Rant No. 3: money laundering

laundered-money.jpgThe Alliance & Leicester Building Society.

You may be wondering what’s happened to Rants No 1 – the CT Scan and No 2 – the Cashless Catering Card which is indeed cashless.  I just haven’t got round to writing them yet.  And I am so cross after my visit to the building society on Friday that they’ve paled into insignificance and may not get written.

So, to the Alliance & Leicester. 

Act 1

I first fell out with them a few years ago when they opened the wrong type of account for the children.  Similarities with snow coming up. I eventually spotted the accounts were the wrong type and went in to sort it out – this was in the days when the A&L had local branches.  Bear in mind they had made the mistake and all I wanted to do was to switch from one account type with the A&L to another account type with the A&L

Visit No 1, staff member No 1: “You need documents X to do this.  Money laundering, you know.”

Visit No 2, staff member No 2: “Oh no, you need documents X and Y.  No, she shouldn’t have told you that.  No I definitely can’t sort it out for you until I see X and Y.  You might be money laundering.”

Visit No 3, staff member No 3:  “You were told that, were you?  No, you definitely need documents X, Y, Z and K.  And you need proof that they live at this address.  A utility bill or something like that. ”

Me: “But they’re children.  They’re 8 and 10.  They don’t have a utility bill. Or anything official that I can think of that shows their address.  You already have their passports and birth certificates, my passport, my utility bill, and various other bits that I’ve forgotten.” 

Them:  “Well, we can’t change it without proof of their address.”

This was when I lost my temper and lay on my back on the floor and kicked my heels and screamed.

Me: “OK, I’ll close the accounts.  Now.  Give us all the money.  Now.”

And we went up the road and opened an account, no problem, with another bank.  “Oh, we don’t need all that for children” they said soothingly.  “We just check the electoral roll.”

Act 2

Despite the above, we’ve still got an assortment of accounts with the A&L.  Mine are all in my maiden/working name, which is the name I use most of the time.  Our joint bank account, not with the A&L, is in my married name.  So, now that our mortgage deal has expired, we have decided to raid all our accounts and pay off most of the mortgage.  The A&L has now closed nearly all of its local branches and only has branches in Edinburgh and as I was going into town on Friday for a Christmas lunch – well, two birds and all that.

With enormous foresight, I’d got GPD to fill in and sign a withdrawal slip so that I could empty his ISA.  No problem that he wasn’t there and I could have forged his signature.  Have all this money, they said.  Lots of it.

Then to my accounts.  I have two ISAs and wanted the cheques made out in my married name, which was not the name on the account.  Would they do it?  No.  I emptied my wallet of all the various bits of ID I have but none was good enough.  They needed my marriage certificate to do that – not something I habitually carry around with me.

So, I thought, cunning plan required.   “Transfer the money from these ISAs into this joint savings account (my maiden name and my husband’s name) and then give me a cheque made out to GPD.”

“We can’t do that I’m afraid.  We can’t transfer from a tax free account into a taxable account.”

??Duh??**  “But you could give me a cheque and then I could give it straight back to you across the counter to pay in to the account.”  I didn’t actually say this as I’d already been arguing with them for half an hour and was losing the will to live.

I did say: “But you can give me a cheque made out to GPD from the savings account.” 

Them:  “Oh no, he’s not here.  We couldn’t do that.  Fraud, you know.”

Please could someone tell me why, on a joint account that either can sign, one of the signatories can’t have a cheque made out to the other signatory?

Anyhow, I buried the one cheque I had extracted from them deep in my bag and rushed off to a sensible bank before they could take it off me again. 

Now I have to make a special trip into town and go through this all again.  I’ll take with me my Marriage Certificate, my Birth Certificate, my Passport, a utility bill.  Perhaps I should take my collection of Enhanced Disclosure forms and my mother’s wartime ID card.  The most annoying thing is that I could have done all this through the post without any big problem, other than having large cheques in the mail at Christmas.  Let’s hope I don’t get mugged on the way to the bank; scope for major identity fraud if that were to happen.

And if it wasn’t so ****** complicated to open a bank account, I’d clear everything left out of the A&L and put it somewhere else.

6 thoughts on “Rant No. 3: money laundering

  1. Gosh, you have your mother’s wartime id? Hold on to it – you’ll probably need it to change your address with A&L if you ever move. I sympathise GM – banks drive me crazy. But I won’t bore you with the details, sounds like you have enough to deal with right now!

  2. I expect many of us have similar tales to tell. Some time ago I had a rant about the (lack of) customer service I had from one of the major banks in Scotland. It didn’t make me feel any better and it didn’t do me any good either! It occurs to me that common sense and banking don’t go together. The people who intend to cheat – do. And those who would not know how to even if they wanted to – get the sort of attention you did! Arrrgh!

  3. Good job I took everything. Birth certificate? Didn’t need that. Marriage certificate? Weren’t interested. But they did want 2 (yes 2) utility bills and accompanying cards. It’s just as well I took along 1 in each name. I just wish they could agree one consistent line of attack between them all. Sigh. Change my address? Let’s not even go there.

    I’ve no idea why you’ve become American, Jackie. It might explain why I get more hits from America than the UK though.

  4. God reading that made me want to kill myself. It reminded me of living here in France! My husband swears that anyone official has a form secretly hidden out of your sight. It is a long list of things that you must bring for what you’re trying to do. He says it takes question form; Have they got their passport? Drivers licence? Have they tried to do this at least once before with all the right documents? Answer No ‘I’m sorry Madam, you’ll have to come back tomorrow’.
    Good luck!

  5. Oh Pig, please don’t kill yourself on my account! It’s just that I clearly look like a criminal. Anyhow, I’ve succeeded in Stage 1 – getting the money to another account. Stage 2 is paying the mortgage once it’s sat in limbo long enough to clear. What do they do with it in those 4 days?

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