b3ta.com user _(_(_(_(_(_(_(_(_
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Profile for _(_(_(_(_(_(_(_(_:
Profile Info:

Been personally investigating the long term effects of alcoholism for some years now. At present, my findings suggest that regular usage of alcoholic liquor in large quantities causes smileyface, kebabbage, and the occasional bust liver.

Other than that, who exactly puts any information on the interweb? May be an AI, time traveller or refugee from area 51.

Currently wondering how you'd get a measurement of the exact surface area of a kitten.

Recent front page messages:


Best answers to questions:

» Banks

Abbey Fucking National
Apologies for length. Here are copies of a couple of letters I sent to my bank following some incidents a couple of years ago. Suffice to say, I am no longer an Abbey National customer.

***Ninja Edit. A fourth letter has been added, which I'd forgotten about.***


Re: Retention of debit card by ATM system – 09-01-26 ********

Following January’s replacement of my ATM card, caused by a theft of my wallet, I noticed that e-banking had not been re-enabled on my account. Perhaps I should have addressed this earlier, but as the ATM’s transfer and payment utilities satisfied most of the things I needed to do I let matters slide.

However, the transfer amounts between Abbey accounts facility was sadly unavailable towards the back end of May (it looked like some of the ATM software was being modified) and I decided to re-enable my e-banking facility.

While I am reasonably sure the last time I requested this it was a relatively straightforward task accomplished via the ATM machine, I learned that this facility was no longer available. Therefore, on 29 May, late afternoon I phoned up the call centre to have e-banking re-enabled. Sadly, this is the exact point where things went badly wrong.

It took me less than ten seconds short of fifty-three minutes to accomplish what should be possible via an ATM machine in less than 120 seconds. This is not good.

On 31 May, I visited an ATM machine close to my place of work to withdraw some funds, as I had just been paid. My PIN number was requested once only, indicating that it hadn’t been entered incorrectly. The card was retained by the ATM machine.

That afternoon I took an early finish from work and visited my local Abbey branch, withdrew some money to tide me over the weekend and also reported my card as having been retained. I was given an estimate of 3-5 working days for this to be replaced.

It is now a full three weeks since the card was retained and I am still waiting for a replacement. My mortgage payment was delayed by my not having access to electronic banking, an ATM card or a cheque book (care to enlighten me why you stopped sending me these some years ago, by the way?)

I have had to take time off work to access my money. Please note that this is not overdraft facility, a loan, or the remnants of a credit facility offered by you – it is money that I am compelled to have to pay into a bank from my employer and which you are denying me access to.

On 13 June, I steeled myself for another session of your excruciating hold music and telephoned your call centre. Twice. The first call lasted a mere three and a half minutes, and terminated with “the other person has cleared”. The second call lasted just short of nineteen minutes, and fared little better.

After explaining to the first person to take my call that a fortnight was in fact two weeks and actually exceeded the “three to five working days” I should expect to receive a new card, I was transferred into a call queue where I waited. Listening to a repetitive hold tune I have come to loathe with surprising passion.

Finally I spoke to someone who informed me that there had been a problem with the generation of ATM cards; and that this was being addressed. “So when could I expect my replacement?” I asked. “Three to five working days”. Truly you employ some geniuses of improvisation. I was invited to pop down the branch (thus incurring additional time off work) to address any pressing banking needs I may have.

Another week has gone, and oddly enough my letterbox does not even have the unmistakeable odour of an ATM card about it. I am no longer amused by these shenanigans. There appears to have been no attempt from you to contact me to explain the delay or give me a rough ETA for resolution. The staff at my local branch have been unable to offer any idea of what is going on.

Firstly I am extremely interested to know why my card was retained in the first place. While I understand that these cards can be affected by magnetic fields and cosmic rays, it is perhaps worthy of note that all my other cards, held in the same wallet and subject to the same treatment, have not failed in such a manner. Am I jumping to conclusions by guessing that the person with whom I spoke on the 29th actually cancelled my card instead of enabling the e-banking facility? I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Secondly, would it be stretching the point to request when the card is actually going to be replaced? While I appreciate systems failures can and do happen, this type of protracted outage is utterly unacceptable. That no attempt has been made to contact me and inform me of the difficulties is also galling.

