So far banking is still a mess – at least I have the IBAN now and that will make sure that I can survive long enough to switch the Lloyds account to a proper bank. Given the fact that Bank of Ireland online banking is at least usable and that they do not charge those insane fees for sending money into the Euro zone, I guess I will move everything there.
But for that I need internet access – and that’s the next trouble maker. To setup a landline, phone companies needs about two to three weeks. That is fine and reasonable. So I got myself what they cynically call “mobile internet”. British humor at its finest.
For the records, I use Three.co.uk. And I regret it. Despite the fact that the application tells me that there is perfect connection strength, the connection breaks up, sends in the data into the digital nirvana and makes the whole experience painful. For each connection I attempt I can send about 10kb to 15kb of data before the thing breaks down again.
Its amazing, when I came to Ireland, despite the small size of the country and the well-designed look-and-feel of ruralness and last-centuriness, the infrastructure worked better than in the former empire. When I look at UK services I get the feeling they can’t do better than settle for minimal solutions. And on the big picture, the country looks just run down and ‘broken by design’.
If these blog entries help to save one prospect customer from such crappy service providers, then they served their purpose well. No one should have to put up with that sort of bad service. If nothing helps – vote with your feet so that they can go down as they obviously deserve it.
Sounds like you should take your own advice, and leave the UK if it’s that bad. On the other hand, you’ve taken up british moaning astoundingly well. Well done!
On the other hand; Why did you pick 3 as a mobile internet provider? I know why – because they’re cheap. There’s a lesson to learn there.. Never pick the cheapest.
As for banks – again – UK is relatively rare compared to europe that banking is free. Elsewhere they charge. You can pay in the UK and get a better service / features, so why not just do that. Simple!
Leaving, nope, not now. 3 was just the provider I had in Ireland – and there I had no problems whatsoever. My reasoning was simple: If they are good in rural Ireland, they must be at least as good in urban areas as Birmingham.
As of banking:
I simply refuse to use those crappy services. Banking is easy now: I simply use “Bank of Ireland”. They manage to provide a web-interface that does not force me to walk into a branch to do the most basic operations. They do not charge for international bank transfers. They even have people you can call.
I now spent a day searching for a local bank – and so far none of them is any better. They may have personal service when you do private banking, but I would not bank on it. From the fee structure: It does not matter what account type you use, it does not change at all. The only noticeable difference I saw, was the amount of extra insurances you get with your account. Well, I am already covered by my European bank – so no thanks.
I do not expect miracles from a bank:
– They must make it easy for me to use their services. I have no time to walk to a branch everytime I want to make a transaction and I most definitely have no time to waste my time with complex and awkward processes. Simple banking for simple needs.
– They must be approachable when there are problems. Having a central hotline is fine, even a computer menu is ok, but at the end of the day I need a human to take care of it. Especially when I pay them to hoard my money.
– Their fees must be reasonable. 35 GBP for transfering money via IBAN/BIC account numbers is not reasonable.
As far as I can tell all the mainland UK banks have the same problem – their internet services are just not up to the 21st centuries standard. And at the same time, they cut of telephone support so that it becomes a nightmare (or more positively worded: an adventure) to contact them.
Yesterday I think I learned why that happens: British people never experience better service and thus the service level they expect (and therefore the level they get) is low compared to other countries.
Moaning? Hmm… nope. Giving air to my raising frustration – yes. I am simply not used to this attitude of delivering “the minimally possible standards” I experienced so far.