Monday, 28 April 2014

Prayer to Saint Andrew...

... Patron Saint of fraudulent bankers†.

I've just spent a good half hour talking to a charming lady called Kirsty, whose hands were tied (no doubt with red tape) and who maintained her composure while I became increasingly frustrated with my Kafka-esque position. Seeing that I could get nowhere, and rather than try her patience even further, I gave up and wrote to Santander as follows:

<rant theme="You can't get  there from here" warning="The clue's in the word rant. Read on at user's risk">
I want to complain about the lack of clarity in your online ISA application.

On 3 April I opened a 123 ISA. I wanted to put the maximum in (five thousand and something pounds) before the end of the tax year. The application asked ‘Do you want to transfer the money from your 123 Current A/c?’, and I said yes. I got a confirmation – OLA8105845 – saying I would get a letter or email within the next three business days. As it was a Friday, and the Monday was the start of the new tax year, I had to trust that you would follow my instructions.

It wasn’t until after the start of the new tax year that I realized my Current account had not been debited.

I have been speaking today to Kirsty in your ISA department, and she said that I should have checked, or contacted you to ask why the debit had not been made. But I couldn’t. It wasn’t until the third day of the new tax year – by which time it was too late to make the transfer – that I realized that the transfer hadn’t been made. In fact I have never received the promised letter.

I don’t want to be told yet again that you can’t go back to the old tax year to make the payment. I don’t need to be told that 123 Current A/c’s interest rate, before tax, is about the same as the 123 ISA’s rate tax-free. That calculation may not be relevant when I choose to withdraw the money. The fact is, your wishy-washy software has done me out of my tax-free allowance. I want to be compensated for this.

I want to know why I didn’t get the promised letter, and why the due amount was not debited – as, in all good faith, I thought I had instructed. I also want you to change the online application, so that it makes clear that although the applicant specifies an amount and although the applicant agrees that that amount should be debited to the current account, NOTHING HAPPENS.

At that stage, the application procedure must say something like:

‘Your instructions are important to Santander, but they are irrelevant.   Well, that’s not quite true, because – you see – they weren’t actually instructions, whatever you thought. You’ve been had, sucker. Your new ISA has been opened with a £0.00 balance, and if you don’t realize this until the new tax year, TOUGH. After you receive the letter that we may or may not send, you must check and issue your instructions again. – making a payment into an account of which you may not have the number.’
 </rant>(Well  I warned you)
 That's better.

Update 2014.04.29.11:10 – Added this note:

Fearing that I might have slighted Saint Andrew [anathema sim], I checked in my The Oxford
Dictionary of Saints
(not that edition though – in fact, to judge by the lack of bibliographical data, it must be the first). According to this, sv 'Andrew' the relics of the saint were carried through Scotland in the 8th century by Rule; and sv 'Rule' the guardians of the relics stopped in Fife and built a church where now there is a town called 'St Andrews' in the 4th. So he is presumably the Patron Saint of time-travellers and golfers.

Going to the fount of all wisdom, Wikipedia, I find that St Rule (scroll down to Scotland) was a 6th century character, and that the relics were actually brought to Fife by someone else entirely.

(Incidentally, Kirsty did have a Scottish accent, which is consistent with the belief in a link between Santander and Scotland....)

Update 2014.04.30.21:55 – Added this PS:


That article in Wikipedia made  me wonder. It lists legends from various parts of the world, but not from Spain. It seemed to me possible that the ship that bore the Saint's relics from Constantinople (see here: [...]
Regulus was said to have had a second dream in which an angel advised him to take the hidden relics ‘to the ends of the earth’ for protection. Wherever he was shipwrecked, he was to build a shrine for them. St Rule set sail, taking with him a kneecap, an upper arm bone, three fingers and a tooth. He sailed west, towards the edge of the known world, and was shipwrecked on the coast of Fife, Scotland.
)...I thought it possible, I was saying, that his ship might have put in at a port on Spain's northern coast, which somehow became associated with the name.

So I did a bit of digging to investigate what might turn out to be just folk etymology, and indeed it did. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, 'Saint Andrew' is a red herring:
This diocese in Spain takes its name not from St. Andrew as some, misled by the sound of the name, believe, but from St. Hemeterius (Santemter, Santenter, Santander), one of the patrons of the city and ancient abbey, the other being St. Celedonius. 
Wikipedia, in the article on the City of Santander is not so sure:
Its present name is possibly derived from Saint Andrew (Sanct Ander) or Saint Emeterio (Santemter, Santenter, Santander), a martyr whose head was brought there in the 3rd century ...
So the jury's out. Ho hum.... So many digressions, so little time.

Update 2020.09.08.15:30 – Deleted old footer:

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