Before moving here, I had read the complaints of many an expat that customer service in the Netherlands was pretty pathetic. In my 5 months here, I haven’t really had any complaints (besides my issues with Albert Heijn). If I had one complaint, it would be my bank. I had some issues when setting up my account, but I attributed that to an poorly trained employee. Turns out, it may be systematic. Let’s start from the beginning:
Visit 1: Set up account, get told debit card and e-reader have been ordered, and will arrive in 5-7 business days. We went out of town, and noticed 2 weeks later we still had no debit card.
Visit 2: Get told that debit card was never ordered, but e-reader was. Debit card is ordered, will arrive in 5-7 days. Go out of town again. Return home to find debit card in mailbox.
Visit 3: Activate debit card. All is well.
(several months go by)
Visit 4: Attempt to add wife, who is now fully legal, onto account. Get turned away from branch because she is a US-citizen. Branch makes copies of her paperwork, sends them to “The American Person’s Desk”. 2 weeks later, have not heard back.
Call 1: Call Customer service, get told they never received the documents.
Visit 5: Go back to branch, make new copies of all paperwork, watch as worker puts them in envelope and drops them in mail.
(3 weeks go bye)
Calls 2-6: Get call from American Desk saying they weren’t needed to set up her account, since she does not own property in the US. They attempt to set up her account anyway. This takes 3 more calls, for a total of 4 calls.
(Attempt to log on to Internet Banking to pay rent. Get denied access)
Call 7: Get told that because of the change in the account (adding wife), a new Internet Agreement must be signed.
Visit 5: Go to branch and sign new agreement. Get told internet banking will return on Monday afternoon (this visit is on a Saturday).
(Attempt to make a purchase at HEMA on Sunday. Card is rejected. We try 3 times, it gets rejected 3 times. Try internet banking, get error saying “Account is blocked.” Use iPad app and notice 2 purchases from a restaurant in Quebec for €271 each. We were in Rotterdam at the time.)
Visit 6: Branch orders a new card, but cannot tell me why the old card was blocked. They also tell me that until the new card arrives (“in 2 or 3 days”), that I cannot make withdraws, purchases, or access internet banking. They see no problem with this. Evidently, not being able to make any purchases or pay any bills for several days is a normal occurrence. When asked about the purchases in Canada, they reply that they “have no access to your transactions, or why the card was blocked.”
Call 8: Call to inquire about the 2 fraudulent charges. Get told that I need to go to the branch. When I protest, saying the branch claimed they couldn’t do anything, operator asks a supervisor, who in turn says that no, the bank is automatically investigating the charges, and *should* refund the money once they are determined to be fraudulent. Also get told that the branch ordering me a new card was redundant, as the fraud people should automatically do that. Admit that no card was on order when branch ordered new one (so much for the fraud people automatically doing anything).
Roxy’s card has not yet arrived, mine won’t be here for 2-3 days at the earliest, our account is short €542, and it’s the last of the month, when all our bills are due. I e-mailed my landlord who was sympathetic, and told me that ABN-Amro’s incompetence is well known, and I shouldn’t be surprised. Hopefully UPC (our cable/internet provider) are as forgiving.
In the meantime, we still have some cash in our US bank account, so I guess we’ll be withdrawing money from that to do such things as buying groceries and train tickets. I would seriously consider switching banks, but as far as I can tell, ABN-Amro is the only Dutch bank that offers English-language Internet Banking. Oh, and I should add that ABN-Amro charges €.10 per minute to call their customer service, and I’ve made 8 calls over the last week. The phone bill should be fun.