Famous Last Words: The Raw Power of the Letter
In December 2010, Peggy and I went separately down to our TD Bank branch on the corner and each saw a different officer on the floor. Our request: Kindly tell your computer people that we are going to Moscow and please allow us to use our TD debit cards to get rubles from Russian ATMs. Both of these officers made the calls while we sat there (at different times) and confirmed that we would have no problem.
Neither card worked, and we were stuck with no rubles in one of the most financially unpleasant, non-English speaking countries of the world. Our Moscow trip was a nightmare.
Enduring Poor Customer Service
Fast forward to 2012, when I acquired a consulting client in Paris. To facilitate the monthly retainer payment, the client requested direct deposit information for my corporate account.
The same officer on the floor who screwed up Moscow handed me a cruddy little Xeroxed form with the generic transfer information. I added my checking account number and emailed the data to the client, along with an invoice for the first month's retainer.
The wire deposit was declined by TD Bank and returned to the sender. The client tried again, this time sending three months worth of retainer fees. Again, the deposit was declined.
I went into the bank and sat down in front of the same officer and showed him the email information I had sent to my French client. He gave it glance. Our exchange:
BANKER: These look right. There is nothing we can do. This is their fault.
HATCH: Look, I'm not a banker. I want to find out what happened, so this does not happen again and so I can get my money every month.
BANKER: But this is their fault. You have to ask them.