So, about 5 months ago, I became a customer of HSBC. I did all the things you do, including, of course, providing them with proof that I am, in fact, me, and that I live in my house. (or at leas, have managed to steal my own drivers licence and bank statements)
Last week, I got a letter from their (Hah!) 'customer service' department. It was probably for me. It's a little hard to be sure. The letter was addressed to Mrs Margomusing, and I'm pretty sure I'd have noticed if I'd got married. It then started "Dear Sir", and I am ever surer that I'd have noticed that about myself.
It said that as I was a new customer they needed me to give them proof of my ID and address. You now, the stuff I gave them in May.
So, I phoned them. With what now looks like a niave but touching faith, I assumed that the sensible thing to do would be to call the bank, on the number on the letter they sent me, quoting the reference on that letter.
I did that.
It seems that merely being able to quote the reference on the letter sent to me, and to give them my name, address and date of birth was insufficient to allow them, to identify me or to allow them to explain why they were asking for documents they'd had for 4 months. We didn't get as far as thae part of the converstion where I got to ask what they had done with my documens and whether I should now expect a touch of Identity theft.
It seemed that my diabolical plan of calling them on the number they provided and giving the reference they's asked me to quote had entirely flommoxed and discombobulated the system, so (after an attemot on their part to make me go away and call a different department, which hasn't been writing to me at all, and which they admitte wouldn't be able to discuss anything with me without asking me security questions (which haven't been set up) they decided the best thing to do would be to put me through to a supervisor.
It might have been a good idea, too, if it weren't for the fact that after no more formalities tha giving my full name, address, dateof birth, reference, details of the product, branch and name of all my female ancestors back to the Fall, the supervisor was able to put me on hold, and, after dribbling dreadful muzak into my ears for 10 minutes cut me off.
It was probably just as well. After almost half an hour of alternating muzak and incompetance I might have been a bit rude if I'd ever got to speak to her again.
I was, I admit, not in tthe best of moods when I got a call from someone who introduced herself as being from HSBC, about an hour later.
However, my mood, if not my opinion of of the bank, improved when she explained why she was calling. She was calling from the local branch.
She told me that I shoud never have recieved the letter. She had, she explained, specifically told them NOT to send it.
She knew I had given them my ID. She knew this because she had copied it, twice, and sent it to head office.
She had Had Words with them.
She is going to have some more Words. And requested that if I (or Mrs Margomusings, or Mr Margomusing, or any variation of the same) should happen to get any more letters requeting ID, or body parts, or anything, that I kindly let her know, so that she could have More, and shorter Words with them.
I can't help wondering though, if they can't manage the filing, whether they can do the other stuff suh as putting the decimal point in the right place,and ensuring that 2+2 continues to come to 4.?