aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

At least I didn't have to threaten to sue them

I'm back from Africa. But it was a near-run thing. The bank card that ONB sold me was a dud; nothing I did could get it to work. Last Thursday, I spent half a day calling various people on a friend's cell phone from Lubumbashi, DRC. Nobody could get it to work. We were in danger of being stranded and having to pool all our personal cash to get home, until Bishop Ntambo advanced me a thousand bucks (with instructions to pay it back to his daughter in Indy).

So, today, I went in to the bank to demand the team's money from this verdammte card. I approached the bank manager, a nice lady, and in my most level voice said I wanted to get the money out of the card, all $2408 of it. She seemed blank at first; however, as soon as she realized what the situation was and how angry I was (with perfect right), she went straight to trying to fix it.

She went online and found that she couldn't get the card to set up right, either. She called the helpline, and I explained everything to the ditz on the other end, who put me on hold while she tried to find an answer. Meanwhile, the manager kept trying until she cracked the website interface and managed to assign me a PIN number for the card. We went out to the ATM and withdrew $2400 in small batches -- in twenties! -- and brought it into the bank, where I deposited it back in the account. The ATM used up $8 in fees to make those withdrawals, which she then used her manager's override to refund to the team account. So, we're all square now.

But that doesn't resolve the situation. For one thing, if she could get the magic to work, why couldn't her assistant manager last Thursday upon my repeated calls from the Congo? Why couldn't the helpline people, whom I called before I went, while I was there, and again today, do squat?

Here's where I come down on this: If you sell me something that's no good, and you won't fix it, then you're no good, either, and no honest person will do business with you. That's not the case with the very embarrassed and apologetic local bankers, of course, but then, if you sell me something that's no good, and you can't fix it, then no sane person will do business with you, either. The bottom line is, I was stuck halfway across the world with our team, and NOBODY in America would or could do anything to help us. That is not fixable, no matter how nicely the bankers apologize; they are either too uncaring or too stupid to stay in business.

Well, I've got to get the team accounts finalized, so there'll be some more transactions for a bit. But once they all clear, I am closing all my institutional accounts with Old National Bank. When ONB bought out Monroe Bank, their fees and poor service drove us to transfer our personal accounts to the IU Credit Union, but we kept the institutional accounts that I am treasurer for at ONB, since they're not all that active, and no fees and craziness attended them like they did personal accounts. But now, I'm done. Some time next month, when I am through being angry and can present them without danger of blowing up, I will go back into the ONB branch and close the Pathfinder NAUMS, Venturing Crew 119, and Cub Pack 129 accounts.

Forgiveness is not the issue. I don't consider the local bankers bad people. But if you continue to reward businesses that won't or can't deliver on their promises, then you not only fail yourself, you fail them; for they cannot improve if there is never any penalty for screwing up.

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