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!