Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pedro's Corner: Spanish Train Crash

Regarding the July 31 L.A. Times article on the Spanish train crash.  The driver was talking on the phone at the time.  So What?  Why wasn’t there a computer controlled speed limiter in charge of maximum speeds allowable (regardless of human intervention or non-intervention) overriding maximum speed for every inch of track.  That’s only 6.336 million inches (points of information) per 100 miles of track.  Such a job is well within the memory capabilities of the cheapest desktop computer.

What the article didn’t say about such a control device is that the management of the railroad hadn’t installed such an irrevocable guardian of public safety and, thus, blames the driver of the train.  As usual, when projects are not regulated and monitored, management proceeds unthinkingly and incautiously on the job.  I maintain that the irresponsible party in this tragedy is the railroad management and not the driver.  Just another case of blaming the worker while the boss get off Scott Free.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Patricia O. Baker puts my Chase credit card "On Hold"

Dear Patricia,

I am in receipt of your letter dated July 13, 2013 requesting that I provide your bank with Form SSA-89 as well as a W-9 form.

You say you need these forms because you wish to "confirm that we have your correct Social Security number." That makes sense. It is totally appropriate that you maintain accurate information.

Your letter states that you need this information by 8/1/13. I am happy to provide my correct social security number, but why did you put my credit card on hold on the same day you mailed me this letter?

I put a call into Chase's Customer Data Accuracy Program and spoke with Jean. She said that my card was put on hold in error but that only the Card Lending Department could fix the error, and they are closed on the weekend. Who in your Card Lending Department flagged my account and placed it on hold? Clearly they made a mistake. Can you offer them retraining so this doesn't happen again?

Also, why do you need a W-9 from me? Are you hiring me for a position at your company? If so, what is the salary and benefits? As far as I understand it, your company provides me with a credit card. Am I missing something?

I find it disappointing that your company makes this mistake, and then is unwilling or unable to fix that mistake in a timely manner. It's interactions like these that give meaning to the term "Big Banks" and help explain why your industry is looked upon with so little approval. I can't help but feel that I am little more than a revenue source to your company.

I wish I could trust Chase with my financial needs but someone in your company won't allow that to happen.


The Engaged Observer