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Subject: How to get involved in geopolitics by buying boardgames rss

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jan w
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This might be a lot less exciting than I made the subject out to be. It's a rather short anecdote really.

What happened is that I bought a copy of Havana from a German user via the Geek Marketplace and wired her the money via bank transfer. A week or so later, she still hadn't received the money, but in good faith, had already shipped the game. I called my bank, they said the money had been transferred. I checked back with her, double checked the IBAN and BIC codes, everything seemed in order. So my bank (or at least the helpdesk of my bank) was claiming everything was sent, but she didn't have the money.

A few days later, by this time 2 weeks after I had made the transfer, someone from my branch called concerning a certain transfer I had made. Finally. So apparently the head office of ING Belgium (might as well note the culprit) had blocked the transfer on suspicion of me wanting to circumvent the law in sending money to Cuba because I had written "Havana" in the comment of the transfer. Apparently you don't just send money to Cuba. Not from Belgium. We're sworn enemies you see.

So delicately, this woman from my branch (who's known me about all my life), asked what this was all about. Was I funding a communist uprising in Cuba? Was I importing illegal arms? (though I think it's mainly Belgium that's the supplier rather than the importer) Was I starting a communist revolution in my home country and therefore placing mass orders of Che Guevara t-shirts???

No. I ordered a boardgame. You know, Clue, Monopoly,... a game.

I thought for a second the line had gone, the poor thing must have been too startled to react. So she'd call head office, try to explain that Havana is in fact a board game. And no, I did not intend to fund a revolution with 18.60€.

I asked a friend about this, and he said that most likely all banks are required to flag certain transfers that seem suspicious. I'm not sure what kind of investigation went on behind the screens, but they did take two weeks before notifying me of anything. So far the person I bought the game from still hasn't received the money either.

I find it rather disturbing that my bank goes around my back and... oh wait... no I don't. It's just disturbing that for a simple boardgame you as citizen get caught up in some geopolitical dispute and probably get investigated.

So lesson learned: don't mention Havana, Santiago de Cuba, or Cuba on any bank transfer you make if you're buying the game!
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Liam
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Great story - that's bonkers!

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Nigel Heather
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Wouldn't it have been great if the banks show the same morals, ethics and responsibility in controlling their own greed rather than sinking the whole world in economic recession.

Cheers,

Nigel
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nheather wrote:
Wouldn't it have been great if the banks show the same morals, ethics and responsibility in controlling their own greed rather than sinking the whole world in economic recession.

Cheers,

Nigel


I think that in this situation, they are actually legally obliged to comply to this measure. How or when this came into effect, and why on earth Belgium is enforcing such a measure, is beyond me.

The fact that Belgian politics get intertwined with such measures simply goes to show how far-reaching American power is, be it directly or via the UN.

Though obviously banks don't get a free ride either. Blocking 18€ from my account, taking 2 weeks to investigate, and all this whilst they're squandering gazillions on a daily basis in dubious repackaged products overseas?

I guess I'm most scared of the fact that big banks and politics are such good friends...
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Geekgirl123
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I would have thought it would have to be a lot more money for them to make a fuss about something like that.
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Simon Lundström
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geekgirl123 wrote:
I would have thought it would have to be a lot more money for them to make a fuss about something like that.


Same.

Seriously, I'd sever all my ties with that bank with the words that "if a transfer of 18 euro to Germany is something you find so suspicious that you take two weeks in investigating it, then you can wave goodbye to my money Thank you."

Seriously. I've nothing principally against institutions making profit from handling money, but if it's this they're using it for, all the while they've invented a looping money lending system that every mathematician knows will eventueally break down and punish the loan takers… then I wouldn't want to have anything to do with them.
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Zimeon wrote:

Seriously, I'd sever all my ties with that bank with the words that "if a transfer of 18 euro to Germany is something you find so suspicious that you take two weeks in investigating it, then you can wave goodbye to my money Thank you."

Seriously. I've nothing principally against institutions making profit from handling money, but if it's this they're using it for, all the while they've invented a looping money lending system that every mathematician knows will eventueally break down and punish the loan takers… then I wouldn't want to have anything to do with them.


The problem is that every bank is legally bound by this law, so were I with another bank, I'd probably have experienced the same.

Banks are some sort of necessary evil. If you want to have a (legal) income, you need to have a bank account...

What I do find encouraging though, is the rise of so-called "Islamic" banks in the UK and France. Apparently (don't shoot me if I'm wrong - a friend who traveled in Iran told me this), the Koran forbids you to bet. So, (this is the part I find enlightening) Islamic banks do not invest in dodgy bonds or repackaged deals they cannot trace! They only invest in certain domains which they are certain of that will return their investment, such as the housing market. They still survive, even more so, they're flourishing. I'm not saying we should all move to an Islamic bank overnight, but it's still interesting to see that there IS a counter-movement and there IS a market for an alternative way of running our economic system.

The banks will follow the market, and the customer is the market. So with the current contempt most people have for banks, perhaps if a large amount of people start moving towards alternatives, that the big banks too will change their code of ethics (if they even have one) to reflect the demand of the market. Here's hoping!
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Richard Smeltzer
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kronik wrote:
The fact that Belgian politics get intertwined with such measures simply goes to show how far-reaching American power is, be it directly or via the UN.

I'm guessing it's a little more direct and unintentional than that. ING Direct operates in the US, and rather than have different rules operating in dozens of different countries, they probably just slap an automatic black flag on anything that might breach the law anywhere.

Quote:
And no, I did not intend to fund a revolution with 18.60€.

That's the beauty of crowdsourcing. It only takes a small amount from each of us.
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Simon Lundström
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kronik wrote:
The problem is that every bank is legally bound by this law, so were I with another bank, I'd probably have experienced the same.

