You’re very brave

Not the most encouraging thing you want to hear from a fellow electric vehicle owner. Mind you, he was just driving up and down the motorway network in a Mitsubishi.

We were planning on taking an electric camper van to one of the remotest parts of the country.

What could go wrong?


Read on to find out how that worked out.


Banks are in control

In the bad old days, if you wanted to pay a large sum of money to someone there were 3 main options

  • Write a cheque
  • Place wad of cash in brown envelope
  • Get a banker’s draft

The first one worked pretty well, but needed 3 days in clearing so the bank could use your money to make money for themselves.  The second also worked well, provided you had a bodyguard and planned on making the payment in daylight hours.  The final option was best, but the banks still got their cut by charging you for the privilege of spending your own money.

In the shiny new digital age, one could be forgiven that walking up to a chip and pin machine and making the necessary transaction would be simple enough.  Oh no siree.

Step 1 – Transaction rejected by merchant’s provider.  Place call to said provider for manual authorisation.  After about 20 mins on the phone, going through all the checks etc. the merchant is told to try again.

Step 2 – Try again.  Failed.  Repeat Step 1.  “Maybe it’s the customers bank that is the problem”. Top advice.

Step 3 – Customer, i.e. me, calls telephone banking to find out what is going on.  Once we’ve established I’m trying to use my card, not online banking, I’m told that all looks OK and there is indeed a note on my account warning that I’m going to be making a large payment.  This is good, since I’d called them some days previously to warn of this very event.  We try again and transaction is rejected again.  This time (after scuttling off to find someone senior) it turns out that the card provider Visa, not the bank, have put a transaction limit on the card (not the account).  That would have been nice to know in advance, but hey ho.  Best suggestion from them is to try and put the payment through in two smaller chunks.

Step 4 – Repeat Step 1, but for half the price of the ‘van.  Transaction fails (surprise surprise), call the merchant’s provider, get manual authorisation and force the transaction through.  Success !!

Step 5 – Repeat for the balance. What could go wrong? Transaction failed again, called the provider and now they are complaining that two suspicious transactions are going through one after the other (can’t argue with that, apart from the suspicious bit).  Advise them that the bank said this was the best approach and, reluctantly, having given the merchant a bit of a ticking off, the second half is processed and we are done.

Total transaction time from start to finish, approx. 1 hour and 15mins. I kid you not.

So, today’s tip of the day is

Make sure you have all the necessary parties involved in the payment onside, or you could be in for a long wait by the cash register, before you even pick up your shiny Motorhome.

Next.  The driving experience.

It starts …

Be afraid. Be very afraid.  Be very, very afraid.  I could go on, but you get the picture.

Today’s the day – I will leave the office driving a Toyota, drive to Hayes Leisure somewhere near IKEA, M5, and return driving an Autoquest 145 something or other Motorhome.  Lord help us, as I have no idea what I’m doing.  Let’s hope I can at least drive the thing home without incident and get it parked in the driveway without trashing anything.  Let’s start with small targets.