Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BOA Keeps The Change (For Themselves)

Two folks writing to us about the "Keep The Change" program BOA launched a massive ad campaign for earlier this year. Remember that - with the cute commercials about how you can save up for your kids' college tuition and whatnot? Now we know why they wanted everyone doing that so badly...

First, a letter from Jessica:

I signed up for keep the change. Great! For some reason now, my online account balance NEVER matches with my own personal records. I record every transaction I do each day and total the keep the change per day in a separate column. I even go online, and once my transaction has been posted I cross it off in my checkbook. Everything "looks" like it should. However, once everything balanced I see that BOA says I should have say $350.00, when in actuality I should have $472.00. It doesn't make any sense and I have no idea where this money is being taken out from. Who knows the total of what I've been ripped off. This has been happening since I set up my account. Any feedback on what's going on? If I can't figure it out soon I'm definitely closing my account.

Not sure if you got your answer already Jessica, but Donald has both a suggested answer and a proposed solution...

The Bank of American “Keep the Change” program is a SCAM - a FRAUD!! Does anyone want to join me in a class action suit? If you've been ripped off by "Keep the Change" scam, please email me. I've been royally ripped off by B of A. I have a law degree and know a thing or two about fine print. When I signed up for it, there was no limit (100%) matching, but after I "earned" almost $1200 of matching, they matched -0-. Until I complained (after the 1-year waiting period). B of A then reluctantly put $250 into my savings account to "match," but said that's ALL they would match.

Turns out B of A altered the plan (comparing the original brochure to later versions), and now limits reimbursement to $250 "per year" which is also ambiguous ($250 for everything matched in 1 year, or do they pay $250 each year until they fully match?). Please contact me if you have been ripped off in the Keep the Change Program. Thank you.

Thank you, Donald. I hope you've filed something by now. Don't know what to say. I'm just shocked and appalled that they would mismanage something like this. Wait, no, I'm not. At all. But I'm glad someone's standing up to these bastards.

I Want To See This Movie Now

You've probably found my site because you're pissed off. Finally, there's a full-length documentary that shares your rage (and mine):

BOA's Magic Disappearing Act Continues

Dan got to pay double credit card fees because of BOA...

Basically, I tried to do a balance transfer from my a new b of a credit card to pay off another cc. After numerous screw ups on their part starting in early Februrary I now have a balance w/ b of a but the other card was never paid! So in effect, I've doubled my debt because they appear to too incompetent to make the transfer. I can't get the assholes to fix the problem despite hours on the phone. It' almost gotten to the point where it's hard to tell what's been paid and where it went....

Sorry, Dan. I would definitely report this to consumer affairs or the better business bureau or any local consumer advocate. Failing that, a lawyer. Man, they sure know how to make money disappear, don't they? Good luck!

Anyone Wanna Sue?

Apparently, students are easy prey. This may sounds like a CitiBank ad, but it seems like BOA ran the gamut on Younghoon...

Here's 5 years of my history with BOA

When I opened account, they suggested making a credit card that they guaranteed that I would get one. Well. They accepted me with $50 annual fee b/c I am a student. I accepted the deal b/c I didn't wanna ruined my credit history. Well, a year later, they charged me another $50. It's annual fee with $500 maximum. Okay fine. I closed that credit card account.

Then I transferred school and moved to another state, and opened another account there. Again, guaranteed credit card suggested by a teller b/c I am attending prestigious school that BOA has affiliation. My application got rejected.

I made $350 as a beginning balance. They made mistake transaction and posted the deposit $100 less. It is still shown $250. I complained many times and BOA said they couldn't do anything b/c there is no evidence.

Refer a friend and get $25 each. I referred a friend. Then they said it will be posted on your account after 3 months. Neither of us has received $25.

Now I just deposited $7000 from my Citibank account to BOA using my Citi personal check. I checked that $7000 was pulled out from my Citi bank account and posted on BOA account. I started to do online bill pay. They charged me 60 dollars overdraft fees and said the check won't get cleared till next 11 business days. $7000 is gone from my Citi account, but not on BOA account. Where’s my money?

In contrast, I opened Citi account 5 years ago and I opened BOA in the same year b/c I just needed more ATM. 5 years later, from Citi bank I am having two credit cards and getting 3% APR $8000 financing. Every time I call Citi customer service, they say, "since you are such a dedicated customer to us, we will ..." Every time I called BOA, which I had to wait for at least 5 mins every time(now it got better but I don't appreciate), they always treat me with 'what's the matter with you stupid college student? It’s your fault' attitude. Change to Citi. F*** BOA

One more important thing, whenever I make deposit in Citi bank, the deposit is available right away no matter how much the amount is. In Bank of America, it takes two to eleven days for the same kind of transaction. I called their customer service. They said it takes that long b/c it's the federal regulation. Then, Citi bank is doing illegal transaction? I think we need to sue Bank of America in any way.

Thanks for sharing your story, Younghoon. If I could join ANY class-action lawsuit against them, I would in a heartbeat.

Overdraft Warning

I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure the details of what James is talking about here, but for all y'all who've been ripped off by it, I'm sure you know. Basically, don't deal with BOA, but whatever you choose, watch out how your overdraft situation works...

