was speak­ing if she would con­tact some­one in­side the branch and ask them if they would come out to as­sist me.

My sug­ges­tions was dis­missed and dis­missed in the most pa­tro­n­is­ing way pos­si­ble. I ex­plained to cus­tomer ser­vices on the tele­phone that I had read a report in the na­tional press, which warned peo­ple not to leave the ma­chine. Again I was dis­missed.

I spent over six min­utes on the tele­phone, which cost me €1.72. I had no choice but to go into the bank and ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion, all the time wor­ried that I was vic­tim of a scam.

A friendly and help­ful mem­ber of staff ex­plained to me that the ma­chine was new and was caus­ing teething prob­lems.

I did tell them about the story I had read in the news­pa­per and sug­gested that they should have some sort of no­tice on the ma­chine screen ex­plain­ing the sit­u­a­tion. But not a word on the screen.

I was an­gry not be­cause the ma­chine had failed but be­cause of the pa­tro­n­is­ing and dis­mis­sive way I was treated by on the tele­phone by Bank of Ire­land.

Later that day I re­ported the in­ci­dent to the bank. I was told I'b be con­tacted within five work­ing days. So far I have re­ceived no call. MY BANK is cur­rently run­ning a catchy ad­vert on tele­vi­sion usu­ing the words ‘com­mit­ment’ and ‘guid­ance’. Well, let me as­sure you the last thing the bank did for me that day was of­fer me guid­ance or com­mit­ment.

It's the gap be­tween that ad­vert and the ex­pe­ri­ence I had some days ear­lier that I find so an­noy­ing. And it is a phe­nom­e­non that ex­ists right across our so­ci­ety at ev­ery level - the words of spoof and ap­pear­ance and then the re­al­ity, which is some­thing al­to­gether dif­fer­ent.

I have been a cus­tomer of my bank for many years. I have never been in dis­pute with them and gen­er­ally they have treated me well. But I am find­ing more and more when con­tact­ing cus­tomer ser­vices of any of the fa­cil­i­ties we use, it can be te­dious and frus­trat­ing, in­deed night­mar­ish.

And right now I'd ex­pect the banks, above all, to be that lit­tle bit chas­tened and maybe even hum­ble in their deal­ings with their cus­tomers.

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