back to article Great success! Finance app was able to inform user that their action was unsuccessful

Welcome to another entry in the pantheon of borkage. This time from an Android app demonstrating that the path to success is to first find failure. Register reader "Tom from TX" sent us this glorious example of mobile application programming. We're wondering if the "Success!" may have been left in by a tired dev wanting to be …

  1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Maybe

    Its an apology that they have successfully charged you for something random as most banks like to do.

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    I have smelled something like this before

    /* If something genuinely fails and stores the excuse in errno

    * but something else succeeds and stores 0 in errno you will

    * get error "Success".

    */

    #include <errno.h>

    #include <stdio.h>

    int

    main(

    __attribute__((unused)) int argc,

    __attribute__((unused)) char **argv

    ) {

    errno = 0;

    printf("%m\n");

    return 0;

    }

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I have smelled something like this before

      man 2 printf: m (Glibc extension; supported by uClibc and musl.) Print output of strerror(errno). No argument is required.

      Yet another morsel of useful (YMMV) knowledge learned.

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    I've seen this sort of thing a number of times

    I think what it comes down to is faulty function parameters. The function that does whatever was supposed to happen returned an error message, but this wasn't flagged as an error, so the UI displays the message and sticks a generic "Success!" underneath.

    To be honest, my big query here is not why the application got itself in a muddle. My query is why a finance application seems to want to be all excited about, well, doing (or failing to do, in this case) something that you'd expect to be normal.

    I mean, would you trust a bank where the girl behind the desk took your card, gave you cash, and was like "goddamn! it worked! yeeha!"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a bank ... was like "goddamn! it worked! yeeha!"

      I've never visited, but, just for the entertainment value, I will now assume all American banks are like this. Especially ones in Texas. :-)

      1. Dave559 Bronze badge

        Re: a bank ... was like "goddamn! it worked! yeeha!"

        It seems that most ATMs, when you insert your card, now say something slightly unnecessary along the lines of "Reading chip card" for a second or two before displaying the menu screen, whereas in ye olden days (oh, hello, USA) they would process magstripe cards silently for a second or two before displaying the menu screen.

        I have strong suspicions that the chip card message was added as a debug aid by and for the developers while they were adding chip card functionality, so that they could tell that the ATM was doing the right thing, but that they just left the code/message in afterwards, as it wasn't particularly worth doing the work to take it out (and Murphy's Law would probably result in the chip reading functionality børking itself, if they did).

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Isn't the collective term for complete bankers a wunch?

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Hence the euphemism "having a quick Barclays"

  5. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Joke

    And this is what that message invoked in my head:

    "Thank you for failing to complete your transaction with us.

    "As a gesture of goodwill, you will only be charged 50% of the normal transaction fee for this failed transaction.

    "Have a good day, and we hope to rob you mercilessly again some time soon."

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Ah, nothing like polite customer service . . .

  6. Yes Me Silver badge
    FAIL

    What's Success?

    Look, when it successfully returns an error code, that's Success!, right? And if you get the Success! message, you won't call the "help" desk, will you?

    It all seems very logical to me.

    As logical as trying to close a Barclays joint account when you both live abroad. This happened to me today.

    1. Because it's a joint account, they require both parties to either come into a branch together (difficult if the nearest branch is thousands of miles away) or make a video banking call together.

    2. Barclays video banking only works from a smartphone, not from a desktop computer.

    3. You can't register for the app unless your smartphone is registered in the UK (difficult if you live thousands of miles away).

    4. So, you can't actually close the account at all.

    Doesn't matter since it now has £0 in it, but really?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: What's Success?

      I thought, since nothing to do and sitting out in the sun, I'd pop over to see what Barclay's site says.

      So I come across https://www.barclays.co.uk/help/international/accounts/moving-abroad/ which doesn't sound too useful but there's a link for moving abroad.

      Tap.

      Tap.

      Poke, prod, tap.

      Nothing. That link doesn't work. And a quick look at the page source shows why (I've replaced angle brackets with curly ones):

      See our {a}moving abroad page for more{/a}.

      Useful.

      About as useful as your experiences.

      Personally I'd be inclined to send a tracked and signed for letter stating the problems that you are having, why the solutions (go in person or smartphone app that initially needs to be set up in the UK) are not practicable without incurring a large expense, and state clearly that in lieu of any useful assistance from the bank and with no outstanding debts, you consider the account to be closed.

      It might not help, but it may if somebody subsequently defrauds you on an account that you tried to close (and the bank refused). In essence, attempting to cover your ass, as you've already seen how helpful the bank is...

      1. Hazmoid

        Re: What's Success?

        Having tried to do the same ( close a bank account, or talk to someone at the bank in general) I agree with the premise of CYA. If you can record discussions when you do get to a real person, do so ( make sure you let them know that you are recording) . More to the point, make a note of date, time, person and department you are talking to, so that when they haven't done what they said they will do and you call back to complain, you can quote this information back to them. Also quickly note what you have discussed, and confirm what actions both parties are going to take.

        Mortgage departments are notorious for saying, "I'm sorry but there is no record in our system of that discussion having taken place". We make a point of recording everything, especially since the "failed" call or internet connection is a real possibility now.

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