Rather like Mark Twain, I need to state at the outset: “The reports of my death have been much exaggerated.
That said, I find it difficult to believe the bizarre set of circumstances I have recently endured.
A couple of days before going on holiday, I received an email and texts telling me some cheques I had written had bounced. As I knew adequate funds were available, I simply suggested they re-present them.
To my horror, I then received a telephone call from a very embarrassed lady who explained a cheque had been returned as ‘drawer deceased’.
A call to the bank eventually resulted in an admission that they had misread a communication and, through human error, had indeed marked my account ‘drawer deceased’.
The innocent might think this would be the end of the matter but, unfortunately, it was only the beginning of a saga lasting many months.
It seems that once the button is pressed on ‘drawer deceased’, the bank automatically tells everyone the news.
Not only does it cancel your credit cards with them but also it lets all your other credit card providers know you have died, as well as anyone else you have an account with, such as your utilities suppliers, insurance providers and local authority. The result is instant mayhem.
Everything is cancelled and letters of condolence on your demise start to arrive from the bereavement departments of various institutions addressed to family or executors.
I have to say reading such letters is a salutary reminder of one’s mortality, even when you know that they are somewhat in advance of the event.
The knock-on effects got worse and worse.
Getting replacement cards before I left for the US and then a three-week Pacific cruise was impossible.
Travelling without credit cards led to numerous embarrassing situations, including being invited into the chief purser’s office to discuss the rejection of my credit card.
They say to err is human and to forgive is divine; however, the chaos and the practical as well as emotional challenges this ‘human error’ created make forgiveness difficult.
I am, however, left with the very good news that I am, indeed, still around to tell the story.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group