I had a good laugh at the Y2K+10 problems, seeing as how I had been warning about all the problems expected at Y2K. The whole thing seemed to be over, after all, we were up to end of February 2010.

I was up in Sweden for a week teaching, and my cash reserves were unusually low. No problem - I have my giro account with SEB. I can get money from any SEB money machine in Sweden without paying any fee, as often as I want. That's why my account is there.

I stamp through the swirling snow and slush to the nearest SEB machine. I put in my card, put in the PIN, request money and a receipt, and wait. And wait. And the machine says:

Din kort är felaktig! (You card has an error)

I suspected Y2K+10 right away, but who can I call at midnight? Oh well, I've got a credit card.

I'm on my merry way the next day, the snow and ice getting thicker and thicker, but I make it to my destination. It's a town I've never been in, but there should be an SEB around. Sure enough, a big one, with two ATMs. I start at the first one, same routine, same result. Just to make sure, I try the next ATM - again, my card is considered to be at fault.

The hotel has Internet, so I fire off a nastygram to the bank. I finally got an answer yesterday. "Yes," the lady writes cheerfully, "your card is affected by the general card problems from the turn of the year. Just drop by our offices, or if you are in Sweden, let us know the town you are in and we will send you a new card. And you can now get our superduperwhizzy new Visa card that lets you get cash without charge all over Europe!" Right. You forgot to read me the fine print - the Visa card has a minimum usage of 4000 Euros/year, or you pay a yearly fee. And even though I read the letter twice, there is no statement "We're sorry for the inconvenience we have caused."

This means that my bank has known for over 8 weeks that my card won't work in a foreign country, and they just wait until I am in the foreign country and can't get money and complain to then tell me that I need to drop by to get the problem fixed? In what way does this constitute "service"?

Oh, and the Visa has a really cool feature that all credit cards now have so that you can use them online. You have to make up ANOTHER password with a super secure question like "What was your first dog's name?" in case you forget the password so that you can use it online. I fail to see the security in this, but that is another rant.

So now I have to spend a good hour going to the bank, during their opening hours (not mine). Fume. I've threatened that I want them to reimburse me for the fees my credit card charges for using it in a foreign country. We'll see if they go along with that.

No comments: