Why yes! I am a little flustered, turning about in little circles, and having to remind myself that this is all for a PURPOSE.
Some things have gone very well this week. We have moved into a holiday cottage, everything in our house has been cleaned and packed up and sent on its way to New Zealand, the house itself has been thoroughly cleaned and the roses pruned and the paths swept, and the sale went through very smoothly yesterday. Mostly.
We had one issue. And it was a corker.
On Thursday evening, after a hard day of cleaning (I was exhausted!), we went out for a meal. I took out my eftpos card to pay, only to have it rejected, twice. That was embarrassing. I put it on our credit card instead, but wondered why on earth I couldn’t access the funds in our account, especially because my last lot of wages had gone in that day.
On Friday, we both tried to withdraw some cash, with no luck. It turned out that our bank had frozen the funds in our account way back on Wednesday, without telling us, so that they could process settlement on Friday. They kindly told us that we should be able to access our money again on Monday. We were left facing the weekend with only a small amount of cash, and an aversion to using our credit card to get a cash advance (the interest rates are outrageous).
Mr Strange Land saw red. He also went to see the bank. It turned out that instead of freezing enough money for settlement, and leaving the remainder of the funds in our account available for us to use, the bank had simply frozen the entire account. We had money sitting in the bank, that belonged to us, that was not needed for settlement, and they would not allow us to access it. Sorry, they said. That’s just the way it is.
My husband has many excellent qualities, and one of them is a refusal to give way in the face of mindless bureaucracy. He sat in the bank, and insisted, persistently, that they give us OUR money. Eventually, one of the bank officers found a way to process a manual transaction to give us the amount of cash we should have been able to withdraw from any ATM. “Would that do?” Mr Strange Land said “Yes” very promptly, got the cash, and left quickly, before they could change their minds.
While he was sitting in the bank, watching the bank officers flap around trying to work out what to do, he calculated the difference between asking our bank to manage sending our money back to New Zealand for us, and doing it ourselves via HIFX. The fees are neither here nor there, but the exchange rate they offer does make a difference. $10,000 difference.
We are very glad to be leaving this bank, which offers callously indifferent service and high fees. We could have coped with the freeze on our funds, if they had the decency to let us know in advance that this was their process, so that we could have ensured that we had enough cash on hand for the weekend. But it’s a bit richly ironic that their advertising slogan is: “Determined to earn your business.”
Grumble grumble grumble.