Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Alliance no more

What is it with banks in this country? Useless doesn't even begin to cover it. I've been using Alliance & Leicester for about seven years now (it feels like a lot longer, believe me) and without doubt, they've got worse, not better over time.

The final straw came when I misplaced / had stolen my debit card. I immediately phoned the bank. It took them about five minutes to answer the phone, and I was then on hold for a good 20 minutes. Hmmm. If my card had been stolen, I'm sure the perpetrator was having a high old time at my expense. A less than ideal situation. Finally, just before I die of old age, a chirpy call centre representative answers the phone. She's a helpful lady, providing she doesn't have to deviate from the obvious script she is following. We go through the rigmarole of cancelling my card. I then ask (and it's my own fault for not checking sooner) when I can expect my new debit card. "Seven to ten working days," is the response. SEVEN TO TEN WORKING DAYS - are you having a laugh? How am I supposed to get any cash in the meantime? Apparently, head down to my local A&L branch. Which is miles away. Brilliant. The only response from the now less than happy call centre lady is that it's in my terms and conditions and there's nothing else they are obliged to do.

This, combined with hefty fees for no apparent reason, an inability to link my accounts and the fact that it takes at least 15 minutes to get through on the phone (and then you have to deal with the automated droning rather than actually talk to another human being), has resulted in only one possible outcome - I am leaving the bank. I'm fairly sure that this will not single-handedly bring A&L (or Santander for that matter) to their knees, but enough is enough. I have reached my limit and can't take any more. Which then brings me to the next question. Which bank should I now opt for? That's still up for debate, but one thing's for sure: it won't be a hard act to follow.

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