Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) - Deaf Unfriendly

I'm incensed. I'm spitting tacks.

On Monday I got a standard letter from the BNZ Bank.

  • It offered me a Gold Card with a $7500 credit limit.
  • If I didn't want a Gold Card I was then pre-approved with an increase in credit limit with my existing Visa Card.
  • If I wanted to accept the gold card, then phone an 0800 number.
  • If I want the pre-approved credit limit - do nothing
  • If I wanted to decline the pre-approved credit limit - then ring an 0800 number.

I got onto the BNZ website and in an email, told them I was profoundly deaf, couldn't hear on the phone, but DIDN'T want the increase of credit limit.

Their answer - they couldn't verify my account over the internet so therefore I would have to go into the branch with photo identification to stop the credit limit increase. Well - last time I looked my phone doesn't have a webcam and they wouldn't be able to photo-verify me via phone either.

Why should I have to waste time and money (petrol) to go into the bank to stop something I NEVER requested in the place. Will they give me a credit or petrol voucher? I doubt it.

Shouldn't the letter say if you WANT the increase in credit limit then phone the 0800 number? Rather than the other way around.

And why on earth, in this time of Financial Crisis are the banks offering to put more people into bigger debt? I already know many people with huge credit card debt struggling to pay it off and make ends meet? Then to offer those people MORE? It's insane.

To date - The Bank Of New Zealand will not stop the increase of credit limit on my card despite my pleas to do so. I've requested the contact details of a senior manager in the BNZ to try and sort this out. I don't see why it should be on me to waste my time.

Shame on you BNZ. On the top of the letter your catchphrase was 'Better Off'. If I or anyone else accepted your increase in credit card limits, only the bank would be better off with your high high interest rates on credit cards.

Deaf unfriendly bank - deaf people beware.


Bron said...

Wow, my two pet peeves in a nutshell.

A) Businesses that don't provide customers with several options for contacting them.

B) Forcing you to waste your time to opt out of something you never requested.

This is terrible customer service and great customer service seems to be something that banks are really losing a grip on these days. For starters to say that they can't verify your identity online is ridiculous and a feable excuse. It is EASIER to verify your identity online. Many people already do this every day every time they use the internet banking services on the bank's website. If you already have an account they can set up the promotion online and all you have to do to accept or decline the offer is login. By contrast I don't believe they can only verify your identity via the 0800 number. How are they going to do that? Ask you for your pin number (which you aren't supposed to give out to anybody INCLUDING bank staff?). Granted the same problem exists for email. But online banking solves the problem. And it doesn't require sound or petrol.

What the hell is wrong with these guys that they can't just say - "You're right. We should have an option other than the phone so that deaf people have easy access. We'll make changes."

Secondly, I don't understand why banks undervalue the importance of having a good relationship with their customers. Forcing people to opt out of any service they didn't ask for just makes them angry and stuffs any chance they have of making them feel valued. Particularly because they know the real reason for them being opted in in the first place is for the benefit of a greedy bank and not theirs. Bottom line is I don't think banks value their customers at all. They take them for granted. I am amazed at how many times I have been into an ASB branch with the simple intention of depositing cash and nothing else only to have the teller try to sell me all sorts of things I don't need and then becoming overly persistant if I decline. Their whole focus is what the customer should do for them, not what they can do for the customer.

Quite apart from this why should you have to waste your time going into a branch? If they are too lazy and inconsiderate to provide you with an alternative means to cancel the extra credit they should definitely pay your petrol bill!

And I absolutely agree with you. In a time when credit has stuffed up our economy in the first place it just seems ludicrous to promote the problem even further by offering people the chance to create more future credit problems!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this is a big deal. So what if they increase your credit limit? They're not forcing you to spend up to the limit. Just keep doing what you've been doing. I get things like that all the time, and basically I just toss them, and keep spending what I'd been spending before.

diane_maxwell said...

Hi Robyn - Diane here, I work at the BNZ - sounds as though you've had a pretty naff experience with us - I'm going to get on the phone and see if I can get some answers for you and a fix so it doesn't happen again - I'll follow up with you...

diane_maxwell said...

ok - have spoken to the right person this end - if you give me your email address and physical address he will ensure that you are on the exclusions list and don't get another credit limit increase that you haven't requested

if you've asked to be on the exclusion list already you should be on it - so my apologies that that wasn't the case!

Robyn said...

Hi Paula,

Im not sure of hte practises in USA, but in NZ the amount of credit you have on your credit card affects the amount you can borrow if you need a loan for anything else, including mortgage applications.

There is no way I wanted a huge huge credit card limit, and is totally unnecessary.

The problem I saw though wasnt the fact of the amount of credit, but the fact that I didnt ask for it and it didnt give me a reasonable opt out method.


Robyn said...

Hi Diane,

Obviously I cant give you such personal details on my blog and you didn't supply an email address,

However, the bank finally (after about 5 emails) agreed to stop my credit limit increase online. I was never given any senior manager contact details so I can make a complaint as I asked. I would still like this. I think senior management should know of the problem, and the problem I faced, and I doubt this matter has gone further than customer service staff.

Funnily - they never asked for any other details to confirm who I was, to stop this credit card limit - so much for any verification at all - I voluntarily sent in my address and phone number so they can match me up, but I get the feeling they knew exactly who I was right from the beginning without me giving any kind of additional information.

Finally, several years ago I told the bank I didn't want these kind of offers, and haven't had any up to now - so why was that information changed?


Anonymous said...

Hi Anon
I have 6 credit cards because I travel a great deal and prefer the security of having the backup. However if I simply just let them increase the limits soon I would have the credit debt of a small nation........Then what would I do if i needed a bank loan

Dave said...

I just had a similar experience with a bank here in Canada. I tried to talk to the man on the phone and explain I could not use a phone being cochlear challenged. He persisted and tried to ask me twenty questions. I hung up and emailed everyone I could find an email adress for and blasted them all.
I am sick and tired of living in a world for the hearing. I tried to launch a complaint against a retailer a few weeks ago, only to find there is only a toll free phone line for customer service, no email access!!!!!!