Hoist with my own petard!

I recently received a letter from my bank advising me of a fund transfer in euros into my bank account.  I was a bit perplexed by this, though, because working as an MEP I get frequent euro fund transfers — salary, travel expenses and so on — and I had never received such a letter before.
I called them to ask why this particular transfer had required a letter, and they said it was now their policy to send letters with details of the amount, the exchange rate and so on (though they missed the most interesting thing — the sender!).
I was a bit discouraged, since as an MEP that meant dozens of letters a year that I didn’t need, and every one would require to be shredded, or have the identifying details cut out, to avoid the risk of identity theft.  Very boring.  Please could they not send me the letters, I asked.
They agreed to go away and check.  Then they called back to say that they were obliged to send me the letters, under the terms of the European parliament’s Payment Services Directive.
Ouch.  They were sending me unwanted junk mail because I (or at least the parliament) had required them to do so.  Yet another example unintended consequences — of how well-meant EU consumer protection legislation results in unnecessary costs and postage and paper-work.

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3 Responses to Hoist with my own petard!

  1. chris southern says:

    Congratulations on getting re elected Roger 🙂

    As for the article, the rain forests are even being killed by beuracracy (eat that one green meps!)

  2. Ian H Ward says:

    Dear Roger,

    Congratulations on your election. You wrote an article recently on the virtues of a flat tax, I would like our party (Conservatives) to consider Arthur Laffer’s brilliant work on this subject, which I believe would be a vote winner. Sometimes it’s difficult for people to grasp that in life,and taxes, often Less is More!

    Keep up the good work on being outspoken.

    With Regards

    Ian H Ward.

  3. Pragmatist says:

    Great post, Roger, though I disagree that an explicit requirement could be described as an “unintended consequence”!

    Please insist that your colleagues understand the business processes and related consumer experiences impacted by proposals for Directives. And please fire up your blog if/when you are aware of a proposal based on a lack of such understanding – early enough for us to try to influence it.

    Best wishes

    Simon Deane-Johns

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