Probably. I'd still make a point out of that I vehemently disapprove of they using laws to make my life more difficult completely unnecessarily. If they had seen a transfer of thousands of euro, one thing. If they saw hundreds of transfers of 10 euro each, another thing. But one single transfer of 18 euro. To Germany? = ridiculous.

kronik wrote:
Banks are some sort of necessary evil. If you want to have a (legal) income, you need to have a bank account...

But you don't have to have anything in them.

But I shan't make this into a raving of anti-bank sentiments. As said, I've nothing against banks as a principle. It's a combination of what I've seen the recent years (both the financial crisis, some knowledge of our current monetary system and how it works, and some recent personal experiences with some more than dubious senior loans) that have built up a pretty solid distrust for what the "big" banks are up to today.

kronik wrote:
What I do find encouraging though, is the rise of so-called "Islamic" banks in the UK and France. Apparently (don't shoot me if I'm wrong - a friend who traveled in Iran told me this), the Koran forbids you to bet. So, (this is the part I find enlightening) Islamic banks do not invest in dodgy bonds or repackaged deals they cannot trace! They only invest in certain domains which they are certain of that will return their investment, such as the housing market. They still survive, even more so, they're flourishing.

This is, indeed, very interesting. I'll keep my ears popped for anything regarding that.
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Richard: you make a very solid point there about ING operating within the US.

However from the crowd perspective: why track every payment and not just those heading out to Cuba? Seems strange that a payment from Belgium to Germany would ring the alarm.

On top of that, in this age of eBaying and online c2c business, they're bound to be making use of profiling methods that are much more accurate than a stupid comment to track down potential risks. If I really did know that it was a problem to get money to Cuba, and therefore was sending it to Germany first, then I would have the common sense to not advertise it.
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Johan Haglert
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I'm not allowed to make a joke of this.
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Georg von Lemberg
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aliquis wrote:
I'm not allowed to make a joke of this.


Go ahead, you've got my permission.
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Johan Haglert
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gvonl wrote:
aliquis wrote:
I'm not allowed to make a joke of this.


Go ahead, you've got my permission.
I don't know how to say "forum rules is above all" in latin.

I'd rather save my warnings and bans for some truly offensive stuff ;D
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I rarely write paper checks these days, but when I do, I go down to the "For" space and always put something like "illegal arms deal," "unspecified services," "your silence."

No calls from the bank yet.
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Omg that is too gd funny. I have to do that

Oh wait I can't. I just wanted to chime in because of my similar experience with PayPal, buying the same innocuous overseas product, with amounts of US$50 or less. I think partly because I'm Iranian-American, and have an Iranian name, but really, the second time it happened they demanded I scan and FAX in my proof of citizenship. I was actually concerned what office in a giant faceless private corporation I was scanning and faxing all my most personal docs to, and for what? Because the Innovation art is cooler in the European version? Because I was hunting to see if Iello also did an art rendition of the Echoes of the Past expansion? And these somehow indicate I may be trying to violate recent layers and layers of indistinct and seemingly intentionally blurry sanctions on trading with Iran? Through Italy? Really?

Or could it be because PayPal is monitoring names like mine, as stupidly and ineffectively as it is monitoring words like "Havana". How will the terrorists ever outsmart us with such sharply nuanced screening mechanisms?

And how ironic that big banks' destruction of, and profiteering-via-outsized-political-influence-and-rigging-of-horrible-laws-and-removal-of-decades-of-wise-regulations off of, western economies; my experience as an Iranian-American with the poorly targeted and even more poorly executed sanctions on what may possibly some day be gasp the third bellicose country in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal; and this thread, are making me move towards something I would normally never consider: islamic banks. How painfully ironic.
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Johan Haglert
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macroidtoe wrote:
I rarely write paper checks these days, but when I do, I go down to the "For" space and always put something like "illegal arms deal," "unspecified services," "your silence."

No calls from the bank yet.
"Getting out of sex"
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Johan Haglert
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Trader joe: Everyone is scanning everything.

(Though in the US citizens is actually against being watched by big brother I suppose.)

Thanks WTC bombers, US and UK politicians and everyone with children
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Geekgirl123
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kronik wrote:
I'm not sure what kind of investigation went on behind the screens, but they did take two weeks before notifying me of anything. So far the person I bought the game from still hasn't received the money either.


What if they never send the money. You said it was a board game but maybe they might still not want to risk it. How will you get the money to the seller?
 
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M *
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Great Story.

Suppose its good you didn't try and send Nuclear Escalation through the mail.
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jan w
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geekgirl123 wrote:
kronik wrote:
I'm not sure what kind of investigation went on behind the screens, but they did take two weeks before notifying me of anything. So far the person I bought the game from still hasn't received the money either.


What if they never send the money. You said it was a board game but maybe they might still not want to risk it. How will you get the money to the seller?



Perhaps I'll send another money transfer, this time with no comment? Problem solved?

In the worst case scenario, I could just transfer some money via paypal. Not to worry.
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Luis Fernandez
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the name is bond... james bond! XD

Pretty funny story! laugh

No you got the FBI on your back! ninja
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Luisjoey wrote:
the name is bond... james bond! XD

Pretty funny story! laugh

No you got the FBI on your back! ninja


Luckily the local (belgian) FBI doesn't get up to much other than tracking the local variant of the hamburgler. Only he steals french fries.
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Luis Fernandez
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Now i see you in are from belgium... maybe the interpool is behind you right now! robot
 
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jan w
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Luisjoey wrote:

Now i see you in are from belgium... maybe the interpool is behind you right now! robot


Interpool, where all European law enforcers hang out after a hard days work
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Luis Fernandez
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you have to escape in a SMART car like in DA VINCI CODE! XD
 
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