Chicken Supreme Court

The United Kingdom Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the banks in the on-going saga (there is no other term, really) on the right to reclaim the value of charges on such things as overdrafts.

Attention is drawn to the seemingly done-and-dusted phrase;

The Supreme Court unanimously held that the charges for unauthorised overdrafts fell within this exclusion. They were part of the price
paid by the customer for the banking services provided.

“This exclusion” refers to the notion of “value for money”, that is, are the fees or charges for going into an overdraft authorised or not a fair swap for the service of having an account with a banking institution. As the ruling says, “The charges were not concealed default charges designed to discourage customers from
becoming overdrawn on their accounts without prior arrangement”

This ruling should be viewed from all sides. Most people accept that banks are businesses and as such must find a way to make profits and secure themselves from losses. Fees and charges are one way in which this can be done. If an ordinary member of the public finds themselves in an unauthorised overdraft, are they in effect relying on other customers to supplement their lapse?

It would appear that the era of free banking could well be coming to a close, not as though this judgement has made this situation any more likely. Banks are finding “sneaky” ways to charge customers any way possible. Is it too much to ask for a watchdog – or even the government – to investigate whether the punishment fits the crime?

Clearly it IS too much to ask. The Supreme Court ruling has done a banking industry with its already tainted reputation not much good at all, with the long run consequences surely more distrust and distaste for an industry happy to soak up government aid while being rather unwilling to allow customers some reasonable boundaries. I don’t expect banks to allow unauthorised overdrafts or bounced cheques to go without any punishment whatever, although there must be surely some perspective in this age of all ages?

Not all customers in serious debt did so through splurges and irresponsibility. Banks may now have been given the right to punish low and fixed-income customers with even more disdain than before. I accept the principle idea behind keeping banks solvent and taxpayers’ money safe: however this ruling does nothing to encourage customers to trust the institutions in which so much ordinary, daily life is secured.

interruptions from history

FC Utd. Bank. Exploding lightbulbs. There’s a lot to remember after some time away.

And I’ve not, technically moved anywhere.

You need to listen to the Empire State, they’re very good.

I made it to FC Utd, for a very good struggle but ultimately a 2-0 defeat for the mighty Berske. For the first time I was, all things considered, the target for “You Scouse bastards” chanting. “They’ve got a Liverpool postcode, that’s enough for me,” commented a bloke on the tram back to Victoria.

Two days later, at home, normal service is not quite resumed, ending up 8-0 victors against a clearly hastily thrown together Durham side. Two goals disallowed (one for “pushing in the area”, which in non-league surely isn’t an issue?)

The Bank are getting testy. I haven’t been chased for the c/c so often before. I think it’s just the mood of the nation, such as it is. But they’ve got an increase in minimum payment, that’ll do for now. Covered tracks, sort of thing. Then I go and see a bloke on BBC News talking about how his wife and he managed to pay off some multi-thousand debt during the credit-crunch “which now is gladly over” or some such dribble. Balls to it, I say.

Woke up this morning (no, this ain’t a blues song), all my lightbulbs blown out. Need to get a torch. No, revision: I /have/ a torch but no batteries (damn Maplin). So may have to hot-foot it to Argos. Or buy matches. I’ll buy matches, probably.

I have limited time on this computer. Darn it! I must get internet access at home….



Positive thinking. Things are good. By the bathroom mirror I notice stronger more defined muscles in the arms, a lesser belly, broader shoulders. All will fade once the effects of yomping up mountains carrying camping equipment wears off (or for that matter eating at the Wellington followed by munching an entire fruit-loaf while watching England) but for now OPTIMISM and FEELING GOOD are orders of the day.

(Inserted thought, though. Did sit in the Wellington next to the jukebox which inevitably means the usual selection of songs. I finished on Have A Nice Day which is not my preferred choice. Drained by pint when the warbling women restarted with the tinny beats and “off” production. I’m sounding like my father moaning about rappers on childrens’ television back many years ago; he said once-upon-a-time the moon landings were carried live, now it’s all….well, there was a term for people it may be best not repeated….If I am sharing the same disquiet over musical tastes it’s not from the same social commentary perspective.)

Specifics, though. Devil in the detail. Damn TV Licencing people sent me a letter during my break (do their “chase up team” not know my budgeting starts and ends with payday weekends? What good is every third-week for me?). Powergen, e-on, buggery sods from the bank (they lured me into complacency, now their letters go almost directly from letterbox to shredder).

Goodness, though. That’s the spirit. Sunshine, more days off work (though, ah yes, must buy breakfast cereal to avoid continuing the microwaved-cheese-on-warm-floppy-bread habit). And this Saturday I am off to watch the mighty Burscough against Frickley (so I replace the West Highland Line with a muddled jaunt across Manchester and Leeds commuter routes). FC United in two weeks time, never before has the promise of a day in Bury seemed so appealing….

Must concentrate, though. Could have taken the leccy reading and done it all here, on-line. CDs to review, I could send them off from the Conty tonight if the laptop is repaired. Now there are things to do, do them.


(My Norwich by-election post has been updated)

Phoned my bank’s call centre today, to confirm the change of address and such like….Not as straightforward as I thought. The young girl with a sing-song Norn Iron accent informed me address change was carried out by a different department, to which I was connected. Prepare to have a new password and pin to hand, said the recorded voice: I scrawled both on a notepad. There was a click, an ominous amount of total silence, and then a recorded voice informing me that “The other person has hung up….The other person has hung up….”

Attempt two was a few minutes later. A bloke with a James Nesbitt accent apologised for the disconnection, putting me through to the same department with the preperation warning. This call was answered by a mature-sounding woman with no sing-song lilt to her voice at all. She asked me for my password, which was not the same as the one on record, being as it was brand new. My phone banking has been suspended for years, I helpfully advised, so that’s the new one I was asked to prepare. It turns out that address changes can only occur with passwords, but not new passwords, only old ones.

Could I change my password? Only if I had the previous one. But that’s forgotten, so now what? There was actual silence, the kind you know means the amount of training given did not reach to this sort of “mobius loop” logic situation. She tried another tact – could I at least give it a go, there are two chances to guess. I have had my phone banking suspended for not being able to remember anything so doesn’t that suggest I have no chance of guessing it now? I swear the sound of a guide book being flicked through could be heard in the background. These guys are customer support experts, they do it all day, every day, no break, there is no logical situation they cannot resolve.

Except this one.

“If we’re at this situation I may as well hang up then?” I offered. Mature woman agreed. We said our bye-byes, and I hung up.

My credit card bill will fall on the mat of an empty house. Effectively it has been falling into the teeth of my shredder, so in some ways there is progress. But in case this has any long-term negative consequences I will attempt the simple act of changing my address again, face-to-face, tomorrow…