Saturday, December 03, 2011

Dumb as a box

Loyalty to a bank or, specifically to this post, a credit card company, is evidently misplaced. I’ve had a Barclaycard for over thirty years, and I choose to maintain the account because it’s useful to buy stuff from organisations who choose to regard Middle East credit cards as somehow dodgy and untrustworthy.

What is also useful is for Barclaycard to have my correct and up-to-date postal address. How else is Barclaycard to send me a new card, advise me of my PIN, and mail my statements of account?

So I logged on and attempted to change my address. First problem: No UK postcode, so I had to phone Barclaycard in the UK and change my contact details over the phone. Everything went well, right up to the point where I went to change my address. According to the call centre drone in Mumbai, a PO Box is no longer an acceptable address. And no, I could not now revert to my previous address (a PO Box in Dubai that worked just fine up to yesterday). PhonePeon™ told me that I would have to provide a physical mailing address. I am, I was told, the first and only time this problem has ever occurred. No UK citizen has ever before moved to Qatar and tried to maintain he UK Barclaycard account.

This is demonstrable nonsense: something I told PhonePeon in no uncertain terms. Anyone who has any awareness of the Middle East will quickly appreciate that normal post is ONLY delivered to a PO Box. There are no mail deliveries except to a PO Box.

Perhaps Barclaycard could send me my stuff by courier? No, that is also not possible. It has to go to a mailing address. Thank you PhonePeon. You’re so co-operative.

So I have temporarily resolved the issue. Despite my having seen forty-something summers, my Barclaycard correspondence is now being mailed to the UK care of my mummy, for Chrissakes. And the greatest irony of them all? In order to write to the company that refuses to accept a PO Box as a valid address, here is where I should write:

Barclaycard Customer Relations Department
PO BOX 9131
51 Saffron Way
LE18 9DE

Edited on 24th January 2012 to add that when I checked my Barclaycard accounts on line, I discovered that credit has been added to my account for "Telephone and Mail/Courier charges", plus an extra for "Goodwill". I imagine that the explanatory letter will have been sent c/o Nanny Goat, but thank you Barclaycard for taking my complaint seriously.



Mme Cyn said...

Boy I hope they have a drone monitoring the web for comments. How asinine can a 'professional' business be?

Anonymous said...

Further, what about having to include the Post Code in an online form... cant leave it blank, "what Qatar doesnt have Postcodes???"... 9999 seems to work for me. Cheers PaulRB-Doha.

Grumpy Goat said...

It gets better and better. Barclaycard tried four times to call me, and each time hit voice mail. It didn't occur to the Drone that perhaps I was at work, nor to try my other contact number.

In the email response to my written complaint, I was advised that a PO Box was unacceptable because I would have to sign for the card before the courier would release it. This despite the previous Drone asserting that no, Barclaycard would not use a courier. Liar: at least one of them is a liar.

In yet another long phone call to Mumbai via Saffron Walden, I have finally learned that Qatar is too "high risk" for PO Box mail, apparently because of its proximity to Saudi Arabia. Make of that what you will. It's "high risk" now, and not "because the courier needs your signature." More lies.

It turns out that my new card will be delivered by post to my mother. UK addresses get a postal service; everywhere else deliveries are by courier. I wonder if this is true, of if lying is all part of the service.


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