Bank of America is now the worst bank on the face of this planet. ... Find any bank that does not have a deal going on with with some credit card company. If they do, tell them to remove the overdraft protection from your debit card and MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOUR CARD IS SELF LIMITING! You will be forced to use your card at either ATM machines and/or any location that requires you to punch in your PIN number. However, Bank of America has changed their electronic debit banking system by allowing overdrafts even if you don't have a credit card logo on your debit card and you don't pay for any thing with personal checks.

This change [occurred] within the last few months of 2005 and is active now. Get out while you still can! I'm ashamed to admit I have been with B of A for some 30 years only to see a steady decline in customer service and a stick it to you mentality. ... Here are two better choices WASHINGTON MUTUAL & ALTURA CREDIT UNION BANK. I'm sure there are a host of others.

Thanks for the warning, James! (Even though it took me like a year to get the good word out.)

The Brick Wall Of BOA Jerk-Offs

The hallmark of a bully is that even when faced with mounds of contrary evidence and being completely called out, they still resort to strong-arm tactics and irrationality. Welcome to the BOA family...

This is a letter i have written to BOA:


The following is about a very unpleasant experience I have had with your company. I have seemed to hit a brick wall. I hope you can help.

My Bank of America nightmare began when my husband deposited a $3,000 check at the ATM. As soon as he deposited the check, the screen read something like "there MAY be a hold." So I waited a few days and when I checked our online account, the full amount was IN the "available balance." And so I began paying my bills and you know, doing silly things like oh..buying food for my family and paying a dentist bill.

Three entire days after I began paying my bills, BOA pulled the money from my account- placing a hold on it. I was immediately in the red.

I initially had ten overdraft fees. I called BOA and received an apology; and told that BOA would remove the hold immediately. The hold was not removed until almost a week later, resulting in three different sets of overdraft fees and three bounced checks. By the way, the check that was being held was from one of the biggest retailers inthe country! It was NOT a personal check.

I was charged a total of $55 for the returned checks. The supervisor I spoke with assured me that BOA would refund my fees and write an apology letter. Although, the apology letter would take a full ten business days to be mailed out.

I rec'd the apology letter, but not the check fees. Enter F.R.

F.R. is a BOA CSR out of Richmond, Va. She asked me to explain why I thought they owed me any fees. I explained from start to finish. And she informed me that, no, BOA would not refund these fees. I once again began to explain that I had already been given the okay by a supervisor along with an apology. She began arguing with me. "Let me just explain this to you again," I said.

And with that, a CLICK. She hung up on me.

Finally, a supervisor called me- a W.F. out of West Virginia. But instead of helping, he pushed me over the edge. He told me that he saw no evidence of any apology letter, and that if I even recieved one, that the apology letter was an error. And so I refuse to do anything else except to mail this letter. I am drained; I am outraged; and I am through with Bank of America.

The following is an excerpt from my conversation with Mr. F. Because I could not believe what I was hearing, I decided to (legally) record the rest of the conversation.
(I am in black, he is in blue.)
[our note: we don't have black/blue, so BOA is in italics]
“I was told that if you were going to “pend” the check, it would have been pending first and then it would have gone through, not that you could put it into my account and then many days later, take it back out and you’re telling me that this is normal business practice..that BOA does this?”
“Any financial institution can place a hold at any time after the deposit.”
“After showing me that the funds are available, you can take it back out..at any time without notifying me?”
“Yes ma’am we can.”
“I just want to get this right…because if you guys send me an apology letter apologizing to me, and now I have a supervisor- you- telling me that the apology for the error was an error, I just want to make sure that I get this all right…this is funny.”
“Well I’m sorry you think it’s hilarious,”
“Yeah, what was hilarious was getting three bounced check fees.”
“Then let me ask you another question: Why did you guys reimburse me those ten overdraft fees??”
“Someone felt that it might have been a bank error, but I see no evidence of bank error.”
“No body is on the same page at BOA. I want to know when I am going to get my money back.”
“You’re telling me that the apology letter was an error.”
“I actually see no evidence of you receiving an apology letter.”
“Do you want me to read it to you? I have it right here. Let me get this straight, you are telling me the apology error was a mistake …”
“You’re a supervisor and how are you helping this situation?”
“I’m giving you the correct information.”
“The last person told me they were giving me the correct information, so they told me something different than you told me. How do I know what is correct and what is incorrect? As the consumer, how do I figure out who is telling me the truth if every time I call I’m being told different things.”
“We are sending you a letter. You need to give us proof where you paid a third party those fees and we will reverse this only as a courtesy.”
“Why would you reimburse it if it wasn’t your mistake then?”
“We will only do that as a courtesy. You’re more than welcome to believe whatever you feel is necessary.”
“I’m believing what you guys have told me. What are you talking about?”
“You’re more than welcome to believe it.”
“Was there any further questions?”

