Barclays – utter shite

In the post today to the cunts at Barclays:

Dear customer service people,

With immediate effect can you please close the above listed account. Since opening it, Barclays have proven themselves to be the most pathetic, useless, unreliable, mistake-ridden excuse for a banking organisation I have ever had the severe misfortune to deal with. In fact, I’m rather loathe to use the word “organisation” simply as it implies an ability to organise – something it’s been categorically demonstrated that your business lacks.

When I first signed up for the account, I was sent a letter telling me what items to expect in the post. Among these were a debit/cash card and a PIN. After two weeks, these had not arrived and obviously I was somewhat worried as I’d transferred £1000 into the account and didn’t want someone else withdrawing the cash. I called your help centre and was told to contact the branch I’d signed up with. This was rather difficult as I’d signed up online – something I thought would have been on my record. I was then told that the account I’d signed up for didn’t include a cashcard so I shouldn’t have been expecting one. Great start.

After a while, I deposited another £1000 and was shortly expecting the £100 “incentive” to be credited to my account. It never was, at least not until I chased this matter. At which point it was credited twice and then one of these debited again. It was during this fiasco that I realised that despite two requests to do so, you’d failed to change my home address when I moved from Bradford to Perth. I was awaiting a letter which had arrived some 300+ miles away to an empty house.

I am currently on an extended holiday and needed quick access to the money in the account. As you’d not seen fit to provide me with a debit card, I had to move the money electronically to another account. At this point, your online banking software decided to lock me out. I could only apply for new login details by providing my cashcard number. Which you’d not seen fit to give me. The only phone number given to contact online banking is a local rate number which cannot be called from outside the UK so I had to ask my mother to contact you on my behalf. All this succeeded in doing was getting me sent another arsey letter telling me I shouldn’t have given her my online banking details. If you’d actually thought about the people who use online banking (i.e. Those who travel) you may have given provision for people to contact you when they had problems with it.

After digging through the huge list of contact numbers online I found one number I could call – the number for lost credit cards. I rang that – though I could not reverse the charges as I was in Vietnam at the time. Non-Vietnamese citizens cannot legally make reverse-charge calls out of the country. The call got me passed through to Barclays banking staff and then got me exactly nowhere (what a surprise) and I was left with £2100 in a bank account which I couldn’t access. The staff were utterly unhelpful, simply asking me for a telephone banking password which I didn’t have as I had never signed up for it, choosing to rely on the internet banking.

The only way to re-enable everything was to get a new internet banking code and/or a telephone banking passcode. These would be sent to my home address. Which you still had listed as Bradford and refused to change without me providing a telephone banking passcode that I didn’t have. Can we spot the problem here? Don’t forget that I had on two previous occasions asked for my address to be changed, and had been told by one gentleman on the phone before I left the UK that this had indeed been done.

By this time I was in New Zealand, and made another two telephone calls to try and straighten this out. I was eventually told that to change my address I would have to send a written letter. As a bonus, I could ask for my cash to be transferred on the same letter and this would be done. I duly sent this letter and waited. And waited. And waited.

After 3 weeks, I called Barclays again (at huge expense) and they confirmed that my address had been changed, but that they had no record of any transfer of funds being requested. I instead organised a transfer out of a savings account as I was desperate for money. As a result, I lost interest on these savings. On the same day as the money arrived from my savings account, the funds I’d requested moved by yourselves arrived in my Lloyds account. In other words, the transfer request had been received, acted on and yet nobody at your end knew a damn thing about it.

In total, I reckon I’m upwards of £50 out of pocket in lost interest, international phone calls and airmail as a result of dealing with your completely amateur “bank”. My mother’s been run ragged trying to contact you from the UK and been stonewalled everywhere despite having complete Power of Attorney over all my financial matters – something I was told would take up to a month to register with yourselves and involve two personal visits to a Barclays branch – a 60 mile round trip each time.

Frankly in future, I’d feel safer shoving ten pound notes in a shoe box and carrying it around with me. I simply cannot put into words how utterly dreadful I feel you have been in dealing with the simplest things. Your lack of forethought for potential problems is staggering, your uncaring attitude to a customer with problems belies belief and your inability to perform the simplest of tasks such as change an address… well, words fail me.

