OMG the ATM ate my credit card.
Sorry but I am going to whinge, whine and re-whinge.
Have you ever lost your credit card to a rotten, conniving, scheming unscrupulous ATM??? Well, I have and believe me it is no laughing matter!!
Only just two days into being in Bangkok when I was at the Thong Lo sky station, poor little me had the misfortune to use one of these nasty little blighters!!! Unsuspecting as to what was in store for me, I decided to withdraw a measly sum of Thai bahts out of that horrible, wretched metal box. (I am always loath to carry large amounts of dosh on my persona)
Imagine my surprise while checking my receipt when out of the blue!! My card had disappeared down into the bowels of the cash machine, needless to say at first I thought the Automatic Teller Machine was just having a bit of fun with me and not telling me!. Do you realise that all these iron monsters have a mind of their own? Anyhow after waiting there like an idiot for far longer than is deemed respectable and after lots of strange looks from the Thai passers by, I began to realise that this ATM was not kidding me. And that he literally was not going to return my credit card!
Please note that the culprit is a representative of the "Siam Commercial Bank" I have taken photos of this demon just in case at some time you should be in Bangkok, you will easily be able to identify it as Backpacker Granny's rotten thief!!! Please avoid at all costs as you never know what else credit card gobbler can steal from you!
Now, wait till I tell you the next bit!! It just gets better.. or should I say worse! I have always considered myself a resourceful lady and I am firmly convinced that there is a solution to every problem! Ha ha ha silly me! I decided to get myself down to the SCB (Siam Commercial Bank) to report the incidence. In I march to the bank where a lovely smiling Thai guy greeted me (Very normal, everyone smiles in Thailand) to whom I explain my situation.
The Thai man continues to smile while he replies that "Very solly but no can give you cald, all cald deestloyed flom machine!!"As I am fluent in the Thai language, I understood him perfectly, and so I asked him if the offending machine does that or does the bank??? More smiles as he informs me that the bank does it!!( What a lovely kind bank!!!) Still not giving up I ask him if I can't possibly get my card from their branch that is in charge of that particular ATM?? How did you guess? Yes, more flipping smiles as he tells me that "ooooh nooo no can .. Solly solly company polissy no can letun cald" Smile, smile, smile. I have to inform you that in Thailand you cannot get angry because it is looked on as terrible manners and you can lose face! It's OK to lose your damn credit card but not your soppy ugly face!!!
At that moment a very nice man with a gorgeous Spanish accent (Who I discovered was actually from Barcelona) comes up to me and trying to be helpful suggests that I phone my bank in the UK to get a replacement card. Very kind of him, but for goodness sake! Do I look like part of my grey matter is missing? Of course, I was going to phone my bank if all else failed, which obviously it had. Feeling very dejected inside but still owning a face, I give a big grin, politely say thank you so much to everyone, and leave the Smiley credit card destroyer bank!!
I started to calm down and thought "Well it's not the end of the world, I will phone my bank and get them to send me another card by emergency courier service which will most probably only take a couple of days, really no big deal" What an innocent assumption.
First and foremost let me put you into the picture as to the name of my bank. BARCLAYS.. For sure most of you know or have heard of this bank. Barclays is an old British bank dating back to 1690, so one would assume that they are a trusted and reputable bank!
Naturally, I went on the website of Barclays to know who to call, and this is what is on their web:
If you think your cards have been lost or stolen, contact us immediately on 08700 104 503 (outside the UK dial +44 1928 584421). This is a 24-hour service. We can arrange to cancel them to prevent anyone from using them.
We’ll also get replacement debit cards sent out and, if you order before 10 pm, they should arrive in two working days. For example, a debit card ordered on Monday before 10 pm will be received by first class post on Wednesday. A debit card ordered on Friday before 10 pm will be received on Monday morning by first class post.
Nothing could be more straightforward (OH GOD SO NOT TRUE!!! DIRTY LIARS!!!)
Feeling much more confident, I mean I am now going to deal with one of my fellow men.. Long live England!!! I phone the number for outside the UK. I get through to a woman whose name sounds extremely strange and that I can't for life remember, but maybe it's because I have never heard anything like it before. I tell her that the machine has devoured my card and that I need a new one.." Ooh Yes, Mam, we can cancel yur cad, Waat is yur sot cod Mam?" to which I ask her to repeat. Again she says "Waat is yur sot cod Mam?" My mind is working furiously, and I am trying to fathom out what a "Sot Cod" is.. Sud Cod .. Sid Cad. Sad Cud. Salt Cod... "Ah ha, Salted Cod' I think. "That's the fish they sell in Spain, and they call it Bacalao" Why didn't she say so??? When I start to use my brain.. and I am now saying to myself, hold on!!! Why would a woman on the Barclays help line want to know about my Salted Cod???? Obviously, I still haven't got it right!! After several repeated attempts all of which is costing me on my phone card. I suddenly realise that OMG "She means Sort Code" to which I say that I don't know as I don't have it on me. With her strange accent and her unusual name, she promptly tells me that she can't do anything for me without the damned sort code. It doesn't matter that I give her the name of the branch where I have an account or my full name. She can do nothing. Hey ho, it's off to my hostel I go! I am starting to feel panicky as I nervously search through my papers to see if I have the flipping Sot Cod or Salt Cod or Sort Code... Oh whoopee, it's my lucky day as I find the SC plus account number, so hurriedly rush to top up my phone and call the incredible number that is going to solve all my problems.
once again! "What an innocent assumption!"