“I want to know why you don’t see this apology letter in my file.”
“We don’t keep files like that.”
“Well that might be part of the problem here.”
“Was there any further questions?”
“Yeah, I want to know when I am going to get my money back.”
“When you receive the letter..”
“So now I have to wait for the letter.”
“How long is it going to take once you guys receive my documentation?”
“Within 10 business days.”
“Well how do I get in touch with your supervisor?”
“You don’t.”
And that pretty much ended the phone call that I received on October 15, 2006.
I have dubbed this experience, “The Bank of America Nightmare,” on my blog. Feel free to read for yourself at www.faithinflorida.blogspot.com . Please see my October 15th entry title whatelse? “Bank of America nightmare.” And please read all the comments I have received from this. I’d like to post your response and resolution to this situation. I think it is only fair. Also see my complaint filed at www.ripoffreport.com. At this point, I am not calling you anymore. I am not sending you anymore letters. I am not doing another single thing.
It is in your hands. Do not ask me to send documentation- as one rep. told me- proving that these fees have been charged to me. You need to do your own homework. I have given you the names and contact information for the three businesses that charged me. You call them and ask what they charge for bounced check fees. You have on file, copies of the checks that bounced (thanks!)
And please do not thank me for being a part of the BOA family again. This is not what family feels like; not to me. I want my $55 back. But please know that it’s not even about the money anymore; it is about how I have been mistreated.
There is definitely a glitch in your system. First I was told it would take 10 business days to receive the apology letter; then 5 business days to process the information; then 10 business days to receive another letter requesting documentation; and now another 10 business days to actually be reimbursed. But to top it off, I am being told that the apology letter for your error- which there is apparently no evidence of- was actually an error. Get it together, BOA.

Please let me know if this is indeed standard policy. If this is truly your policy, I'd like to make other consumers aware of this, and take my business elsewhere.

UPDATE on 10/16/06:
Today, I received a letter today telling me that we have been referred to TELECHECK for writing a bad check. Now if I try to write another check, my check can be refused based on BOA's mistake!!! I am calling Telecheck to get this cleared up right now. Hopefully they have better customer service than BOA. It's a good thing I never lost that apology from BOA. Right now, it's like gold; especially since they are telling me the letter was an error.

Do you understand the hell that I am going through because of your mistake?!

Absolutely I do Suzy. I wish I could post the names of the people you dealt with so we could all call them and ruin their days like they ruin ours, but I don't think I legally can. In any case, I hope you got things sorted out. Looks like they did to you with checks what they did with my credit. But the phone run-around and good-cop/bad-cop routine is the same. Seriously, Eff them. I'm getting mad just thinking about it.

BOA Piles Misery Upon Misery

Well, even if you're a near and dear customer at a BOA local branch for over a decade, they're not afraid to kick you when you're down. Don't believe me, ask Stacey who sent one of the worst stories we've heard yet:

Hi. I was a customer of BOA from the time I was 18 until 2 years ago when, at the age of 33, BOA screwed me. When I got married I turned my checking account into a joint account. 9 years later we separated. I closed the account because BOA wouldn't take him off of it. I had a long discussion with one of the girls in the bank about my safety and my wish for my ex to have no knowledge of me. All the employee's know me by my first name, know of a lot of my life, and seemed to understand my wish for privacy.

My ex knowingly bounced several checks on the closed account to pay his bills. Due to the fact that I now had a personal account open, BOA removed the money from the new account, with overdraft fees because I didn't have enough to cover the checks, which caused my car payment to bounce (the ex's comment was "huh, they won't repo the car for at least 2 months not my problem"). The result being that his bills got paid, I "owe" BOA several hundred dollars, and I lost my car. They didn't care. They pulled the checks up, proved they were written by him, for bills to his address not mine, and still said too bad, pay it off.

Well I have relocated across the country and I cannot open a bank account at ANY bank, because after 15 years of no problems ever, thanks to this issue I am listed as an "account abuser". So now as a single mom to two teenagers, my life is a cash only life.

Thanks for screwing me BOA!

PS- The ex has an account with BOA in good standing now - the final slap in the face to me.

A) Your ex sounds like a major douche. B) BOA is the douchiest. I can't believe that jive. What right do they have to reach across accounts like that? None really. But, they play by their own rules, I guess. Hope by now, Stacey, you've gotten a new account open somewhere. Thanks for sharing!

BOA's Computers Have Dementia

Ever try to change your address with BOA? Trust me, the stoned kids working down the street at the local video store are more reliable with this task than any given BOA customer service rep or branch employee. Don't believe me? Ask Ron:

It has taken me over a month and a half to change my address and phone number with the Bank of America. I have attempted this online, over the phone and by going through the B of A branch in my town. On June 1, 2006, our address was changed from 972 to 918 xxxxx Rd. I had our address and phone number updated face to face at the bank. We later received our checks with the wrong address – 918 xxxxx Avenue (instead of 918 xxxxx Road). Furthermore, the phone number that this branch had on file as of June 1st was a two-year old number, long since disconnected. We walked into our local B of A branch back in 2004 and also had this number changed face to face at the bank, once again with a personal banker. Yet in 2006 alone, I had to tell this B of A branch on two separate occasions to update my information to include my correct telephone number.

