My bank is being absorbed by another bank.

Which means – whether I like it or not and for the time being – this other bank is my new bank. And that means I have to play by this new bank’s rules when it comes to paying my credit card bill. Which is now the new bank’s credit card, meaning that I will get a new card with a new number; and I’ll have to change every single one of my accounts that are paid electronically. Grrrrrr.

But hey, it could be worse. At least I didn’t wake up one day and discover that my bank had pulled a Bernie Madoff on me.

My old bank had a different way of accepting payments, and it was preferable to the way my new bank does it. That’s cool. It’s their way and if I don’t like it I have plenty of alternatives. (Or, at least I did until all these banks started absorbing each other – but that’s another issue altogether.)

But – because of this new way – last month I discovered I was not able to make a payment on my credit card before its due date because my new bank didn’t provide me the ability to make an instant transfer from my account.

Gadzooks! I was going to be late.

So I called my new bank and explained my predicament. I didn’t know I couldn’t do what I had always done before with my money and my old bank. It took me 23 minutes of being on hold – during which the battery on my landline phone handset died and I had to start all over again.

The customer service representative assured me that all was fine and there would be no late fee charged, and she thanked me for taking the time to call and explain why the payment had not been made time. (Well, actually it WAS on time – they just couldn’t receive it on time.)

Which is why – when I got home last night and opened up my credit card statement and saw that I had been assessed a late fee – I was REALLY PISSED OFF.

WTF?

I waited on hold for 56 minutes. The only redeeming factor was that the hold music was actually pretty good. I heard a song by Everything But The Girl, as well as China Crisis and Nick Heyward.

Alas, when I finally did get to talk to a customer service representative, it was a woman with an Indian accent so thick that it was an effort to understand her. After some back and forth, she finally told me that she would waive the late fee for my mistake as a courtesy this one time.

WTF?

My mistake?

“I’d like to speak to a manager, please. Not your manger there, but one who actually works for and is a representative of the bank.”

Doink!

Back on hold I go for an additional 21 minutes. The Thompson Twins. Hmmmm. Nevertheless it was not enough to assuage my growing anger.

Thankfully, when someone did get on the line it was – or at least I believe it was – an actual bank employee who held some sort of management position.

Who proceeded to tell me with polite honesty that things were a bit crazy during the “transition.” And she was truly sorry for the mistake. She said she wasn’t going to make excuses for what happened, but she hoped that because of the size of the undertaking and the circumstances under which it was happening – that I could understand.

Absolutely.

Of course.

Thank you!

Thank you for simply telling me exactly what was going on and not spinning it and not using brandspeak and not prefacing it with disclaimerspeak and not being patronizing. Thank you for having the courage to just come out and say, “Pardon our mess.”

It made me feel like a customer…instead of an acquisition.

What a novel concept, huh?

So sayeth the StickMonkey.
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