Leda Writes for Fintech Futures: a banker goes a-banking - Part 4.

Dr Leda Glyptis 11:FS Foundry CEO
5min read

Every Thursday, Leda Glyptis, 11:FS Chief of Staff creates #LedaWrites. This week she returns to her adventures in the land of appalling customer care.

In the space of one week, I had:

HSBC refusing to accept the form of ID I have used every other time I needed to transact. Then refusing to acknowledge my signature because it looked “slightly wobblier”. Then telling me that if I need cash I need to apply for it. Then giving me a brand new form never seen before.

Then wondering why I am annoyed.

NPower culminating five months of weird correspondence in an email that said they know I used to be their customer, they know my tenants used to be their customer, they know I have made 17 attempts to move the account back to my name since the tenants moved out but they can’t find the meter so they will lock it (although they can’t find it) until I provide a copy of the tenancy agreement which they are not allowed to have (GDPR anyone?).

But that does not contain the information they want and which doesn’t solve the problem which is not a dispute over the date I moved in but their ability to tie the meter (which for some reason they think is in Leeds) to the billing address (which we agree is in London).

Fun facts.

Both issues started inching towards resolution when I tweeted about them (hence why I am naming both suppliers here: the cat is out of the bag). Letters, calls, emails and following due process meant endless hours of waiting, being treated like a nuisance and being told that no help could be offered: I would have to suck it up, pay a fee for the things NPower couldn’t do, suffer a delay for the things HSBC wouldn’t do. Come back. Call back. Start from scratch.

I don’t care how complicated it is. It is fixable. I don’t care how expensive it is. You can afford it

But a single tweet and all of a sudden the meter is located and the relevant team at HSBC is offering to call me if I can authenticate who I am via a system I have never seen before.

Because that is what you need, HSBC, more variation in your process.

Just move to British Gas, was a friend’s advice.

I can explain why we have those problems, said a former HSBC insider.

That’s not the point.

But the reason I am writing about it (other than it is cathartic) is that my experiences are typical and representative.

Who I am is neither typical nor representative and if issue resolution needs you to be a loud industry voice with friends who can cause extremely uncomfortable publicity then you are selling people’s grandmother’s short and I cannot have that. I just cannot have that.

But how many consumers feel confident to say no to the requests of a large corporate?

How many people know enough to say to NPower this would violate GDPR provisions? How many people know enough to challenge the HSBC employee on their KYC record keeping and due process?

Not many.

So intimidation works. And it becomes more than a tactic: it becomes a default reflex. And that is insidious and unacceptable.

Someone without the entitlement of knowledge, an education, terrifying vocabulary and an inside knowledge of the European data protection legislative framework as well as excruciating detail on regulatory binds for banks, without all this, you are an insignificant dot in a massive landscape and the corporate service providers make sure you know it.

And that’s not ok.

I don’t care how complicated it is. It is fixable.

I don’t care how expensive it is. You can afford it.

Read the whole story at Fintech Futures.