Not so bright and son

October 2012

There are an increasing number of adverts on television offering quick and easy loans for people who need cash instantly. They offer short term loans to people who have been turned down by the banks. There is a reason they have been turned down by the banks. They were turned down because the banks correctly established that they wouldn’t be able to afford the repayments. Probably the same reason they were turned down for credit cards as well. Still, for a reasonable APR of something like 18,000 percent, these people can borrow a fiver for a day and only need to pay a few thousand back in interest. If they can’t afford to pay, the loan company will break their legs. These companies are simply preying on the stupid. It’s actually a good area of business to go into given the number of stupid people there are in the world.

It’s like those annoying adverts that convince you to fall over and sue somebody. The solicitors prey on the weak and stupid and convince them that it wasn’t their fault they fell over their own backside and society and the manufacturers of the concrete are to blame. These sorts of things annoy me because, not only do I hate stupid people, I also hate solicitors. My hatred of solicitors was heightened recently as the on-going debacle with home improvements continued. Not content with utility companies annoying me and architects not returning calls, I have various legal and financial things to sort out, one of which requires taking out a rather large sum of money.

I prepared myself for another round of headaches and angry phone calls to call centres because I fully expected the bank to be a pain. Banks are well known for their incompetence and, in the case of my bank, their illiteracy. Actually it was a very straightforward process. I walked into the branch and they said I would need to phone the lender gods who operate on a different plain of existence to mere mortals like me. They allowed me to use the phone in their branch which I thought was jolly decent of them as it was a premium rate number which would need an additional loan to pay for. After telling them how much I wanted to borrow, they said they would need to do a background check to make sure neither my wife or I were wanted by the Feds so after a couple of weeks of sweating I got a nice letter from them approving the loan.

So it was off to the solicitors. I used the same people I’d used when taking the mortgage out in the first place because they did a good job and got things sorted with no hassle whatsoever. I phoned them up to inform them they would be receiving some documentation from my bank and I basically gave them a run-down of what was happening and what I wanted.

Of course I was actually talking to the receptionist. This woman no doubt left hairdressing school and took a degree in gossiping because it turned out she had no idea about anything I was talking about. After letting me ramble on for a few minutes, she usefully informed me that the person who I needed to speak to wasn’t in the office but she would leave a message for him to call me back.

Having heard nothing for nearly two weeks I decided it was about time I chased them up. The phone was picked up by the same woman so I enquired what had happened to the phone call I had been promised. The receptionist had no recollection of our earlier conversation so I had to politely repeat the whole thing again while she pretended to write down what I was saying on an imaginary piece of paper. She then told me the person I needed to speak to was off ill but would leave a message for him to call me back.

So over a week later, having still not received a call, I decided to walk in to the branch and speak to someone in person. I was greeted by a woman who quite frankly had seen better days. I explained the situation and, again, she apparently had no recollection of our earlier conversations and asked who I’d spoken to. I informed her that it was, in fact, her I’d spoken to on both occasions because I recognised her voice. Obviously realising that my powers of deduction rivalled those of Sherlock Holmes, she decided she did remember the conversation after all but unfortunately the guy I needed to speak to was unavailable. She assured me I would get a call back from the guy later that day. To my astonishment, I actually got a call from the mysterious guy I had been told about - dispelling my theory that he was just her imaginary friend. He kindly informed me that he had been given my documents several weeks earlier but nobody knew what it was or what to do with it. In return I kindly suggested that he sack his receptionist or at least do something about her face (because I’m dealing with solicitors and don’t want to get sued for libel, I should point out that last bit was a lie). Anyway, he assured me it would be dealt with right away and I would have bits and pieces to sign by the end of the week.

Unsurprisingly I didn’t receive anything so a week or two later I phoned back to chase them up and was told by the annoying receptionist that they guy I needed to speak to was on holiday. A few more phone calls later, I finally got through to the guy’s personal assistant who apparently hadn’t written the documents up but promised she would when the illusive guy returned from his holiday.

I finally received the documents a week or so later, filled them in and walked down to the solicitor’s to hand them over personally, complete with the required proof of identification for both myself and my wife. The receptionist photocopied everything but informed me that my wife would need to come in personally so they could verify she was actually real and I hadn’t made her up. Why anyone would want to make up an imaginary wife is beyond me but I nevertheless told my wife her presence was needed.

Having both taken an afternoon off work, we arrived at the solicitor’s to be informed that the guy was ill again. Nevertheless some girl who could have been an assistant or just some random girl pretending she worked for the company simply took my wife’s documents and photocopied them again. No one in authority needed to see her so it was a complete waste of our time. I specifically asked the girl whether we needed to do anything else or if they needed anything more from us and was assured they would get back in touch and keep us updated.

At least another week went by with no feedback. By this time I was getting a little bit frustrated so I got the heavy mob involved who made an official complaint. This got the attention of the manager who told us that they would send out a letter thanking us for our visit and documents would be ready to sign within a week.

Needless to say, they weren’t. In fact over a month later and I’ve still had nothing. The only progress that has been made is them depositing my cheque into their bank account and a letter informing me of some other charges they will apply. I would refuse to pay them but even I would probably struggle to win a legal dispute with people who invent the law. If I was American I’d probably try suing them but to do that I’d need to hire another solicitor so would probably end up jumping through the same hoops with another bunch of cretins.