The branch manager told me to come into the branch on June 29, 2006 to have the checks changed, only to be told on that day by three of his tellers that I had to go do this over the phone. I insisted otherwise and the third teller finally gave in and helped me get my checks in proper format with the correct address and phone number. In my opinion, proper format should be:

Street address
City, State Zip
Phone number

B of A sent me a box of checks with a less desireable format:

Street address Phone number
City, State Zip

They placed the Street address and the Phone number on the same line without us requesting this change in format

On July 17, 2006, we received a B of A Visa credit card statement with the wrong address. I returned to the B of A branch and the manager told me that I had to use the phone banking service. I then found out that not only did the credit card division of B of A lack my current telephone number and address; the B of A branch had a totally different address (915 instead of 918). The manager pulled up my account, and the address was 915 xxxxx Rd. My address was never 915 xxxxx Rd. This branch has botched my address twice; having 915 instead of 918 and having Avenue instead of Road. I am very unhappy with the customer service I received over the phone. I called the customer service on July 17, 2006 to get my B of A Visa credit card information correct. He told me “this happens all the time.” I was appalled. This should not happen “all the time”; certainly not at the Bank of AMERICA. He told me that even though my three accounts are all online together, I still had to call the 1-800 number to make sure that the B of A got my personal information changes correct after changing it online. He also stated that there was no supervisor to help me and that I would have to wait up to two business days to be able to complain about this mess.

I have wasted so much of my personal time waiting for telephone option menus, standing in line at the bank, and getting empty apologies in order to do something that I believe so simple. I then had to return to the bank on July 19 to be reimbursed for the fees they charged me for the checks with the incorrect addresses. They said to me twice that I would not be charged, yet I got charged anyway. Needless to say, we would like to work with a bank that knows how to avoid such carelessness and lack of consideration. This is clearly not B of A.

Now that I am a seasoned complainer, I have learned one thing. Do not settle for empty apologies. This will give you a feeling of disatisfaction and the company will not learn from its mistake. It is a good idea when you do complain to ask for something for your trouble and time wasted. So, far all I have received is two boxes of messed up checks and one box of corrected checks without any fees. Hopefully, my letters sent to their corporate office (and I included every offender's name) will result in additional compensation.

Well if it makes you feel any better Ron, this is probably the best story we've gotten yet. And I just got off the phone to verify a closed credit account with them for literally the 8th or 9th time after they sent me an account update for a long-since closed account.

Really, they can't be this consistently dumb, right? I mean, it has to be on purpose for the fees, right?

Playing Stone Deaf Works For BOA

Victoria wrote me over a YEAR ago about this... sorry it's taken so long to share this story which has a component I hadn't seen before as well as the all-too-familiar practice of clearing withdrawals high-to-low and not in date order with deposits (once again, they assume the poor can't defend themselves):

Bank of America is illegally charging fees. I not so recently filed a claim for charges that should not have been on my account; after some time a credit was made to my account and once a form was mailed to me I promptly filled in and mailed it back in the envelope they provided. A customer rep had called me regarding the claim and also verified some information, at no time had she said the proper paperwork had not been received.

I received a second claim form quite some time after on the 28th which I filled in and faxed to the number provided. The next day I called the rep and inquired what I should do to insure they won't claim it hadn't been received and reverse my credit. July 3rd, a Monday before the holiday, the credit was reversed despite the 3 times I sent them the information and had spoken to several reps on the phone. The form they sent me claimed I was not in contact with them, even though I spoke with their reps whom called me, I also called them several times. I went into the branch and told them to fax the form as proof that there is NO way the can say it wasn't received. Of course in the branch they say they have no ability to reverse the charges or fees.

NOW is the messy part. Before the July 4th holiday I had an available balance of some several hundred dollars. I had made several transactions with my bank card before the 1st of July, including an ATM withdraw done at their branch. Despite the fact that these transactions were processed and already deducted from my account which was BEFORE July 1st and BEFORE the illegitimate reversal, they charged my account bank fees of 35.00 for each item all of these which had already been deducted from my account before the 3rd before the reversal. The reversal wasn't deducted from my account until the 3rd but they posted it as the 2nd" though I am well aware from watching my activity this charge was NOT there on the 2nd and even their form states the 3rd.

They purposely manipulate transactions and falsely reverse claims in order to gain more money in fees. Charging 35.00! On a 2.35 charge that had been done before the 1st. Pure evil and manipulative banking practices.

They are well aware that these transactions occurred BEFORE they attempted to debt my account (which shouldn't have happened either) but say transitions are done in order of amount NOT by date!!!

These "practices" are deliberate and manipulative ways of attempting to create fees. By reversed and altering the order of transactions and forcing amounts through before legitimate transactions they can charge unlimited fees.

Whew! Did you get all that? In response, yes, they are. They are deliberately manipulative. I hope everyone takes this away from this story. And then takes their money the hell away from BOA. Thanks, Victoria!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Great New Blog!

Just wanted to give y'all the heads up on a great new blog called "Bank Of America Is Defrauding You". The founder's only done a few posts, but they're extensively detailed on how BOA goes about ripping off the poorest among its members. I'm adding a permanent link to it, as well. Thanks for sharing, Eling! We're all adding to the network of people who don't like being ripped off.

Back In Business (And BOA Never Quit)

It's been forever since I updated... gonna try and make it more regular again, since SO MANY people have found this place lately, it seems. I'm gonna go through my backlog of e-mailed stories and also hit up that big news story about these scoundrels. There's also a great new site I'll post a link to in a few days...

