Oh, how I’m starting to hate you, Netbank. First it was putting a block on my card because it looked “suspicious” when I, an American, left Taiwan to go back and visit my family in Colorado and used my debit card within a two mile radius of their address which you mouth-breathing idiots have on file! After that there was a brief respite from really bad service for a while. It ended when I got stranded in Shanghai with no way to get at my money thanks to the skull-brained set of regulations that herd of ass-ponies you refer to as “customer service reps” follow.

Oh, sure there may have been the occasional odd annoyance during that lull. Like the fact that your company has sworn off email in favor of your own in-house “secure bankmail” for which you refuse to let me do anything that you consider related to “security”, such as update or check my PIN. Then there’s your paint-fume inspired online system for updating my contact info with a built-in javascript checker that refuses my attempts to update my address because my Taiwan address doesn’t have a US-style zip code. Oh sure, it would only take five minutes to add the necessary line to your moronic javascript checker so that it would only require US zip codes from US addresses. That way, I wouldn’t be forced to ask you jack-asses to update my address for me (via your abominable bankmail). I did offer to write the necessary line of javascript for you, too. But, no. You said no. I can understand how you’d refuse my offers of free help and how, after two and a half years, you’d still be using the same broken system you always have. I’m an understanding guy.

It wasn’t until my card had been eaten and I was in Shanghai, faced with the very real possibility of not being able to get at any of my cash, that my patience really started to fray. Of course, it didn’t help things that you didn’t get a replacement card to me until weeks after I’d returned from my trip, either. Had I not been able to find a way to use my Taiwanese account from there, the trip really could have gone poorly. Still it wasn’t until the events of the last few days transpired that I started to really get pissed off. This is where I draw the line. It’s gone too far.

After receiving my new card a few days ago, I immediately called the number that came with it to activate it. Then, I sent a bankmail to let your oh-so-incompetent staff know I’d received it. After that, since my friend Martin had used the last of my Skype credit calling a buddy in Japan, I decided it was time to try out my new card by buying more credit online. The transaction was refused. Taking a deep breath, I told myself, “Ah, no worries. I use my family’s US address for my billing address on Skype and Netbank probably just lost track of that address somehow, when they switched me to a new card.” No such luck. After sending a few bankmails to Netbank, I got this response:

Received: 08/05/2006 03:47 PM ET
Expires: 10/05/2006
Account Reference: Select One
Subject: RE: Transaction refused

Message: ==============================================================
Please include the following line in any e-mail correspondence
regarding this issue: Contact number: Netbank< <6293283>>
Dear Mark Wilbur,

Thank you for contacting NetBank®.

In response to your inquiry, our records show that your new Visa Check Card #xxxxxxxxxxxx7745 has never been activated. In order to use your card you will need to have the card activated. You may choose to activate your card by using the card along with your pin number and this will automatically activate your card for you. Or you may call our Customer Service Number at 1-888-256-6932 and we will be happy to activate the card for you. I apologize for any inconvenience.

At your earliest convenience please verify your most current home and business telephone numbers with us to ensure that we have your correct contact information on file. To view or change your contact information (address, telephone number or email address) select “Account Services” from the left navigation bar. Then, choose “Change Contact Information.”

For details on our products and services, please visit our homepage, www.NetBank.com for more information. If you need further assistance, please contact us. We value your business and appreciate your choosing NetBank.

Customer Care, NetBank®
Phone: 888-256-6932

I tried to make the purchase again today, and it still failed.

— Original Message On Thu 08/03/2006 —

After reading this message, I had three thoughts.

  1. What the fuck are they telling me to go back to that broken page that refuses my address for? Don’t those bitches read the bankmail I have to send them every time I change my address!!?
  2. Yeah, I did activate my card. For some “advanced company” running everything online, shouldn’t at least some of your software work!!?
  3. Hmm… I can activate my card just by using it at an ATM. That’s kinda cool. Deep breaths… deep breaths… anger is the path of darkness… calm down. Okay! I’ll go to the ATM and check my balance or something. Then my card will be activated and I can buy Skype credit online!

So, later that night, when I was in a convenience store, I put my card in the machine, punched in my PIN, asked to see my balance, and the card was eaten. Damn it! I picked up the phone on top of the ATM and told them my card was eaten. After consulting their records they said Netbank had put a flag on the card requesting that it be retracted the next time it was used. Arrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!