Last December I paid a visit to my new bank – Sabadell in Vera. It’s all new blue instead of the old canary yellow as they had bought CAM bank for just a Euro; I wish they had told me it was that cheap as ever since learning to play Monopoly I have fancied owning a bank.
The new bank typifies the arrogance the banking sector worldwide is now famed for; I was reprimanded for daring to visit them just before Christmas even though I told them I had not received a letter informing me of my new account number so could not do any online transfers. They explained that my post man is dishonest or lazy, or both as he had obviously burnt, stolen or eaten the letter.
When I also complained about the persistent long queues I was curtly told that these were not a problem to any other customers. Sitting next to me at the other counter were 2 acquaintances of mine who had just told me they were closing their account due to the bad service since the takeover. When I helpfully pointed out the couple out to my nemesis he gave me the Spanish shrug in return.
I returned in early January as my business banking charges had doubled after the takeover to which I was brusquely told that nothing could be done so I asked to close my account. Suddenly the little man smiled and said ‘you can have free banking if you deposit 800€ a month into your business account!’ Times may be hard in the property sector but if I couldn’t pay in 800€ monthly then I would soon be sweeping the streets
I was then offered the mouth-watering inducement of a Repsol charge card giving a gigantic 2% discount on fuel purchases. My knees went weak as I imagined how I could spend my new found savings. Of course I said yes to the little man from Del Monte – sorry Sabadell.
Then every fortnight I would pop back to the bank and stand in line for ages only for the computer to say ‘no, no card yet!’ Once even the man who had originally tempted me with the devilish wonder checked and said ‘no, not yet try next week!’ I now know never to book any other appointments if a bank visit is on the cards and to take a flask, sandwiches and sleeping bag. This is because although the bank has two cashier desks only one is ever manned, with the other desk used as a coat stand and bag drop.
Then, finally one day the most senior and most grumpy lady looked for my card. Ten minutes of fruitless searching later and victory was at last mine – not a card but a meek ‘sorry’ followed by an almost inaudible ‘very sorry!’ Senior grump had to admit that little man had never ordered the card in the first place. A new card was promised in a weeks’ time.
Knowing Spanish efficiency is non-existent unless they are nabbing our money via taxes, fees and fines I left it a fortnight before girding my loins and donning battle dress for a return trip. My face dropped as the queue was again almost out the door. Never mind I thought, I will speak to senior grump as she will certainly recall her earlier capitulation. No such luck and I was told to get back in line. So I explained that I was only here due their earlier mistakes but senior grump still firmly said no.
So I asked for the complaints book! Sparks flew from her feet as she sped into the bank managers’ office swiftly returning with the forms. The poor woman was positively grateful that someone was about to officially moan about the snail’s pace of service, all due to a lack of staff. I suppose with another member of staff they may also get a new coat stand.
Next mission was then locate and deliver the form to the Trading Standards office. I found a building belonging to Vera Council where I thought they may also be located and entered an office only to be told that they were the Diputacion of Almeria and I needed the office opposite, the Junta de Andalucía. Crikey, three loads of bureacrats all under the one roof. I went to the door and checked the opening hours which said Mon-Fri 10-2 and as it was only 1pm I expectantly turned the handle but of course it was locked!
Back at the Diputacion they helpfully shrugged their shoulders, so I posted the form under the locked door probably for it to never to be seen again. I wonder if Trading Standards have their own complaints book. At least I finally have the discount card now!