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Friday evening

M&S: Welcome to M&S Money. For quality purposes, your call may be recorded, etc, etc, blah, blah. For credit card inquiries, press One.  

Me: Hello. I wonder whether you would be kind enough to check whether anyone has used my M&S card earlier today or yesterday. I seem to have mislaid it and I'm a bit worried in case it's been stolen...OK, I've just given someone my date of birth and first line of my address, otherwise I wouldn't have got through...but here it is again...Oh good, my card hasn't been used, that means it's unlikely to have been stolen. Thank you so much.

M&S: Would you like us to block your card?

Me: I don't think so. My experience is that once you block a card it takes ages and a lot of bureaucratic to-ing and fro-ing to unblock it. I'll probably find it. I'll block it in a day or two if it hasn't turned up.

M&S: I would advise you to block your card, madam. If you find it, all you need do is phone us and we'll unblock it. It's only if I order a new one that you can't unblock it.

Me: Are you quite sure it can be unblocked straight away? Well, all right, if you say so. Thank you.

One hour later

M&S: Welcome...quality purposes...date of birth etc, etc, blah, blah.

Me: Hello, my card was blocked about an hour ago because I thought it might have been stolen but I've found it. I'd be most grateful if you could unblock it.

M&S: I'm afraid we can only unblock a card if you write us a letter asking for it to be unblocked.

Me: What? I was specifically told by one of your people that I could unblock it right away. You can listen to the conversation for quality purposes.

M&S: Could you just hold for a minute...Thank you for holding. Your card has been unblocked.

Me: Great. Thank you so much. 

Monday at M&S, Marble Arch, Food Hall

M&S check-out man: So sorry, your card is blocked, try it again. Sorry. No. It's definitely blocked.

Me: Oh no, I knew this would happen. Can I speak to a manager?

M&S: You will have to go to the third floor and speak to Customer Inquiries.

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DaveInSydney
March 19th, 2012
4:03 AM
Astonishing story, but all too true of some 'service providers'. You should try Telstra in Australia for sheer twitch-making frustation... The quality control blurb you have to listen to for the 20th time, the lack of any corporate memory (no-one writes anything down and you have to explain it each time), the polite ineffectualness, the wasted hours. It's beyond parody.

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