No I Can’t Do Anything About That

That is a direct quote from a TD representative when I asked if anything could be done about the interest rate on my Unsecured Line of Credit.

For the longest of times, this Unsecured Line of Credit was “Prime + 1.5%”, but about 2 years ago, it was raised to “Prime + 2.0%”, which while annoying, was something I could live with, however, about six months ago I got a terse piece of Snail Mail announcing, “Yeh, it will be Prime + 3.0%. I was quite irked by this (as a customer of TD), and decided the next time I was in the Bank (say to cash in an RESP) I would ask about this.

The Answer

The Answer is Always No, if you don’t ask

In the interim, my daughter got her Student Line of Credit from CIBC, which I co-signed, and she got that at Prime, so I figured I’d bring the documentation with me (to TD)  to see if I could motivate my friendly TD rep to do something about my unsecured line of credit rate.  This is where the title of this post came in to play.

First I was easily able to cash out my daughter’s RESP (as I had move all E-series Index Funds into the Money Market fund, won’t get fooled twice on that one), in a relatively quick few minutes. I then had to have my “investing profile” updated to allow me to do what I wanted in another account, again done quite quickly as the rep simply cloned the last time I did this update.

At this point I brought up my Unsecured Line of Credit and the high interest rate (in my opinion) and the fact that I have good enough credit to co-sign a loan for prime only, and the answer was short and to the point:

“No, that is an unsecured line of credit and I cannot lower that rate.”

I asked if there was any chance to discuss it, and was dismissed with, “Your Daughter has a professional line of credit loan, not the same thing, we can’t do anything for you”.  I believe I also asked if anybody else could help, but was told No. Now I have said previously, The Answer is Always No, unless you ask, but evidently it can be No even if you do ask.

If I remember the happy young lady at the CIBC, when she gave us the details about my daughter’s student line of credit, told me that an unsecured line of credit rate for me would have an interest rate depending on my credit rating and how much debt I carry, but she’d gladly check it out for me if I wanted her to do that. I guess I’ll be going to visit CIBC in the near future.

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Bell Ringing Banks and Frank Costanza

One of my favourite Seinfeld episode (if I can have just one) is the episode where Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) starts a PC Sales company out of his garage, and every time someone made a sale (not George, but that Lloyd Braun!) they  rang a table bell, needless to say things get a little out of control and “SERENITY NOW!!!” (something I also yell a lot) was in great usage in that episode.

Why would I bring up such an obtuse TV reference, maybe I had nothing better to write (did I just hear a bell ring), or maybe it was because I was in my local TD Canada Trust branch and saw the following sign:

“… if you like the job we did ring our bell to show your satisfaction…”

(Or something like that). My wife dutifully rang the bell after visiting with the young teller she was at, but as I left, I rang the bell as well and pronounced loudly:

“That was for the banking machine it did a GREAT JOB as well!”

I just wish I’d yelled, SERENITY NOW! right after that .

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What is this Cheque From?

Twice now my wife has deposited a large cheque and the teller has asked her either:

  • What is this cheque from?
  • What is this cheque for?

One of My Favorite Parts of Mad Magazine

Courtesy of Mad Magazine (click for site)

Now I have already talked about Snappy Answer to Stupid Financial Questions, however, this question begs a commentary from me as well.

I understand why the question is being asked, however, it really smells of a “Lawyer Question”. You know the “Lawyer Question”, it’s a question that  the lawyers make you ask so you have the “I told them not to do that” or “Yes, I asked them if this was illegal”.

Just to be helpful here are some answers that you should not give if you are asked this question at the bank:

It’s the proceeds of selling my Crystal Meth business, I already endorsed it as Walter White

While I think this is funny, my guess is you will not make any friends except with law enforcement.

 What’s it to you? Cash the damn cheque and shut up, I am the customer.

That’s one of those, it feels good for 5 seconds and it hurts for weeks after that, never talk to anyone in the service industry like this if you ever want to have service.

The guy who wrote it told me to come in and cash it right away.

No bank would cash anything after you make that statement (without a 2 week hold on it). If your buddy told you that, you might want to keep that to yourself.

I got it from a Nigerian Prince who is trying to get money out of his country

OK, that one I went a little too far.

 

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Humor: ATM Machine

This post is from the early days of this blog, and is quite humorous in a macabre way (sounds like something out of a Stephen King story).

For my regular readers, you know my opinion of ATM machines and their fees, so, please do not construe this posting as me condoning the destruction of ATM machines, but I am never surprised at what folks will do, just to not have to pay those “Not Your ATM” fees!

Blowing Up ATM Machines
In the Netherlands, criminals are stealing money from ATM machines by blowing them up (article in Dutch). First, they drill a hole in an ATM and fill it with some sort of gas. Then, they ignite the gas — from a safe distance — and clean up the money that flies all over the place after the ATM explodes.

Sounds crazy, but apparently there has been an increase in this type of attack recently. The banks’ countermeasure is to install air vents so that gas can’t build up inside the ATMs.

So just don’t use the darn things, don’t blow them up!!!!

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Financially Acting in Haste

Many times I have espoused that if you feel you are not getting the service level you want or you are paying far too much for these services you should simply change your bank or find a different service provider (with phone services, cables services and internet services), however sometimes acting in haste can have some unpredictable consequences, so while you should act, always take a moment and figure out what possible ramifications there might be from you making a sudden change.

I write this remembering a story of my childhood where my Mother first taught me that you must stand up for yourself, however, that can cause unexpected ripples elsewhere in your life.

My Mother is an astounding woman, has worked very hard, and is a very independent person (even now when she is 80+), but this happened when she was much younger. She had gone to her Bank to do some banking (remember this was in the early 1970’s for a timeframe) and many times she had received condescending comments about “shouldn’t your husband be here?” from the Bank Staff (implying that my Mother couldn’t nor shouldn’t be making financial decisions on her own).

At the time my Mother had her own job as a teacher, her own income, her own benefits yet the Bank continued to treat her as a simple appendage of my Father. As a bit of background my Mother got a Statistics degree from University College of London in the early 50’s, when women did NOT get those kind of degrees, so while I would not view her as a Feminazi, she was and is a very strong believer in her rights.

All of this came to an interesting crescendo one day when a Bank teller refused to do a simple transaction for her without my Dad’s signature. The account was a joint account, however, either was allowed to sign for transactions, however this teller would not budge, and refused to let my mother do this simple transfer without my Dad’s signature. For my Mother this was the line in the sand, and she decided she had enough of this.

She thanked the teller, walked away (politely) then went over to the Customer Service desk and asked to close all of her accounts with the bank. My mother could not close any joint accounts, but she did in fact have her own account and a Chargex card with the bank as well, so she closed both of those and came home. The bank didn’t really care, I guess they thoughts it was some overly emotional woman flying off the handle, but my Mother refused to do business with them.

This story in itself would be a good example of standing up for yourself, but it also has an added epilogue which is important to remember too. The next day my Dad went to buy something downtown, didn’t have enough cash with him so he used decided to use his Chargex card, however, that Chargex card was not actually his account, he had a card off my Mother’s Chargex card, and thus the transaction was refused. My Father was not very happy about this, he ended up using one of his own Credit Cards, but when my Mother heard of this, she had a good laugh (my Father was not as amused by this turn of events).

Happy Birthday

The moral of the story: Stand up for your rights, don’t take crap from any service provider, especially your bank, but remember if you make a rash decision,  maybe think about it for a few minutes and figure out what all the ramifications of the decision might be.

Oh and it is my Mother’s birthday this week as well, so Happy Birthday Mum, your influence in much more than you think!

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