I lived in Canada for several years. I had a Canadian bank account which I left open. Recently I tried to send some money from this account to my girlfriend’s Spanish account. This is the story of what happened.
When I tried to login to the bank’s website to check that the transfer was okay, the website said my account was locked and I had to call a number. So I called the number, and the resulting conversation went something like this:
ME: Hi I got locked out of my account.
GUY: Let me check your details. *Checks details* Sir, I need your reference number.
ME: What reference number?
GUY: SIR WHAT IS YOUR GODDAMN REFERENCE NUMBER
ME: I don’t have one.
GUY: Then you have to go into your local branch to verify your identity.
ME: But I don’t live in Canada anymore. My local branch is 7,000 miles away.
GUY: Then I suggest you call your branch instead. *hangs up*
My girlfriend came home and I told her what happened. We had this conversation:
GIRLFRIEND: Call the branch.
ME: Nah I’ll do it tomorrow.
GIRLFRIEND: Fuck that they have my money. Call them now.
So I phoned the branch:
ME: Hi, is this my branch?
BRANCH: Yeah it is, but we can’t do anything. Call the fraud prevention department.
ME: Oh ok.
I had started recording the conversations at this point. Here’s the recording for this conversation:
Then I phoned the fraud prevention department:
ME: Hi, is this the fraud prevention department?
MAN: Yes siree.
ME: Hi I tried to login and it gave me an error so I phoned the phone number and some guy said I needed a reference number but I didn’t have one so he got mad and he hung up.
MAN: Oh sorry about that. The reference number was in a text message we sent you.
ME: Oh, I didn’t get the message because I don’t have that phone number anymore. I left Canada six months ago.
MAN: Oh I see. Well we can’t do anything. Only your branch can unlock your account now.
ME: Oh ok.
And I phoned the branch again:
ME: Hi it’s me again.
BRANCH: You again? What are you calling us again for? You have to call the number we just gave you.
ME: Oh right sorry.
And finally, I phoned the fraud prevention department again:
WOMAN: How can I help you today, sir?
ME: Hi I tried to login and it gave me an error and blah blah blah so yeah.
WOMAN: Let me talk to my supervisor *talks to supervisor* Okay I will verify your identity by asking some questions. But if you get any questions wrong then my hands are tied.
ME: Okay question master, so hit me.
WOMAN: *asks a bunch of questions*
ME: *answers correctly*
WOMAN: Ok great. Anyway your account was frozen because someone tried to send money to a “Kasturi Dey Hosta” in Spain. We thought she might be a scammer.
ME: No that’s my girlfriend, I sent that payment to her.
WOMAN: Oh right. Sorry. We sent you a text message but I guess you didn’t see it huh.
ME: Yeah I don’t have that phone number anymore.
WOMAN: Oh right. Well you should be able to login in now.
ME: Great thanks.
WOMAN: Okay have a great day now.
In all, the problem took me three hours to fix, plus an immeasurable amount of emotional stress.
What did my girlfriend have to say at the end of this? “You still owe me my money, Paul.”