Alastair’s Place

Software development, Cocoa, Objective-C, life. Stuff like that.


Well now I feel violated. For various reasons, I had an old Lloyds TSB bank account that I hadn’t closed; well, mostly because I was told that I had to go to my branch to do it (and the branch in question is a long way out of my way) and because it still had a couple of direct debits associated with it, one of which was directed to a recipient who refused to acknowledge the validity of the sort code for my new bank account. Anyway, it’s been floating around for four years now, and because it only held £50, I decided that I couldn’t really be bothered to close it.

Now, I wish I had. Apparently, in May, Lloyds TSB sent me a new debit card/cashpoint card. Only it didn’t actually get to me. No, some light-fingered #!*$ in the Post Office must have pinched it, because today I got a letter from Lloyds TSB asking me to confirm a load of transactions, made with a card I don’t even have. Why did I get a letter, you ask, rather than a telephone call? Well, I moved house recently, and guess who I forgot to tell? That’s right, Lloyds TSB, who hold a bank account that I don’t really care about. Fortunately, my mail is redirected, so I get letters from them.

What really irritates me about this is that card issuers have known for ages that cards go missing in the postal system, and some of them—American Express for example—have solved the problem by sending the cards inactive and requiring their customers to phone up and activate them. Not so, Lloyds TSB. No, they send active cards through the post. Last time I received one from them, I don’t even think they used recorded or special delivery, although that, of course, was a couple of years ago now.

The banks, of course, will probably tell you that “Chip & PIN” will stamp this problem out once and for all, but, looking at the short list of transactions that Lloyds sent me, I would guess that they were made by criminals overseas, because of the bizarre retailer names. And I doubt very much that every country on the planet is going to simultaneously transition to “Chip & PIN” overnight.

Lloyds TSB, for their part, have said that they will refund the money. Well, once I’ve signed a declaration to say that it wasn’t me that spent it, anyway.