On October 27th I made a payment of £20 onto my Barclaycard at the City Centre (or Byker, I’m not entirely sure) branch of Barclays. The credit slip said to allow three days for payment to clear. A week later I made a purchase which would have brought the card almost to its limit. I have a tiny credit limit so repayments are generally less than £10/month.

Today, almost a month later, I received a bill demanding immediate payment of £64. It went to explain that I had made no payment the previous month, thus incurring a charge of £20. Because, at this stage, I was now over my limit, there was a further charge of £20 for exceeding the limit. Then interest on top of that.
So, to recap:
£20 for the twenty I’d already paid,
£20 for not paying the twenty I’d already payed,
£20 because not paying the twenty I’d payed left me over my credit limit (not to mention the further twenty they charged me for it).
Oh and a threat to suspend my card if payment wasn’t made within the usual number of days.

I rang them up, greatly disturbed – I could remember making the payment, but – my mental faculties not being exactly at their usual stirling best – wrongly assumed that I must have been mistaken and confused the previous month’s payment. They assured me that the last payment they had received from me was on September 30th. I made a huge payment from my bank account.

Just to set my mind at ease I then dug through my hastily thrown together box of papers which acts as a makeshift filing cabinet. There, nestled in the centre of the box was a receipt from the bank dated 27th October 2004 for a payment of £20 onto my card. Another phone call was in order. Without so much as an apology the operator grudgingly agreed to credit my account with a refund for both charges and a credit of £20 until they could trace my payment. She maintained that no further refunds would be forthcoming – it was clearly my fault for using one of the advertised payment methods and they could accept no liability because they advertised other ways to pay.

Hang on a minute!

It’s my fault that staff employed by the bank that runs the fucking credit card lost the details of my payment?
I’m liable because I should have used another of the payment methods as well, presumably?
Despite there being nothing in the “how to pay” details that if their staff fucked up I was still liable?

Eminently sensible.


This entry has been brought to you by somebody with very little chance of switching service providers due to an embarassed financial situation.

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