Friday, October 03, 2008

National Express, my bank and Upper Crust - time for a Friday evening rant

It has been one of those evenings where too many things go wrong. Firstly, the National Express website crashed out on me just as I was about to get to the end of the process of buying a ticket.

Then I had to phone my bank about a query on my accound. It was one of those situations where bankers are their own worst enemy. I phoned the number on the back of my debit card. The automated voice asked for my account details, and then for my sort code. Then I was asked for the 2nd and 4th digit of my security number. What security number? Certainly not the number on the signature strip on my card. And my bank has never asked me to have a security number.

So I went onto the internet and checked out the bank's website. The number for all customer inquiries was the one I had just phoned. A search produced no other number. Back to the drawing board. Then I remembered phoning my bank from a number on the back of my card when I was in Thailand a few months ago. I therefore phoned that number (it was an international code and a London number so I simply phoned the London bit). Surprisingly I got through. I got the query about my account sorted so then raised the issue of the problem of needing a security number but not having been given any notice by the bank or any information about getting one.

The assistant on the phone was very helpful and explained that all customers can have a security number and having one made life so much easier as queries over the phone about one's account are handled so much quicker. She did such a good job of telling me how great having a security number was that I was gagging to be given one myself. No problem she said, all she had to do was transfer me to the appropriate division who would arrange for me to have the security number of my choice.

Excellent, I said, put me through! She did. I got put through to an automated message that asked me for my account number and sort code. It then asked me for, would you believe it, a membership number. I am not sure if the membership number is the same thing as the security number but since I have never been given a membership number by my bank, I wasn't able to go any futher. The automated voice said sorry but it did not recognose my silence as a number so I put down the phone, though what I then said is not repeatable here!

It is rather frustrating therefore trying to phone the bank but only being allowed to do so if you have a code number, but only able to get the number if you already have another number which the bank hadn't seen fit to provide me with in the first place.

I got to Kings Cross and went to a sandwich shop called Upper Crust. I asked for a sandwich that had no meat, cheese or fish in it. I was offered various sorts of cheese sandwiches but anything that is simply vegan is not available. I ended up with a cheese and tomato sandwich.

And finally, back to National Express. They put the cream on the things-will-go-wrong cake. Yet again they failed to provide me with the seat I reserved. I go for window airline forward facing seats. I found my reservation on a table seat. No use for taking my shoes off and stretching out.

Rant over. I'm now going to have a cup of tea at the cost of £1.45. Don't get me start on the price!

Sent via BlackBerry

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