Thirdly, could you explain why the “register for e-banking” option was disabled from the ATM machines, as appeared to be the “transfer money between Abbey accounts” option the last time I had occasion to use them. While one may be of limited use, they are able to reduce queue lengths on IVRs that are clearly suffering from overuse.

Finally, can we exchange the IVR music to something less appalling? Rather than a thirty second loop of muzak, can we have track lengths that reflect the wait and are not appalling to witness? A bit of Orbital or Underworld would be nice. Heck, perhaps a “Press the hash key to turn the music off” option would be acceptable.


Abbey National Current Account ********

I refer you to the continuing problems I have been experiencing with regard to my ATM card.

This card was retained on 31 May, two days after I had spent 53 minutes on the telephone waiting for an advisor to reactivate e-banking on my account. Despite phone calls to your call centre (the hold music of which makes me wish I had been born deaf) and my letter of 28 June, you have yet to provide me with an explanation for this suspicious coincidence.

This evening, on my return from work, I was mildly surprised to note that I had received three letters from you. One contained the much-awaited ATM card, the other two contained PIN codes. Both of the PIN code letters were dated 16 July; the letter containing the card was undated. A mere seven weeks from its original retention. You should be proud.

I decided to test the new card forthwith and hastened myself to the nearest Abbey branch. Imagine my surprise when, after entering the first PIN code and requesting a balance slip, I was informed that my card had been retained. You fun-loving jokesters you, I nearly wept with the hilarity of this jape.

Now for the anger.

You are FAILING DISMALLY. You are USELESS, ACEPHALOUS, BUREAUCRATIC HAMTOUCHERS. You have been unable to provide me with access to MY OWN FUCKING MONEY. You have FAILED to provide me with a reasonable explanation for this idiocy. You have taken SEVEN WEEKS to sort out a replacement ATM card, and have cost me hours of worktime waiting to withdraw money over the counter. I suspect that the head office of Abbey PLC reeks with the stench of bad AIDS, DIABEETUS and FAIL.

I henceforth offer you the period until 31 July to rectify this piss-poor state of affairs, resolve my query, and provide a full explanation for this shitcockery. If by that date I am not completely satisfied, I will withdraw my business from the Abbey and also retain the option of taking this to the press.

The clock is ticking. I await your immediate response.


Current account ******** / ISA ******** – Ongoing problems

Following my previous letters, it is apparent that we are unable to resolve the continual problems you have experienced in administrating my account.

To whit: on 29 May I telephoned one of your call centre employees to have e-banking re-enabled on my account. Two days later, when I next tried to use my ATM card, it was retained by the ATM machine. I reported this to the Darlington branch on the same day.

Despite follow-up calls to your call centre and a letter at the end of June, it took seven weeks before you replaced the card. This card was promptly confiscated by your ATM machine on my first attempt to use it.

This prompted a second letter to you expressing my extreme dissatisfaction with the way you were handling my account, and which offered you until the end of July to resolve these matters. You have not bothered to reply to this.

A second replacement card was received a couple of days later. It is not set up for e-banking, which was the initial reason for contacting you, and is no longer linked to my ISA. After seven weeks of being messed about, sending two letters, taking time off work to make withdrawals, and spending copious amounts of time speaking with the idiots with which you staff your call centres, I managed to lose functionality from the card.

On 31 July I took time off work (again) to visit my branch to close my account. I was told by the counter staff that closing my account was impossible that day, as whomever was capable of doing this had fucked off for the day. I was given the opportunity to clean out my accounts and return later to finalise the account. Calling your crap call centre also failed to allow me to conclude my business with you.

I visited again yesterday (2 August) and called in at the front desk of the Darlington branch. The gentleman there referred me to the counter. The counter staff attempted to refer me back to the front desk. However I’d had enough of that shit and decided to press on.

