Put together a shambolic entrepreneur with flakey regulation, and what you get is risible service, systemic muddle, and dead people.
A potted history of Richard Branson’s career: tax evasion on direct mail record sales, suppliers left with bad debts that bankrupted them, businesses sold hastily to mugs who then had to produce commerce from chaos, persistent lies about overcrowding on his trains, a dead pilot after the failure of Virgin Galactic – and a purchase of online banking services fronted by underpaid Geordies taking earache 24/7 from customers fed up of mad organisational structures.
His rewards for this cacophony of crap: a knighthood, £5.2 billion of personal wealth, and a tropical island all to himself.
Assuming “Sir” Richard Branson ever does die before discovering the secret of Eternal Life, I have the perfect inscription for his tombstone:
He lived, so that others might suffer
Today, Tricky Dicky owns but 23% of Virgin Money….34% of it is owned by fellow billionaire Wilbur Ross, a carpetbagger known on Wall Street as the King of Bankruptcy….but better known now as the confirmed Trump nomination for US Secretary of Commerce. The rest of it is has been shared out between some publicity-evaders described on Google as “others”. Presumably, this means “others who in turn do not give a monkey’s chuff about the mayhem they cause, just so long as they stay rich”.
Here is a factoid I worked out yesterday after spending four months trying to extract my ISA contract from the grip of Virgin Money: given the 0.1% interest level I was paid during the term – and the cost of ringing their service centre from France – I made a net loss on the tax-free investment. That’s a tough goal to achieve, but it’s a breeze if you’re dealing with Northern Rock “saviour” Dorian Branson.
It all began last October when I realised the 5-year term (today, I find ‘sentence’ a better description) on my ISA would be up this year. Despite having informed them (along with everyone else) of my change of residence, the news of this journey came as a complete surprise to the Virgin computer. This struck me as odd given that they had been writing to me at the new address for some time.
Look, rather than take you through the complete saga of incompetence, I’ll just give you the lowlights. These are like highlights, but minus the illumination aspect.
- All told, during the process between late October and now, Virgin Money (VM) staff put me through to the wrong extension seven times, gave me the wrong telephone number four times, and cut me off seven times
- The man in charge of operations is called James Cruddas. Despite his standard letter about helplines offering the wrong number [0044 191 279 2491] – and me pointing this out to VM staff three times – four months on, the letter remains unchanged
- Having decided I needed a new ‘one-time password’ to get into the account, not once was I given a new customer ID number. They sent me five passwords by snail-mail over the period, without ever catching on to the system’s unwillingness to recognise the one I had
- Nor did the computer like my security-check answers. Nor did the ‘account management’ system at any point record the change of address.
- On each occasion when I rang the Help Centre, I asked if the person at the other end had an updated history of my problems. I asked this six times. The answer was always “No”.
- Eventually, I rang VM last Monday, and asked to make an Escalated Complaint. At last, things began to happen….and I will tell you why: the regulator bases a large part of service scoring on the number of escalated complaints. Financial service suppliers will do anything rather than record an escalated complaint. The result was that, during one phone call, I was offered a new account profile, new security questions, manual address change amendments and – had I asked for it – they’d probably have given me the number of Miss Hand Relief for a free session involving overnight stay.
- I’ve just been into the account, and noted three “secure” messages waiting for me. Two out of the three told me the new account amendments were invalid, and the bank I’d nominated to receive the funds couldn’t be used because it’s in France. None of those involved on the phone earlier in the week thought to explain that the call was close to being a waste of time.
So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to change the nominated bank to an English one – a pain in the arse, but there you are – and then I’m going to withdraw the lot, and close the VM account. The objective will be never, ever again to have to deal with this rubber-bands and balsa wood cowboy outfit created by the ultimate middle-class cowboy Hank Branson.
Then I’m going to write to President Trump and suggest that his Secretary of Commerce appointment might need a rethink. Then I’m going to put Sir Richard Branson-Pickle on the lifetime Slog naughty step along with Rupert Murdoch and George Soros. And talking of George Soros….
Well goodness gracious me, what a coincidence.
Richard Branson is a little rich-boy chancer who used Mummy’s money to make a fortune at the expense of commercial partners, the Revenue, shareholders, mug-buyers and taxpayers. Not content with this, he is now working actively behind the scenes to undermine the will of British people on the Brexit question….despite the fact that 68% of the electorate in the most recent poll said they want the Government “to just get on with Brexit”.
As such, he is the epitome of all greedy faux-liberal globalists like Arianna Huffington, Hillary Clinton, Nick Clegg, Emmanuel Macron and Tony Blair. These shits despise the principles behind cultural pride and majority verdicts…for such considerations are like giant oaks fallen in the path of their me-first-me-first road to more and more and more of everything for the privileged minority.
On his last day at Stowe private school, the headmaster Robert Drayson told Branson he would either end up in prison, or become a millionaire. He wasn’t far out. With time and justice, he might score 2/2.