“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

ANZ bank hates me

Hooray, Darin is here! What a relief to be together again. He is doing a good job of keeping me warm at night. The photo is of Eric and Barb on the left, and me and Darin on the right. We celebrated our reunion on Friday with dinner at the Hunting Lodge. It was quite good- the guys had the venison, I had pork, and Barb had the beef eye fillet. We also enjoyed the starters, kangaroo, scallops, and oysters.

We have been busy trying to get things done. Our first business was to have my name added to the bank account he opened while visiting in August. They would not accept a notarized copy of my passport, because it was done in San Diego, nor my CA driver’s license. My passport is currently in a file with a bunch of other original documents at New Zealand Immigration, because I submitted my Application for Residence about a week ago. I have no idea when I’ll get it back. The bank teller could not have cared less. Their policy is to not accept anything other than an original passport as ID. She also did not care that my paycheck had been deposited into the account, and the name of the company on the copy of my work visa in my passport matched the name on the bank’s records. I said that is a totally unreasonable policy, and we glared at each other, and I asked for the manager. The manager suggested she call NZ Immigration, and she was able to verify the passport copy was valid. She told the teller to go ahead and add my name, but by this point, despite our thankfulness, she took it personally and delayed the process so that it took an hour for us to get out of there. She also told us, when we asked about getting checks, that few places will accept them. Which is total bullshit, because we needed a check for our new car the very next day, and we will need one to pay for our new bed, too. We had to go back to the bank on Sat. for a bank check (cost $5), which first required the moving of money from one account to another. The teller cannot do this if you ask. Instead, you have to go to the phone and use their telephone banking system to move the money. To top it all off, the bank (ANZ) sent me my new EFTPOS card (a debit card) with my name on it, but they didn’t transfer my pin # to it, so I can’t even use it. In the letter sent with it, it says to bring it in to any branch to change the pin #. Grrr! The concept of customer service is totally lost on the banks here. You might ask, why didn't you just use a credit card? The answer is that my US credit cards will charge a fee of 3% of the total cost, and we can't get a credit card here yet, because we have no credit history in NZ. One would think that the banks would be happy to take our money. I realize now that I totally took it for granted in the US. We had awesome service at the banks there, and had accounts at about 3 different banks.

I don't like to complain, but I did want to give a fair warning about the banks to others who may be planning to immigrate to NZ. We didn't expect this move to be easy. We're up for the challenge. As the saying goes, if it were easy, everyone would do it. We came here knowing that NZ can be very difficult to get residence, due to the socialized medicine. It's just my perspective, for what it's worth.

On the bright side, we did buy a car. We couldn't commit to a hybrid, and instead opted for a fuel efficient small car, a Toyota Corolla hatchback, 2005, about 39,000 km. We also picked out a new bed, a latex matress with wool pad on top. Delivery on Tuesday.