With mobile in hand, I am back marking the number. Ring ring ring. I get an automatic answer "If you have lost or had your credit card stolen, please press one. If blah blah blah press two. Being an obedient soul, I press one. Surprise surprise. Voice says "Please press in the numbers of your sort code" Jeepers why didn't that happen the last time??? Once again good girl (me) puts numbers of sort code. Ring, ring, ring again and voice answers. "This is "whoever" how may I help you" (At least this time I can understand her) For the umpteenth time I repeat my plight and dear friends, you are so not going to believe me!!! She then asks me for my frigging Salt Cod. I mean Sort Code.."Jaaayzuz, Mahree, and Joseph! I have just keyed in the SSC.. (I will leave it to your imaginations to work out what the added S stands for!)
Arming myself with patience I repeat the number, and then she requests my bank account number, my date of birth, up till now all appears to be in order. WRONG G G G .. Then she adds that she has to ask me some security questions!!! Sorry, but could someone explain what were all the previous questions??? Now it is ..."Which standing orders do I have in my account? What is my post code? Before it was the sot cod .. now its the pot cod. Oh gosh, I don't know off the top of my head :((( and my Mother's maiden name? How would I know!!! I only ever called her Mother! Of course with all this hassle and jet lag I give her my mother's Christian name by mistake!
Please bear in mind that I am revealing all this information over the phone to a complete stranger. Which I honestly think we should consider very seriously for future reference!! Anyway, the outcome of this call is that the nasty woman tells me I have failed security and refuses to send me a new credit card to my home address in the UK, which I might add is registered with my Barclays bank branch!!!!
Feeling as if I am in dire straits I contact my son in the UK. He immediately gives me the post code and tells me to phone them again with the correct info.. as he thinks it is impossible that the bank won't send me a new credit card. On my son's instructions, I repeat the whole operation on the magical number, but this time with a woman with a Scottish accent. I answer every single question correctly to which she says that's fine and then I am told to hold the line.. tic toc tic toc money clock.. finally she gets back to me saying that as I have failed the security questions the day before.. they won't send me a new credit card.
By this time I am nearly hysterical and I couldn't give a monkey's if I lose face or any other part of my anatomy come to that. Honestly, it's so ludicrous! Every time I say to her that I have given her all the correct answers she just repeats my security failure from the day before and will do nothing more to help me. Just as well she wasn't physically standing in front of me or I reckon I would have happily strangled her.
Once again I contact my son. By this time I feel like the roles are reversed and I am the small child, running to the father for help. Not a nice feeling .. but.. what does Granny do when she is stranded in Bangkok with no credit card and limited lolly ???? My son tells me to call the Barclays branch in the UK where I have my account and speak to the manager.!!! I was to discover that my son is also living in lalaland!! Speak to the bank manager??? in our dreams!!! when I phoned my Barclays branch in England and asked to speak to the manager!!!
A very pleasant perfect English speaking gentleman called Ricky informs me that Barclays does not receive any calls directly to their branch, so I have to speak to him and surprise surprise!!! I am actually speaking to a call centre again..However, this young man seemed genuinely concerned about my troubles and woes, as I explained what had happened to me. Needless to mention I am feeling like a scratched old record.. Repeat-repeat-repeat! Of course, he asks me all the same questions and assures me that he approves my answers. Wow, I think to myself " I have actually passed the Barclays exam!"
But but buuuu! He has to get permission from somebody else before he can authorise my card being sent off. Again I wait an eternity (I could almost have got a plane home with what I am spending on these calls ) till he eventually gets back to me and with an apologetic voice, he tells me to hold the line yet again while he speaks to someone else..By this time I am suicidal. homicidal, plus all the other words ending in cidal including bankicidal!!!
At last, at last, his sweet voice is giving me the good news that the dearly beloved, much wanted and very much needed card is being sent. I was so overjoyed that the wonderful Ricky had solved my major problem I wanted to kiss him, hug him and tell him he was the best thing in the whole wide world! Naturally, I contained myself for fear that he would think I was a raving over the top mental lunatic and might just decide not to send the card off after all.
Fingers, toes, and everything else are crossed till my son confirms bank card has arrived.
The conclusion of my experience with Barclays.
After everything, I have written! Work it out for yourselves!
"I rest my case!"