Joint account, am I being too sensitive

(66 Posts)
catabouttown Mon 08-Jul-13 12:54:46

Hi there, I have recently opened a joint account with DP, I handle all our household finances and budget, i set up the account so I was the main applicant and he the second applicant...

But every time we get a letter about it, it is addressed to Mr DP and Ms Catabouttown...as I am listed as the main applicant on all our documentation I assume It is just their default option to list the man first, and its driving me potty!!

Background, I have always been adamant that I will keep my name on marriage and one of the reasons for this is how I remember my mum getting letters from banks addressed to either Mrs Husbands initials and last name, or Mr and Mrs husbands initials and last name. From a very early age I used to see these letters and feel offended that she was addressed by her husbands initials rather than her own! Like she was married and therefore her own name didn't matter anymore...so I am seen as a militant feminist by some people for only wanting to receive letters addressed in my name hmm

Anyway, I know it is in my name so not so bad but I am still feeling irked that DP is being addressed first despite him never having been listed first in any of our correspondence with them. I want to contact the bank and ask them why this is, but don't know if that's a bit over the top??

LRDLearningKnigaBook Mon 08-Jul-13 17:18:12

On a separate note, I did get some eye-rolling when I got another bank to change my title from 'Mrs LRDName' to 'MsLRDName', but it mattered to me!

catabouttown Mon 08-Jul-13 18:18:56

toffeepenny the computer programme is exactly what I was thinking when I said the default option, and you're right that it was obviously written that way by someone and that is wrong, but I suppose I'm thinking that if that is he case I am unlikely to succeed in getting it changed if I call up, nobody will know how.

I feel it's unlikely that it is just because the letters are addressed in alphabetical order by title, that just seems like a bizarre way of doing things, if they were going to do it alphabetically it surely would make more sense to be alphabetical by your name, I think it's probably from traditional letter writing practices, we definitely need to find a reverend to test this!

However, I hadn't thought about the practical implications like DP needing to be the person they speak to about to about the account, for that reason alone I need to speak to someone about it.

It is just so frustrating that the various circumstances mentioned still happen and when you confront companies about it, you get treated like you are being unreasonable and it doesn't matter, but it does, it is all part of the many instances like this that supposedly don't matter that together make women second class citizens!

milktraylady Mon 08-Jul-13 19:54:44

OP are you in Scotland?
Did you know joint bank accounts there follow "joint and several liability"?
Meaning if there is debt they will pursue you both for all the money. Even if you can prove it wasn't your debts.

English law is not like that.

And yes I did find that out the hard way.

Obviously not assuming you will split from OH, but just in case. It's good to know your rights <bitter>

milktraylady Mon 08-Jul-13 19:55:07

Bitter, me?
confused

tribpot Mon 08-Jul-13 19:58:42

The computer system probably does have the concept of first account holder and second account holder. I think it is staggeringly unlikely that it does not allow the end user to choose which customer is first and which second. You won't know til you call, though - ask them to switch you over. If they say 'computer says no', you get on Twitter and you tell @EverydaySexism.

And then the software can be changed. If only society were quite so easy grin

MsPickle Mon 08-Jul-13 20:11:41

If they've changed your title it's worth going in and making them go through each screen of info checking it.

I'm married. I changed my name (liked it!) and decided I would use Ms Married Name. This caused chaos.

It took Halifax three goes to issue me a new card with the right title (I got cross and wouldn't let it go). Eventually I had it so thought all was sorted.

About a year later I was asked if I'd like to review accounts (aaaah, the days when there was enough going through to make me a sales target...). I did. I speed read.

I discovered that the reason my title was changed was that, although they had a copy of my marriage cert on file someone had typed IN A FREE TEXT BOX 'divorced'

I went batshit and went through all else. Discovered lots of random things including that I was, apparently, a zookeeper.

I've only been to the zoo a few times and famously can't remember any animal names.

The City branch person who was looking at me in my suit, taking notes knew it was going downhill from there!

Ggggrrrrrr

(Also learnt they hadn't moved me to the higher interest account I'd requested so owed me money, which to be fair they coughed up, along with some goodwill compensation and a nice case of wine).

