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Consumer advice: Don’t go paperless at ANZ

March 24th, 2017

If you’re a bank customer, you’re doubtless getting plenty of messages urging you to go online and stop the waste involved in receiving paper statements each month. It’s an appealing pitch, but, at least for customers of ANZ, my advice is “DON’T !”. I recently had to replace a lost secondary card on my credit card. This used to be a painful process, involving reissuing all the cards, but it’s a lot simpler now, or so I thought. That is, until I checked my online bank statements and discovered they had disappeared.

A call to the helpline revealed the worst: the records were gone and there was no way of getting them back. The best that could be done is to print out paper statements and send those. Since I already had the paper statements, this wasn’t much use. An amusing irony of the process was that, as I checked through the bank website trying to trace the problem, I was bombarded at every step with messages urging me to go paperless.

I emailed the ANZ PR department, offering them a chance to respond, but got no reply.

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  1. Newtownian
    March 24th, 2017 at 16:10 | #1

    Good to see you are getting on to more weighty matters than saving the planet. Time to let the young Turks/Gen Y/Millennials have a go at fixing things?!

    You are right – paper copies need to be mandatory even if you still get access electronically. Especially when all of a sudden your bank changes its credit card conduit as NAB recently did – you then have to figure out which credit card you now have – difficult when they all look the same in the electronic menu though not in the fine print.

    Regarding trying to sort things out via modern communication I just had a similar experience with Telstra trying to ensure they were still sending me (for a price) a hardcopy bill…….2-days ago I tried to communicate via form/email but they stuffed that up so yesterday I used their phone contact system which is obscurantist, circular and the controlling to say the least. The Telstra robot (refined ABC voice) also proved yet again how stupid it is when one needs to talk to an operator. The best tactic to get service seemed as usual to be, after trying the polite “put me onto an operator”, to repeatedly swear black and blue until it actually puts you onto an operator who is generally fine.

  2. Peter T
    March 24th, 2017 at 18:49 | #2

    Gave up on the big banks years ago. Went to a credit union – not only friendlier and more efficient, but much better IT systems.

    What sort of major customer data system does not have back-ups?

  3. Garry Claridge
    March 24th, 2017 at 19:14 | #3

    I’ve had exactly the same issue with NAB 🙁

  4. Ikonoclast
    March 24th, 2017 at 19:17 | #4

    The major banks are all arrogant, disorganised and poor at customer service. I mean they are these things in the corporate sense. Most individual staff are helpful or as helpful as their unhelpful corporate system will let them be. I bank with another major bank. I gave up hope that any of them are any better. I tried to transfer to a different major some while ago. They stuffed me up at every turn with sheer corporate un-helpfulness and in that case local staff incompetence as well. I gave up in sheer disgust.

    I also simplified all my business where I was (stuck). When they more or less said, “Don’t you want this. Don’t you want that?” I said very firmly “No I don’t because I have discovered every extra service you offer is far more trouble that it is worth.” When the local manager tried to say something I said “Nope!” in an almost passable imitation of Dr. Evil.

    As for changing to a smaller mob. Maybe they are okay, maybe not. I don’t care. I have things as simple as possible now. I vant to be left alone by corporations and companies. Hate them all in that guise. Don’t mind people as people. But I do have a saying;

    “Society would be great… without the people.” 😉

  5. GrueBleen
    March 24th, 2017 at 20:09 | #5

    @Peter T

    What sort of major customer data system does not have back-ups?

    A damn good question, that. It’s quite a while since I’ve been in the profession, but my sort of hazy recall is that banks – being so central to the operation of our nation – were legally required to have fully recoverable data systems. Back then (oh, maybe 20 years ago) all of the big four had duplicate data processing centres and there was a full backup on the prime site followed by a full restore on the backup site at least every 24 hours.

    Switchover from prime site to backup site could be achieved in just a few short hours.

  6. Ramiro
    March 24th, 2017 at 21:54 | #6

    Interesting… I had the same thing happen to me, but I called them up and they emailed me all the statements I asked for the next day.

  7. Greg McKenzie
    March 25th, 2017 at 08:08 | #7

    The ANZ seem to have a lot of software and database problems. My sister left ANZ after it accepted a credit card transaction from an Asian car retailer when they knew she lived in Sydney. The only recourse she was given was to cancel her card. Go figure if that is what they think customer services is all about.

  8. Garry Claridge
    March 25th, 2017 at 08:13 | #8

    @Ramiro
    Yes, the statements as PDFs are available, but not the listings and hence exports as CSVs.