I would not hesitate to recommend your company as a bank to anyone I truly loathed and who I’d like to see tearing their hair out. I’d certainly not recommend you to friends – I’d like to keep them. A complete record of my problems and your failure to get anything done about them has been published on the internet. Do a search for “Worst company ever” or “still shite” and “Barclays” and you should find it.

Best of luck finding more gullible fools to fill your coffers. If there was any justice in the world you’d go broke before the end of the financial year and spare any future customers the misery and panic I’ve gone through in the last few months.

Yours in utter disgust,

etc.

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You’ll believe a man can fly

Superman Returns flyer
Superman Returns flyer

When did the first Superman film come out? 1979 or thereabouts? I seem to recall being 6 or 7, running round the playground with my jacket buttoned round the neck like a cape, arm in front of me. Those days flooded back this afternoon when we saw Superman Returns on the IMAX screen in Auckland.

Yup. Superman. On IMAX. In 3D (partially). With crappy sound, but hey – you can’t have everything.

The tickets were $20, around £6.50. This is how much a cinema ticket goes for in the UK anyway, and only a two quid more than the price of a regular matinée ticket here. Worth every penny.

Things have been great recently for superhero films. Three superb X-Men outings, Batman Begins getting us back on track after Joel Schumaker’s utter abortions, Spiderman throwing away all memories of Mark Hammond’s straight-to-TV nonsense of the 70’s, and now this. Absolutely superb.

The WB logo fades out with a little twiddle at the end that tweaks the memory. Then the music starts up. Short bursts like the opening chords of the Jaws theme. Then the full flurry of that wonderful theme music, the overture that anyone aged 30 or over should be hugely familiar with. The hairs literally stood up on the back of my neck.

The director is Bryan Singer who did the first two recent X-Men films (coincidentally, the guy who was originally listed to do Supes ended up doing X:3) and it shows in the scripting and vision. The effects are utterly wonderful, but what shines through is the story. Anyone who is familiar with the original trilogy (let’s ignore Quest For Peace and pretend it never happened) will feel right at home with the little references. Kevin Spacey steps perfectly into Gene Hackman‘s shoes as Lex Luthor – manic, scary, sneaky. The play between him and his henchwoman perfectly mimics that of the original The Movie. The other henchmen hardly say a word and wear black. More reminiscent of The Penguin’s hoods from the old Batman TV series, but they just work.

As for the new Superman… spot on. He really looks like a young Christopher Reeves. The little smiles, the raised eyebrows, the way he stutters around Lois when posing as Clark. Brilliant. No, I can’t remember his name as I type this up but then, nobody had heard of CR when he took the role all those years ago. As another bonus, the makers have seen fit to update the costume only slightly – it’s more of a Spiderman-like update than a Batman one.

Louise & Clark and Smallville along with the comics themselves have had a big hand in turning Superman into a soap opera over the last 20 or so years. There’s enough backstory and twists in Returns to let them do the same on the cinema screen. I for one and waiting for the next one. There’s no doubting it’s in the pipeline already and I only hope it’s as good as this.

Oh, if any of you out there have children who haven’t yet seen the original films then for crying out loud, get them sat in front of the DVDs immediately. Then take them to see this. It’s the best excuse you’ll have. I don’t need such an excuse. I’m a big kid and everyone knows it!

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Bollocks, have you

“I proved critics wrong – Beckham” screams the headline of the BBC article. “Shite” I scream back in reply.

Beckham’s been fucking useless this tournament. Come on, he takes every single free kick that has a chance of going goalwards. I’d make a guess that this tops 30 dead-ball shots he’s had in 4 games. Out of all those, he’s had two or three on target. Two of these have gone in, one via an unlucky defender.

There are loads of players with a better record than that, and many more who at least would have got the ball closer than many of Beckham’s squandered efforts.

Let’s face it, with the exception of the Sweden game – the only one we’ve not won – England have been crap so far. Either it takes decent oppositon for us to wake up as a team, or we were lucky that day not to get hammered.

The way I see it, unless we buck our ideas up and stop winning by narrow 1-goal margins we will get humiliated by the first decent team we face. As it stands, we’re lucky that Portugal have lost two players to red cards. Aside from that, and based on their performances, they’d shit on us from a great height next weekend.