This story may well have outed me as I was so cross I told everyone!!confused

catabouttown Mon 08-Jul-13 20:45:34

No we're not in Scotland but even so the linking of our credit and financial personas has been putting me off getting a joint account for years...long term relationship, 2 children but this feels like the biggest step we've taken grin and now it's driving me mad!

I will update on what they say when I call, some of the stories on here are completely laughable, looks like I am in for even more fun when we get married and I boggle minds by refusing to become Mrs DP's name! DP is completely happy with this but some of his friends have actually got seriously pissed off and argued with me about it! One told him to refuse to wear a wedding ring if I didn't change my name, what the crap is that about? I said I didn't care if he didn't want to wear a ring but I wouldn't be marrying someone who tried to blackmail me like that!

I had an account with First Direct before I met DH. When we moved in together we turned it into a joint account for bills and whatnot. Not only did this turn the addressing into 'Mr Him & Ms Me', but the visible address through the envelope window was just 'Mr Him'. Not even a joint account where I'm first or even just equal account holder, but MY account converted to joint. Grr. The first of two reasons we left them, despite everyone saying their customer service was SO wonderful.

Barclays, meanwhile, just interpreted a request to change Ms Myname Middlename Surname into Ms Myname Surname Marriedname as a request to become Mrs Myname Middlename Surname-Marriedname. And the NHS still think I'm double-barrelled.

nerofiend Tue 16-Jul-13 10:23:17

Until women as a whole refuse to change their names upon marriage, this practice and many others are not going to change.

But this seems something so difficult to change in this society. Most women I know use their husband's name as a badge of honour, or something like that. I honestly don't understand it. Of all the women I know in my family and friends, I'm the only one who didn't change her name.

In other countries, like Spain and Argentina, most women don't use their husbands' names anymore. And these societies are perceived as much more patriarchal than this one in theory.

It's not the bank's fault. It's women who have to say enough and enough and do something about it.

Woodhead Tue 16-Jul-13 10:36:16

Outdated practice might not be the bank's "fault" per se, but it's current default coding is very much it's own responsibility.

Individual women need to call institutions on these practices rather than letting them lie, but the OP is doing just that and hopefully her details will be changed to reflect first applicant asap.

Even if women collectively all kept their own names, the bank default could still use Mr before Ms (/Mrs/Miss) if it's set up that way and people don't complain.

Any update OP?

vesuvia Tue 16-Jul-13 15:51:12

MsPickle wrote - "decided I would use Ms Married Name. This caused chaos. I discovered that the reason my title was changed was that, although they had a copy of my marriage cert on file someone had typed IN A FREE TEXT BOX 'divorced'"

I had a similar negative experience. The people who do this are making lazy, prejudiced assumptions about a woman based on some myth that they believe to be true, which they never bother to question. They could not make an equivalent prejudiced assumption about a man.

I wonder who it was who started the stupid rumour that Ms means divorced? It doesn't mean divorced! In the same way as Mr. The whole point of Ms is that society should not be able to know the woman's marital status, a privacy that men are granted automatically, but somehow many people ignore the real meaning of Ms and assign whatever marital status they feel like giving the woman. When is a man assumed to be divorced just because his title is Mr? I say never. Perhaps some divorced women use Ms as a title but that doesn't mean all women who use Ms should be assumed to be divorced. Many divorced women use Miss or Mrs.

Many people are uncomfortable using Ms as a title either for themselves or when addressing a woman. We get that question, "is Ms pronounced 'mss' or 'mzz'?" (because it's so difficult to say, allegedly). I've never had a problem pronouncing Ms because it's easy to remember: it's pronounced "mizz", as in "mind your own bizzness".

Many staff trainers and senior managers believe that Ms means divorced and nothing else, because they just take a myth they've been told as gospel, so I think there is little hope of the more junior front-line staff always getting it right anytime soon.

Despite their job being to maximise company value for shareholders, CEOs appear happy for company resources to be spent correcting customer titles and customer contact priority, rather than ensuring titles and names are entered into systems correctly at account opening.

