Saturday, 12 August 2017

What a business . . .

Two months and 7 days ago we began the process of selling our house. In "another place" we also began the process of buying another house. The Solicitor cum Estate Agent there opined ruefully that whilst sales completions in Scotland were often achieved in about 6 weeks he was well aware that in England they might take about three months. How right he was ! We got entry into our Scottish house after 52 days (longer than six weeks) which was due to our delaying our purchase until our house in England was sold. Once we realised what a long drawn out process the English Estate Agent Industry was going to make of it, we broke open every piggy bank known to man and managed to achieve a cash purchase in Scotland very soon after.

But what a business ! You cannot write to firms or businesses there days because they do not show any postal address on their printed correspondence, nor on their web sites, and the best you can expect is some anonymous telephone number where you will be bellowing down phone for a quarter of an hour having pressed every number available on the phone pad several times over. Occasionally there is an anonymous message system from which you get those annoying "your message has been read " replies, with the proviso that it might be a year or two before they get round to answering because they are sooo busy. Long lists of FAQs are provided but none of them match your problem, and in any case you wouldn't be trying to contact them unless your question was particular to your self and your business and not something common to the world and his wife (or significant other).

Our Bank is a good case in point. Having recently closed their local branch - the very facility that made us choose them in the first place, one now has to go off to the "nearest" branch if you wish to meet a human being face to face. We had one or two telephone run ins, eg:

OurB : Who would you like to speak to ?

Us :  The Localtown Branch please ?

OurB :  (Belligerently) Why ?

Not, "Putting you through" like the old days, but "Why ?"  Which translates as, "What makes you think you have any right to speak to some of your choice about your money which we use to keep ourselves in employment ?"

Then there are the Estate Agents and the Lawyers. The Estate Agents don't seem too bad. With an eye to the fact that if they want any money they need to get the deal done they tend to keep that eye on the ball.  But the lawyers. Oh ! the Lawyers ! They are into the printing business big time. Questionnaires are their thing. Big questionnaires.  Many page questionnaires.  About that new washer you had fitted to the cold water tap in the upstairs bathroom sometime back in 1977. Who fitted it ? Why was it necessary ? Did you apply for permission from all the appropriate agencies, have you got copies of the correspondence and the certificates issued. Why not ? You better get cracking young man 'cos we ain't going nowhere from here until I see paper, lots of paper, and I don't mean banknotes.

Fortunately I had kept a great deal of stuff, but had "filed" it in the loft and completely forgotten about it and it was only in slowly going through stuff brought down from the loft with an eye to throwing it out, that I came across what has turned out to be a number of significant files.

It seems that now our Solicitor (who in spite of my rude remarks above, has been accessible and helpful) thinks that we have provided all the answers we can be reasonably expected to provide, and has said so in conversation with her opposite number in Scotland, so I have allowed a little flicker of hope to light in my heart that it might be possible to imagine a conclusion to this long drawn out agony before Christmas - but in which year?

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