Sunday, April 23, 2006

Not waving but drowning

Well it's been quite an intense week here at PCB Central. On Good Friday, I discovered I had no money. I was very far into my overdraft. This was a huge surprise to me. I thought I had plenty of cash, plus I'm working and getting paid so surely I'm loaded. Nope. Now, I currently use Smile, the internet branch of the Co-Operative Bank. I used to have a bank account with HSBC. I have a loan and a credit card with them. I decided to log back into my HSBC account and see what was left and apply for a consolidation loan with Smile. And that's where things started to go very very wrong.

See, when I was with HSBC, as well as my current account, I opened a household account. Because I was being paid weekly and my housemate fortnightly, I thought it would be wise to have an account we paid into on each pay day for all the monthly bills. Sensible, no? No. That account has an overdraft limit of £150. When we parted ways in July, I for my NY dream, her for marriage, I left it to her to sort out final bills etc, which she did. And the house account should have been at zero balance. When I look on Friday, the house account is £375 overdrawn. Oops. So I tally up my debt and apply for the loan with Smile. On Tuesday, I am of course turned down flat. I had a backup plan, which was to go back to HSBC. So on Tuesday I called them and that's where things went even further astray. See, for the loan repayment, I opened an account that I paid into weekly and the loan payment went out of it monthly. Makes sense, right? Wrong. When I moved it to Smile, the payments took a few days to clear, and one month, there wasn't quite enough money in the account for the repayment. And that has had a knock on effect and I have now, unknowingly, defaulted on six repayments. And for each default, I've been charged £30. Shit. So I spend an hour on the phone with HSBC and it's no fun and I have to go into my nearest branch on Friday.

So I went. And it turns out, they couldn't really do anything for me. See, with HSBC, every account holder has a "behavior" score out of 99. If that score drops below 24, no in branch decisions can be made regarding your account, it has go to a central department who will contact you by phone. My score is 13. This is about as low as it can get apparently. Fun. But a very sweet man explained everything that would happen and basically, it's all going to be ok. It's going to be a little bit sucky for a little while, but I can dig myself out of that hole fairly easily. It involves them loaning me £5050 but I'm ok with that.

But those of you keeping track might remember that the New York company who are hiring me mentioned they would pay my legal fees and levy it from my salary. Well, with my H-1 visa application starting next week, they told me on Friday they can't cover my fees. And I'll have to cover their fees too. So that means I'll have about $5000 more debt to play with. And I think I have to pay half up front. Woot.


Robb said...

all this on good friday?!? you're SO going to hell.

Grouchbutt said...

That truly sucks. You would think that HSBC could have bothered to inform you that you were caught in a negative balance death spiral. Call me stupid, but why are you now paying both your legal fees and the NYC company's legal fees? Can't they pay their own?

Popcultureboy said...

Robb: This wasn't ALL on Good Friday, it started on Good Friday. I'm going to hell anyway though so I figure I may as well make it worth my while.

Grouchbutt: For the H-1 there is a $2000 fee that has to be paid by the company hiring you. The company hiring me made it very clear that they are not going to fund my visa so in addition to my own legal fees, I have to pay them back $2000. Sucks.

robb said...

poppy, my way is funnier.

Cookie said...

HSBC is evil.