Sunday, December 14, 2008

Competing Rights

I must be getting less mellow as I age, or maybe more aware of the annoyances of BIG systems... naivety is gone and the "NO" word is creeping more into my lexicon as if I am regressing back to that magical life of being a "terrible two".

My bank today left me an electronic voice mail that my debit card had been compromised... canned text except for the name . However, the name they inserted was a bit wrong, which prompted me to call the 877 number they left.

Side note: We in this part of the world are the highest users of debit cards. Me..I hardly ever carry cash, other than change for coffee at work. Will this all change my way of life - not yet.

Long and the short of it, they decided, without my consent, to not allow any banking actions to be done with my card; all because of a "possible" compromise. I asked the 4 "W"'s , they could not give me any details but were acting on a "flag" from the fraud department.

After much "discussion",

(me mostly pointing out my rights and demanding info which I couldn't get and telling them that I was NOT going to use my credit card (that popped up a few times in our conversation - wonder why) for my errands AND that I have laundry to do which requires the debit card - not cash or a credit card)

I went from a "suspended action" card , to a card that would allow me 1 transaction within a stoopid time frame of 15 minutes (to get to an ATM), to a 2 hour window in which to make 1 withdrawal to get some cash until I go the the bank tomorrow to get a new card, AND put money on my laundry card... all by 5 pm (a time I had to negotiate because I was not going to call them when I left the house to go to an ATM and I was not going to let them totally dictate my actions for the afternoon.)

So its now after 5 and in effect my bank is closed.

All this to me is like the days 20 years ago, when we didn't have debit cards - you had to go to the bank to get all your cash for the week... you get to the bank with your Friday pay cheque to get money for the following week , to find the doors locked as the bank arbitrarily closed early without notice.

Yes they left me voice mail and I was able to call and get some of this sorted. But can you imagine if I had been away traveling ( like I will be in a couple of days)?

I did not give consent for them to suspend my card, which they did even after talking to them. I had to negotiate terms of use for the card - and the card is now effectively useless until I make my way into a bank tomorrow, on my work time, to get a new one.

I totally understand what they are doing and that they think they are protecting me. However, I asked them not to do this (they never asked me about my understanding of the risks of leaving the card active, nor the option of doing so, and the implications); they just went and suspended it anyways.

All I asked was to have my card active until I get to the bank tomorrow.. allowing me some flexibility in how I live my life given the current banking technology AND NO I AM NOT GOING TO USE MY CREDIT CARD.

So who is out in this - me.

By taking away my right to assume the risk of their unvalidated risk (might be validated but they couldn't prove it to me), they don't have to worry about the few dollars they will have to pay back through their banking insurance should someone use my card illegally.

Did I win.. not really. I was given a soother. But I did find out that not laying down and playing dead, by saying "NO", "I WILL NOT DO" can work in in big industries that used canned processes. It wasn't a great success, but someone had to use their brain and make a judgment call.

1 comment:

Keli said...

I applaud you. I appreciate anyone who even makes the remotest attempt to use her brain. You may have noticed that many modern minds are becomingly increasingly drowsy from nonuse. And I loathe banks for their perpetual idiocy. Thank goodness this did not occur when you were away!