Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Johnn, a subscriber to both the print and online versions of the newspaper for many years, told me that his iPad service was abruptly cut off early this month.
He subsequently learnt that his older model of the iPad was no longer compatible with the changes that had been made for the digital service of the newspaper. But there no notification given about the changes, he said.
His wife called SPH customer service and was "truly aggrieved by the services provided." The people who attended to her were not able to answer her queries satisfactorily.
Johnn said it took him a week before he realised that SPH was not able to service those subscribers who were using the older version of the iPad.
As his iPad was still in good condition, he did not think he should buy a new one just to get his daily news from the tablet. What irritated him was the fact that he was not made aware of the changes made to the delivery system that rendered his iPad obsolete.
He tried to speak to a senior manager about his problem but somehow his attempts were blocked. So he decided to write an email to a customer service officer. That was on September 8. To date, he has not heard from SPH.
Johnn now wants to know whether SPH would compensate him for the remaining part of his subscription as he believes it was not able to deliver a service that was part of the contract.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
It all started on Sunday when my three-year-old Volvo car decided to stall on me after I had dropped my golf bag at SICC Island Location. Luckily I was able to nudge it to the side so that it would not be holding up traffic.
About two hours later, after the Automotive Association technician had pronounced it was not the battery but the alternator problem, it was towed to the Volvo workshop in Alexander Road. It also meant the end of what I thought would be an enjoyable day on the golf course.
The next morning, Volvo's service consultant Catherine Lee, called. I told her what the AA said was the problem. A subsequent call a few minutes later, she gave me the bad news -- the culprit was indeed the alternator and that it would cost me $1,600-plus to get it replaced.
I protested as I was not happy to have to pay for a new alternator because my three-year warranty had ended less than a month ago.
I argued that it was ridiculous that an alternator could last only three years, especially when the mileage of my car was so low. I asked that it be replaced free of charge.
It was apparent that Catherine was not in a position to grant my request, so I asked to speak to someone higher up.
In less than 30 minutes, a guy who identified himself as Doy called me. After I explained to him why I should be entitled to a free replacement, he, in a pleasant, non-defensive voice, said he understood what I was saying and agreed readily to my request.
However, he said he would have to charge me for the labour cost, which I thought was a fair compromise.
But I really appreciate Doy's initiative and willingness to look at the problem from my point of view.
I phoned Volvo's service centre today to find out more about him. The man who answered my call said his full name was "Doy Chan". Asked if his designation was a service manager, he quipped: "Not yet".
Doy is now a service supervisor, but if first impressions are anything to go by, I bet he will become a manager real soon.
A bouquet for Doy Chan!
Friday, April 4, 2014
Before writing this, I visited your blog to catch up on the latest before emailing about my lousy experience with OCBC (NOT the fault of the lady at the call centre but of the bank’s boffins).
It’s ironical that you have been having troubles with DBS and someone else was given the run around by HSBC. But timely too because OCBC is now giving me a severe pain in the butt!
Tonight I went to do my usual, regular transfer to cover outgoings for the next few months. Lo and behold, I could not effect the transfer of funds to an account because OCBC ONLY offers FAST transfers - at a much lower transaction limit.
Instead of adding the FAST transfer facility as an additional option, OCBC has replaced the previous transfer option with FAST but LESSER transfer!
So what’s one to do?
OCBC suggests splitting the transfer amounts -- which necessitates spending more time and effort to make the transfer than before!
Another alternative the call centre lady gave me was to make the transfer using the recurring or future dated facility. I had to inform her that when I went to the page for managing payees, I was faced with two options -- DELETE payee or ADD payee.
And when I clicked on managing recurring or future transfers, it said I had none registered!
In the last few years OCBC has made cosmetic changes, essentially to the presentation of information.
But now they have fiddled with what was not broken and, in the process, broken it.
I thought online banking was for the consumer’s convenience, but how convenient is it to make multiple FAST transfers instead of one ‘normal’ transfer?
