Differences between the UK and the USA: #1

UK: Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was under intense pressure on Wednesday night after he was involved in a punch-up...

USA: Cheney shoots man in hunt error

This difference is that whilst Prescott meant to hurt his man, Cheney is the only one that could have killed his man. Guns don't kill people politicians do!


Google Adsense, hmm

For some reason I've signed up to google adsense for this blog. What sort of money is a schmuck like me gonna get for spouting shite eh? Well we'll see. Perhaps I won't even pass their vetting procedure. Anyway, if you click on the links or whatever there are on the page I'll total the cash up and if it's significant I'll probably give it to charity. If it's not I'll just laugh at my stupidity.

The Infuriating Case of the Plastic Totem and the Vanishing Funds - Epilogue

After thinking it was all over, I was sadly wrong. If your credit card issuer says they will not attempt to take payment from your account after they have resolved your credit card fraud issue don't believe them, it is a barefaced lie.

I checked my balance the other day and I was several thousand overdrawn. "So what's new Ian. He, he, he!", you might say, but you'd be wrong. Post university I'm pretty tight with my money, ("So what's new...", you might say) and I'm pretty proud of not being overdrawn and of having a good credit record. This sent me in to a bit of a rage. I could have (and with hindsight should have) stopped this month's direct debit because I thought this might happen, but I didn't because somehow, through laziness and a false sense of trust in my credit card issuer. Considering how untrustworthy they had proven to be already, I have to conclude that this was a truly stupid action on my behalf and could land my clean credit record in serious trouble.

Now, things have got truly complicated. I know my bank charges me £25 for going over my overdraft limit and repeats this charge for 3 days up to £75 in any month. On top of this they will charge a further £25 for every day during which any further money is withdrawn from my account, which causes me to go further overdrawn. There is no limit to this charge. In order to work out what's going on I tramp down to my local branch and plead stupidity and innocence.

By my reckonning the credit card had now become in credit to the tune of the same amount I was previously fraudulently in debit. I checked this out and it was. My plan was to first resolve the bank charges and then pay the money back by using the credit card. My bank, which is part of the same company as my credit card issuer, was very good to me throughout the 30 minutes it took to resolve things. I was let off the charges and any further that were already in the pipeline, but any further charges couldn't be dealt with. However, the tricky part was how to resolve things with the overdraft itself.

My bank suggested that rather than pay a charge to the credit card issuer for the cash advance to pay back the overdraft I should get the credit card issuer to repay the money. The assistant was able to get my credit card issuer on the phone and they said they could automatically return the money to me at no charge. Brilliant I said, how long will it take. Five days was the answer.

Damn! So, not only have I got two banking organisations involved making this more complicated, I now face two choices. One, pay for the cash advance on the credit card, but stay in the good books of my bank. Two, pay nothing for the credit card refund, but be over drawn for five days. This in itself is a nightmare because I've detailed the overdraft charges of my bank above. It was further compounded because I realised that the very next day for about 2-3 days my monthly bills are all taken from my account. So I'd be charged even more by the bank. The bank were good to me, but they can't link the credit card account and then bank account, which means I would be liable if I went overdrawn further. I agree with this because if I was in a different bank or had a different credit card issuer I couldn't expect any favours. The decision was therefore simple, bite the bullet and pay the credit card charge and then fight with them over it.

What a horrendously complex thing. Add a new bank, creditor or person to a financial situation and watch the complexity shoot right off the scale. I am now backin credit with everyone concerned, but I'm seriously annoyed with my credit card issuer. I just got this months statement with the charges on it so I can now take issue with the card issue. I know now they'll pay the charges, but there is now interest on the cash advance and more interest on the original fraudulent balance transfer to deal with. Sheesh. Anyway, tomorrow it should all be put to bed.

Remember kids, banks and credit card firms are bad. Not per se, but because you don't know how bad (or good in the case of my bank) their internal policies are. You don't know how secure your money is nor how easy it is to resolve fairly simple things. Just say no!