Next: I took out two insurance policies against identity theft - one for myself and one for Mrs F&W. The policies arrived the other day but got Mrs F&W's name wrong. And this is about identity theft...
Next: A few weeks ago Barclaycard phoned up to say that they had identified possible fraudulent use of my card. Full marks for this - the transactions, some of which were going through as we spoke, were indeed fraudulent. My card was immediately cancelled but I had to wait a few days before Barclaycard could confirm that the items in question had been caught in time. Fortunately they were, my next statement was OK and a new card was received a few days later.
So far, so good.
Last Saturday I received a communication from Barclaycard asking me to sign an indemnity form. But the "fraudulent" items listed were what were genuine transactions on the new card and not the actual fraudulent ones on the old card. In fact, they were for the purchases of the two identity theft insurance policies! And, "Had I cut up both cards?" - err, no, only the old one. Incidentally, the new card worked fine earlier today for an enormous purchase of tickets for the Edinburgh International Book Festival...
When I phoned Barclaycard this morning I failed the security check because I couldn't confirm which "catalogue" I had ordered from (none), nor which "photographic studio" I had patronised (none). Presumably these were some of the items caught earlier by Barclaycard but whose full details are unknown to me. I was advised to go to a local branch and speak to a "personal banker". When I suggested that Barclaycard paid for me to do this at my normal hourly rate the conversation came to a rapid end. I phoned back again and this time managed to pass the security check, which was now about genuine items on my old card. It was totally impossible however to get Barclaycard to understand that the items on the new card were genuine but that I couldn't give an indemnity covering all of the fraudulent items without knowing what they were. Needless-to-say I was unable to get the phone number of any of the Edinburgh branches from the Barclays call centre.
So, should there be "a law against it?"
In other words, is all this inefficiency the fault of capitalism?
No, although it's partly the fault of some capitalists who don't train their staff properly. But state owned operations are at least as inefficient and aren't subject to market forces that will eventually weed out the useless companies.
And there's another thing. I can't help wondering if the real problem isn't the catastrophic decline of state education in the UK. Back to that Demon lady in India. I've no idea where she went to school but I do know that many of the poorest parents in India manage to send their children to private schools. We in Britain should do the same.