Round 7: Verizon vs Bank Of America

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Verizon, like other cellphone carriers, doesn’t mind lying to their customers to prevent them from leaving contract without early termination fee. For a while, they also didn’t know the difference between .002 cents and .002 dollars, and charged a customer for their lack of math skills.

Consumers complain about Bank of America’s low-level of customer service at branch locations. A few months back they jailed a customer for himself being a victim of a craigslist scam, sparking internet outrage. Then again, no one has ever asked for help getting out of their Bank of America contract.

BANK OF AMERICA posts
VERIZON posts

Which of these two raises your hackles higher? — BEN POPKEN

Previously: AT&T/Cingluar/SBC vs Clear Channel, Halliburton vs News Corp, Exxon vs Time Warner Cable, Comcast vs Sony, Best Buy vs Uhaul, RIAA vs United Airlines.

Comments

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  1. Pelagius says:

    My vote is for Verizon’s apparent monopoly over DSL in my neighborhood. Bastids.

  2. B says:

    This is a tough call, but I chose Bank of America because they suck worse compared to other banks than Verizon sucks compared to other cell phone carriers.

  3. ediebeale says:

    I’ve had both Verizon and BoA…HATED Verizon, have never had a problem with BoA (which doesn’t mean they don’t suck, it just means the don’t suck for me.) Verizon, on the other hand, harassed my parents for four years for payment on a cell contract they never actually opened.

  4. megnificent says:

    Damn, this is a tough one. I have a Verizon contract that’s up in May (yay month-to-month!), and I know them to be pure evil, but they haven’t yet screwed me.

    On the other hand, I had a restaurant owner add a $750 tip onto my B of A debit card a couple of years ago, and it took 2 months to get my money back. They gave me a temporary credit right away, then took it back! This despite the fact they had a record of the initial “ding” for the cost of the meal and the guy eventually admitted he was wrong. The branch manager couldn’t do anything except let me use her phone to speak with the fraud department. The second I had my money back I closed the account.

    I’m going to have to flip a coin.

  5. megnificent says:

    Sorry if this double posts.

    Damn, this is a tough one. I know Verizon is pure evil, but they’ve never screwed me (yet.) My contract is up in May, and I’m counting the days until I can go month-to-month.

    On the other hand, I had an account with B of A a couple of years ago. A restaurant owner fraudulently added a $750 tip onto a $30 meal that I paid for with my B of A debit card. That was everything I had in my account. They issued me a temporary credit, then took it back a day later when the guy claimed it was the correct charge! This despite the fact that they had a record of the initial “ping” for the cost of the meal. It took an identity theft advocate, a story on the 6:00 news, and 2 months to get my money back. 24 hours to get your money back, my ass. The branch manager was completely useless.

    The moral of the story is, I’m voting for Bank of America. Oh, and keep your receipts.

  6. weave says:

    Verizon intentionally makes manufacturers cripple their phones to plug revenue leaks. I buy the device, I should be able to do what I want with it that it is capable of, like send a pic from mine to a friend’s phone nearby over bluetooth instead of being forced to send it over the verizon network and be charged or dinged for it.

  7. megnificent says:

    Verizon is pure evil, but I’m almost out of a 2-year contract and they haven’t screwed me (yet.)

    Bank of America, on the other hand, took 2 months to return $750 that was fraudulently charged to my debit card. A restaurant owner decided to make himself a short-term loan by adding a $750 tip to my $30 meal. B of A issued a temporary credit, which they reversed after 1 day, and the branch manager was completely useless. She sat in her office while I used her phone to talk to the fraud department. It took an identity theft victim’s advocate and a story on the 6:00 news to get my money back. The second it was credited I closed the account.

    Vote for Bank of America! And keep your receipts.

  8. CaptainRoin says:

    @weave: exactly! ok V gets my vote.

    I have boa as well, but haven’t had a reason to complain yet.

  9. QTex says:

    I must say that I’m surprised Bank of America even made this round. I was a BA teller in college and a manger with them for a few years after, and left the company about 3 years ago. My regional management sucked the big one, but that was my problem and it didn’t really trickle down to the customers.

    At least in my market, we took customer service VERY seriously. Our bonuses were tied to customer service scores, and we really tried to go the extra mile. But, I guess it’s a big national bank and I only knew what was happening at the 40-odd locations in my region.

    I know service fees and OD fees suck, but all banks charge them in some form. I no longer have any ties to the company, but I wouldn’t bank anywhere else. I’ve never personally had any problem with my own accounts, and despite their downtime, BA’s website and bill pay stuff seems to be cutting edge.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there must have been enough people wronged by Bank of America to warrant their inclusion on this list, and it has been several years since I worked for them, but I just never would have thought the hatred was so widespread. And I’m sure there’s still plenty of people left in the company who would be surprised as well.

    I guess I’ll have to abstain from this vote, since I’ve never had any contact with Verizon.

  10. FLConsumer says:

    Tough call… very tough call. I’ve never dealt with BoA, thus I voted for Verizon. Thankfully I’ve never had Verizon Wireless service & their anti-consumer, pro-revenue moves, including crippling their phones AND throwing that shiatty Verizon user interface on everything.

    I have Verizon for landline and DSL service. As long as the service works, I’m happy with them, but I absolutely HATE working with them, mainly because they make it terribly difficult to work with them. I’ve sometimes been on hold for 90 minutes with them, only to have their phone system disconnect. Other times I’ve tried to call them only to get the $@#$@# voice robot phone tree that doesn’t understand a lick of English. Finally it’ll say, “Let me transfer you to someone who can help you.” and disconnects. Does anyone actually like the voice robot thingies? I’d much rather have the Press 1, Press 2 phone trees. Even better, I’d rather have a real, live person answer the phone like Wachovia’s Wealth Management division has.

