Finance Trials

Over the last few months I’ve been intermittently fighting with two different finance companies about their shitty ways of handling things. I’m not going to name names (yet) so it’ll be “Company A” and “Company B”

Company A

The shorter of the disputes started back in June when I logged in to the app for their credit card, and discovered that my credit limit had dropped from around £6,000 to £1,000.  With no notice or warning. Which is, it’s fair to say, a bit of a concern…

I rang them (I know, old school!) to find out what was going on, and was told “Oh, well you weren’t using your full credit limit, so we dropped it”.  Which is, to be honest, well within their rights – I wasn’t using it, and *shrug*.  But it’s still not right to do so without any notice or warning – if they’re increasing the limit they give you 30 days notice and allow you to decline the change, so why not do the same for a decrease?

I got the change rescinded, but made a complaint about how it had been done. There could’ve been any number of reason why I might’ve been relying on that card/limit that Company A were unaware of (if I’d been getting the car significantly repaired, as one example) and where a sudden drop would’ve landed me in the shit.  (Fortunately that wasn’t the case – but they didn’t know that)

Alongside that, a drop in credit limit would almost certainly have a negative effect with the credit-scoring people – at a bare minimum it would have raised the Credit Utilisation percentage (the amount of your available credit that you’re actually using)  But it also makes other lenders twitchy – that whole perception of “why would Company A drop the limit if they didn’t think there was a problem?” and so on, and would’ve lessened my credit score as a result.

I got the response from them last week that my complaint wasn’t being upheld “because we can’t find any errors in how we administered your account”.  Which again is (kinda sorta) true/fair. Errors weren’t made in the decisions (although who ever heard of a credit card company decreasing a limit?!?)  But errors were definitely made in how that decision was then actioned, which was the actual reason for the complaint.

So today that’s gone off to the Financial Ombudsman for them to have a look at.

Company B

Company B’s problem has been *far* more long-winded.  Back in December I had fraudulent transactions made on the card, which got spotted and reported.  No idea where that leak came from, as it wasn’t a card I used often, but there we go. Stuff happens.

When I next used the app, as a result of the fraud, I had a flag put on for “heightened security”. Just to check it was me, verify transactions etc. And then they sent me a new card (as expected)

Only somewhere in that process, things went tits-up.  I went through the “heightened security” checks, validated myself, had to call them (I know, old school again!) and that should’ve been that.  But instead, the app locked up, and stayed that way – every time I went through the process for registering the new card in the app, it froze on insisting I needed to give those checks again. I did that four times, with Company B saying each time that they couldn’t understand why it was still wanting those checks, I’d definitely already done them.

I *suspect* that what happened was a clash – the “heightened security” was on the old card, which then got cancelled, but somewhere in the depths of their system, it wasn’t cleared in my account. So when I registered new card, it was still checking back and seeing that flag from old card.

Anyway, complaints (yes, plural) were made – firstly because of how badly it was handled (they agreed, and I got their default compensation payment) and then because the problem was *still* ongoing three months later, I couldn’t log in to the app.  That ended up going through their app support team, who might as well have been a black hole for all I heard from them.  And so I gave up for a while, and left it. I wasn’t using the card, didn’t have any payments to make, so *shrug* what the hell. Their problem, not mine.

Last week I reinstalled the app again, just to see. It’d been six months, after all…

And lo, it finally worked.  No-one from Company B had been in touch, despite those outstanding complaints and support issues, but at least it was working.

I got back in touch with Complaints because not being told was a bit shit, and they agreed. (In an hour-long phone call)  It hadn’t been handled well, the support team were rotten, blah blah.

So I’ve had another default compensation payment out of them, and it’s now all done and dusted.


All told, life could be worse.  I’m stupidly lucky to be in the position I’m in now, where neither of those issues has actually caused me any more inconvenience than yelling “Oh for fuck’s sake” on a regular basis.

But both of these companies are supposedly specialists in dealing with people with credit issues – as I was when I got them – yet haven’t seemed to have any real insight on how these issues could/would affect someone who truly was still having those issues, or anyone for whom life was a bit tight at present. (and god, who *isn’t* in that situation to some degree or other – even if it’s “just” being aware of how much prices have risen and so on?)

