Unreliable and possibly off-topic


Friday, July 28, 2006

IKEA part VI

A reader enquires about the IKEA battle, perhaps imagining that silence on my part signifies a satisfactory conclusion to the story. Oh no, that would be too easy. IKEA refunded my credit card about 10 days ago, leaving my balance in credit, and then Mastercard took up the torture.

The first time I visited the bank to draw out my cash, I was thwarted by lack of valid proof of identity. The only acceptable forms of ID are a driving licence or a passport. For reasons that are for me to know and you to find out, I don't have a current driving licence, but thankfully I had not sent my passport off for renewal yet. So I trotted down again a few days later with the passport to withdraw my cash from Mastercard's account. Well- guess what happened? The teller made out the forms, photocopied my passport and went off to make the standard phone call. Arriving back at the desk, he gave me a withering look and said he needed to speak to me. This is the cue for criminals to run out of the bank, having been rumbled, and it did cross my mind that this was the appropriate response.

Teller came out from behind the bullet-proof glass looking very serious indeed, fixed me with a steely gaze and informed me my request had been declined. There followed a short cross-examination during which my reasons for the withdrawal and my balance were discussed. He did loosen up (I have to admit) as the sorry tale was explained, and advised me to phone Mastercard to discover the reason for the refusal.

Mastercard were mostly unhelpful. Yes, it might be my money, they admitted, but 'policy' meant my access to it was restricted. If I was so insane as to wish to cash up my credit rather than spend it slowly using the card, the only method was to have a personal cheque issued. Although Mastercard have enormous offices and thousands of staff, the issue and posting of a cheque takes three working weeks.

The case continues...