Friday, July 28, 2017

Letter to the CEO of Bank Muscat

Dear Abdulrazaq Bin Ali Issa,

I have been a customer at Bank Muscat for many years. I'm one of the quiet customers who never goes to the branch except to pick up a new credit card every two years. I use your excellent online banking for everything. I encourage other people to join Bank Muscat. It works for me.... or 'worked' for me for more than a decade. You were the 'reliable' bank in Oman. 

Until now. 

On June 14 I received a call from the infamous 24795555 .... your call centre. As an introvert, I cringed. I hate receiving calls, and I was worried they would try to sell me insurance or something. Reluctantly I answered. It was one of your cheerful employees.

Employee: "Hello Madam! We're calling to let you know that your credit card information has been compromised. We received a list of at-risk cards from VISA"

Me: "What? Compromised? How? What do I do?"

Employee: "Oh, no worried. We cancelled your card"

Me: "You what.....?"

Employee "We cancelled your card. Do you want a new one?"

Me: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN? I'm travelling outside the country in a week. All my hotel, car, ticket, everything bookings are under that card!!!!"

Employee "Don't worry Madam. You'll have your new card within three business days".

Of course three business days passed. Four business days. Five business days. Six business days. My heart sank. I called the call centre. Each time a new person answered me. Each time they told me "Hmmm.... I just checked in the system. Your card hasn't been issued yet. Try going to the branch". 
I go to the branch. Branch says "Hmmm... it shows your card hasn't been issued yet. Go to the call centre".

The same bloody circle. I was going outside the country in two days. I had no credit card. All my bookings were at risk. I was extremely frustrated. 

June 22 was the last working day before Eid holidays. That was the end of my hope for a credit card. Fortunately, a very kind family member allowed me to use their card (can't be legal, but what was I supposed to do?). I sent a very long complaint message to Customer Service via Online Banking. No answer of course. Bank Muscat are the record-breakers for shitty customer service. 

The nine-day Eid holiday came and went. I was still out of the country. I called the call centre "Ummm... your card is issued. Maybe it's in the branch?". He said "MAYBE". Yes he did. 

I go to the branch. No card. 

FINALLY I get the effing SMS saying "Please come to collect your card at XXX Branch". 

I run to the branch. I'm treated like shit. There is no order. It's a man's world. Everyone is in chaos. I sit at the very back because there's no other place for a woman to sit. As usual their "Women Only" counter was closed, as was the cashier. It was all a lie to begin with. Trying to compete with Bank Dhofar. 

A distracted employee tosses my envelope onto the table. I sign for my card. I ask him when it will be activated. He said "Half an hour max". 

Half an hour passes. One hour. Two hours. One day. Two days.

Unfortunately I was travelling yet again and I needed the bloody credit card. I called the Call Centre. 

Employee "Hello! What can I do for you"

Me: "Dude, I've been without a credit card for a month. I picked it up and it's not activated. What is going on?"

Employee "Well, Madam, it shows in our system that it's not activated. Go to the branch"

At this point, I'm trying not to swear at him. It's not his fault. He's just a call centre employee thrown at the frontline of shitty customer service practices. 

Second trip to the branch. Have to leave the office..... again. Oh sorry, Madam. The Branch Manager is on a course and he's the only one who can activate the card. 

You're joking, right? There is only ONE person in the country who can activate my bloody credit card?????

Two days pass. No activation. Third trip to the branch. Oh sorry, Manager still on a course and he's the only one who can activate the card.

By then I had to travel again. Using someone else's card. 

FORTY days passed since they cancelled my card. I called the call centre again. This time I just told the employee "Who can I complain to? I need to raise an official complaint".... he professionally tried to calm me. I explained the entire situation. Told him I'd been without a card for FORTY EFFING DAYS for absolutely no reason. Told him I'm leaving the bank and switching to Bank Dhofar. This is insane, etc etc.

This 'employee' told me "no no, don't worry Ma'am. I will PERSONALLY follow up tomorrow with the bank branch manager. By tomorrow your card will be activated. You can count on me".

I decided to give it one last shot. Meanwhile, my SO went to the bank on my behalf. They took down the credit card details and phone number and promised to activate it the moment the manager was back from his training or  foot massage or whatever. That's TWO 'You Can count on me" promises. 

It's been forty five days.

Forty... Five..... Days... since you cancelled my card. And you told me I'd have a new one within three days.

I never thought I'd see the day when I had to switch banks, but for real, this is unacceptable. 

Goodbye. Enjoy your plush office and your all-male (minus one) board of directors and all-male executive management team.

This girl is out of here.