The thought passed through my mind to change banks, but if HSBC and DBS are as muddle-headed as OCBC what are the choices? It would seem that the odds are stacked against meeting a bank that does basic banking well in Singapore!
And to think that today’s newspaper proudly proclaimed that Singapore students are tops at problem solving!
Are we declining faster than I feared?"
Thursday, April 3, 2014
It's confirmed. DBS Bank does not consider personal assets exceeding $2 million to be good enough to grant retirees credit limits above the regulatory norm
for their credit cards even though the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has provided for this.
And yet it says it is "in alignment with the MAS regulatory parameters on unsecured credit card limits."
In his reply to my letter asking for an explanation why I could not qualify for a permanent credit limit increase, Mr Anthony Seow, the bank's executive director for Cards and Unsecured Loans, says:
"A bank is indeed permitted to grant credit limits above the regulatory parameters on unsecured credit card limits of 2 months' or 4 months' income to a Singaporean cardholder whose total net personal assets exceed S$2 million or who receives an annual income of at least S$120,000.
"Nonetheless, we also have in place further parameters that govern our respective credit policies and guidelines; these are proprietary to the Bank."
Bottomline? All retirees who do not have an annual income of $120,000 even though they may have assets worth more than $2 million, are not considered risk-worthy and therefore cannot get their credit limit increased without security.
The bank does not care whether a retiree has been a customer for close to 50 years, a Treasures member since its inception (which means the bank would have utilised his fairly substantial deposits over many years, paying pittance in interest) and has never defaulted on his credit card payments.
Why is there this prejudice against retirees who opt to take it easy as they have more than enough personal assets to see them through their sunset years?
Why does the bank need to ask such people to place a minimum of $10,000 in fixed deposit as a security before it is willing to grant their requests?
Why isn't the trust reciprocated as these people have bank deposits that are worth much much more than the $10,000 being asked for?
Where is the convenience promised for Treasures members when a simple request like this one cannot be acceded to?
The irony is that the bank is in fact making it more inconvenient by having its own "proprietory parameters" and yet has the cheek to declare that it is "in alignment with MAS regulatory parameters."
What's even more annoying and mysterious is that the bank had never disclosed the MAS' criterion that it could grant our request based on personal assets until it was told to me by our regulators.
From what I have experienced, DBS' "Living, breathing Asia" tagline leaves me...breathless!!!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The reason? It does not consider a property worth more than $2 million an asset despite the fact that the Monetary Authority of Singapore has told me in an email (see posting below) that it is one of the criteria which the bank can use.
I do not know the rationale for the bank taking this position but I told the officer that I would like to get to the bottom of this. I have written to the MAS -- again -- to seek clarification .
But I think I should also write to the bank officially to find out .
Monday, March 10, 2014
Last week, the MAS responded. I am happy to report that it is in fact the bank that has not been totally open and transparent with me.
To recap, I had asked for a permanent increase to my credit limit but was rejected even though I had more than enough funds in the bank to cover my spendings.
However, DBS said I would only be allowed to do so if I could fill up an employment income form. If not, I had to provide a secured deposit.
I told them that it was ridiculous since I was a retiree. It never even bothered to ask whether I had other forms of income or assets. How's that for risk management???
As for the secured deposit option, I said it was an inconvenience, and I wasn't interested in a pittance that it pays in interest.
From the MAS response, it is apparent that the DBS officers who spoke to me were either not aware or did not bother to ask whether I had other forms of income or had assets worth more than $2 million.
This morning, I spoke to a DBS officer and told her about what the MAS had said. I said I was re-applying for a permanent credit limit increase.
Now I wait anxiously for enlightenment.
Lastly, I would like to apologise to the MAS for assuming that it had made an unfair ruling.
Below, my email to the MAS and its reply...
I have been trying to get my bank to increase my permanent credit card limit so that it would be more convenient for me to pay for goods and services that require a substantial sum of money.
So far, I have been unsuccessful because I am told that a recent MAS ruling requires retirees like me to submit evidence of employment income even though such people may have more than enough funds in the bank to cover their spendings.
