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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You can't rectify it if you are forced to do that.

A couple of nights ago, I saw a story on the news about a bank screwing up and simply not willing to fix it. Until they were forced to fix it because of public pressure.

The tagline of the story is that a "widower goes public over bank mistake". But why did he have to go public? If you watch the clip you will note that the bank, The Bank of Nova Scotia (which is one of the big 5 banks in Canada) refused to correct a mistake that they made wholly on their own, for which they readily admit they did. Any common sense would suggest that they would fix it at their own expense immediately to avoid the kind of publicity they just got. They tried to avoid paying 35k worth of mistake and they just lost millions of dollars in business. That makes no sense whatsoever.

"They lost the paperwork and sat on the file for months."
To make it worse, they caused him trouble with the CRA, which is the IRS of Canada, and also it was the money of his wife who died 5 years ago of breast cancer, leaving him to raise 5 kids by himself in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, which is a very nice place but not exactly the easiest place to live in the winter. He had more than enough on his plate than to spend 5 years fighting with the bank for a stupid mistake they made. And admit to. And covered up to make it worse for him. If I was him, I would have sued them for damages on top of everything. All he wanted was his money back and them to pay the bill they caused him to incur.

"I get a $30,000 tax bill that I didn't cause."

So, because of public pressure by the CBC, they decided to finally pay up and rectify it? But did they?

 "I would like Scotiabank to fix this so it wouldn't cost me a dime."

The bank manager told the man that they were sorry but they wouldn't pay. They had many opportunities to fix it over time, 5 years, without it ever going public. So, what did they do?
They said they wouldn't pay. That was until the CBC decided it would go on air. Once that happened, they decided to pay $37,000 to make it go away.
But did it go away? Has it? 

If you really want to rectify it, then you have to fire anybody who had a chance to rectify it without the news getting involved and didn't bother. That is the only way you show me that you really understand what you did. Since, you just threw money at it at the last minute because the news pressured you to do so, it shows me that your bank is simply not fit to do business with.

"I believe the larger financial institutions are not necessarily focusing in on the individual. You become a number in a banking're no longer a person."

-Don Taylor,  a financial planner interviewed for this story.

Am I naive enough to think the other banks aren't the same? No, certainly not. But, I know you certainly don't care at all about the customer or making it right by doing the right thing and fixing YOUR mistake unless you are under duress. So, until I see evidence of other banks that way, I can deal with them. For you, Scotiabank,  I have no interest and I never will. Until you show me that you have completely changed your ways. I see no evidence of that. The same people who were responsible for this are still there.
This is very similar to the Carnival Cruises fiasco. Sure, I don't think they are the only Cruise ship company who lack total common sense when it comes to customer service and satisfaction. But, I know for a fact now that they don't care. So, I can operate going forward with certainty that I don't want to deal with them. It doesn't matter what others might do or be doing, you have been caught and you don't care to rectify that problem. 
You can't rectify it if you are forced to do that. That isn't how it works. It just tells me that you aren't worth the bother to deal with.

"They left me feeling confident that everything was going to be looked after."

What is the ultimate moral of this story? Never, ever, trust the bank (any bank) or government to do anything on good faith. Check up on them. You shouldn't have to, but you have to. They are ignorant, arrogant monopolies and they don't think the rules of common sense, decency and good faith practice apply to them. They make unreal sums of money and they have no incentive to do the right thing and try to keep your business with good business practice and fairness.

The bank calls this a "rare and regrettable occurance."
Do they really think we believe that? 

Never forget that.  
Get it on paper and get proof, or it isn't done.

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