As such, I’ll be the person to use that fortune/luck and privilege to be able to have the time and energy to raise these complaints and hopefully make things better as a whole.

But really, neither of these things should ever have been as much of a problem as they turned out to be.  And that’s what makes it all so frustrating.

The Naming Of Things

At the moment I’m decidedly amused by the way the UK government hasn’t even thought about the name of one of its controversial Bills, and how it gets reported and described.

So what we get now is news coverage saying “[politician] has condemned the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill“, which makes it sound like the Bill is illegal.

Comes to something when they can’t even get the name right, doesn’t it?

Spare Space

One of the reasons for my move last year was to have a bigger house, with space to have a home-office and so on, rather than Tiny House and also renting an office in Milton Keynes.

It is lovely to have a larger house, to have space for bookcases (and to have all my books out of boxes for the first time in Far Too Long) and to have that home office and so on.

However…  I find that most of the time I’m still in “Tiny House” mode mentally, in that I don’t actually use that home office. It’s there, and I know it’s there, it’s just that I forget when it comes to actually working, so a lot of that is still done down in the living room instead.  Additionally, I don’t yet really sit in the other part (that was the ‘dining room’, and is now ‘book room’) as a matter of course. I’ve used it a couple of times – and suspect I’ll use it more in spring/summer with some natural light coming through.

Both rooms are fine, and fit for their intended purposes. I just… don’t use them properly. Yet.

Maybe I’m expecting too much of myself. It’s not even six months that I’ve been in this place yet, and I was in Tiny House for over a decade, so in some ways it’s not surprising that I haven’t really made the mental switch yet.

I will do. I’ll get back into the mindset, I’m sure, and I’ll make use of the rooms the way I meant to.  It’s just taking me longer than I thought it would.

Romance Fraud

In the new house I’m working from home a lot more, which has also led to me having slightly more TV on during the daytime. (I know, I know)

One of the things I had the misfortune to catch this week was BBC’s “For Love or Money” (that link takes you to the iPlayer page for it) about people falling for “romance fraud” – basically, fraudsters getting contact with lonely people who respond, form online ‘relationships’, and end up sending money to these “partners” for all manner of outlandish reasons.

Actually, it’s not fair to say “misfortune” – I guess that morning daytime TV is a good place for this, as the main demographic for seeing it and going “Oh shit, that’s what I’ve been doing” are likely to have it on. So it’s probably useful and good on that score.

In some ways I have sympathy for the people who fall for this shit – the main group seem to be older people who’ve usually lost a long-term spouse, and suddenly find themselves alone for the first time in decades, are lonely, and will grip onto anything that makes them feel less lonely. I do understand (kinda/sorta) that side at least.

But at the same time, Jesus Fuck, these people are bloody stupid. I don’t understand how they can class the communication as a relationship, or being “in love” with someone they’ve never met. And I really don’t understand the whole thing of giving money to someone they’ve never met. I know it’s a psychological thing, that the scam starts (comparatively) small and then people keep on paying out because they don’t want to be proved to have been scammed/stupid – which boggles my mind in all kinds of different ways – “I don’t want to be seen as stupid for sending them £200, so I’ll send £2,000 to end up proving I was rightWhat?!?

Even more mind-boggling are the ones who get into this trap with one “person” , realise they’ve been scammed, and then get caught again in the same situation. And (in my opinion, blah blah) those particular people are too stupid for words. And then they say *on the programme* “Oh, you must think I’m really stupid” and the presenters say “No, no, you’ve done nothing wrong“.  And I don’t feel that’s right – they didn’t do anything wrong initially, but if they  carry on (and particularly if they fall for the same thing twice) then the presenter should be allowed to say “Yes, you are. What kind of fucking idiot gives money to someone they’ve never even met?!?“.  Shock them into realising how bloody stupid they’ve been, and it just might have a lasting effect.

I don’t know the answer – there’ll always be stupid people in these kind of horrible situations.  But it seems to me like the basic thought process of “I don’t know this person, we’ve talked but I’ve never met them, yet they’re asking me for money – why?” shouldn’t really be that difficult, should it?


When I moved, I decided that I was going to be doing a lot more of my meals from scratch, and I’m happy to say that so far it’s been a pretty successful change.

