Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Who is the customer, us or the bank?

Thanks to all the efforts of our supporters and donors we receive cheques in the post every day – that is when there isn’t a strike! If there is something special on we receive quite a number. They are diligently entered onto a spreadsheet and then deposited at a nearby branch of our bank.

When a colleague went to do this on Friday she was told the manager wanted to speak to her. The manager proceeded to say that depositing all these cheques was causing them a lot of work and please would we use something called cheque advantage where the cheques are then sent to a central sorting office.

We don’t really want to do this. We used to but then the bank lost a bag of cheques. Once we had established that they had lost the cheques (we were receiving calls from supporters asking why we hadn’t deposited their cheques) the obvious thing seemed to be (to the bank) for us to write to each donor and ask them to reissue the cheque. Sounds obvious until you realise the scale of the problem and think about the marathon runner: he had sent in a bunch of cheques from his friends, family and work colleagues, some were from the UK and some from abroad. After all the effort of running the marathon and then collecting the money – to write to each of them again and hope that they will be prepared to take the trouble to cancel the cheque and issue a new one – you must be joking!

After much wrangling they paid us out the amount on the deposit slip in compensation – we had evidence that they had the cheques. As it was, said marathon runner had to write to every person who supported him to tell them what happened and that we had the money anyway even though their cheques were not going to be presented. That was just one example. It cost us a huge effort and we were without the money for months.

So Ms Branch Manager – we won’t be using this service – sorry your staff will have to process the cheques.

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