First thing's first, though... Just to get us back in the mood, here's a couple of first-hand accounts from last year's customer-service push by that bank we all know and love:

I can't stand the way some people try to take advantage of folks who try to do no harm these days...

Yesterday the $&^% bank charged me the famous 34 dollar charge 5 times. They say its the limit. Who the hell has a limit to a robbery. Why not just take all my money and say that they have a fee for that too. I drooled when I saw the Wa-Mu commercial today (GO Washington Mutual - YAY!). I'm signing up." --Mel

Right now I have money in my account. Before my payroll check was direct deposited I had insufficent funds. Now I have a positive balance, but BOA will not allow me to write checks or make a withdrawal. I cannot pay my bills, buy food or get cash. I will try again tomorrow. I have no idea what to do." --Marsha

So, they're doing business as always. Sorry to hear it, y'all. Hope both of you ladies got your money back and got out of there months ago. Best of luck in a BOA-free life!

I'll be back with more soon!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

That Depends On The Meaning Of "Referral"...

Greg was nice enough to share 3 ways (numbers in bold are my additions) in which he's personally experienced one of BOA's favorite pastimes: Money-grubbing...

"1) Last September, I referred my roommate as part of the BofA referral program ... After all was said and done, I was owed approximately $55 for the referral, since he opened more than one account, and he was owed approximately $35.

Here we are nearly seven months later and neither of us have not received our referral fees. I initiated a dispute with BofA nearly two months ago and finally received a response yesterday. The letter stated the referral program form submitted lacked sufficient documentation to prove a referral was ever made. In other words, according to them I never made the referral...

2) At the same time, we both signed up for the Keep the Change promotion. The same branch associate explained that BofA would match 100% of the Keep the Change transfers for the first three months (up to $250) and then 1% thereafter.

What she failed to mention - and admittedly I failed to read in the fine print - is the 100% match would take place 90 days AFTER the first anniversary of signing up for the promotion. So we have to wait a year and three months before the match will be deposited into our accounts. Also in the fine print is we must be currently enrolled in the Keep the Change program in order to receive the matched funds. Tricky huh?

3) And while I'm ranting... I tried the Online Bill Pay feature several years ago. I didn't like the way BofA immediately took money out of my account even though the merchant had not received the check. This created a huge problem when my first online bill pay to Cingular was credited to the wrong Cingular account. Cingular was saying they never received the check but BofA was saying the check was cashed. What a nightmare.

The online bill pay is a huge money maker for BofA because the pull the money from your account and hold it until the actual check clears the payee's bank. This could be one or two days. When it's millions and millions of dollars, its a huge benefit to BofA. But do you think they pass this savings back to the customers? Heck no! They merely raise fees to make even MORE money!"

What do you think they do with all that money? Do they swim in it like Scrooge McDuck and then kinda laugh at everyone they profited from? That's kinda what I picture. Anyway, thanks for the stories. Hope you get some of your money back (and your friend's too) sometime soon. And if I were you, I wouldn't wait that year in whatever program that is. I'd get out now.

Common Courtesy Available With Surcharge

Thanks to W (no real no provided) for the following story of how some folks get lucky right from the get-go at BOA...

"My 84 year old mother-in-law recently relocated to Las Vegas, NV ... and wanted to open a account at a local bank. My wife mistakenly took her to the new BOA branch bank several blocks form our home. The Bank of America personal banker was very rude and even insulted them so badly, they went across the street to Wells Fargo and opened an account there.

To add insult to injury I have sent several complaints to BOA and frankly they do not give a damn! I have never even had a response from them at all. Wells Fargo has called several times, to find out if she is satisfied with their service.

Where has common courtesy gone? Obviously not to Bank of America."

She's lucky! Usually you have to wait months or even years for that kinda of frank honesty from BOA - you know, when their claws are in deep and they can take you for large amounts of cash. Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

If You Want Money, It's Gonna Cost You

Our friend Susan wrote to update us that, unlike so many situations, BOA made nice with her (likely, she stated, because she had enough money in the account to make it worth their while). That being said, she's still leaving them. Especially when she keeps hearing stories like this:

"I have a friend that signed up for an account with them after moving and receiving the $50 promo offer. He never received the $50 (which was supposed to have been automatically drafted into the account), and now BOA is saying that he owes them money because he bounced a check, thinking that the $50 would be credited to his account in whatever timeframe had been specified in the offer."

Thanks Susan. Basically they can't be trusted, no matter what the bait. It's like one of those deep-sea fish that lure others in with that little light on their head.

Crooks Suck At Fighting Crime

Thanks to Chris for sharing what happens when the ever-efficient authorities at BOA have to deal with something as serious as fraud (someone else's, not theirs)...

My story with Bank of America starts with me being out of the country on business for three and a half weeks, returning to find someone using my checking account. I called and filed the claims, they told me the money would be put back in my account in two business days. Well here I am seven days later with still not a dime in my account.

I called and talked to, I think, every department they have, along with every "supervisor". They kept telling me there is nothing they can do for another ten days, and I had to keep explaining to them that the money in my checking and savings is the only money I have. I was speaking very professionally to them until I had finally had enough of them lying to me, and I went off. The "supervisor" started yelling back at me, and then transferred me to some other "department" without a working phone number.