I find this MAS ruling so ridiculous. Why do you have a rule that cuts across the whole spectrum of retirees without thinking of the consequences? Don't you think that there is a possibility that some retirees might have more money than others? And surely they deserve the right to spend a little more on themselves in their twilight years.
This rule also shows that MAS does not trust our bankers to be able to do the right thing. If not, why are you not allowing them some leeway when it comes to granting credit limits to those retirees who do not pose any credit risk.
Please confirm that this rule is iron-cast and that our banks are not allowed to show any flexibility whatsoever when it comes to increasing the credit limits for retirees.
At a time when there is so much talk about caring for the elderly, it is sad to know that MAS could come up with a rule that is clearly and totally discriminatory."
THE MAS REPLY
"We refer to your email dated 25 February 2014.
We understand your frustration in this matter, and thank you for allowing us the opportunity to clarify our credit card rules. Under MAS’ credit card rules, a bank is not required to obtain proof of its cardholder’s income before granting him a credit limit increase where the increase is fully secured by deposits placed with the bank.
Where the credit limit increase is not fully secured, the bank is generally required to verify the cardholder’s income before granting the credit limit increase. This is to ensure that the new credit limit granted accords with the regulatory limit of 4 months’ income (for those earning at least $30,000 a year) and 2 months’ income (for those earning less than $30,000 a year). However, banks are allowed to grant credit limits above the regulatory limits to a cardholder who has total net personal assets exceeding $2 million or annual income of at least $120,000. In verifying the cardholder’s annual income, the bank is not limited to considering employment income. The bank is also permitted to take into account non-salaried income such as rental, dividend and interest income.
We hope the above has been of assistance. Please feel free to let us know if you require any further information.
Corporate Communications Officer
Monetary Authority of Singapore"
Friday, February 21, 2014
Almost two months after I had the DBS Altitude card (see the last posting below), I discovered that the credit limit set for me was much too low to make any substantial payment. In this instance, I didn't have enough "credits" to pay for a cruise that our travel group has planned.
I also realised that being a Treasures member does not make things easy -- even for simple things. Worse still, if you are a retiree with no employment income and income tax returns to back you up.
But what about all my hard-earned money that I have deposited with the bank over the years, earning pittance in terms of interest????
Apparently, that is not good enough for me to obtain a higher credit limit.
So I called my relationship manager (RM) Leonard yesterday to protest. He promised to ask the higher-ups for approval.
One day later, there was no word from him. His mobile was not answered. I left an SMS for him to call me back urgently. Nothing happened.
Meanwhile, I decided to call the Treasures hotline and gave a sweet-sounding girl named Susie a earful (well, in a pleasant way). She tried to fob me off with her usual line -- "I will ask the RM to call you back".
I wasn't in the mood to be taken in by a voice, sweet though it may be. I asked to speak to the manager. She said the manager was not available. So I asked for the CEO.
When she realised that I meant business, she said she would put up my request for a credit limit increase. I told her it was urgent. She said she would get back to me in an hour.
And she did! But, alas, it was only a temporary increase and there was a time limit, i.e. I had to use it by a certain date.
I asked why it was not a permanent one. For that, she said, I had to fill a form to apply.
And the form would require me, a retiree, to fill in my employment income or submit my income tax returns. Sigh! Back to square one!
This whole saga clearly shows up the inflexibility of the bank. Why is it treating all retirees the same way, even those who are Treasures members?
The message I get is this: "Yes, deposit all your cash with us, but don't expect us to be reasonable with you."
I would equate this inflexibility to pure laziness and a total lack of initiative. Surely a quick check of a retiree's history with the bank and his background will instantly allow any manager worth his salt to make a fairly accurate assessment of the risk factor.
All of which makes me wonder: If a bank that makes its living from being able to assess risks, and it is obviously unable to do so for a simple credit card case, what are the chances of it making it big in Asia???
I hope I am not being unfair in coming to this conclusion, but this is how I feel at the moment.