Fri. Jan 28th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Holmsey Unbe-lieeeve-able!

3 min read

I’ve bored you before about the grief caused to me by BT and HSBC but, honestly, it never ends. In my experience, they are dysfunctional organisations, the cause of life-shortening stress, misery and financial loss.

My landline at home is virtually unusable and, of course, our broadband speed is nothing like as good as promised in the ads. The issues at home are the least of my worries, compared with the trials and tribulations suffered at work. We opened a new branch office in January, for thirty years this meant dialling 100 and asking for BT business sales, just days later, a nice man arrived to install a phone line, it was a simple efficient procedure.

Having experienced eight months of intermittent phone and internet service, last week we discovered that yet again we had no telephone line, so for the umpteenth time contacted BT to ask why callers to our office got a ‘call cannot be completed as dialled’ message? The BT staff answering our surprisingly controlled complaints, disdainfully replied, “But we don’t have a record of that number; it doesn’t exist.”
Eight months of repeated failure, and that’s the best they can do! As with most businesses, we pay rent for our premises, business rates, electricity bills, and for intermittent, perhaps ghostly telephone and internet services, as well as some poor soul to answer the telephone – when it’s working.

Our customers need to call us, but for eight months, that’s not been possible, so the person paid to sit there, twiddles his thumbs, hoping someone might pop in – particularly the man from BT!

Thanks to BT, our new venture is a complete flop, but because it’s a new venture, we can’t calculate our losses, and unless you can put a figure on it, suing the person or organisation you believe is responsible for your woes is difficult.

In just a few years’ time, telephone lines as we’ve known them won’t exist at all, we will all be on internet telephones. It’s deeply troubling because, as we know, the internet is often useless, as are mobile telephones. Some tech-savvy geeks may have decided that these new technologies are the future, but old-fashioned consumers know unreliability isn’t actually progress.

The pandemic provided the perfect excuse for our local bank branch to open just four hours a day; I complained, and they closed it. At work, our nearest branch is now Farnborough, a 45-minute round trip. In recent weeks, reluctantly, we’ve driven there to pay in cheques, because the app they expect customers to rely on can’t handle large cheques. HSBC, Farnborough, is a lovely modern branch, well-staffed too, so reluctantly, we accepted this new normal… Until this week, when I called in to pay a cheque in and obtain £100 worth of fivers. Straight-faced, the helpful assistant hearing my seemingly simple request, told me they didn’t have any money, except what was in the cash machines.
“You could go to Camberley or Basingstoke; they have cash,” she told me, helpfully.

Dear Reader, we now have banks without money, and I think that justifies a revolution. If you decide to start one, please count me in, because the world as we knew it has gone. Like lemmings, we’ve been led off a cliff by profit-driven corporations enabled by do-nothing, couldn’t-care-less politicians. The great local services we once cherished are mostly gone, sacrificed by smart accountants and bosses driven by short termism. These days few corporations care about providing a proper service, and their demoralised workers seem powerless and beaten. Just like me, in fact!