Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gremlins and Gripes

My I-Pod froze today and it took me ages to find the online instructions I needed to unfreeze it. This left me musicless for a whole morning since I depend on the I-Pod for music in the car (via a nice little cassette adaptor), and in the house (via a dock).

I cancelled our cable subscription and we haven't paid anything since last April. But France Numericable are so pathetic and therefore so inundated with cancellations that they don't have time to come out and unhook everyone so we're still watching cable only for free. This means that we haven't been forced into finding an alternative which in turn means that when they do uncable us we will only have Broadband TV which is a tad unreliable (ie. it breaks up or freezes after anything between an hour and two days). The Rugby World Cup starts in 58 days. I sense much lamenting ahead.

During E's birthday party my Leica lens stuck in the out position and the camera froze. It's being repaired by a man who knows a man at the moment but I hope we get it back soon because I've been reduced to filling my Flickr account with scans of old photos. I've also worked out that the camera is actually still under guarantee but can't find the receipt anywhere.

It's raining. It's been raining for about ten years.

The insurance company has agreed to replaster our living room walls and replace our (now corrugated) flooring. But first we have to get the pipe under the wall fixed or replaced. But I can't find anyone to do it. Plumbers say it's not their line of work, having the rain water re-routed into the well in the garden would be possible but horrendously expensive, it seems that the garden isn't big enough for trenches under the lawn to soak up all the water........ God, I'm even boring myself now.

And while I'm a it, you know another thing that really annoys me? Banks buying up every available corner lot in every town in France and making every crossroads as boring as the next.

And while I'm on the subject of banks. I recently wrote a cheque drawn from my Bank of Scotland current account: an account which I have had for TWENTY-SEVEN years. I haven't been overdrawn for at least two decades but I slipped up and the cheque for £80 was going to mean that I would be overdrawn by about a tenner. They refused the cheque and guess how much they charged me? Go on guess.
THIRTY-NINE Pounds! Goodbye Bank of Scotland, it was nice knowing you.

And breathe.


Ms Mac said...

Banks, insurance and government mail are all industries of the devil. There's a load of hoopla on English telly at the moment about banks not being allowed to charge any more than the administrative costs involved in bouncing your cheques. I'm not sure about the difference in Scottish and English law but I'll bet if you kick up a stink you'll get your £39 back.

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened to me with National Westminster Bank in Sevenoaks .. for years I had been treated as someone special despite having a teeny weeny current account and for ONE day I was overdrawn for a piddling amount and they charged me 16 pounds (this was about 15 years ago)! I was so outraged that I threw an agreable fit in someone's office and they climbed down but our relationship has never been the same since.

And, yes, banks and Estate agents are all that will remain soon in town and country, sad, isn't it.

Even sadder is the fact that one can no longer speak to anyone personally but I better not go into a rant. I'm so glad I remember a more civilized era and remember my parents' even more civilized era sans parler des grandparents.

I changed my mind about saying goodbye to France Telecom and getting a freebox for my Dad ... not as easy as it sounds. I have learnt a new word 'rétractation' which is when you can't 'rsésilier' because the whole thing is not yet underway. More gripe,
Cheers to all (not raining at this precise moment).

Lesley said...

MsMac: I'm going to try writing a letter but even if they reimburse me I'm going to open an account at the nationwide this summer. Apparently they don't charge for cash withdrawals abroad.

Deborah: I remember Dominique telling me that he thought the most convenient thing would be to have an arrangement whereby your brother-in-law paid all expenses when you were in England and vice versa. Seems a most civilised approach to me and cuts the greedy banks out of transnational dealings.(Pity your b.i.l wasn't civilised enough to agree).

Neil said...

Address your letter to Andy Hornby, The Mound, Edinburgh. Seriously, far more chance of getting a positive response than sending to a branch... not that I work for them or anything...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lesley, I was charged for being overdrawn on a similar account just a few weeks ago. I phoned up and created hell and had the charge reimbursed.
Regarding Ms Mac's comment on banks paying back disproportionate bank charges have a look at Apparently banks are paying back megasquillions.
Bank of Scotland is totally useless and has nothing to do with Scotland anymore. Not since being gobbled up by The Halifax. Our local branch is so stupid they don't actually know what country their bank is in. They actually tried using ENGLAND football team merchandise as an incentive to open an account with them, incredible!
If you can't find the receipt for your malfunctioning camera try t+c of your credit card (assuming you used one for purchase) many credit cards offer guarantee etc on goods purchased.

meredic said...

I thought the brave new world of digital TV was meant to clear the picture for everyone. Your problem seems to be exactly the same as mine. At random times during the day my picture breaks up and is unwatchable. I thought it was the tide in Liverpool bay.
Give the bank a flea in their ear and you will probably get it back.

herschelian said...

I had similar situation to you a few months ago, and did what ronnie suggests - I phoned up and gave them merry hell, got the money back. Greedy buggers the lot of them. Makes a mockery of the Chance card when playing Monopoly - there are NEVER Bank Errors in Your Favour any more, all errors are in their favour.

Lesley said...

Thanks everyone.

Neil, I'll try Andy first. (I did google him just to make sure he wasn't the janitor though)

Anonymous said...

I work for another High Street Bank (dont be a h8ter!) Not sure about HBOS but we have a (kind of)policy that we can refund the first charge you receive once each 12 months, but only if you ask. This is a power that "ordinary" people on the phones have, you dont have to ask for a Manager even, we also have Charge Specialists who have more discretion for good customers and first time charges. Sorry to be anon. not sure I should be disclosing this!


Being confined indoors most of the day, just the four of us, is reminding me of the days when my children were wee and most of our weekends ...