It is one of the inconveniences of modern life, the distant voice down a crackly line from a call center somewhere in southern India.
But George Bates, 23, of the U.K., has more reason to complain than most. Disgruntled by the rejection of an extension of his overdraft because he had only just increased his limit, he gave a less than enthusiastic response in a post-call customer satisfaction survey.
The next day he found himself locked out of his account with the Abbey bank, his debit card was swallowed by a cash machine, his overdraft facility had been withdrawn and he was down on bank records as a 33-year-old Ugandan divorcée.
When he complained an Abbey manager revealed that someone had changed his account details and as a result he had to pay $100 in penalties because six direct debits went unpaid.
The Abbey has now apologized to Bates, who has never been married, let alone divorced, repaid the charges and offered him $330 compensation for his "inconvenience."
The bank says that it is investigating the complaint that his account was sabotaged by a customer service employee in India. Bates originally telephoned the Abbey's call center to arrange an extra overdraft to cover a couple of unexpected payments. When he called back later to ask for a little more than originally agreed he was told that the bank had a policy of not extending an overdraft twice in one day.
Bates says the adviser had an Indian accent and the line was so bad that he could hardly understand what he was saying. He claims that the man was “arrogant and rude” and is convinced that he changed his account details out of spite.