Speaker by Various Artists

33

Banking on a relationship

by Colin Jackson

Dear Kiwibank,

It’s not you, it’s me. I guess I wanted more from our relationship, and I thought you were serious, but I see now that it could never have worked. My mistake, and I’m sorry. I hope we can both move on.

When my previous business credit card went off with someone else, I didn’t just go for the first one on the rebound. Maybe that was a mistake. Instead, I wooed you, and it was a lengthy chase, but anything worth catching is worth chasing, right? And I liked the idea that you are owned in New Zealand. In a way, you were mine already.

Of course there were problems as we got to know each other. My wife wasn’t at all happy that you put “Number 2” in the middle of her name on her copy of the card. But we gradually got comfortable with each other, despite the odd harsh word and awkward moment.

After a few months we had a nice thing going, or so I thought. I finally got my regular bills moved over to pay from your card, and I took your card with me as I travelled overseas to some of the unusual places I work in. It worked just fine.

Fast forward to March this year. We had got comfortable with each other. I went to Canada on a business trip, used your card to get from the airport just fine, then a few days later tried to check out of my hotel. Big problem – the card was declined, the hotel bill wasn’t paid, even though I had the money available. No matter, I knew you’d wouldn’t let me down – I’d call you to ask you to sort it out. You were asleep, then you went on holiday for Easter. My flight was the next day. What to do? I’m not used to having someone I trust abandon me among strangers.

You didn’t answer my email for days, but when you did you sounded reasonable. You didn’t quite say sorry, but you wanted me to see it from your point of view. Even though I’d travelled with your card before, you said you weren’t sure why I was away and you thought it safer to to wait until I called you. You said you’d tried to call me on a landline I haven’t had for years, no matter that I’d given you my up to date number and email when I asked you for the card. You told me that your Daddy doesn’t give you enough allowance to afford to support your cards all the time like the other banks. I sort of accepted that, even though I was still hurting from your rejection.

A week or so later I got a bill from Spark. It had a late payment fee on it – you had dishonoured my card when Spark was trying to get payment and Spark charged me for it. I asked you if you would at least cover the extra cost you’d put me to – never mind the anguish. You said no.

Other banks refund costs they cause people when they make errors. Obviously you aren’t prepared to do that. Perhaps that’s another aspect of the folksy New Zealand brand you like to show off, along with not providing out of hours support. From my point of view, it makes you not just someone with bad service, but an actual problem to be managed. I have enough of those already, I don’t need any more.

I’ve tried as much as I can in this relationship. I’ve bent over backward. But you don’t see that. I I realise now that you see me as someone to be dealt with from 9 to 5 after a long call centre wait, looked after in a haphazard fashion, and really not anyone worth troubling about at all.

That’s not enough for me, it really isn’t. After what we’ve been through, I want more. I expect you to care a bit. That’s obviously not happening.

So, this is it. I’m sorry it had to come to this, I really am. I’ll be looking for another card as soon as I get back. Like I say, it’s my fault – I probably expected too much.

Let’s try to stay friends.

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