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



Do with that as you will...