A load of complete bankers? Just shop around…

It may not have completely escaped your attention that over the past few years banking has been getting a fairly bad press. Whilst much of this is entirely justified, it’s important to distinguish between the “Casino” style banking practiced by the investment arms, and the day-to-day High Street operations, quietly and busily looking after our minor financial affairs.

An inseparability in the minds of the general public between these disparate parts of the same institutions has lead to some unfortunate scenes outside beleaguered parochial branches – stopping just short of sharpened torches and burning pitchforks* – often in a mistaken belief that their £26.72 in an ancient and almost forgotten savings account was soon to be forfeit.

(*Yes, you read that correctly. Mobs are always less clever than the stupidest person they contain.)

In reality, almost all of those cretins who QUEUED outside branches of Northern Wreck would have been completely protected by the (at the time) FSA Compensation Scheme, backed up by the government. I very much doubt that many of them would have had more than the maximum £50,000 in their accounts?

Why does this anger me so much when it didn’t affect me? Because as always, I would have been that person who despite rarely venturing into the town center, had ended up as collateral damage in that unnecessary line of idiots. Probably just wanting a mini-statement because the ATM was broken. I could have been that person. Just like I was that person trying to find somewhere to get something to eat on “Black Friday”, having found myself in Peterborough City Center through no fault of my own; simply due to having an appointment with the optician. I’m still traumatised.

So what’s the point I’m eventually getting to? Simply that High Street retail banking has improved immeasurably over the last 10 years, and that the pace of change is increasing exponentially – perhaps to reflect the fact that the progress of everything else in the world has taken massive leaps forward in increasingly short periods. Goodness knows it took long enough to happen, to an industry that for much of my life seemed firmly stuck in the Victorian era.

In conclusion; if you are unhappy with a financial product or with the service that you receive from your bank, then in the first instance tell your bank that you’re not happy, and why. They might be willing (and enabled enough) to help. If they can’t or won’t then shop around for a better deal and SWITCH as soon as possible. It’s what I did – and it’s simpler to do than it’s ever been!

Ebay For Charity – my experiences

I’ve recently been using EBay For Charity for the first time to sell some items for a small new charitable company that desperately needs the funds. It’s been a bit of a learning curve – although the help pages for a seller are reasonably good there were immediately questions raised about the process which were not easily answered on the site, particularly when you’re sending 100% of the sale price to the charity.

The main ones were:

  • Seller’s PayPal fees – is the sale value sent to the charity net of the fees that PayPal have charged me?
  • Postage – better to make it inclusive, or add it as extra?

I hope to be able to answer those questions definitively, in the near future.


Every time Ebay has a decent offer on, the site breaks…

Yesterday (2nd April 2015) Ebay announced an unusually generous offer – “20% off final value fees when an item sells at £30 and above”. As a keen Ebayer (I use it to supplement my income) I was keen to take advantage.

Create up to 100 listing(s) in an eligible category during the promotion period using the auction-style or fixed price format and you won’t pay an insertion fee per listing (promotional rate) during the promotion period when you actively opt in to the promotion via the RSVP link shown in the marketing communication.
In addition, if your item sells at £30 and above, you will also receive a final value fee discount of 20%.

I had plenty of things to list and so, with today being Good Friday and a Bank Holiday I set to making some listings. I don’t normally list during the day because it means your item will then end in the day – and it’s often not the best time for the biggest audience. However as they also have another offer running – “Schedule 20 listings per month for free” – I can do the work during the day and set the listing to start automatically this evening (or even the next day, if I was listing too late in the evening).

I made my finely crafted listing – as it happens for something that probably isn’t worth £30, but it can’t hurt to try! I have been surprised before. Unfortunately when I clicked on the button to list, I got the dreaded “perpetually re-loading log-in screen of doom”.

The only good thing about it is that now that Ebay has a “Drafts” section, it had automatically saved my listing, and I should be able to simply click it later to set up the listing. Assuming Ebay get their site working properly again! Fingers crossed.

In the meantime I will probably get on with something else, like venturing out into the beautiful Easter sunshine* to tidy up something or other outside, and find some more stuff to list on Ebay. When I can.

*There isn’t any.


An update – 14th April 2015

Due to the frequency of bank holidays at this time of year I was soon able to test this issue again. Having been working OK over the Saturday and Sunday, I got the perpetual log-in screen back on the Bank Holiday Monday. 

Fortunately this time I discovered that by simply closing the browser window and opening a new one, I was able to get into eBay without further issue.

For a moment it seemed like it must be a problem locally with my own system, but if this is the case why does exactly the same thing happen every time there is a Bank Holiday with a listing offer?

Did I make any extra cash from the 20% FVF offer? So far it looks like the only items that sold for more than £30 were a couple of things that I listed as EBay For Charity items, with 100% going to the charity, so there was no advantage to be gained there anyway!