Bank of America apparently dislikes customers

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This isn’t directly related to startups, but since it is the loudest megaphone I have – DO NOT, under any circumstances, bank with Bank of America!
Well, I guess it’s a little bit related, because it will be a cold day in hell before I use any of BoA’s small business services.
I signed up with BoA freshmen year of college and have never switched since they were generally just barely good enough and I didn’t want to go through the hassle of switching.
I tolerated their terribly designed online banking. And I handled the fact that they didn’t have their shit together so I had to close my Missouri account and open up a brand new account in Seattle, WA when I moved (Washington in on a different system due to a merger. A merger that happened years ago and yet, they still have not integrated the systems as I write this).
But today was the last straw. I have a BoA checking account and a BoA credit card. Last month, I tried to pay of my credit card with my checking account. You know what? I messed up. I thought there was slightly more money in my checking account, and I overdrafted it.
Like, I said, my fault. No excuses. And I was willing to pay a fee for that. I looked at the credit card fee – $39 fee. Ouch. I looked at my checking account – $20 fee. Ouch again.
But the real kicker was the additional $35 fee on my checking account for the same charge. OK, enough is enough.
I called up BoA checking, asking why there was a second charge (now that I think about it, I’m also pretty confused as to why the fees were different, but whatever). They said I tried to post it twice. Well, I didn’t, and my online account log for the credit card shows that.
So I figured the credit card division had posted the charge twice. So I asked to be transferred to them. Nope – they claimed they posted it once.
So I got transferred back to the checking division. I explained that the credit card division (of their own company!) states there was no second transaction.
They offer to take off the $20 instead of the $35, effectively charging me $15 for their error. And of course, this is a courtesy to me, but for the record, they won’t remove charges in the future unless it’s a bank error.
I do my best to calmly explain that, according to their credit card division – it is a bank error. No dice. I ask talk to a supervisor, who explains that it’s not their fault, and since I’m a long-time and loyal customer, she’ll take away the $35 charge … but that’s my one courtesy charge removal for the next year, because, after all, it’s my fault according to them.
You know what? That’s fine, because I won’t be banking with BoA by next week.
You know what’s really amazing? The entire time I talked to two different divisions and nicely explained to them how I was getting screwed, each division claimed their innocence, blamed me – and never ONCE did I hear anyone offer to sort it out with anyone else in the company. I’m alerting them of their error, and no one had any interest in determining the cause of the error – which might just save their customers frustration in the future.
Well, Bank of America, I know one small customer like me means nothing to you, but I hope that the money you made today is worth losing a customer for life. It would have been so simple to turn this situation around and make me sing your praises, but instead, I’m going to tell everyone I know about how you’d rather resort to finger pointing than solve a customer’s problem.
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Update: After emailing BoA’s customer service several times (and waiting days for them to reply), I finally got an answer to my question.
It turns out that this was, technically my mistake. Let me explain: buried in my cardmember agreement, it says (according to the customer service rep, still trying to track down a copy so I can check)
“if a payment is returned one due to Insufficient Funds, we will automatically send it for a second attempt to be cashed. If the payment is returned unpaid a second time, we will then remove the credit from the credit card account.”
As I said earlier – my fault. I signed the agreement, and didn’t know the details of the policy closely enough. That said, I think I have still learned a lot about BoA, and none of it is flattering.
Lesson 1: BoA’s customer service still sucks. It took me over ten days to get someone who could actually clear up this issue, and I had to talk to or email over five different people. Everyone before the last email was unwilling to track the issue down.
Lesson 2: BoA’s customer service is ignorant of their own policies. The credit card representative insisted multiple times that they would not have, under any circumstance, tried to post the payment twice. As it turns out, that’s exactly what they did.
Lesson 3: BoA is intent on screwing customers out of money. I’ll say it again – I overdrafted my account and I signed the policy. It’s my fault. That said, to have a policy that charges your customers $90 for one mistake is not a very customer friendly policy, especially when the overdraft itself could not have caused more than a few dollars of cost to BoA, at max. I would have paid $20, $30, even $40 without complaint. But $90 is ridiculous.
I’m certainly happy in my decision to leave BoA for good.
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Update 2: My brother called me recently asking me whether he should join BoA or another bank. I don’t remember what the other bank is, but the string of profanities I unleashed into the phone convinced him to stay away from BoA.

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3 Responses to “Bank of America apparently dislikes customers”

  1. Michael Bauske Says:

    I fucking hate B of A. I made three purchases, two of them less than three dollars and one of them was five dollars. They charged me $35 per transaction. I ended up at -$126 for going over by less than $11. THen I got an overdraft fee the next paycheck period because I didn’t have enough money left in my account a day before I was paid and accidentally went over twenty dollars. All in all B of A has made $140 off of me in the last three weeks and refuses to take off any of the overdraft fees.

  2. Brian Says:

    I banked with BofA through much of high school and all of college, and well beyond (from the time when they were NationsBank, and before).
    I used them for a DBA account for a small side business I ran, and typically had a few thousand dollars in the account at any one time. I suffered through all the tribulations Ben mentions, plus the indignity afforded people who like to use ATMs (read as: rapacious non-BofA ATM fees), and so on. But the final straw involved a single piece of paper, and one single dollar.
    I walked into the bank one day to deposit about $1500 in checks. Nothing major, but a sizeable deposit nonetheless. I happened to forget my checkbook, so I grabbed a counter slip and filled it out, went to the teller and made my deposit. Then I got receipt back.
    It was my deposit, less $1.
    “Excuse me…you’ve deducted a dollar from my deposit. Why?”
    “Because, sir, there is a $1 charge for using a counter slip.”
    “What?”
    “We charge a dollar for using our slips.”
    “Wait, let me understand this. I came here to deposit a not-insignificant (to me, anyway) sum of money, and because I don’t have my own paperwork, you’re charging me a dollar for the privilege of using a slip that costs you maybe 1/1000th of a penny?”
    “Yes, sir.”
    “Ah. I see. In that case, I have an additional transaction. May I have three withdrawal slips, please?”
    I cleaned out and closed my personal and business checking accounts and my personal savings account, took the cashier’s checks across the street to the credit union I’d been considering joining, and never looked back (that was about a dozen years ago, and I’ve never had cause to regret that move).
    BofA is a corporate hellhole who will never see another penny of my money, if I can help it (not counting, of course, the huge chunk of taxpayer cash they just swallowed to help bail out their hosed subprime mortgage unit).

  3. erika Says:

    the thing that gets me is that people don’t know how to balance their checkbooks and that makes a tellers job hard! It doesn’t matter what bank it is. you chose bank of america for a reason! liking it or not whatever, but learn how to balance your checkbook! and read the info anyone gives you.. your an adult take on your responsibilities! don’t find someone else to blame!!! all banks make mistakes i know but it’s not always the banks fault!!!

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