In June 2013, 97% of FTSE 100 CEOs were men, so their bank and utility customer details will not be adversely affected by assumptions of their marital status or assumed subservience in their personal relationships. Would these men take it seriously if they regularly received letters from their bank and electricity company in which they were treated as a person of less importance in their supposedly joint account, such as "Ms CEOWifesSurname and Master CEOWifesSurname"?

Anniegetyourgun Tue 16-Jul-13 21:24:37

I've told this one before, but I got a nasty turn a while back when I had a letter from BT about some package offer or something, for my telephone, addressed to XH at my address. I rang them up and said wtf is he giving you my address for? Not only have we been divorced for x years, he has never lived here (thank God). Nice young man on phone explained it was because XH was shown as the second contact on my account. OK, so, what the heck was he doing there, as when we divorced he got custody of the existing BT account and I had to open a new one? (The phone was in his name, although I had always paid the bills.) And as a side issue, why did they address the offer to the second contact instead of the first contact? Nice young man said er, I'll get his name taken off, but was unable to answer the second question. Not that I needed him to, I know the answer angry

Erato Tue 16-Jul-13 21:49:36

I'm so glad (kind of, in a 'here we are suffering together' kind of way) this happens to other people. I thought it was me being paranoid, as DH's surname is alphabetically before my surname.

Yet I'm the primary account holder of our bank account and he's listed first when we get letters. And I'm the major shareholder in our company yet marketing mail gets sent to him and not to me (as he's also a director). Makes me cross.

And the other day I had to correct my maternity notes as they'd assumed that as I was Ms Firstname Maidenname that I wasn't married - that could actually have quite serious consequences as DH has legal rights as my husband re my medical care that he wouldn't have as my partner. They didn't even bother asking me.

Woodhead Wed 17-Jul-13 11:57:10

My DHs first and surnames are after mine in the alphabet.

My title is before his in the alphabet.

We recently bought a "joint" life membership; I wanted it, he wasn't bothered, and I thought joint would be nicer than single. I paid.
We told them explicitly on joining that I was to be correspondant; my name was first on the paperwork.

Guess who the post comes addressed to.....

I'm still in the cycle of contacting them asking for it to be changed; they've apologised 3 times so far and assured me it's been corrected. Then the next piece of post arrives, and it's still addressed to DH.

I don't think this is paranoia

I also don't think it's "intentional" or "malicious" in terms of the people I've spoken to, but I do think there's some default computer coding which keeps autogenerating to default to male partner, and I do feel when this happens it's worth complaining for as long as it takes to get it fixed.

Kiriwawa Wed 17-Jul-13 12:13:11

My mum's experience is absolutely jaw-dropping. She went to buy a new (used) car from a dealership and took my dad.

She bought the car, it was registered in her name, paid for from her bank account. All the paperwork from the dealership came through addressed to Mr Wawa. They weren't very apologetic when she rang up to complain either

curryeater Wed 17-Jul-13 12:55:40

This drove me bonkers when I was buying financial products when pg with dd1. I wanted life assurance for me and dp, we had never owned property or anything (I now realise that I subconsciously totally believed I was going to die in childbirth and leave dp literally holding the baby and that was part of why I was so stressed trying to sort all this out)

I was trying to get a joint policy as 1. ME (applicant) and 2. HIM (my partner)

1. initial paperwork came through addressed to dp only. I didn't recognise it and nag him to open it. I didn't get anything. I was confused about why nothing was happening
2. phone calls about it came to dp, on his mobile, at work. He was asked long lists of questions he tried to answer, assuming that I know about all this and he was just doing his part. Actually he was being treated as primary applicant and being asked all the questions he had not even thought about and I had done all the research to answer
3. Finally the penny dropped about what was happening and I complained about this and asked for it to reversed so that all the letters and calls would come to me and I could make all the arrangements. I was told that this was impossible. It was implied that I was weird for not opening my partner's post if I cared about this policy so much, and it was not a problem that letters for me to deal with were addressed to someone else. (I think this was the bit that was most annoying - that they understood that I was doing all the admin, they did not seriously think that only men can research and buy financial products, but I was either expected to open all his post like a secretary, or it was a given that men open all the letters as they are the actual literate humans in the house, and then they lob them at their staff to be actioned), op but I was told that it was physically impossible for my name to go in Field A, which blew my mind - what if I were called John or my partner was a boy named Sue? Would the computer blow up? how was this impossible? There was incredible rudeness.
4. to cut a long story short I took the policy out with someone else.

