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.