Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bank of America Screwed Us

Today, I was checking our Bank of America account online. I do this about once a week to monitor the bills and our balance. When I first opened the account, it hit me that there was a dramatic reduction in the balance. Though I had made some large payments, I knew it was not that significant. As I looked at the list of items, there was a debit of $2,500.00 for a returned check that was not paid by a company I had never heard of before. This happened on February 6th. After wracking my brain and going over all of the credits, I knew this was not ours, but could not figure out how it happened. First of all, we had not deposited any checks since October. In order to deposit a check, I have to send it to our friend Earl who takes it to the bank. All of our credits in the last three months were automatic deposits from Ron’s SS or pension, with nothing else. I called B of A on their collect line. I have to call a 10 digit number and wait for an AT&T operator after waiting for their phone tree to comprehend that I am not about to put in a major credit card to make the call. They do not open until 7:00 am CA time. That is 9 hours earlier than here. I had to sit and dwell for that amount of time. When the time was right, I called again. Ten more digits to punch in wait for AT&T to go through their thing, and the number was busy. Ten minutes later, I try again and the line is busy again. This irks me that the message you are greeted with is “We appreciate your business.” They have one hell of a way of showing it. I spoke with a sympathetic woman who agreed this was strange. As she was looking at my account, I had it online and had before me a six month list of credits only. It was obvious that there was nothing associated with the check. She looked at this also and said she needed to get her supervisor to look it over also. She asked if she could put me on hold and since they are paying for the call, it did not matter to me. When she returned, she apologized for the wait and said it would be a few more minutes. I assured her that was fine. However, when she returned again, I could hear her perfectly, but she could not hear me at all. She put me on hold again and then tried getting back to me. The same thing. I could hear her clearly, but she could not hear me at all. Then there was that dreaded CLICK. Ten more phone keys later, another surly AT&T operator, I tried tracking down Debbie, the customer service rep that was helping me. Not only did I feel her sympathy for the problem at hand, but I felt I needed to offer an explanation for her not hearing me when she was desperately reaching out to me. Of course, finding the person you left off with is like finding an engraved rock on the moon. So, I get this young man instead who had no interest in finding Debbie, but thought it was his mission to assist me or save his job, one or the other. When I explained the situation, he said he would check the account. He wanted to put me on hold and I explained the dangers in doing this. He said he understood, but then the music started. I was on hold. When he returned, I was relieved for a moment that we were able to hear each other, but only for a moment. He told me that B of A had mistakenly put the $2,500.oo into our account and had to take it out again. My response was “Oh, really, then show me where this money was credited to the account in the first place. If you look at the credits for the last six months, there are no deposits for checks other than one in October in the amount of $2,000.00 and since you have photocopies of checks, you will see that the issuing party on that check was Kellner and nothing close to the whatever Enterprises that they are claiming was wrongly credited. He gave a deep sigh, intimating that he was not going to be let off of the hook and there went the tidy little profit for the bank and probably his bonus check too. Although he said he could identify with my frustration, he was not doing much to soothe my confidence that there would be some resolution to this issue. After pointing out that I was not going to roll over and play dead while they screwed us out of $2,500.00, he said he would have to file a report to have it investigated further. He would have to put me on hold yet again. Again I reminded him of the last person and asked if I could find him again if we had problems. As he was assuring me there would not be a problem, the music started once more. Ten minutes later, thankfully they are paying for the call; he returns to tell me he filled out the form to have this investigated. I asked how long our money was going to be tied up while this went on. He said they would have it done in one business day, but since this was Friday, it would be by Monday. They would call me. I tried explaining that A. I live in Hungary and am calling from there, B. There is a 9 hour time difference, and C. I would like to know how to contact them if I should miss the call. It was like speaking to air. His response was “Don’t worry about it, they will call you on Monday.” I said, “No, you don’t understand. We are 9 hours later than you in CA. They may call and I may not be home or it could be after we have gone to bed. I would like a way of tracing this complaint. Well there is no number assigned to this, there is no code, there is nothing. He said to just tell them a report was initiated and they will be able to follow up on it. Does this give me confidence? NO!! Besides all of this, Bank of America has the audacity to charge us $5.00 for every ATM withdrawal and a currency conversion fee each time we use our card. Normally, I would not object to this, but we have been customers since 1993 and had our mortgage, two personal checking account, two savings accounts, and my business account with them when we were still in CA. In addition, we do have a nest egg currently in a savings account. For all of this you would think that out of good will and “appreciation for our business, they would waive some of these fees. Now I just read that they took over another major bank. Soon they will be the only show in town and then it is back to keeping the money under the mattress in order to keep from getting shaken down for fees on top of fees. At least if we were robbed, our insurance would cover it. When the bank robs of us $2,500.00 we have to battle to get it back.

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