Bank of America’s Tactics: One Customer Revolts

 

Word to the wise, regarding bank practices: “Watch your statements…carefully!!!”

We keep being on the losing end as Bank of America customers, and as the main character, news anchor Howard Beale, said in that 1975 movie, “Network”:  “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

For instance, my husband and I suffered a major problem involving Bank of America this past weekend, on the heels of a minor one, a month ago.

Three weeks ago, I accessed my checking account that’s tied to my debit card and noted:  $25.00 charge for “monthly maintenance fee.” When I searched past bank statements (I sheepishly admit to not doing this before,) I discovered I’d been charged that monthly fee for the past 6 months.  They’d taken $150, in all…

I was annoyed I hadn’t discovered this earlier.

Let me add:  I have three accounts with Bank of America (henceforth to be known as BA)…a stock fund, held under the auspices of Merrill Lynch, a private account in my name only (doesn’t Suzy Orman always recommend such for married people?) and a joint account held with my husband.

The combined total of my three accounts is well over any minimal one must hold in accounts before fees kick in. None of them gets serious interest payments; we all know real interest-earning accounts ceased years ago.

The bank manager who spent considerable time with us removed all fees and apologized, stating the bank shouldn’t have applied fees, since I held two other, more-than-healthy accounts. I was so impressed with her that I wrote her up to BA’s corporate offices.

And because of her–I forgave BA.

But this past Friday, an event shook us to the core:  During the week, my husband deposited a $3500 check into his private account, but for some strange reason, it wasn’t logged as “deposit.” Worse yet, it appeared as a “debit,” which brought his account into the minus column.

Adding insult to injury, the bank then flagged all pay-out’s following that in red, and attached a $35.00 fee to each.

I heard him pounding at his computer, apoplectic with rage. Then, because he was agitated, he failed to put in the right log-in and password a few times and the bank locked up his account. Now, he couldn’t transfer funds from his singular account to our joint account that was dangerously low, a situation that if left unchecked, would invite another round of penalties…

So, two scary things happened:  (1.) A credit became a debit (tho’ he’d interacted with a teller, at the time and had a paper receipt to prove,) and that deposit was accompanied by a check from his brokerage house (he’d directed them to sell stock that he owned,) and (2.) That bank mistake kicked on a punishing round of penalty fees.

More worrisome, we can’t understand how this happened. The bank should’ve read a surplus of cash that day, in the amount of $3500, instead of a debit amount for $3500…a differential of $7000!!!

Bells and whistles should have gone off.  But apparently, none did.

When my husband sought to straighten out the mess, he was on the phone with a clerk at BA headquarters, for two hours, a time during which he used his cell phone minutes.

Here’s our question to Bank of America:  You slam customers with $35.00 per transaction, if one overdraws his account….How do you suggest we be made whole, following your serious mishandling?

A simple “We’re sorry,” just won’t do.

We know something else:  We’ve got 6 accounts with BA and we’re prepared to pull all of them, if you don’t offer a solution we’re OK with….

The clock’s ticking.

P.S.  Anyone else out there have a bank you can recommend? Remember–We need one that can accommodate our living in two states…so our bank needs to be national or international.

Maybe, too, you’ve got your own “Bad Bank Story”…Do tell….In meantime, I’ve just discovered that Wells Fargo has been recommended by none other than Berkshire Hathaway seer, Warren Buffett and that’s plenty good enough for me…We’ll be going there, shortly, after we pull all 6 accounts out of BA, to deposit them into Wells Fargo.

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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