Money-laundering through the John Lewis partnership?
I know that moaning about how you are treated by John Lewis must be the most privileged complaint in the western world. But I am going to moan none the less. Partly because if this happens with safe little middle-aged, middle-class me, heaven only know what happens to the younger, less securely employed when they come to do try to do similar things. There is more than just a privileged bleat here, privileged bleat though it might be.Apology over.
The saga starts way back. The husband and I have had a John Lewis account card for as long as I remember, more than 30 years. It is I think in his name, but I have all that time held a joint card -- as have our children after an age at whch they could be trusted with one. All the time, no problem, paid off at the end of each month regular as clockwork (and recently, as regular as direct debit). A few years ago, they started pressing us to go for a "partnership card". No thanks we thought. This card gives you some "rewards" you probably dont want, but is actually a credit card (unlike the standard account card). The last thing we wanted was another credit card.
I guess we knew we were living on borrowed time, but a few weeks ago a letter came saying that the account card was being scrapped, and we would all have to move to the partnership card (I think that John Lewis were getting rid of their accounts department and farming out to HSBC, but I dont know that for a fact).
This wasn't perfect. We had 4 cards in total (husband, me, and two grown up kids), we would now only be allowed a maximum if 3 (son was waved goodbye to at this point). The husband went into the local John Lewis and got a credit check (yes after 30 years of paying the bloody bill off on time, you still need a credit check), and then applied for the two more cards we were allowed.
Within a week a pin number had arrived for the daughter. And a week after that a partnership card for her. But nothing for me.
Just yesterday a letter arrived for the husband saying that he had applied for an "additional cardholder" (not named -- but I assume it was me). According to money laundering regulations 2007 I (if it was really me who was concerned-- that not clear) would have to produce two documents : either an original benefits agency letter (dont have one) or an original HMRC doc of last 4 months (might have). If I didnt have one of those I could send a certified copy of my passport (at considerable expense from lawyer etc). In addition, I was to send an original utility bill, or council tax bill, or whatever.
OK John Lewis. First I wonder why I am asked (if it is me -- the anonymity on the letter is odd) for my passport details etc though my 28 year old daughter is not. I strongly suspect that it is is because I do not have my husband's surname (unlike my daughter). So is there an issue here about wives who do not have the same name as their partners? Second, I am baffled why I am asked for documents that I see no reason to produce after 30 years of prompt paying (my landline phone bill, a UK bank statement...? come on?)
As I said.. this is a privileged bleat. But what the hell must people suffer who have less of a bank balance than me.
By the way John Lewis, you are close to losing my custom (a minnow but there you are)