I was informed that you were unable to complete the closure of my account for the following reasons:
[1] A transfer from my current account to my ISA had taken place. Firstly, as I have not had access to e-banking for about six months (this being the problem that caused me to contact you at the end of May) I had been unable to cancel this. Furthermore, had you cancelled the account on 31 July this would not have taken place.
[2] A direct debit for Council Tax had been presented. This also would have been prevented had my account been closed on 31 July. Furthermore I contacted Darlington Borough Council in March and again in June asking that my council tax be paid from my new bank account. I have a letter from Darlington Borough Council dated 16 July confirming the change of account details. Evidently, their staff are as crap as yours, and they have been sent a letter asking for an explanation for this behaviour.

I was informed that I needed to return any cheques to you (which you stopped sending me about six years ago) and that I was unable to close my ISA because “it was linked to my card”. As you recently disabled the link from my card to my ISA, this confused me somewhat. At any rate, my time today was utterly wasted.

I have been directed to take further time off work to visit Darlington branch to close my account. This is not good enough. I have wasted too much time with you. I therefore submit the following:

[1] Under the Direct Debit Guarantee from Darlington Borough Council (their ref. 971466) I am told “If an error is made by either Darlington Borough Council or your Bank or Building Society, you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund from branch of the amount paid”. As Darlington BC were in receipt of updated bank details and should not have presented a request for payment to you, I choose to invoke this right. I therefore expect neither interest charges nor fees for this transaction, and suggest that you reclaim moneys from Darlington Borough Council.

[2] I wish that my accounts, current a/c ******** and ISA ******** be closed forthwith. I am not willing to take further time off work dealing with this, and therefore do not expect to be directed to Darlington branch to conclude my business with you.


I have had the pleasure of receiving a letter from you this morning regarding an overdue balance on my account.

May I point out that I made a request that these accounts be closed on 4 August 2007 into your Darlington branch. This was following a couple of failed attempts to request account closure on July 31 and August 2 – failed because the single member of staff deemed to have sufficient authority to close an account evidently likes to go home early.

I received a statement in August, which was expected – as it covered the period prior to the account closure. The statement I received in September was less expected, particularly as it suggested the account was still open.
On 6 October I took additional time off work to visit the Darlington branch and asked whether the accounts were still open. When informed to the affirmative, I asked why my request of 4 August had been ignored. The only explanation given was that you thought I retained an ATM card linked to my savings account.

This amused me as, as you will see from my previous correspondence with you, the last time I had an ATM card capable of accessing my savings account was in May 2007. This was the same card that your call-centre retard managed to cancel instead of activating e-banking for back in May, and the replacement of which has annoyed me to the point of ceasing my business with you.

Anyway, I submitted an additional closure request on 6 October, and retain documentary evidence of both visits.

It appears not only have you failed to heed this request but you are also attempting to add charges to my account for the period of 4 August onwards.
You suggest that I “need to pay enough money into [my] account in 7 days to clear this amount”. I note in particular the seven-day deadline there.
My counter-proposals are as follows.

[1] You are instructed to close both accounts forthwith as should have been done back in August.

[2] You are asked to provide a full explanation regarding why these account closure requests are being dropped.

[3] You may also choose to elaborate on the reasons why no letter is forthcoming advising that the accounts cannot be closed, why this is the case, or how to rectify the matter – instead of the request vanishing.

[4] Regarding the request for payment, I am happy to refer you to the response given to the plaintiff in Arkell vs. Pressdram.

[5] You will retract any negative amendments made to my credit reference file since the date the account should have been closed – 23 August by my reckoning.

[6] You are invited to recompense me for the following:

• An hours’ lost working on both 31 July and 2 August, when I left work early to attempt closure of the account.

• A morning’s lost working on 6 October, which was due to your abject failure to close my account,

• and for this letter – which again should not be necessary to get these accounts closed.

[7] As you have given me a seven-day deadline, I am minded to give you a similar ultimatum. If I do not hear a full response within a maximum of fourteen days I will take this entire sequence of events, from your initial cockup in May, to the press.

I await your immediate response.


Net result, about £500 in settlement and they most definitely didn't keep my custom. What an utter fucking bunch of incompetent, cock-sucking hamtouchers.
(Fri 17th Jul 2009, 16:40, More)

» My most treasured possession

This is going to sound utter shit
But it's be my PC. Not the monitor or the accoutrements, but the system box. Now please allow me to explain.