  9. Ikonoclast
    March 25th, 2017 at 08:44 | #9

    For the record, since we have named the other majors, I bank with Commonwealth (mediocre at best) and the bank that stuffed me around so badly I couldn’t transfer business was Westpac. It was well nigh impossible to transfer a seven figure amount of business to them (counting debts and assets all as positive numbers for the purposes of defining “business”). They were hopeless. Sent me to the wrong branch for an interview and so on and so forth. I walked out with the manager still apologising and saying they would fix everything. I waved her off (a her this time); “Forget it, your organisation is hopeless. I would never do a cent’s worth of business with you.” Being a unapologetic boor in such cases, I said it loud enough for all customers in the branch to hear.

  10. TFX
    March 25th, 2017 at 09:13 | #10

    Same issue at St George

  11. Peter T
    March 25th, 2017 at 13:35 | #11

    Since we are naming names, i switched everything (ordinary savings, term deposit, mortgage) to Defence bank (a credit union originally set up for ADF and Defence members, but open to all as far as I know), and have never looked back for service and reliability.

  12. Ikonoclast
    March 25th, 2017 at 13:51 | #12

    In summary, all the majors are hopeless. The minors are a mixed bag. A few people have found minor players in the market who have worked for them. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the entire over-fattened, completely uncompetitive cartel-like finance sector in this country.

  13. GrueBleen
    March 25th, 2017 at 14:00 | #13

    @Ikonoclast

    In summary, all the majors are hopeless.

    We haven’t had a decent “major” in Australia since we allowed the State banks to die and the Commonwealth Bank to be “privatised” – by the neoliberal ALP traitors, of course.

  14. Robert Banks
    March 25th, 2017 at 15:14 | #14

    I have found that having one’s children telling the Facebook and Twitter customer service “people” at organisations like those mentioned in all these posts and in John’s blog, about this mistreatment and that one is thinking of mentioning it in social media, works wonders. They suddenly become quite remarkably responsive.

  15. Moz of Yarramulla
    March 25th, 2017 at 19:40 | #15

    I had the same experience at ME Bank, closed an account, instantly lost access to it online. Then other problems so we left. Finally a few months later I got them to stop emailing me to tell me that I had an online statement available… despite no longer having online access or any open accounts. I realise they keep them round for tax purposes etc, but it just felt like one more stuffup in the series. And thus ended my more than 10 year association with MEBank. Got a joint mortgage, wheels fell off. I was genuinely sad, I liked MEBank before the joint account problems started.

    BankWest are better, the only amusement so far has been a female “personal banker” persistently ringing me to ask about emails from my female partner. Many blank looks over the the phone (blank comment? What is the equivalent?) Apparently she just automatically rang the male on the joint account. Then apologised. Repeatedly.

    So far I haven’t needed paper statements, but I religiously download and save statements in both PDF and whatever export formats are available.

    Also, the most annoying thing is back-dated transfers. My pay is sent on the 10th, it’s definitely not there on the 11th, but on the 12th the statement says it’s been there since the 10th. Yeah, nah.

  16. Ikonoclast
    March 26th, 2017 at 10:05 | #16

    @Robert Banks

    Yep, but always on a one-off basis. They never, in my experience, re-think procedures, protocols and customer service, corporation wide. Why would they? It’s a cartel. Their first priority by far is making super-profits for shareholders. Why care about customer service when they all implicitly agree to give approximately equally bad service? That’s the state of the game. And so many people are rusted on because it is so damn hard to change all your banking for what? Another mob who are just as terrible at customer service!

    What is required is federal regulation enforcing interest rate band and enforcing customer service level. Nothing else works. The empirical outcomes prove it. And we need a nationalised bank to compete (unfairly if necessary) and force better standards into the “game”.

  17. Jim Birch
    March 27th, 2017 at 11:19 | #17

    What gets me about this kind of thing is that there is no deal, and no expectation of a deal. If ANZ said go paperless and we will keep the last 5 years of your records available online and 15 years available on request as a zip – or something along those lines – I’d do it immediately. If you banked with an IT corporation like Google they would do that, more-or-less because they can. You’d also get some great search functions.

  18. Moz of Yarramulla
    March 27th, 2017 at 16:18 | #18

    @Jim Birch
    Google is the opposite to banks in that regard – good luck getting google to ever delete anything. Even if they tell you it’s now “unavailable”, or as Facebook put it “deleted”, that just means they’re not longer going to tell you it’s there. “There” being an amorphous location, no more subject to Australian privacy laws than their income is subject to Australian tax laws.

    As Charlie Stross pointed out in his Merchant Princes series, the end of cash is the end of anonymous spending and is likely the the end of low-rent money laundering. Cash will become effectively barter, and likely about as legal (viz, technically not illegal, but 99% of practitioners fail to declare the income so are breaking the law).

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