Oh Westpac, how you have FAILED me.
At the end of May, J and I went into a Westpac branch to open a joint account. Now that we are living together, a joint account was deemed necessary to pool our weekly contributions towards all the bills and other incidentals. Prior to opening the account, J and I had long discussions about which bank we would open the account with; J is long term Westpac customer, while I have been using NAB for about 15 years.
In the end, as I was getting a bit dissatisfied with NAB, we decided to go with Westpac.
So one drizzly Saturday morning, we took ourselves to the Chatswood branch of Westpac and found a helpful cheery customer service person to help us open our account. As J is an existing Westpac customer, it took no time at all to verify his details. The last Westpac account I held was closed nearly 20 years ago, and I knew Westpac would need to verify my details, so I made sure I brought many forms of identification on the day.
Sure enough, I was asked to produce my drivers licence, my Medicare card, and one other form of ID (I think I gave them my NAB credit card). I met all the proof of identity requirements, and our account was opened on the spot. We received a letter of confirmation with our Branch and Account numbers, which also stated that we would be receiving our debit cards within 5 working days by post.
At this point, I should mention that just after our account was opened, the computers in the bank branch suffered a meltdown. We waited and waited for the computers to come back online, but in the end, the customer service person assured us that all was taken care of and she had everything she needed to process our debit card application. We said we would wait for a bit longer, but she reassured us that there was no need, and we should shortly receive our cards in the mail.
Fast forward to yesterday, and our cards still had not arrived. We have both been putting money into the account, but without a debit card, we have not been able to use the cash to buy our groceries or pay our bills. So I called Westpac today to find out where our cards were, only to find that our application for the debit cards has been blocked, because I somehow did not satisfy the identify verification process.
Two painful phone conversations later with one apologetic but slightly incompetent person and one completely unsympathetic and completely incompetent person, I was told the matter would be looked into more closely by someone at the branch who knew what they were doing and I would receive a call later today. The second person (the unsympathetic and incompetent one) went so far as to imply that I was being hysterical for no reason ("it’s only been 10 days, so it’s really not that late"); the same person who readily admitted at the start of the conversation that she does not open accounts and is therefore not responsible for helping me, but she would try and find someone who could.
A few minutes ago, I got a call from Joe from the Chatswood branch. He told me that he had fixed up the problem by taking the block off our account and the application is now being processed. The cards should arrive within the next 2 days. When I asked why there was a block in the first place, and why we weren’t informed of the situation, he blamed the fiasco on "a computer glitch".
Westpac, you have failed to impress me. I was thinking of switching my banking requirements over to you, but now I’ll think twice before I make the big move. I just hope we see the debit cards in the mail soon.