Banks. I'm getting seriously fed up with their anti-fraud procedures.
My better half runs a business and needed to pay a French company around 2,600 euros for a consignment of goods and, because the firm gets charged 65 euros for incoming bank wire transfers - which take more than a week, despite us paying a similar amount at our end - we tried to pay by Visa business debit card.
This is how they do things in Europe, in the Eurozone, with customers in Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany paying their company bills this way.
The transaction got refused, despite there being plenty of money in the company bank account. No request for telephone authorisation, no nothing.
The French firm phoned me: "Av you enuff monee in ze account?" and I replied by apologising for the UK's crappy banking system and suggesting they split the transaction into three amounts of 2 x 1,000 euro and 600-odd euro.
In the meantime I started phoning Lloyds-TSB to find out what was happening. After speaking to a couple of people on business banking, I discovered it was an anti-fraud measure.
To resolve the problem, I needed to talk to card processing, part of the bank's credit card operation, who referred me to the anti-fraud division in Southend-on-sea, who bounced me back to card processing.
By now, 40 minutes had elapsed. The other phone went. It was Diane from the French company. My suggestion about putting the charge through in three smaller transactions had worked.
No thanks to Lloyds-TSB and its card authorisation procedures.
Guys - this isn't a credit card. It's our money and we want to spend it. Your procedures for resolving your anti-fraud systems suck bigtime.
What a set of bankers...
(ed : I suspect this time of transaction has become even more complex with the credit crunch as they try to keep hold of "their" monies)