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Friday, 22 May 2020 10:21

Money management firm MyBudget set to enter third week with systems down Featured

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Money management firm MyBudget set to enter third week with systems down Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Week two of the Australian money management firm MyBudget's outage is coming to an end and there appears to be no end in sight to the company's woes, with the latest update, issued on Thursday night, informing world+dog that some of its client care members will be working on Saturday. Today (Friday) is the 13th day of the outage.

The fundamental problem is that the company's client web portal is still not working. Clients cannot see their accounts and have to take any statements made by MyBudget on faith.

However, the Wednesday update had a rare treat for customers who are worried to death about their money: pictures of four "friendly faces" who are part of the team "that is that is so incredibly committed to making a difference in people's lives". That should cheer up the customers no end.

As far as plain speaking goes, MyBudget is yet to tell its 13,000-odd customers the name of the ransomware that it claims hit its services or why it is taking so long to fully restore services at what looks like a relatively small operation.

All its updates aptly illustrate one fact: it is trying desperately to avoid dealing with facts and does not want to tell people the unvarnished truth.

For instance, there is this statement in Thursday's update: "In the process of ongoing investigations, we’ve been informed by expert security advisers that client passwords were not accessed during the malware incident."

Note that MyBudget does not deal with ordinary security advisers; it deals with "expert" advisers.

How have these experts gauged that client passwords were not accessed? Ah, that is a mystery indeed. You'll have to take it as the gospel truth.

Sadly, the daily video from MyBudget founder Tammy Barton is missing from the latest update. Perhaps she has run out of motherhood statements to make.

One wonders if Barton and her staff take the time to read some of the Facebook comments made by customers.

Here's one from two days ago: "For anyone closing their account, don't bother calling about it as they won't help you until this is all fixed. I have no money in there and no income coming in so good luck getting any fees from me. Also they won't refund fees until they've 'discussed' it with you. Your fees are on hold, not waived for two weeks. Be careful guys, she's still gotta make her money somehow thru this mess!!"

And here's another, also from two days ago: "How come there hasn’t been anymore updates? I understand you guys are doing your best but this is a bit friggen ridiculous. Over a week not knowing about our money or being able to even get through the phone lines to sort out money. How much longer is the system going to be down? Because it definitely shouldn’t be taking this long."

MyBudget charges $1100 as an establishment fee when someone becomes a customer. One then pays anything from $40 upwards per week for the firm to manage their money and provide "caring money management, a structure and support to ensure you have enough money to pay your bills on time, have savings in the bank and live the debt-free, stress-free life you desire”.

Australia put in place breach disclosure rules in February last year with much fanfare. But they have no teeth; companies that are breached can maintain as big a veil of secrecy as they wish, and keep their clients in the dark with a daily dose of verbiage.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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