Business response

Recently I’ve had a change of credit card. I’ve had a new card, and a new pin. Not because I wanted it, but because one bank bought part of another bank, and my card transferred to another supplier.

As a result of this, I had some queries, which I sent to my old bank. I messaged them several times very near to the transfer date, through their online secure message system, and each time, they replied within 4 hours – in plain English, with the tone similar to the one I had used to contact them. I contacted them via their online system, so they replied via their online system. Well done them, especially considering they were probably receiving lots of questions from other customers about what happens to their direct debits after the changeover, or whatever.

Since the change to the new supplier, I’ve had some issues. The pin number came sealed between two bits of paper, and covered in some sort of silver, which you have to scratch off. Maybe I’m heavy-handed, but when I scratched it off, I could barely see anything under there. In the right light, I thought I’d narrowed it down to one of two pin numbers. I tried both, and then attempted to change it to something more memorable at a cashpoint, and both times it failed. It didn’t tell me why, just to contact the card issuer. So am I even entering the right number?

I asked for a second opinion from my housemate (as I was going to change it anyway), and they thought it was the same thing I thought it was. I went back to the cashpoint and gave it another go. No – I still can’t change it.

So I contacted the issuer of the new card via their own secure messaging system thing. I made a little complaint about the difficulty I had in reading the pin number, and asked if there was any way I could view it anywhere on their website, or even a way that the cashpoint could confirm whether I was entering the right one or not. Also, was there any reason I might not be able to change it (maybe my chosen number was too simple, or it couldn’t be changed in the first 2 weeks of ownership, or it couldn’t be changed before a purchase had been made, etc.?) A simple yes or no to these questions would have sufficed.

This company likes to email. They sent me an email when I bought something online with the card (doesn’t require the pin, you see), another when I first logged into my account online. Seemingly not as a security measure – just to say hello, and tell me about all their new features.

So when I messaged them through their secure messaging system, I expected them to reply via the same method. However, what I got was a generic email saying they were busy and they’d respond within 24 hours usually, but due to a high volume of messages, it might take them 3 working days. Given the size of this organisation, 3 working days is a piss-poor response time. The day after (1 working day) I got a phone call. I got two actually – one when I was driving and couldn’t answer, and another when I was rushing to get somewhere and couldn’t answer. Both times, they left a message of who it was and why they were calling, but withheld the number and didn’t give me one to call them back on. I don’t particularly want to speak to them anyway, which is why I messaged them in the first place – but that’s not really helpful, is it?

Another day later, I got an email from them. Maybe this is in response to what I asked them initially? Nope. It’s an apology. It tells me my complaint has been escalated to a different team, all about the aforementioned team, and that I’ll receive a written or verbal acknowledgement of my complaint within 7 working days. Still no answer to my actual question, then? I’m not 100% sure anyone has even read it yet.

What a difference though, between two organisations in the same sector, offering similar products.

I gave in and requested a new pin this morning. It’ll be with me in “7 working days”. FFS!

Update 28/11/11

Over the last few days, I’ve received emails after emails, including one which confirmed that my account had been locked as I’d entered the wrong pin number (which they obviously didn’t bother to tell me until I complained about the pin number problem). They told me that they had unlocked my account, and sent me a new pin number as per my request, but not to use my account until I get it, or it might get locked again.

My pin number arrived with my post this afternoon, I’ve just scratched off the panel, placed the letter on a white background, and guess what! It’s exactly the same number as I thought the last one, was.

Isn’t that odd? You’d think requesting a new pin number, would result in a different number. Surely they issue random numbers to everyone who requests it? If they do, what are the chances I get the same number? (1 in 9999, presumably). If they don’t issue new numbers, why did they tell me not to use the account until the pin arrived?

I’m pretty sure this is the first number I tried originally, (as it looks like the pin number on the other letter, that I’ve not got around to shredding yet) but I suppose I’d better give it a go at changing it in the cashpoint again and see if that works (as I have, and I told the card provider I had, asked others their opinion of “what do you think that says?”)

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