Thursday, August 03, 2006

Learn to complain - it is the only way

I ALLUDED to it in in a previous post about an issue with my bank and having to complain. Now it has been resolved, do you wanna hear about it?

In the last week I applied for the most substantial loan I have ever taken out from Ulster Bank whom I have been banking with for the last 12 years or so.

I did it online, it was so easy and with an APR of 6.8 per cent with their summer sale I was delighted to be clearing my debts which I unfortunately accrued when earning shit wages.

I wanted to clear credit card debts, an overdraft and have money left to apply for the shared ownership/affordable housing scheme.

The problem with applying for the shared ownership scheme is that you need to have €1600 in a bank account so you can submit a bank statement with the application, but having an overdraft I never have.

This way I can not only clear the debt but I can put that money aside in case something/housing comes up. Getting up €1600 is not something I can do easily in a short period of time, more like a couple of months.

Anyway I went online, did the application and sat back thinking this is great, in three working days I could clear my debts with one easy monthly direct debit payment (and less than my two credit cards combined)over five years.

Four days later I got a rejection letter. So I phoned the number on the letter and complained but I got nowhere really. They told me I was refused because I have an overdraft.

Apparently I would need to clear the overdraft and be in credit for about three months before I would be considered. However the summer deal only lasts for the next month. They then said I could go into my branch and try and sort out another loan.

The problem with this is that the loan would not be the 6.8 deal being offered to everyone else including non-customers.

So I phoned my branch and said I would move my account if this wasn't resolved to my satisfaction. I don't like being arsey with people (particularly people just trying to do a job) but this was too much.

About four years ago Ulster Bank launched this new credit card and advertised it heavily. This campaign involved people in Ulster Bank branches signing up people instore.

Also consider that in most cases the people in the Ulster Bank branches are actually customers. Well you can't get money out of the AIB if you are in the Ulster Bank.

So the woman selling the credit cards approached me and I filled out the form hoping to transfer the balance of my old Ulster Bank visa credit card to this new and improved fantastic deal card.

Only I couldn't because I was an existing customer.

So when I was rejected for this summer loan deal I phoned my branch and asked to speak to a manager and I explained everything. I said I wasn't happy with this service and I wasn't happy that as a customer I would not, yet again, be afforded the benefits that non-customers would.

Within an hour or two someone got back to me, asked me some questions and put in another application. This was Friday and they said while they couldn't promise anything that it should be okay.

They phoned back on Monday and it was all approved. The woman I dealt with was charming, lovely, apologetic and made me feel like a valued customer, something that can be very rare in Dublin.

I had to go into the branch to cross the Ts and dot the Is. I have to say it was a little daunting commiting to such a debt. But it is fifty-million times better than owing it to credit card companies.

I have two cards, one has not been used in a year and it has not dropped much at all, I cannot wait to close that account and cut the bloody card up. The other I will keep but it will be an emergency card for buying on the internet and purchasing flights.

So in the next couple of days I will be clearing my debts and will be applying to Dublin City Council for our own home. Wish me luck.

Oh and I am heading off for a week to Belfast and Donegal, talk to you when I get back.

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KnackeredKaz said...

Yeyyyy! Good luck with the property ladder! Can't wait for the housewarming.

Have a great holiday!

Claire said...

Good luck Redmum!

Emma in Canada said...

Good luck with the new home...I hope it all works out.

Have a great holiday and if you see Boliath tell her no baby yet!

Curly K said...

Go for it with the house, it's great owning your own home. I bought an affordable house three years ago although not through the shared ownership scheme. It's a great feeling closing your own door for the first time.

I now have to do what you have just done and consolidate my debts - can't stand the thoughts of the decisions about which is the best deal etc. but it has to be done.

Enjoy your hols.

Omaniblog said...

Good luck. You deserve it. Thanks for naming the bank. It gives us something to compare with. I also bank with Ulster Bank. They seem to be making a big effort to recruit new accounts and maybe to hold on to established ones too.

I don't know what the shared ownership scheme involves but I assume you progressively buy an increasing share of the house?

Donal said...

Well done on your perseverance with the bank. I think Irish people are not willing to haggle or push their case as much as people from other countries. In fairness, Ulster Bank do seem to be offering good products, got my mortgage with them recently. Down here in Cork we have stage payments so we're already paying for the house even though it's only a patch of land! That's a rant for another day though :)