I absolutely hate calling them because, like you said, everyone there tells you something different, just to get you off the phone. ... Now they put some huge hold on my account so it's not like I can even go put money in and use my check card (I hate carrying cash). They don't seem to care what people think. I have spent 6 hours in one week on the phone with them, on my cell phone, and still I have gotten no where. Do you have any suggestions? I am right behind you on hating Bank of America, and I will do everything in my power to make sure my family and friends don't do business with them either.

My only suggestion is what is what I always say: get out ASAP. If this continues on, contact your local consumer advocate or better business bureau. In the meantime, really, open a new account at another bank and start getting ready to cut ties. Just make sure to document everything in the process.

Good luck Chris, sorry you've been caught up with the underbelly of society - on two levels, no doubt.

Monday, March 27, 2006

*"Higher Standards" Only Apply To Interest Rates

Oops, looks like BOA forgot to mention that their new slogan isn't quite what it's made out to be, as Amy recently found out...

"I have been on the phone more than 3 hours trying to get a straight answer out of more than 7 different representatives.

My situation involves a credit card. I was notified that my rate was going up significantly, and I called to find out why. I was told everything to something on my CBR caused the change to the prime rate went up...but over 10%?!?

I was transferred to people, having to re-verify myself at every stage. I was given phone numbers to call that were no longer in service. Reps in the departments who I was told would have the answer, flat out lied to me about what my rate was. I was asked why I kept calling if I had already talked to someone, when all that person did was transfer me to them!

Finally, I speak to a "supervisor" who was polite, but very condescending. She told me, very kindly, that my APR went up because I owed them too much money. I am below my credit limit, pay my bill (more than the minimum) on time every month, but because I actually used the credit they offered me, I am to be penalized!

That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Isn't using the credit what the banks want you to do. Talk about your bait and switch. "Here is $4000 to use as you wish for 12.99%. Oh, and by the way, if you decide to use it, we will double that rate as a punishment for being stupid enough to believe us!" I am currently waiting on a call back from HER supervisor, but I'm not holding my breath.

Bank of America has the worst customer service I have ever encountered. They have the worst ethics I have ever encountered. My bill will be paid off ASAP and I will NEVER do business with Bank of America or any of their affiliates, ever again."

Isn't it the worst feeling? Nothing's worse than being in debt to someone you despise. It's like knowing you owe the local Mafia Don $20. Good luck with it, Amy! At least you've got the right attitude.

Making The Switch

Want to get out of the icy grips of BOA? Susan was kind enough to offer the following links of online customer rankings to help you choose...

Internet banks
Regular banks
(not sure where BOA is here, but I suspect it's near the bottom)

But I can't say this enough: PLEASE document everything you do in closing your account(s) with BOA and make sure to get a letter in writing saying you owe nothing more to them and your account(s) is/are closed. I don't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. Thanks again to Susan!

Customer Service By Any Other Name...

Thanks VERY MUCH to Susan who sent the following story which was not only unique, but funny, well-written, and it came with links! It's a whole new way BOA refuses to care...

"After finding fraudulent charges on my checking account, my first instinct was to call customer service. After waiting for 30 minutes, the agent told me to call the number listed on the charge. No offer to investigate the charges, or why they had posted on my checking account, nothing.

So my question is, if the onus is on the customer to investigate, dispute, and resolve fraudulent charges, why does customer service even exist? BOA would save even more money, if they just fired the entire customer service department.

For all the other BS charges that are made to my BOA account for "service fees" I frankly expect more from a company that purports to have "Higher Standards." I've never disputed anything on my account before, and their response actually kind of shocked me - until I saw your blog!

Thanks, it makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone!"

No, thank you Susan. It's a special little club we're all in, and you added to it. In fact, I recently found a blog about a business I was about to order something from and for once learned about bad dealings BEFORE I got caught up in them. So, if we can all do that for even 1 person, this blog will have been worth it.

Decade-Old Customers Still Get Treated This Way

Christina recently shared a great story with us. It's lengthy but worthwhile. To save time, I've made some notes. Now, get this...

"On Jan 17th 2006, I got a check from my college, DeVry, for a little over $800. It was from excess financial aid and I get these a few times a year. ... I set up for some bills to go out the next day (online), thinking the money would be there on the day I put the money in the bank. I then .. walked into the bank [to deposit the check]. A couple main bank people there said "Hi, Christina, we haven't seen you in a while!"

[At this point, even though she is well known and regularly deposits $900+ checks at the bank over the last decade, the teller says she has to talk to the branch manager, "Jennifer", before they can accept her check.]

Jennifer came over, made a face at me.....HELD THE CHECK TO THE LIGHT like it was a bad check and asked me if I get these checks often. I told her that I get refund checks every once in a while and they can even look on the account and see. She then said she would deposit the money but I can't have access to it until Jan 25th AND even then, I can only have $774.31 of it. I said "WHAT! You've NEVER does this to me before! What happens to the other $100 of the $874.31? She said she would release that later but gave no date. I told her that I better have ALL the money there or we go to small claims court and let a judge decide. She said, "Look I will call your school's bank on the 20th and if the fund look like they will clear; I will release the money to you....all of it." I said OK.

