MJ (kiwiana) wrote in bad_service,

Banking BS

For background: a few weeks ago, my partner and I took out a personal loan so that I could pay for dental reconstruction (for our wedding, yay!). We ended up going to a different bank than our main bank, as our main bank's response was a "oh, computer says we can't give you credit" (a frustrating!service experience in and of itself). So we switched my partner's income to be direct credited to the new!bank, and our loan payments come directly out of there. All fine. Because we had to get his Payroll team to change his direct credit details, the start date for loan repayments was set for a couple of weeks later than when we drew the loan down.

The first payment was scheduled for last Thursday, and it went out with no drama. Yesterday's payment went out fine too, but when I logged into our internet banking this morning, a second loan payment had been deducted. So I rang the bank to find out what was going on... and did not get the helpful_service I was hoping for.

My letter to their complaints team:

Hi there,

I have just gotten off the phone with one of your [branch] team and am left feeling rather disappointed in your bank. My partner and I took out a personal loan with your team on 22/02/13, and because of the way our pay cycles etc fell, our contract states that our weekly payments would start on 07/03/2013.

Last week's payment for both the loan and loan installment care insurance went through fine, and yesterday's payment was also processed. However, when I logged into internet banking today, I noticed that another payment had been deducted from our account.

When I rang your 0800 number and was put through to the staff member who we dealt with in branch, we were told that she had made an inputting error and had set the payment start date as 01/03/13 instead of 07/03/13. She told me that she could arrange for next week's payment to be halted -- which is fine, but leaves us $100 down for the next week. When I pointed this out, she offered us a temporary overdraft. I asked if this would incur interest or charges and was told "yes, but it's less than the interest you would be accruing on your loan". I pointed out that interest charged to our transaction account, rather than our loan account, would have an effect on our cashflow -- which hardly seems reasonable considering this was clearly an error on the bank's end, not on ours. It took a couple of repeats of this for her to understand what I meant by this, and when she did, the response I got was basically "Well, yes, that's true". She then offered again to arrange for next week's payment to be halted, which I said yes to, and said, "So you don't want me to arrange an overdraft then?" I confirmed that no, I did not think it was reasonable for us to be financially penalised for a bank error. The response was, "Well, I apologise for that", and that was basically the end of the conversation.

I'm fairly disappointed in this -- I understand that mistakes happen, but given that this mistake essentially amounts to a breach of the contract that we signed in good faith, I would have thought that there would be a little more accommodation for the fact that we are now financially disadvantaged because of this error. As I'm sure you can appreciate, we have bills that need to be paid and that money had been earmarked for a credit card payment that I am now unable to make. All in all, I'm not thrilled with the responses I received or the solutions that were offered to me, as either solution results in financial disadvantage for an error that was in no way our fault. I would appreciate it if this could be followed up, and also if someone could confirm whether this is indeed your bank's policy when errors of this nature occur.

Kind regards,

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