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Disclaimer: I'm all for freedom of speech, but I've been advised that if I don't remove this post from my website, I could potentially face legal action from Natwest. I'm sure they won't bother suing me, as they're already aware that I don't have any money worth taking and they won't want me to become the next Jeff Jarvis or Dave Carroll. Besides, there are so many better things to sue me for.
Anyway, I'd like to point out that my claim that Natwest are a bunch of useless dicks is not meant to be libellous, merely comical. I'd change it to something more PG-13, but I can't without jeopardising the existing SEO of the article. Also, that would mean bowing to the man.
I've tried to be loyal, I really have, but there comes a point when enough is enough and you start to realise that if a company keeps treating you like shit, they probably don't want you as a customer.
So now, while I'm waiting for my direct debits, standing orders and the like to transfer to Lloyds TSB, I thought I'd kill the time by blogging about the corporate pile of human excrement that is RBS and Natwest.
So, let's begin with a brief overview. I've banked with Natwest for years, ever since I was old enough to require a proper bank account. Stupidly, I even decided to open my student account with them when I was at university, mainly because if I did so, I'd be given a free 16-25 railcard.
Now, the railcard is fantastic and has saved me a lot of money, but it wasn't worth the trouble that banking with Natwest causes in the first place. I mean, I could've just forked out £28 and bought one, then banked with someone that actually cares about their customers.
I've been having problems with Natwest for so long now that I don't even remember when they began. It's the curse of banking - I always figured that the constant problems were easier to deal with than facing the hassle of moving banks and updating all of my direct debits and standing orders.
In fact, I've had so many problems with Natwest that the only way to approach this blog/rant is with a list, so here goes...
The five most infuriating ways that Natwest have screwed me over...
5 - But my pin doesn't work!
I'm easing you in gently here. After one of the many times that my bank card randomly stopped working, I went in to the local branch and asked them to send out a replacement bank card. A week or so later, it finally arrived, after being sent to my old address and forwarded on to me.
Now, I was skint because I hadn't had access to my account for a couple of weeks, so I rushed straight over to the cash machine to take some money out. No dice - the pin that they'd given me didn't work with the new card, and by the time that I'd tried the new pin a couple of times and had a go with my old one, the card was locked and I had to go back and ask for another one. Wonderful.
4 - But that's just not fair...
Let's talk about the time I went 8p overdrawn and they charged me £38 because of it. Now, I'm no mathematician, but I'm going to do my best here:
100% of 8p = 8p
£38.00 divided by 8p = 475
475 multiplied by 100% = 47,500%
Presuming that my maths is correct, I was essentially charged an interest rate of 47,500%. That's just bullshit, I could get better rates from a loan shark. The worst thing is, they didn't even let the payment go through! When you consider that, the interest rate becomes infinite - they lent me fuck all and charged me £38 for it. Thanks a lot, Natwest...
3 - What about my gig?
As frequent readers of my website are no doubt aware, I was supposed to be performing at the 15 Minute Club at All Star Lanes on Sunday 29th July. I practiced my ass off, taking time out to memorise the chords and lyrics for a couple of new songs, because I wanted to debut them at my first live show in six months.
Natwest were having none of it, though. Before I went to leave, I tried to take some money out to pay for my train fare and was told by the cash point that I'd exceeded the maximum number of pin attempts. Wait, what? I put my pin in once and got it right first time, how does that work?
It turns out that Natwest is having widespread problems with its systems again. The branch wasn't open and so I couldn't go in and take some money out over the counter - the result? I had to cancel the show and stay at home, feeling sorry for myself because I didn't have enough cash on me to get there and it was too late to borrow some. I probably won't be invited back...
2 - Thanks for leaving me stranded...
Me and Laura went out in London to catch a show by Engine-Earz Experiment, a dubstep producer who we're both really in to and who was playing an intimate show for the Camden Crawl Christmas Party. It was cold outside and the streets still had the remnants of soft snowfall on the pavements and in the gutters.
It was then that Natwest decided to freeze on my bank card - after I'd bought my train ticket and travelled to London but before I'd taken out the money that I needed for the night. They also didn't bother telling me, oh no. Luckily, on that occasion I was able to borrow some money from Laura to last me through the night.
To make matters worse, they didn't apologise when I rang them up the next day about it. Oh no, they blamed me for making 'suspicious' transactions in the first place. And what were those transactions? At the same time every Monday, I took a tenner out to pay for my buses to and from work...
1 - Overdraft? What overdraft?
This one really takes the biscuit, because if my mother hadn't saved me then I would've been kicked out of my flat, forcing me to quit my job and move back in with my parents and sign on to the dole again.
Basically, I had two accounts with Natwest - a current account and a student account. The current account had an agreed overdraft limit of £300, and the student had £1400. I asked whether they could increase the limit on my current account and they said they could, to £600.
It turns out that their staff (surprise surprise) made a mistake. Instead of increasing the one overdraft limit, they cut the other down from £1400 to £600. When I asked if they could undo it, they said they couldn't, as £600 was my limit. That left me almost £800 over my maximum overdraft.
There was no way I could pay it back, and therefore no way I could pay any of my bills or access any of my money. In the end, I had to borrow £800 from my mother just to cover it, and it's not like she's made of money - that was a good hit out of her savings.
In Summary:So, in summary, here's my advice to you. Whatever you do, don't bank with Natwest - if you're already banking with them, change, before they ruin your life.
There are plenty of other options out there, like Lloyds TSB, Halifax or Barclays, but if you can avoid it then I recommend another alternative. Keep your cash in a shoebox under your bed, it's probably safer.
Update: Sunday 5th August
So it turns out that, due to Natwest, I can't change banks either. I went in to Santander yesterday (Saturday 4th August) and tried to set up a bank account there. Unfortunately, I can't - the reason? A bad credit rating...
Now, that may be partly my fault - I'm not the most organised guy, and I've found myself being chased by debt collection agencies for things that I didn't even know about. For example, I recently took a call from a debt collection company that was looking for £40 that I'd owed them since I moved out of my student digs in my second year.
But no, the main problem was #1 - banks don't like it if you don't owe them a lot of money, even if it's their own fault. Other banks like it even less - apparently, I'm blacklisted for at least a year from opening a new bank account because I was once £800 over my maximum overdraft. Yeah, about that...
Anyway, I will have my revenge - I'm going to print out a copy of this blog post and mail it to Natwest's Head Office. That'll teach 'em...In fact, I'm so pissed off with Natwest that I wrote a poem, which you can read here. As I care about your convenience more than Natwest and RBS do, I've also reproduced it below - enjoy:
NatwestCouldn’t peel a banana with their eyes open, Couldn’t drink a glass of water. Couldn’t manage money if he were a footballer. Couldn’t make a hyena smile. Tell you what though, they’re pretty good at stealing my money…