[At this point, she calls the national line to complain about the treatment; they refuse to help.]

I then called my school on the 20th ... My school looked at THEIR bank's website and saw that BoA HAD received the money and it had cleared their end. They were so upset with my bank that they called my bank of three way. My bank told my school official that they had found that the money was set to clear but she was not releasing the money until the 25th. My school official then said, "Let me get this straight ... You're saying it's your discretion to take the hold off for this woman? And, even though OUR bank's website shows you have our money, you will not release the hold?" My bank said yes.

My bank then said they would be nice and maybe release the money on the 23rd instead. My school official then said to my bank that they would call back on Monday to make sure it was done. When my school official and I got off the phone with my bank; the official said this was ridiculous and that I should change banks. I then reminded my official that the bank manager that she just talked to had promised to release the funds on the 20th if the check had cleared. This official said she would NEVER bank there after what she just heard. I told her we were opening up another account at another bank and as soon as my husbands direct deposit starts going to the new bank; we are closing this one."

At the point of receiving Christina's letter, the matter still had not been resolved days later. How can a bank treat a long-standing customer like this? Guess it's common practice at BOA. Christina's e-mail ends with this: "Watch out with BoA! They are horrible people!"

I think we can all relate to that sentiment. Good luck, Christina!

BOA vs. Online Banking

You'd think in this day and age that companies would actively encourage as much online activity as possible. At least my current bank does - after all, it saves everyone time, money and effort. However, as Kim explains, at BOA they do things a little different...

"I bank online, one of the main reasons is because it is pretty much real time. You go out to eat, when you get home and check your bank account online - the transaction is already showing as pending (and deducted from your available balance). It's great, it completely eliminates the mundane task of reconciliation every month. At least it was great when it was Fleet. And before Fleet my branch was another bank and before that another bank. Through all of those banks over the 15 years that I have banked with that branch, I've never seen a bank do what BOA does.

With BOA those pending transactions suddenly disappear the next day and stay gone for 1-2 days. Then my some miracle they reappear! The reappear debited to your account on the day they first showed it pending, however. Now you tell me, what online bankers would think that they have to write down all of their pending transactions and keep it with them so they can know what their real balance is while those transactions are in limbo somewhere? I never would have thought I would have to - but apparently it is so!

Here's an even better example of their retroactive posting. I made an ATM deposit at 10:31pm on 1/17. According to the receipt the ATM printed out after my deposit I had enough $ in my account to cover a check that had not cleared yet. Now according to them at this point, at 10:31pm on 1/17, the check had not cleared yet. Amazingly enough, the next day it shows the check to have cleared on the 17th BEFORE the deposit. Want one even better? They made it the first transaction so that all the little electronic transactions that had happened that day overdrafted each and every time for $34.

BOA engineers your transactions to best benefit them. How is this even legal?? Hasn't anyone started a civil suit over this yet?"

I wish; I'd be the first to sign on. Any great lawyers out there wanna take this on?

In any case, thanks for the story Kim. One more example of them grubbing at every dime they can rip off, even when it discourage real advances in technology that can save them money. Dumb and greedy... no worse combo (except if you tack on "powerful").

Write The Head Honcho

Thanks very much to John for giving us the following QUITE USEFUL information:

Ken Lewis, CEO
Bank of America
100 Tyron street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28255


E-mail ken.d.lewis@bankofamerica.com

Do with that as you will...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ripping Off Charities

Thanks to Dale for posting the link to his BOA horror story.

Even BOA Employees Get The Shaft

John's got an inside perspective on how BOA treats those who work for them...

I have been a loyal and productive loan consultant for almost 9 years with Fleet and Bank of America. Recently my wife underwent cancer surgery and my production suffered as a result of responsibilities at home, as I discussed with the current management.

I attempted to get a family leave and discussed this with the Human Resource Department. According to them, I was told the family leave was based upon 60% of the minuscule monthly draw we get. The 60% of the $1,000 less taxes would not be enough to cover my expenses.

It is unfortunate the Bank of America management finds it necessary to terminate me because of my wife's condition.

I hope no one at the bank has to go through this kind of despicable action.

Me too, John. I hope things get better for your family. Let this be a lesson to everyone out there - if they treat their own this way, how do you think they're gonna treat you?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Old People Aren't As Easy To Steal From Anymore

You know, this is an old story, but I just discovered it today. Consider it a Christmas present: proof that there is some justice in this world and sometimes BOA does lose out!

BOA Tricks: "The Run-Around"

Thanks to Christine for sharing her story of getting the old run-around from our favorite bank. I know it's a longer read, but it gets so absurd as it goes on, it starts getting funny (not to mock the situation - you'll get to laugh about it someday, Christine!).

How many people does it take to give you no definitive answer at BOA? I've underlined every name so you can keep score...

On Nov 18 I called BofA to ask about my credit card billing amount. I spoke with customer service Anthony, he said I needed to speak with someone else, he transferred me to Jennesa. She looked at my account, she said, "You were on a payment plan your interest rate went from 8% to 23%, but now it's down to 7%, I will need to transfer you to Shajada in collections." Shajada said the same thing, she said she couldn't understand why the account went from 8% to 23% and back down, she was transferring me to collection. The collection person told me she couldn't speak with me at all regarding my account, because it was in my ex-husband's name.

