A few days later I encountered another example of ‘not possible’ weaselry.
Earlier this year I noticed that when I logged into my HSBC banking app, a new box had appeared above my account details.
This typically contained ads for the bank’s products such as credit cards and loans. Other times it had tips for what you could do in the app such as paying in cheques.
Each message ended with a call to action, often an option such as ‘Tell me more’ / ‘No thanks’, or a simple ‘Got it’ in response to a tip.
After several weeks of hitting ‘Got it’ on the same old tips, and ‘No thanks’ oh so many, many times in response to offers of credit and loans, I was getting pissed off.
I navigated to my marketing preferences.
As I thought, I had not opted in to marketing by phone, email, post and SMS.
You’d think this would be a sufficient clue as to my openness to the bank’s marketing, and that I would be unlikely to welcome anything popping up in-app.
However, not only had the penny failed to drop, there wasn’t an option to opt-in or out of this new way of bothering me.
I jumped onto a chat with one of their customer service team and explained my frustration.
I don’t want or need these messages.
They are repetitive, irrelevant and patronising. (Hey, your system should know I’ve paid in numerous cheques using the app, so I really, really do not need a message once a week asking me if I know that I can do this.)
So, please, please switch the bloody things off.
They went off to check.
“Sorry!” they said.
“It’s not possible.”
But ‘not possible’ is not ‘impossible’, so I think we all know what they really meant.