This was in 2009.

Erato Wed 17-Jul-13 13:08:26

Question about this issue. Can I legally be Mr Erato even if I'm a woman? In terms of my name, I know I can start calling myself Reginald Monsterbottom if I so desire and that's all I need to do in order to name change in the UK but does the same apply to title?

daddoinghisbest Wed 17-Jul-13 13:17:23

I'd defo have a go at the bank. But on a general note... Why do women still generally take their husbands name when they marry. Just tradition I suppose, but if it was the other way round, no way would I spend my life building my identity with my own surname, to have it overwritten by my partner's name. Every time a document or account was changed, I'd feel my identity being deleted. Too extreme?

curryeater Wed 17-Jul-13 13:18:25

Really good point, Erato.
If you were two men in a civil partnership, one (or both) might change name to be Mr & Mr Erato. Or two women might be Ms & Ms Erato. Might any people of any sex decide to be Mr & Mr Erato, or Mr & Mrs (if two men?) or.... anything?

Does anyone know?

Erato Wed 17-Jul-13 13:23:17

Ooh. Have just looked up the deed poll website. Apparently there is a new title - Mx - gender non-specific. Who would like to take bets on how banks cope with that one?!?

Erato Wed 17-Jul-13 13:29:22

And deed poll UK does confirm that no documentary evidence is required to change from one gender social title eg Ms to another gender eg Mr.

But curry yes I'm interested as well to know how these antiquated computer systems would deal with a civil partnership between two people of the same gender.

LtEveDallas Wed 17-Jul-13 13:46:49

What bank is this OP?

I'm with Barclays, I've had an account with them since I was 15. When DH and I decided to get married we changed 'my' savings account into a joint savings account. The account was Mrs E Maidenname and Mr R Dallas. The letters always came addessed that way too.

After we married and I changed my name the account became Mrs E Dallas and Mr R Dallas and again thats how the letters come.

Am I just a one-off or are Barclays particularly good at this? I've had 3 different surnames with them, and God knows how many addresses, but they've never got it wrong (except when they froze my account the day after we moved to Cyprus... that was a fun week waiting for a new card!)

curryeater Wed 17-Jul-13 14:08:08

Erato, that's really interesting about Mx - do I understand correctly from your post just after that that anyone can just be Mx?
How do you say it? "Mux"?

nameequality Wed 17-Jul-13 20:58:16

This is a very interesting thread here. Am a regular but namechanged here to my twitter name as I have started a rant campaign about this sort of thing.

Erato Wed 17-Jul-13 21:11:35

UK deed poll have this to say:
^Recognised British social titles (i.e. Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms and Mx)
When changing your name, there are no restrictions if you also wish to change your title to a recognised British social title, for example, from Mrs to Miss, Miss to Mrs or from Miss to Ms. We will also allow a change of social title for transsexuals e.g. from Mr to Miss, Miss to Mr etc. We do not need to see any documentary evidence of your entitlement to use a recognised social title. Please note, it is perfectly acceptable for a single woman to use the title Mrs.^

So anyone can use any social title they like, with no evidence needed.

They add this about Mx:
In October 2011, we introduced the title of Mx (pronounced Mix) as an option for people who do not identify themselves as either male or female and, therefore, feel a gender specific title such as Mr or Miss is inappropriate and unsuitable for them.

We are unable to guarantee that all record holders (i.e. government departments, companies and organisations that hold your personal records) will recognise your new title but we believe many will and in time all will. Initially, the problem will be record holders’ computer systems not being able to accept Mx as a title but when a significant number of people request record holders show their title as Mx a tipping point will be reached causing record holders to reprogram their systems to accommodate Mx as a title.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now