A quarter for your troubles,

published at 5:05am on 05/17/07

Customer service is difficult. I understand this. What I don’t understand is how some companies can seemingly go out of their way to make things difficult on their customers.

Let’s take my recent experiences with Bank of America, which I have now decided is the worst bank in the country. It all started when I wanted to start getting my checks Direct Deposited into my Citibank savings account, which I have been using since I was a kid and which has been the recipient of many Direct Deposits in the past. We were told by our Bank of America representative that we could not do a transfer from our BoA business checking account into the Citibank account. Well, inconvenient, to be sure, but easily solved by opening up a Bank of America account at the branch across the street from me. With a referral, I even got $25 for opening an account with them, so I was pretty happy.

So the first thing that happens is that I have a paycheck lying around that I would like to deposit into this account. This is a check drawn on a New York Bank of America account being deposited into the same. I am assured that the check will clear in two days. Two days into the waiting process, I am told that because this is a new account, the check will take longer to clear. Maybe three or four days. Also fine. Inconvenient, but fine. A week into the process, I inquire again as to the availability of my funds and am told that because it’s a new account, the funds won’t be clearing quickly until they “determine my spending habits,” or something of the sort. Not only that, but I am reminded that if I really need the funds quickly, I should cash the check and the turn around and deposit the cash which will be available immediately. Say what?

All of this is moot once I get my Direct Deposit set up though, right? In reality, not. Because what we discover is that our business checking account does not have a feature that lets us do those kinds of transfers. My sister’s checking account, which she uses to transfer money to her roommate to pay her rent and bills, has this feature. But our business account? No dice.

All of this is made even more frustrating by the interplay between Bank of America the centralized corporate entity and Bank of America my friendly local neighborhood branch. Take, for example, the situation where I needed to set up an electronic transfer between my checking account and another bank account (one of those nifty, high interest rate online thingers). I went into my local branch and had a very nice conversation with the representative who told me that I would have to call the bank’s toll free number to get the paperwork that I needed faxed to me before I could set up the transfers. Well, I asked, could I just do it in the branch? After all, I was standing right there. Well, he explained, the branch doesn’t really do that kind of thing normally, but if I really needed the documents quickly, then they could mostly likely accommodate me. So I called the toll free number and was told that the document that I wanted (to set up this transfer, because I didn’t have any checks on my checking account – another bit of absurdity) was going to cost me fifteen dollars. So back I went to visit my friendly neighborhood branch to try to explain in no uncertain terms that I was not going to spend the money just to get a document faxed to me, whereupon I was told that, in fact, the original representative was mistaken, that I did not need this fancy document faxed to me, that they could do it all at the branch and it wasn’t going to cost me a dime.

Total time spent dealing with their misinformation? Three days.

Oh, and finally, finally, to top it all off, I went in to get a roll of quarters the other day and it was clear that it was just a roll that someone had rolled himself and traded in for a ten dollar bill and this person did what we all do when we roll coins to the bank, we leave out a quarter or two because nobody will really notice. Oh, but I noticed. Believe you me I noticed. And I went right back to the bank and told them that I wanted my twenty-five cents that I had coming to me. They looked at me a little funny, asked if they heard me right, that I really wanted to get a quarter back from them that I thought I was due? Oh, I sure did.

And they gave it to me. Wonder of wonders, shocker of shocks, they gave me my quarter.

Now I may just be unlucky. Or I may just be a whiner, but as I walked out of that branch that morning whistling my happy little twenty-five cent tune I thought to myself “You know what? I never want to deal with these fucks ever again.”

Of course I still have my account. Bastards have more ATMs than anyone else after all.

Filed under: Observations

At 10:31 pm on 07.31.07, stephan said,

i really, really want to stop doing business with them too. unfortunately, we have our mortage with them in addition to checking and savings. the savings is being closed and will be replaced with a nice, high interest money market account for our emergency fund. the rate is nice on the mortage, so refinancing with someone else isn’t really option. i guess it’s incentive to get that mortgage knocked out sooner rather than later. 🙂

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