Abbey National PLC
PO Box 1109
25th September 2008
Re: Account 12345678
I doubt you’ll remember me but I last wrote to you on 3rd September 2007. My knickers were all in a twist over your excessive bank account charges. In fact, I got so wound up by your habit of fining me hundreds of pounds over several years (although you might consider it my habit of going overdrawn by dozens of pounds over the same period) that I wound up being interviewed on Channel 4 news, vindictive little bastard that I am. You may also like to refer to The Times of August 2007 where I was afforded the opportunity to bitch about Abbey like one of those blonde LA valley girls slagging off their girlfriends.
Anyway, let’s get to the point. I no longer bank with you. We used to bank furiously together but you took advantage of me so I left in disgust. Nonetheless, I kept my account open in case of an emergency.
That emergency appeared this July. I had dared to treat myself to a holiday away from my desk, and needed to buy a return ticket from Eastern Europe. The Easyjet website seemed to dislike my current visa card, so I was forced to blow the cobwebs off my Abbey card and transferred the princely sum of Fifty Pounds Sterling into my dormant account. To my infinite pleasure I discovered that the card was accepted by Stelios. I believe I even allowed 24 hours to elapse before booking this ticket, but I can’t be sure. Yes, I’m aware that this little titbit of information will be all you need to justify your exaggerated spiteful charges, but what the hell. I’m an honest kinda guy.
So… bought the ticket, went on holiday, now bitching to you.
I received my monthly statement from Abbey tonight. It says:
14th Aug; Balance brought forward from previous statement: -£0.58
4th Sep; Unauthorised overdrft/ Overdrft monthly fee: £25.00
Instant overdraft request fee – Paid item card
Payment to Easyjet Air EDN5TZF000000: £35.00
13th Sep; Balance carried forward to next statement: -£60.58
Needless to say, I was a little shocked, so I immediately called Abbey’s call centre in India. (As an aside, I was actually able to cook - ok, warm up - then eat a foul Tescos meatfeast pizza throughout my time spent on hold. I dearly wish I could tell you I ate a green salad followed by grilled chicken and vegetables, but I was hungry and skint, and the pizza was cheap. I’m sorry.)
The first lady I spoke to, post-cheese on disc, cut me off. I didn’t swear (cross my heart and hope to die) but I did raise my voice a bit. The increase in decibels occurred when I said Abbey’d fined me £25 and she pointed out that I'd missed the £35 charge too.
So I set the phone back down and ran off to check this account online. Clear as day, it showed that I’d transferred £50.00 into this account, and that Easyjet went on to deduct £50.58. I’m still not sure how. A hidden charge, maybe? Nonetheless, I had gone, blindly unaware and unknowingly, 58p into the red. So you've fined me £60.00.
To recap: I accidentally get overdrawn by 58 pence, and you charge me SIXTY POUNDS. That’s one pound per penny, plus a pound for each finger you’re sticking up at me.
Anyhoo, I get back on the phone to India for a second time where I spoke to a charming young lady. She sympathised about as much as a young women in the Asian subcontinent could with irate British folk 8,000 miles away. But sympathetic she was. She even rescinded the £35 fine as a ‘goodwill gesture’ but sadly she could do nothing about the other £25; that would have to be filed under ‘Tough’ - I had broken the rules, and thus I had to pay. She also advised me that if I didn’t cough up the remaining £25.58, I’d be fined another £25 in a week’s time.
So to recap again: I accidentally get overdrawn by 58 pence two months ago. I discover this today and in eleven days time, had I not called, I’d be EIGHTY-FIVE POUNDS in the hole. Eighty-five pounds, because of 58p.
That’s £85 in fines.
Due to being 58 pence overdrawn.
So here’s the deal: Remove this final £25 charge. Promise not to add a new £25 charge come a week on Monday. Then give these ridiculously over-the-top charges to Ms Ambika Babu at your Indian call centre. She is probably paid a pittance anyway (value for money for Abbey though). She deserves it for having to deal with Brits made puce with anger by Abbey, and who are hopefully Guardian readers and don’t get all disturbingly Daily Mail down the phone.
And finally, I want an apology. I don’t want a pre-printed letter of generic contrition. I want a proper apology, a sincere and earnest one, for fining me so extortionately over pennies - and don’t you dare mention ensuring I have the correct funds in my account, or that these are standard charges for breaking your rules. Seriously. Don’t. I’ve heard it all far too many times before and I’m well aware of it. Need I remind you that it is due to the unfairness of these standard charges that this matter has gone to court in the first place?
I shall be sending a copy of this letter to Banco Santander Chief Executive Antonio Osorio for a laugh. He can set fire to it so he can light his Havana whilst reclined on his yacht as it bobs idly in the warm waters of the Caribbean.
It was an accident.
It was 58 pence.
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Blah blah blah.