At the old place I fully acknowledge that I’d got lazy – not crap food as such, but more of the prepared ranges (still with fresh ingredients etc., but packaged and just shoved in the oven for 20-30 mins) alongside steamed veg and so on.  So not particularly unhealthy, but also… not exceptionally healthy.

I have an odd relationship with food at the best of times, to be honest.  While I can be a foodie when going out (Michelin restaurants etc., although obviously that’s not every time I go out either) when it comes to my own meals I.. really can’t be arsed a lot of the time.  I don’t go for fancy stuff that requires recipes and effort, because by about halfway through I’m just bored with it, and by the time it’s done I don’t even want to look at it.

Alongside that, food really isn’t a major driver for me – I’ve had to build a kind of routine around times to eat otherwise I can easily go through an entire day and only think at the end “oh yeah, I haven’t eaten yet”.  It’s not a fixed framework, not like “eat breakfast at 7am, lunch at 12, dinner at 6 and throw a strop if that schedule is disrupted at all“, but it’s more about general “Have something in the morning, somewhere roughly lunchtimeish, and something in the evening” reminders.

As a result of those, the easy stuff became the norm, stuff I don’t really need to think about or make an effort with.

But when I moved I wanted to change that a bit, make use of the kitchen gear I’ve got (and the space I’ve now got where I can use it!) and cook more from fresh, see how I do.  It’s all more along the “make several portions at once” plans like soups, slow-cooker stuff and so on, but so far it’s been successful and I’ve been enjoying it.

I can’t claim perfection – there are still days where “beans on toast” or “a sandwich” is perfectly acceptable, for example – but it also helps to have made enough [whatever] for three or four portions, so it’s easy to just grab and eat when I want to. (Another side of that weird food relationship – I don’t really care about what I’m having, so I can have the same thing for three or four days on the trot and that’s fine)

I might slip back to “easy” over time, but I’m hoping I won’t – because at least with the current stuff I know what’s gone into it all, and that can’t be a bad thing.

As with all things, we’ll see how it goes. But it’s been three months already, so it seems to be fixing itself in my head quite nicely.

Coming To A Close

Thankfully, we’ve come to the end of a number of things this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier.

  • The Kickyball World Cup has finally fucked off. I don’t care a jot about the entire thing, and I’m just glad that we won’t have to hear about it all the sodding time.
  • Strictly Come Dancing has finally fucked off. I don’t care a jot about the entire thing, and I’m just glad that we won’t have to hear about it all the time.
  • The Festering Season has nearly fucked off. By now you can guess the rest of my sentiment on that score.

This time next week we’ll be done with the Festering Season too, and some form of sanity will return for a few months.

Oh, and also it’s going to be a bit warmer in the coming week. Which is nice.

Health Check

I usually try to get a fairly regular health check every couple of years with my GP, just to keep an eye on things (and with particular awareness of the family history with a whole horde of fun conditions)  However, what with Covid, lockdowns and life in general, it hadn’t happened since 2018.  I was just about due for the 2020 one when all hell broke loose, and my GP refused to do anything except urgent on-the-day appointments which I try to not take up (none of what I’m doing is urgent, and there’s plenty of people with more urgent concerns than me getting a bloody health check!)

So anyway, when I moved I registered with a new GP, got a message a couple of weeks ago that I was due for a health check, and booked it in.

That day was today. And I’m pleased to say that it all went well.  They took bloods for further analysis (nothing to worry about, all part of the process) but the highlights so far are :

  • Blood pressure of 140/70. Absolutely fine and within NHS acceptable levels.
  • Pulse – about 70. Not ideal, but nowhere near awful.
  • BMI / Weight – too high, but that’s nothing unusual. They’re both absolutely normal for me, so I’m not going to worry too much. As always, I’d like to lose some, but nothing so far has really worked, so 2023 is going to involve some other stuff.
  • Cardiovascular Risk – so far (and this one is also connected with those blood tests, so it may change) my results indicate I’m at something like a 5% risk of having a heart attack in the next decade.

I’m also booked to get further blood taken in a couple of weeks in order for proper checks of some of those family-history points.

I’ll also get a call in a couple of weeks to go over the results properly, but for now I’m happy with these data points, and happy to have been able to get it all done again with a bare minimum of hassle and inconvenience.