Zero Tolerance? Who Said So?

May 25th, 2015 by elaine

Last week I phoned the Royal Bank of Canada.  A while ago I received a pamphlet from them about their “Service fee and account changes” effective June 1, 2015.  I dreaded this call, I really did.

I was eventually connected with a lovely person who, having already gained access to all my secret information, greeted me with a cheery “Hello, Elaine, how can I help you today?” (I don’t recall if she gave me her name, one reason I didn’t reply in so friendly a manner.)

I told her I didn’t understand the pamphlet’s many lists and if-then conditions, and it looked to me like they were going to charge people for “RBC Royal Bank mortgage payment (pre-authorized or non-scheduled) $5 or $3 or $1. And “RBC Royal Bank credit card payment (pre-authorized or non-scheduled) and “RBC Royal Bank loan payment (pre-authorized or non-scheduled) $2, and that I found it hard to believe.  And that was just the first of five pages of charts and lists and numbers that made no sense.

The nice person cheerily told me that I would not be affected because I have an account that was once available to seniors but is now considered in “grandfather” status.  She didn’t say all that, just the part about “lucky me”.  And with that, I could tell, she expected me to breathe a sigh of relief and get off the phone.  I did neither.

Still in a state of disbelief, I asked for clarification – who will have to pay it, and under what circumstances, and that sort of thing.  She said, well, it would depend on what sort of account they had.  And I said, “Well, just tell me, if my son has a mortgage with you, is he going to have to pay you every time he pays his mortgage?”  She hedged a bit, asked me how old my son was and what kind of account he had.  (Frustration level rising) – “I have no idea what kind of account he has…I don’t have a son! (I have three) - I mean, my son in this case is theoretical!  And this pamphlet is thoroughly confusing, and I am a university graduate, a professional person, a writer!”

She replied, “I’m sorry!  I know some people aren’t able to understand all this.”

“What do you mean, SOME PEOPLE?” I raised my voice.  “Do you mean stupid people?” “Oh no no no”, she said. “I did not use that word.” Right about then she said that she was being very polite to me, (true) and she did not give me the lecture about zero tolerance or whatever, for which I was grateful.

I told this lovely person that I was trying to get some information so I could write about this on the internet, and it wasn’t about me, or my theoretical son, I wanted some coherent answers not available in this poorly written pamphlet.

She disclaimed responsibility for the pamphlet explaining that it was done on the corporate level, but she would give the phone number of my branch manager….

“I don’t want to speak to my branch manager!  I want to speak to someone on the corporate level”, and then I railed about them hiding behind a wall, hiding their secrets while having full access to ours, and not having the courage to meet the public face to face.  (Something like that, believe me, I do not remember my exact words.)

She said she didn’t have a phone number for “corporate” but if I wouldn’t mind her putting me on hold, she would try to get it for me.

I said, “I don’t have time for that, I’ll give you my number and you can call me back.” She couldn’t do that because she couldn’t call out.

I thanked her for remaining calm, assured her I was not the only one who was outraged by this absurd coup, and said goodbye.

I was not in a good mood.  And it didn’t diffuse for a good long while.  I was not looking forward to writing yet another piece about “corporate greed”, which, may I remind you, was the subject of a lecture in my Mini-Law Course (for duffers) at McGill University.

Was it the next day or the day after that I received an email from my husband who, as you may well imagine, has not found me a pleasant companion recently.  Here it is:

From: “george”
Subject:  Royal Bank backs down on fees for credit card, mortgage payments
Date: May 22, 2015 at 5:58:21 PM


I thought you would like to see this…g

I thought you’d like this:

I almost fainted!  The outrage was not merely mine, but what if mine was the last straw!!!

And get this, how the RBC of Canada tried to save face, or perhaps mollify their stock holders:

“The impact of not proceeding with these as countable debits will be modest, as most of our clients are already in accounts with unlimited transactions.”

People!  Don’t be passive, don’t be polite (even if you are a born and bred Canadian), and don’t be fooled.  Speak up!  Rise up!  Do not let the corporate/government forces reduce us to slaves, servants, peons, kidnapped by their greed, their mergers, their stock holders (you may be one of them) who demand all the wealth and all the power to be their own.

©Elaine A. Zimbel 2015

Posted in Eighty and then some..., Letters to the corporation, Uncategorized

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