I really hope I’m wrong. I want my country to win the World Cup as much as anyone. But Beckham needs to get himself in gear and concentrate more on his football and less on what we think of him. One lucky strike in a game we should have strolled through is not “answering the critics”. If anything, it asks more questions.

Oh, and his wife’s still a fucking minger. I wonder… if you got her and Cheryl Tweedy (who she was sat next to) and put them on some scales if they’d together weigh as much as a normal, healthy person?

Going… going…

Got this mail from Dean, who owns the house next door:

“I thought I’d let you know, I have officially requested that the tenancy
agreement for No.17 not to be extended. I’ve been told that they will be
leaving within 2 months.

That’s before I heard about the Police visit!

Sorry again for the trouble it’s caused, I will be selling as soon as
it’s empty.”

So – relief, in the first instance. Then infuriation, then mystery.

Relief: the cunt’s going. Thank FUCK.

Infuriation: why couldn’t Dean have terminated the agreement earlier? Like a year ago? Hence I’m not that really appeased by the apology. If he was that concerned, the matter could (and should) have been nipped inthe bud a long time ago.

Mystery: what police visit? I had them round to see him at least once maybe a year ago, but I’m not awar eof anything since then. I’ve asked Dean and I’m interested in the reply.

Oh, speaking to Steve a while ago it turns out that the neighbour backing onto cuntboy had been around. He was asking Steve if he knew about the noise and so on. Since I moved out, it’s got worse and has been louder, longer and more frequent at all hours of the day and night. And he’s been chucking his beer cans and stuff over the fence into the guy’s garden.

Needless to say, said chap popping round made no difference. Well, the cunt’s gone soon. I only have the deepest sympathies for whatever poor bastards he ends up next to when he moves. I hope they turn out to be bikers with a short temper and a large collection of power tools.

Worst Company Ever

Yup, even worse than the Post Office (at least it’s free to ring or write them to complain). Yes, folks, it’s Barclays again.

In our last exciting installment, we left our hero stranded in New Zealand with virtually fuck all cash. He had been requested to send a letter to get his address changed and to have money transferred to another account, which he duly did.

Lo and fucking behold… they bolloxed it up again.

Over two weeks on and no money in my Lloyds account, where it should have been transferred to. Thankfully, I’ve just installed Skype, so calling them this evening didn’t cost so much. This is a good thing.

I rang the credit card loss line as it’s the only number with a proper dialling code (I know, this isn’t a problem with Skype – force of habit). I explained to the girl I didn’t have a card or anything and I needed to speak to someone about my current account. She put me through to telephone banking that asks me to key in my card number or telephone banking passcode.

I hung up and retried.

The second muppet put me through to customer services after 7 minutes of hold music. There I found out that my address details had been changed (yay). But that the money hadn’t been moved. So they definitely got the request as it was on the same side of the same sheet of paper, and then they utterly failed to action it.

This has left me up Shit Creek without the money for a paddle. Or more precisely, I’ve got a camper van to hire in 2 days and not enough money in my bank to pay for it.

Useless Bird put me through to the Customer Relations department (15 minutes on the phone and counting), where another girl proved to be as useless as everyone else. After explaining everything to the vacious tart, it took two requests for an address to write a complaint to for her to give me one. She also asked what number she could call me back on. Hello?

I told her to call my mother who has Power of Attorney. But she’s not linked to the account. Of course not. She’s my mother, not my spouse, and I don’t live in Hicksville, South Carolina (or Invercargill, south NZ to be topical) so she wouldn’t be. Fuck’s sake.

I got the number of her department off her and was told to call back. OK, so she apologised umpteen times for my situatoin and how much it was costing me to call but – really – you could tell she didn’t give a fuck.

Of course, there’ll be a letter heading their way shortly (I’ll copy it up here) but it won’t do any good as it’s obvious I’m moving my money away to close my account down.

Barclays. Cunts. Stupid, useless, thumb-up-arse cunts. All of them. Shite. Avoid, avoid, avoid. I’d be grateful if as many people as possible could link to this article using the word “Barclays” so it rockets up Google.