Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Where's the money, Lebowski?
About 6pm tonight the telephone rings. It's an American from Barclaycard. He asks me my name and he tells me he's from Barclaycard. I ask him for evidence of that. By way of reply he asks me for the year of my birth. Strange evidence in which I have to give him information. But I give it, because that's not giving away much. And it turns out he really is Mr Barclaycard. He's hard, fast and aggressive. He tells me I owe Barclaycard a middling three figure sum that was due yesterday. I don't quite believe I owe him since it is a matter of principle to pay everything on the nail. I've been with this bank for forty-one years and never had any trouble, always paid on the dot.
Nevertheless, he repeats it a little more impatiently and more aggressively, as in, Come out with it, you cheap chiseler, what have you done with it? I am beginning to resent this. I ask C what she knows about it. She hastily looks up the statement in her desk and says we've paid. I tell him we've paid. On line. He doesn't believe me.
C checks again online - all this takes about ten minutes because online is slow. Eventually we spot a mistake. She paid the sum owing on my card through her card. Five days ago. There is only a single number difference in our cards, and she is dealing with her father's estate and her sick mother, and I am dealing with my father's death and estate. The money has actually gone out of her account. Barclaycard have swallowed it, no questions asked.
Never mind that, we now owe Barclaycard a penalty of just short of £30.00. She has to use the credit on her card to pay for something she bought, and I have to pay out the figure plus the £30 and put up with the man's absurd rudeness. This is about 24 hours delay. He could have begun politely, like 'Do excuse me Mr S, sorry to bother you but...' but no. He's the bailiff with the shotgun.
Result: I write a letter straight to Barclaycard to say we are both leaving. No more credit cards from you. Thank you, Barclaycard, and no thank you. Thank you modern banking. Custom goes elsewhere.
Now I look down the pan again I think I see the money by the U-bend. In fact I'm sure its down there somewhere. Just push my head down once more and give me another look, would you?