Sunday, February 1, 2009

REHEATING A STEW OF BEEFS

Some Gripes Never Change

Readers used to envy me when I devoted a column to beefs and what bugged me about the careless service of modern times.
So when I vented on Jan. 8, 2009, in a blog titled DOES ANYONE CARE? IS THERE ANYONE THERE? I'm sure there was some envy about how a little publicity could erase some gripes out of daily life.
If only....
My newspapers now seem to be thrown further from the door. And TIME magazine, one of my favourite reads, hasn't appeared with my mail since I complained about not getting the watch for subscribing again.
My son Mark tried two more times to convert some Chinese money and deposit it into his Royal Bank account. He also tried at TD. Finally got RBC to take the money, on the fourth try, and then got a phone call of apology from the manager the next day. Nice, but he would have preferred to have been able to change the money on the first try.
My wife Mary and I have been banking near Royal York and Bloor for 46 years. The building and the name keep changing - from Eastern and Permanent through Canada Permanent to Canada Trust to TD-Canada Trust. We've got older, the tellers have got younger, the service has got worse.
I did two electronic transfers to ING from our joint TD chequing account in November, one to Mary's account, one to mine. For some strange reason, my ETF didn't go through and Mary's was taken from her separate chequing account, leaving her overdrawn by $3,500.
My wife seldom uses this account but had told them she wanted money automatically transferred from her savings account if need be. Apparently they haven't done this since 2002 and Canada Trust days, but no one told Mary that.
So TD honoured this ETF, because she had overdraft insurance, but then proceeded to charge Mary $150 in fees since then without ever telling her. And she had been in the bank at least eight times in the two months since. Temporarily, there was $30,000 in her savings account. If you wonder how she wouldn't notice, she doesn't use either the chequing or the savings account on a regular basis but uses the joint accounts with me.
So we descend on TD on a snowy day at the end of January to ask what is going on. And filling in temporarly at the info/reception desk is a large efficient man who handles our complaint and eliminates the extra fees. Later we found out he was the manager, Sean Donegan, and he was great.
Except...
Surely in the age of computers and ETFs and the fact that any bank can tell you, when you finally get to the head of the line, exactly what you have in that second in all your accounts, there is no need or excuse to be punishing a customer because someone made a mistake on an electronic transfer. Surely when the customer has ten times that money in a savings account a transfer can be automatically made to the chequing account, which, of course, they used to do. But they don't want to do that now because they make more money by not performing such a simple task.
A friend listened to my recitation of beefs in that Jan. 8 blog and just couldn't believe the part that dealt with the ordeal of trying to get my wife out of Mount Sinai hospital after her operation. He's on one of the boards at the Trillium health complex (and I'm also on a hospital board) and pointed out that there a volunteer would have delivered Mary to the side of my car without problem.
If only the downtown hospitals made it that easy. If only they had a reasonable excuse. But these days you often doesn't get an answer, that is if you get them to listen in the first place.

No comments: