One step forward, two steps back

The day started so well. I was on the student feedback panel for technology enhanced education, attended by around 40 staff from my Uni, asked questions about my experience at the Uni so far, positive and negative, and my comments seemed to be well received, as well all the other student panellists and we were all thanked profusely for attending. I went away feeling that maybe, just maybe, some people went away slightly more deaf-aware that morning, and would know not to change seminars at the last minute when interpreters have been booked.

Then, on the train home, I was quietly reading my newspaper when I was distracted by a strange tapping noise. I looked up and nearly jumped out of my seat when I realised a ticket inspector, whose presence I had been unaware of, was standing next to me. The tapping noise? Him rapping a key against the seat in front of me. Subtle. Very subtle. I barely had time to register annoyance when he turned away to check a ticket from someone else. When he turned back, I was ready for him. I signed angrily, gestured, I’m deaf, tap my shoulder, hello! He looked slightly abashed, but offered no apology, and when he had duly inspected my ticket, wandered off down the aisle. Irritated, but letting the incident go, I walked off the train with my head held high, if slightly despairing at the total lack of respect and deaf awareness of employees of First Great Western.

Then, while I was peacefully checking my emails this afternoon, I got a phone call to my mobile, from an 0845 number, no less. It was summarily ignored. Shortly thereafter, Dad came to find me, my bank – HSBC – had called the house, asking for me, and asking me to call back. Hah. This is an issue I’ve raised with HSBC before, more than once. I got on the landline and called them back via typetalk, and after the interminable recorded message and security questions, I brought up the fact they’d called me, and that I have repeatedly asked HSBC not to. They said they were sorry but it was the policy of the fraud detection department to only use phones and voicemails. I said that was completely discriminatory to deaf customers, that text messages and emails are much better for deaf people and asked for an address where I could send a complaint. They gave me the email address for customer relations and apologised again. The fact that they had correctly intercepted an attempt by some random website to hack my card was neither here nor there; I have told HSBC many times not to call my damn mobile. In the end, the assistant offered to take my mobile number off the HSBC system completely, an offer I accepted. It’s a good principle; treat my mobile number with respect or I’ll take it away. I shall adopt this policy in future.

They then suggested – out of the best of intentions I’m sure – that I could add my father to my account as a third party so that he could make phone calls on my behalf, give details about my account and generally be a point of contact. I’ll say here what I said to the assistant – it’s an interesting idea, but it completely defeats the notion of independence, I am perfectly capable of handling my own financial affairs, and it wouldn’t even be an issue if HSBC would just catch up with the 21st century and start using text messages. They said they completely understood, and apologised again for good measure.

I have now sent an email to customer relations asking why
HSBC has not yet joined the 21st century. I look forward to their
reply with interest.

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