  11. muddgirl says:

    Bank of America is so monolithic, it’s hard to judge it as either really bad or really good – each good thing it does cancels out with each bad thing it does, to create a morass of mediocrity. I’ve never used Verizon, but my friend does and almost everything about his cell phone service sucks.

  12. kevjohn says:

    When in doubt, always vote on the phone company for evilness.

  13. jwismar says:

    If Verizon would stop crippling their phones, I might switch to them — they have some phones that would be darned cool if the best features weren’t deliberately disabled.

  14. LAGirl says:

    definitely a tough call. but Bank of America charges non-customers $5 to cash a B of A check. in some cases, it can work out to more than what the check cashing places charge. greedy b*stards!

  15. cgmaetc says:

    BofA wins, hands down, for their ludicrous cash deposit policy:

    If you deposit cash into your account, BofA only makes the first $100 available immediately, then ‘processes’ the rest at midnight. For example, you have $300 in the account, deposit $200 cash, you available balance is only $400, not $500. If a check comes thru for $401, BofA will bounce it, based upon your available balance ($400), not the actual balance ($500). Then you get hit with a $35 NSF fee and a $5 overdrawn account fee. The next day, they clear your other $100, minus the fees and you have a new balance of $60. Nevermind that the person who cashed the $401 check is peeved and you probably over them late fees and return check fees, and they can report you to telecheck.

    BofAs explanation for this is that the tellers in their bank just ‘log’ deposits. They send out their deposit logs to a third party and those people ‘clear’ deposits. I can understand this with checks, but cash? I’ve had this happen to me a few times and every time I complain, they reverse all fees, no questions asked. My branch manager told me that about 1 in 20 customers this happens to at his branch complain, It’s a policy clearly designed to generate revenue with the hopes that people will just pay the fees and not make a fuss.

  16. bennyb says:

    Hard Choice … but I got to with Verizon

  17. bennyb says:

    BTW: Target has the worst return policy ever.
    Bad Return Policy = Anti Customer

    TARGET WANTS YOU TO RETURN YOUR STUFF TO BABIES-R-US

    My girlfriend got a lot of duplicate items from friends for her baby shower (Target was the registered gift registry). But when we went to Target yesterday to exchange duplicate items for other stuff we might need, the customer rep insisted is one item for one. i.e.
    – If you return 3 items, you must purchase 3 items.
    – You can only return 2 items a year without a receipt.
    – You need to print the purchase order of your gift registry before you can exchange any items

    … the list goes on …

    So I finally did what they wanted. Return everything to Babies-R-US and bought a new Nursery from there.

  18. phildeaux says:

    In my experience litigating against Verizon and Verizon wireless, if Verizon has a choice between something that definitely benefits the consumer and something that could arguably benefits Verizon, VZN will choose the latter.

    And that is within their right. But they run into problems when they try to obscure or coverup the decision. They either obscure that choice in fine print in a TOS, or else just bill the customer for it — a form of passive aggressive robbery.

  19. Tallanvor says:

    Right now BofA is on my shit list. They apparently have NO facilities for online wire transfers. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get money from a BofA account to a UK bank account when you’re in the UK?

    The customer “service” person’s advice? “You might be able to use Western Union.”

    I’d like to Western Union my foot up… Anyway, that’s my reason for choosing BofA.

  20. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    B Of A all the way…never had an acct. with them but giving credit cards and accounts to Illegals totally dwarfs anything Verizon has done..

  21. Her Grace says:

    I’ve had only the best experiences with BofA. They were helpful when I set up my student loans, helpful when I needed to draw foreign currency checks, helpful when I needed to move overseas. My only complaint, like Tallanvor, is their lack of ability to wire money to overseas banks. I chose my Aussie bank because they’re affiliated and I get free atm use on my BofA card at their atms. I simply withdraw the max amount daily ($500) from the BofA and go inside and deposit it in the Westpac account if I need to transfer money. Takes a few days if it’s a bigger sum, but it’s easy and there’s no real delay.

  22. angryconsumer says:

    Tough one. BoA is letting people without a Social Security number have a credit card. This means basically anyone can have a credit card. But then you have Verizon, which could have some halfway decent phones if they didn’t cripple the Bluetooth to make it basically become useless. And then the bad customer service and it’s a fight. I’ll vote for Verizon because they’re just a horrible, greedy company all the way.

  23. Tallanvor says:

    Her Grace: I’ve considered that. It’s doable, but I figure I’d have to go to the bank every day for a week every month to transfer enough money that way. They really should have an easier way since they’re already partnering with other banks for atm withdrawals.

  24. tz says:

    I’ve actually had good experience with Verizon, but they are NOT a local phone company in the Detroit, MI area, only wireless (so I moved my house line and business line onto a shared-minutes plan).

    When I lost a phone they were able to forward the calls to one I still had and did other things without much problem, and I can recommend the mall Kiosks (you might wait, but they seem to be the best trained).

    I actually was called for a survey which featured my phone and cable provider. Verizon I was strongly recommending, Comcast I said should be avoided like the plague. But I’ve also had Sprint (what retention department?), Talk-America (please email, don’t call, plus they lie), SBC (can’t count – and it is far worse than Verizon).