Call Centres Banks Etc

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 9th November 2012


I would rather be happy wouldn’t you. But the source of much of my unhappiness, tension and stress is invariably down to Call Centres based abroad. One can never fault them on politeness but invariably they cannot sort your problem and often leave you on hold forever.

I haven’t had a moan for a long time but I got so stressed the other day that after an hour on the phone I had a raging headache – and the problem – my Bank.

I have been with the same Bank – Barclays - all my adult life since I returned to England in 1966 – that’s 46 years so what price Customer Loyalty – they don’t give a damn these days.

For almost a quarter century I had what they call a Premium Account. Mostly it meant that I could actually connect with a real person who was my personal Manager. The one before the last was useless as I could never get hold of him. The one for the last few years has been superb – not that I have many issues which need the attention of a Manager. Some months ago I was told that I would be ‘downgraded’ to an ordinary customer because I didn’t have £50,000 in my Bank Account and was sent a new card. If I were fortunate enough to have that amount of money sloshing around it certainly wouldn’t be in the bank with their derisory interest rates!

I don’t like On-Line Banking but we are being pushed towards it more and more. Recently I needed to check something so gathered my strength to use On-Line. I tried every which way of signing in and got kicked out time and time again having checked membership number, account number, sortcode and which side of the blanket I was born! Eventually I had to use the dreaded Call Centre.

My first encounter resulted in my giving up in exasperation – I won’t regale you with the totally infuriating exchange. I tried again and got a trifle better help but then had to ‘hold on’ for 25 minutes after which I was answered by a lady in this country. Apparently the polite lady in India could not resolve the issue so had to refer it back to England. Why had I been holding on so long? I asked and was told that it was due to a small team and volume of calls and that mine was not a problem which could be resolved by the Overseas Call Centre. Now there’s a surprise.

As I suspected – because the Bank downgraded me and gave me a new account number this did not link up to Online banking which is why I was rejected but the first operative at the Call Centre was unable to tell me this and the second didn’t seem to know what was the fault either. It was simple enough but took me an hour on the phone at my expense (and that I think is another damn cheek making us pay for calls to sort out their errors) and an enormous amount of tension. I didn’t ask to have my details changed and in fact was assured that the changed account would not affect my ability to get Online.

Now today I’ve had a letter telling me that a cheque has been rejected for lack of adequate funds and I will be charged £8. I have more than adequate funds in the bank. Fortunately the cheque was to my sister so I can just call her and explain but it would be very embarrassing if it had been a payment to a stranger. The letter states that if I have a problem I should contact the ‘number above’ – there is no number of course and I am not going to put myself through the strain and tension of a Call Centre who probably won’t understand anyway. So they rake in another few pounds in a fine which they should not have levied in the first place.

The only reason I haven’t moved banks before is that most of them have Overseas Call Centres and also it is not a straightforward job to move all one’s direct debits and standing orders to another Bank - it does actually involve a lot of work on the part of the customer to ensure that all payments are carried over.

However, I really have had enough. So does anyone know of a Bank where one still has access to a Manager and not someone who visits the bank for 2 hours once a week and, more importantly, does not use an Overseas Call Centre. If you do, any recommendation would be gratefully received.


I recently changed my Energy provider to another which was very slightly more expensive but guaranteed a British Call Centre. That is how desperate I have become with regard to the dreaded Centres.

And while I’m having a moan, why is it that huge companies like BT and the Banks, making massive profits can outsource their Call Centres to foreign lands where the employees don’t pay tax in this country. We end up with millions on benefit, many of whom would like to work but can’t so they earn nothing and pay no tax. So surely for this country it is a ‘Lose-lose’ situation. I can’t understand why it is legally allowed, can you?

The Press is always full of comment about how the Rich get away with paying little Tax as do huge corporations – recently Starbucks and Apple. But this is the fault of the system which has so many loop holes its like a leaky sieve. If you are rich enough to employ clever accountants you can get away with ‘murder’. As always it is the little man who pays because he is a sitting duck whose address, NI number etc are all known to the Tax Man. I was told that the Current Book on Tax is some 600 pages long and even some Accountants don’t understand it fully.

And I’ll end this by saying that I have never met anyone who has a good word to say for Call centres – we all dread having to phone them. I feel extremely sorry for those who do work in Centres because they must have to deal with an enormous number of stressed and irate customers.

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