I grew up in the 1980s, and at a time when (without knocking them) my parents' chosen careers had been struck from the record. We had some hard times. If you've never waited yearning in January for the gas meter to be emptied and the back-adjustment to be calculated you'll have a rough time understanding this.

After picking a couple of a-levels up at college I didn't really see the point of continuing on an academic career and took a few years off, to bum around on crap jobs and see where the winds blew me.

It all went to shit, I couldn't afford the upkeep on the car I was driving and I accrued a shitload of fines. It caught up with me, and in 1994 I was sentenced to a few weeks in a local jail.

While I was there there was a choice that was pretty much forced on me - I could interact with the protochavs there and discard the things I believed were important, or I could ignore the taunts and aggression of the losers I was blocked with and just deal. Being an antisocial twat I decided on the latter.

To reiterate - I had been born of a working-class family whose aspirations had been pissed away by the current government; I'd then had a number of years of subsistence living before my short sharp shock.

A few weeks after my release I discovered the doyen of computers - the 386. The extent that the machinery had moved on from my days of pissing about with pascal on a prime minicomputer for my a-levels floored me. I knew then and there what I wanted to do with my life.

In those days, there wasn't quite the same hobbyist PC-builder market there is now. PC cases were filled with shrapnel and evil; any change was more customarily performed via manipulation of dip switches or jumpers rather than BIOS screens. Notwithstanding, I upgraded a couple of 386s to one 486 (Cyrix 486-133) and a Pentium, and was given the castoffs for my trouble.

Being on the dole it took me an age to put together the £30 for a case and the £90 for a 14" CRT monitor, but I eventually managed it. It took more blithering and obsequious attitude, but I finally got on the rungs back into work and worth.

In the 14-years or so since I built that machine, it's been with me. It's been upgraded countless times - sometimes the mainboard and processor; sometimes new discs; occasionally new optical burners (I had an expensive SCSI habit in the late 90s). But that machine has been constant to me for that entire length of time.

When my ex left me, that machine was there - reminding me that I was still able to do something. When my grandparents and the last of my parents died, I still had evidence that some things could endure - and that I could assemble them. During all of the low days when I feel battered down by the general shitness of the world I look at my fifteen year-old box and am reminded that I still have some power to affect the chaos around me.

And it is for this reason that I would exert my all to retrieve my PC from a burning house. No customised dell box could provide the same experience, ever.
(Fri 9th May 2008, 23:53, More)

» Stuff You've Overheard

Not exactly an overheard conversation, but similar
Whilst acquiring alcoholic beverages in a local supermarket about six months back, I saw a bloke in a suit, fairly well-to-do looking, pontificating at length into his mobile phone. He was trying his best to ignore all us other parasites and getting in everyone's way while this critical business call was transacted.

During the course of this, his phone rang. I couldn't help pointing at him and pissing up laughing.

He left the shop in a huff. Result.
(Thu 10th Jun 2004, 18:22, More)

» The last thing that made me cry

Just a couple of weeks ago, on the day Pope John Paul II died.
I was hanging this picture up, and I smacked my thumb with a hammer. Made me weep like a twat.
(Thu 14th Apr 2005, 19:00, More)

» Worst Record Ever

Without doubt
The atrocity Lady in Red by Chris de Burgh. The reason is a little involved.

Following a misunderstanding in Bridgend I spent the night in the police cells. In one of the other cells was a drunken welsh watermelon-knuckle who spent *all bloody night* singing the lady in bastard red.

That wouldn't have been so bad, but he knew about one line from the chorus. The night proceeded along the lines of "The laaaayyy in reeeddddd.... isss dannnciiinnnn... nerrrr nerrr nerrr.... laaa laaa laaa. (pause) The laaayyyy innnn reeedddddd...."

Eight. Hours. Non. Stop.

I have never, ever, before or since, hated a person so much in my entire life. If I *ever* see Chris de Burgh, I promise faithfully that I will slaughter him or die in the attempt.

That is all.
(Tue 2nd Dec 2003, 20:51, More)
[read all their answers]