April 4th, 2008

When it rains...

Wow, what a couple of weeks. I think I’ve had the most stressful time in the fast two or three weeks than the rest of my life put together. Now, I hate to complain about stuff but now life is returning to normal (and I’m going on holiday tomorrow - yay!) I feel I explain what’s been going on.

Credit Crunch Now with added crunchiness!

Turns out that the banks getting skittish about lending money to idiots like me affected… well, me. I’m not selling my house any more - the property sales market isn’t doing that well, so I’m renting it out instead. This means having two mortgages, and spreading the equity in my current mortgage to the second property. A few weeks ago, this was absolutely no problem. One day, my financial advisor phoned up and said “Ok, the mortgage company is pulling this product at 2pm this afternoon, and if you want it, which you do, you need to get up here and sign the paperwork.” So, I got up there, signed the paperwork, and got the second mortgage deal I wanted just in time.

Once this was settled, I went ahead and put an offer in on my new house, which was accepted. This should have been simple - just port the existing mortgage over to the new property, with a top-up to make up for the extra cost of the more awesome house. However, on the weekend before the Tuesday I was going to go and sign the paperwork, the mortgage company pulled that product. Since I’m locked in with this particular company until August, this posed a problem. In fact, my advisor said:

“I can’t see any way of doing what you want to do at the moment without significant extra financial input from you.”

So, I sat at home, alone, wondering what the hell to do. I’d already committed to purchasing the new property, and pulling out because of something like this would’ve caused untold problems. For a while, for the first time in my life, I was completely stuck with seemingly no way out.

Ten minutes later, the phone rang. It was Jamie, my financial advisor. “We’ve had an idea!” he said, excitedly.

At least for now, the mortgages are going smoothly and the property purchase is progressing.


My business relies on customers buy our stuff to make money.

With me so far? Good.

For customers to buy our stuff on the internet, we need a system to transfer money from their accounts into ours. Luckily, someone thought of this and invented credit/debit cards. Most banks (and some independents) provide a service to charge the customer and have it end up in your account. Every single time you use a card, a service like this is used.

Ours is provided by HSBC.

And it’s crap. Seriously. The documentation is written with the assumption that you wrote the system in the first place and already know how it works. It also assumes that you wrote the documentation and know where the mistakes (of which there are many) are.

Over the last weekend, the HSBC system was down for almost three days, costing the company a silly amount of money and severely inhibiting my ability to pay my staff and my bills.

So, that’s it. I’ve had enough of HSBC’s shitty service. I’m moving banks as fast as I possibly can, but not before I can kick up enough fuss to get compensation for HSBC’s constant inability to run a bank.


Add to all that a smattering of other stuff, like Dove Volvo’s inability to consistently (Oh, I got my new car, by the way) tell me what they’re called so I can pay them, and a fairly close call on getting the parts in the let the car carry three bikes for our trip tomorrow.

Oh, yes, and one of the hard drives failed in our server so I had to drive into the middle of London to replace it.


But, screw that shit, I’m going on holiday tomorrow. And while I’m gone, anyone who’s not contacting me to tell me that:

1) I’ve won several million pounds or 2) that I am, in fact, the most awesome guy ever

can kiss my not-quite-as-fat-as-it-was arse.