Made me smile. Many years ago Dr No was on UK TV at Christmas. We were visiting my mother's parents, whose TV was playing up, with "ghost" images they just couldn't get rid of. Grandad was determined to watch the film but when Sean Connery delivered the line "The name's Bond, James Bond." while lighting a cigarette apparently hanging from his left nostril we all lost it.
It appears I have way too simple a life, and the powers that be are determined to make things more difficult.
At the start of the month I received a letter from my bank, who I have been with for over 40 years, asking for proof of identity and proof of address. The proof of identity is simple, I have a driving license (not used for anything but ID for the past 12 years). Proof of address is more problematic. They want an official bill addressed to me within the past 4 months: I don't get household bills as all utilities etc are included in my monthly rent. The only mail apart from junk mail I receive is from my bank, and they won't accept that. I have no credit card or telephone so no bills there. I do have an annual income tax summary but that is 10 months old.
I phoned my bank and told them this and was told to request another income tax summary on HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) website. To access the website I needed a personal tax account on the website. For that I needed a Government Gateway account. For that I needed identity verification (back to the driving license). Took a good 2 hours to go through all the hoops, and once I got on to the HMRC website guess what: no way of requesting a copy of an income tax summary. There was a telephone number so I tried that: unless I was querying the amount of tax I had paid it was "use the website, goodbye" (it was all automated). I resorted to making a support request on the website: there is no address given I could write to so it was all I could think of.
When and if I get a hard copy of my annual summary things haven't finished there: I need to either access yet another website from a machine with a webcam and scanner (so that will be from home) and have the proof documents available but if it is anything like the other hoops I've had to jump through today there will in all likelyhood be other things which they want and I haven't got. All this because the body which regulates banks have asked them to do something more to combat financial crime: the easiest way for banks to do this would be to STOP COMMITTING FINANCIAL CRIMES THEMSELVES. :tantrum:
I hope I do get an income tax summary soon: I have until the end of the month or "some bank services will no longer be available": they won't tell me WHICH services.
I'm not sure who has won this round, the bank or me. The tax man (HMRC) sent me an e-mail saying they do not send out copies of tax summaries. I phoned the bank and told them this. "Oh. Do you mind if I put you on hold? I'll have to ask about this."
A few minutes later she comes back "Forget it for now. I'll make a note that you tried but HMRC are not cooperating. You WILL get a reminder that you haven't answered our request, but just ignore it. If you DO get something you can use, let us know."
I told her that the HMRC website says they send out tax summaries "from August onward" so I may get one then. I asked her (twice) to confirm this would not affect my ability to access my account and she assured me that it won't, so I would not be at all surprised if I find myself blocked in the next few weeks.
I am certain it isn't a scam. No sensitive information has been asked for and there are messages about the requirement on the bank website.
It would be nice if banks still worked as the did when I was younger, when everyone knew the manager of their bank. Nowadays there are no branch managers, just tellers and a supervisor. Face to face meetings seem to be positively discouraged; if you want to see someone in person you can often wait for a month for an appointment. My local branch was closed down last year, it's a half hour bus journey to the nearest branch now.
In England's "second city" Birmingham in 1986 a formula 3000 motor race using local roads was organised for the first time. One of the largest car dealers of the city at the time were on the main road into the city from the south west: Bristol Street Motors. Because the site had a large forecourt it was decided that it would be the best place to have the pit lane. This was something of a coup for Bristol Street Motors and they were not slow in capitalising on it through advertising etc.
I had contacts in the vehicle industry as I had recently left a job with a vehicle delivery company and through them learned that they had come very close to shooting themselves in the foot: one of the advertising suggestions had been "Come to Bristol Street Motors: we are the pits!"