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Author Topic: I've lost the will to live. . . .  (Read 3325 times)

richald

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I've lost the will to live. . . .
« on: June 30, 2015, 01:43:55 pm »

I've struggled on and off for several days now trying to get through to First Direct to sort out my ISA.

The attached image from their complaints page says it all! - I couldn't submit it because of the error message in red
it didn't (of course) tell me what characters were invalid! - you can see the whole message - I'd be interested
if anybody can figure out which characters it was complaining about !!

I've finally given up and arranged to switch all the funds to Virgin Money (which is paying a MUCH better rate too)

Richard
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dougal99

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 01:51:49 pm »

Possibly the exclamation marks and/or the brackets. Any decently designed software would tell you what was valid.
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inertia

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 01:53:49 pm »

Rich
The simple fact is that they have your money and are denying you access to it. That sounds ever so slightly illegal. I'd have a word with my solicitor if I were you. There are also numerous consumer programs on the BBC which thrive on chaos like this; they seem to make things happen rather quickly when they become involved. Make a loud noise, mate!
Dave M

BTW If you want to avoid this type of thing in future I can provide a list of other banks who are even worse! No names, no pack-drill  ok2
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TheLongBuild

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 01:59:44 pm »

I assume it was a genuine request for details, seems very odd to confirm what I see as a phishing email / letter to try to get information on your account.
 
 

Martin [Admin]

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 02:17:25 pm »

 
"COMPETENT FINANCIAL ORGANISATION"   %)
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richald

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 02:20:23 pm »

TheLong Build sorry, it isn't clear from my diatribe.. the original request for details came via post with
a prepaid envelope if it had come via an email it would have been deleted straight away!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

dougal99 I am retired now, but for 20 odd years I was a programmer for an engineering company, and
all our software was written with 100% user interface systems - all illegal characters either trapped before
entry or removed during the data input processing phase, and clear messages given if something was amiss.

It had to be that way since the software was being used by steelworks personnel around the world - it did
make all the translation files a bit hairy though!

There were only three of us responsible for the programming in a company with 24 odd employees - so somebody
like First Direct ought to be able to get their software right from day one.

Richard
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tigertiger

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 03:26:22 pm »

Possible problem charachters could be


!-'


But it might also be a way to reduce the number of complaints on the system, if the complainant gives up because the system is (deliberately) difficult. I think the FSA monitors the number of complaints, although I could be wrong.


It is a pain in the butt, they need your account details to do any mailing. You could be talking to a call centre in Basingstoke and all mailings are automatically generated to be dispatched from maybe Liverpool. Annoyingly everything is automated to keep costs down. This additional money from savings is used for investment.
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Brian60

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 03:27:56 pm »

its possibly the message is too long, ie too many characters. Most auto reply forms only expect a short message.

I'd prune by 3/4's and see what happens.

SailorGreg

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2015, 03:45:05 pm »

Is it just possible that the invalid characters are "Richard" under "Other title" right at the top?  Probably expecting Dr, Sir, Lord or something.

But yes, incredibly inefficient and annoying, and I am sure they will hide behind "But we have to ensure that your details are kept secure with us"!   >>:-( >>:-(

With interest rates at zero (approximately) and impenetratable banks like this, wads of used fivers under the mattress are beginning to look very attractive!   O0

Greg

richald

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2015, 05:43:37 pm »

Greg
Good point re 'Richard in Other title' - all the other pages in their system were "Firstname", followed
by "other Forename" followed by "Surname" so I filled it in as previously - I have just corrected
my error but still not accepting my input.

Brian56

I have used other systems that limit input, but they always have a 'characters left' countdown
or simply stop accepting typed input when the limit is reached, this page has neither which
equates to crap programming in my book !

tigertiger
If the "!-'" characters are causing problems I would be surprised - in any event the error message
should be much clearer.

I am simply going to print out the .jpg file as shown above - stick it in an envelope, enclose a stroppy
letter and post it recorded delivery to the address in Wakefield - they will probably f*** that up too.
(apologies Mr Moderator - but I'm good and angry now!)

Richard
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inertia

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2015, 06:00:37 pm »

Rich
Don't forget the magic words "Watchdog" and "Money Programme". "FSA" might also get your letter noticed.
Go kill 'em.
Dave M
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Colin Bishop

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2015, 06:15:22 pm »

Whilst sending stroppy letters may make you feel better, they don't tend to engender much sympathy on the part of the recipient who is on the receiving end and will have no influence over or responsibility for the cackhanded programming of the IT department. In short you will simply get their back up and they will not be inclined to be co operative, especially as you have already said that you won't be leaving your money with them anyway.

It is best to omit the 'emotional' phrases and SHOUTING IN CAPITALS and simply compose a dispassionate letter which points out the shortcomings of their customer relations and the inadequacy of their computer systems. You need to get the recipient of your letter in sympathy with your point of view to the extent that they 'own' the problem and want to help you. That way you may get a positive result - it's not rocket science.

When it comes to dealing with a large company, indulging your perfectly understandable frustration simply diverts effort from where it is needed - to actually solve the problem to your satisfaction. And it is usually counter productive.

Colin

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richald

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2015, 11:39:12 am »

Agreed Colin,  I shall leave the shouty capitals in screen dump .jpg and write a more constructive letter.

I am well aware that, generally, the person you are shouting at is not responsible for shortcomings of
a customer services system but it doesn't half make you feel better getting out of your system!

Dave M - I shall keep the 'magic words' in reserve, in case I don't get a satisfactory response by post.

Richard
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Colin Bishop

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Re: I've lost the will to live. . . .
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2015, 12:50:26 pm »

Richard, I sympathise entirely, makes you want to bang your head against the wall!

However, if you are transferring your ISA then the provider to whom you are moving to will do all the work for you, just give them your full details and they will contact the existing holder and make all the arrangements. No need to contact your existing provider at all. You mustn't withdraw the money yourself otherwise you will lose ISA status as you probably know.

Other things to watch out for are exit penalties by your existing provider and of course you need to be sure that your new provider will accept transfers in. Some don't, others want you to take out a new ISA with them first before they will accept transfer of an existing ISA.

As they say, 'Revenge is a dish best served cold!'

Colin
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