I stated I am responsible for the account, I make all payments, he (ex-husband) has called to say BofA can discuss the account with me. She then transferred me to her supervisor who said that the phone call message only lasts 24 hours so he would have to write a letter to them. My ex husband quickly tried to fax it over, but he was unable due to having been given the wrong number.

Monday Nov 21, I called first thing in the morning. I spoke with a Marie N, after discussing my situation she transferred me to David in Collections, who said I was to send it to his fax. He gave me a different fax number, which I repeated to make sure there were no mistakes. I gave it my ex husband; guess what: wrong number!

Tuesday Nov. 22 I spoke with Tanya and let her know my situation. She said that my account showed that my interest rate went up then back down to 7%, but she would have to transfer me for more info. She transferred me to Karl. Karl said anyone could have talked to me about the account. He said because I had been on a payment plan paying on time monthly, but it ended so my interest rate went up and so did my payment. I mention that everyone had said it had gone back down to 7% but he said that was a mistake. I asked to speak to someone higher because I was not pleased with all the run around I received. He said he was transferring me to please hold. I held 8 minutes then I finally hung up.

I called back I asked to speak with a supervisor, I spoke with Eve M., she transferred me to Jazel who I had to discuss my situation again to transfer me to collections supervisor Jason L. I spoke with Jason who about the run-around and about the account. I tried to explain my situation and why couldn't my payment plan continue or continue the same payment since they were on time every month. BofA doubling my payment was something very difficult for me to pay. I asked why was someone able to work out a payment plan before, he said it was a mistake that person could have lost their job for doing this for me due to the account wasn't in my name. My ex would have to call and make other arrangement. I was very frustrated by this time I asked to speak to someone higher. He said they will just tell you the same thing, I told him I wanted to voice my complaint, and since everyone says something different I wanted to hear it from someone higher.

He put me on hold, I held, and someone came on the phone who said he was "Mr. Smith" and that he needed my account number. I asked for his name, but he said due to security, it was "Mr. Smith". He asked for my account number again, I asked how is it that everyone gave me their name but he can't. He said he would give me his work hours, and his phone number. He said can he have my account number, I said I wanted his work hours and his phone number. He said that unless I gave him my account number, he couldn't help me. I said I wanted more info on him, and he said because I wouldn't give him my number he Hung Up on me!

I spoke with my ex-husband he is trying to transfer the account to a new bank. I am very disappointed in the unprofessionalism of BofA."

Unless I miscounted, that's twelve. Twelve different employees and no answer! I like the "Here, go ahead and fax it into limbo" approach, but I think the best part was "Mr. Smith". Did he tell you about The Matrix? That's about the worst customer service I've heard of. If that doesn't say, "Willing to lie, cheat, scam, and steal", I don't know what does. Good luck, Christine! Thanks for sharing!

Swindling From Disability Checks: A BOA Tradition

Thanks to Glenda, who despite her years of banking with BOA was also a recent victim of the check holding/overdraft scheme BOA's got going...

"I have been banking with Bank Of America for 10 years. The first time I experienced them repeatedly overdrafting my account was in 1998. I was working, so I had automatic deposit. They would hold checks and then put them through when my account was low. Now they are starting to do that again. I have automatic deposit for my disability check. They said that I have overdrafted 13 times in the last year, which is incorrect.

I have been overdrafting lately because they hold [checks] then put them through when I have a small amount of money in it. I pay out at least 50 to 100 dollars a month. I did not notice what they were doing until recently when I made a purchase over the weekend. They claim they took it out on Tuesday morning at 6 AM when I called the automated machine (and also looked on the Internet - my account was fine). As soon as I put my money in there, they claimed that I was overdrafted by $70.00.

I do not write checks; I only use my debit card. I was under the impression that when you use the debit card, the money automatically comes out (when you tell the merchant it's a debit). They are misleading people with their debit cards. When you try to explain or ask them to explain they are hostile and act like you are beneath them. It is very frustrating trying to talk to them. They also reply that they have no one for you to talk to except supervisors over customer service who are very rude and don't really care about the reputation of Bank Of America.

This is very disturbing to me. They are misleading people about their debit cards. I know I am not the only person this is happening to..."

Glenda, I'm absolutely certain you're not the only person this happens to, because we've heard about this sort of thing. You know, there's a special level of hell reserved for people who steal from disability checks.

I wish I knew someone who could help with all these problems, but I don't. The best advice I can give anyone is three-fold:

1) Don't ever try to solve a problem on the phone, if you can help it. Go talk to someone in your local branch face to face. See the manager, if you have to.

2) Send our site and every site you see in our links your complaints. Make it loud. Writing to consumer affairs or Clark Howard (or your local consumer advocate) helps at least get the message out.

3) DON'T bank with Bank of America. Use a credit union if you can or some small local bank. You may lose a few bucks to ATM withdrawals here and there and you'll have to carry more cash, but you won't be losing it to stuff like this. Those places value your business more.
(Please note: if you close your account with BOA, make sure to document everything! I don't want anyone to go through what I went through.)

Good luck, Glenda! God bless.