BoA Gives Wrong Information, Charges Customer $280, Doesn't Care

Thanks to a Bank of America customer service rep’s incompetence, Travis got hit with $280 in overdraft fees.

When he moved from Chicago to California, a Bank of America rep told him his accounts would move with him, when really he needed to call a special number to set this up.

He left $100 in the old account, paid $3,000 in bills online, and got whacked for the $280. When he complained to the manager at his new bank, “Pierre” told him that since the account was closed and out of state, there was nothing he could do.

Because of this, Travis is moving all his banking business to Washington Mutual, including the home loan he was planning on taking.

Travis wrote a letter, posted inside, to the CEO of Bank of America explaining all this, and asking for his money back. We’ll see what happens.

(Photo: Son of Groucho)


Here is Travis’ letter. Writing to the CEO is an excellent move. However, Travis would have been better off making the letter shorter and more to the point. Maybe hand it off to the wife for some edits. You’re trying to attract the attention of a busy individual, make it easy on them by writing clearly and effectively.

April 16, 2007

Mr. Kenneth D. Lewis
100 N. Tryon Street.
Mail Code NC-1-007-18-01
Charlotte, NC 28255

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I am a long time customer of your bank but after recent events in which I was charged over $280.00 in fees, I am taking my business from your bank. As CEO, I thought you should know about how I was treated by some of your employees in the Marina Del Rey branch in Southern California.

I recently moved from Illinois and went into the branch to close out my old account and to open a new one with them. My main concern was that my online banking information would be transferred over and if I needed to do anything. I spoke with Miyesheia Owens, who opened my account, and she assured me it would transfer right over to my new account and that there was nothing I needed to do.

A week later I logged into my online banking and paid my bills as normal. The problem is that my new account information was never assigned to my online banking as I was assured it would be. My wife and I asked this specific question twice and we were told by Miyeshea that we didn’t need to do anything. We had left only $100 in the account to handle and last minute small items. When I paid over $3000 in bills, they money was charged to the old account with only $100 in it. They took money from my savings to cover the bills but I was then charged 8 Overdraft Fees which totaled $280.00.

Once I realized what happened I called the Marina Del Rey branch and asked to speak to a Manager so he could explain what happened. Pierre Schustz, the Manager on duty told me he would look into it and would get back to me. I called later in the day and he told me he was still looking into it and would get back to me. Fast forward to a week later when I had to call again since Pierre didn’t have the courtesy to get back to me as he had promised to do so. I left a message for him to call me as he was in a meeting at the time. 4 days later…still no call from Pierre. When I called back and finally spoke to him he told me there was nothing he could do and I needed to speak to the branch manager and she could help me get the refund on the fees charged to my account. I cannot tell you how completely unhelpful he was in this whole process. I called today and spoke with her and she told me since the account was closed and out of state there was nothing she could do. I was out of luck and they were, “sorry”.

Mr. Lewis, the only reason I was charged those fees is due to information given to me by one of your Bank of America employees. If she had told me I needed to call Online Banking (which I later discovered I had to do) I would have done so ASAP. I believe that your company should reimburse me for the $280.00 that it charged me in fees as it was not my fault.

My wife and I are in the beginning stages of buying our first home, I would have liked to have secured my mortgage with Bank of America as it is a trusted and stable lending organization. Because of this incident, you are losing a customer, a long time customer at that. You’re losing all my accounts as well as a possible home loan. I’ll be taking my business to Washington Mutual effective May 1, 2007.

If you could help me get the $280 that was charged to me back, I would appreciate it. I can be reached at [redacted] (cell) or [redacted] (work). I am sending a copy of this letter to the Consumerist website (www.consumerist.com) to be published.

Sincerely,

Travis G

Cc: http://www.consumerist.com
Cc: MDR Branch

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. bbbici says:

    Whoops! Never take your business to another company BEFORE you receive reimbursement for a misdeed. Now you have no power and BoA has no reason to compensate.

  2. deweydecimated says:

    i hate to start off on the negative but… if you’ve already said that you will no longer do business with the bank, what incentive do they have to refund those fees? (there’s the ‘appealing to a sense of what’s right’, but we are talking about a large national bank.)

  3. SugarRob says:

    So the incorrect information is bad; I hope you can get some kind of recompense for that.

    But…

    I guess in this day and age I don’t understand the point of closing and reopening account just to make it local. I opened my BoA account in Missouri in 1997. I have live in two other states since then. The only thing I have ever bothered to change was my mailing address. I have no problem making deposits, withdrawals and any other bank-related activities. My online banking has never been affected. Occassionally an employee will ask me “What state did you open the account in?” and then the transaction can be finalized. I believe this would only happen if there was no reference to my account number on anything I was submitting to them and they had to look up my account by name only.

    Is there an advantage to making your account local?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no advantage to making your accounts locally Sugar Rob. The strange thing with Bank of America is if you move to California or Washington State you can’t function easliy in the banking center. Those two states have a different system that other states use. For example if you want a statment printed out in Ca and your account was opened in VA the banking center would have to call a non – CA customer service # and have it be faxed to them. Strange.

  4. dbeahn says:

    I had a similar issue with BoA involving a move from Texas to Nevada. They screwed up (allowed my by then ex-wife to reopen an account that she’d never been a signer on, as well as change the address on the account, 3 days after I closed the account.) 6 months later I get a phone call from BoA advising me that I owe them $110 in fees on an account I’d closed 6 months previous. When I went into the bank branch where I had closed the account and my ex-wife had reopened the account the manager told me there was nothing he could do, I’d have to go back IN to the branch in Austin, TX. where the account had been opened, no matter that the account had been changed to a NV. account when I’d moved 2 years prior to these events.

    In effect, they were telling me they didn’t give a crap. I moved my business to another bank, and I’ll never be a BoA customer again for anything.

  5. LAGirl says:

    defintely would wait to get the fees back before closing out the account. although, i completely agree with leaving B of A for WAMU.

    recently, i transfered funds online to my regular checking to cover some transactions. usually, as long as you complete the transfer by midnight, it will post that same day. however, it didn’t post until the next day. i do have overdraft protection, so all the transactions were covered, but i was hit with almost $200 in fees.

    knowing how great WAMU is with this kind of thing, i called customer service + very nicely explained that i had transfered the funds BEFORE midnight, and could they please reverse the charges? it does state on their website that transactions might post the following day, so they could have told me to f*ck off. they said they would put in a request. within a week, the entire amount was credited back to my account.

    this is the reason i’ve been with WAMU since 2000 – GREAT customer service.

  6. Jozef says:

    I’ve had a similar problem with BoA when I moved from New Jersey to Atlanta. To compound the problem, I used to be a Fleet customer (legacy customer; through a string of three bank acquisitions), and I moved only half a year after they merged with BoA. BoA in Atlanta told me that their computer systems would take another six months to merge, and that I’d have to open a new account and transfer my money there. The only reason I stayed with them until that point were the carryover terms and conditions I signed up with when I opened my account, and given the terms of the new account, I was only very happy to close my account and move elsewhere.

    When I wrote a check in the amount on my old account minus $100 for contingencies, the check bounced, and I was hit with fees from both banks. Apparently, in the merger my SSN was lost from my account, and the bank was obliged to report such a large transaction, which it couldn’t do without my SSN. After that, I just kept maxing out my ATM withdrawals every day and depositing the money on my new account until I left a minimum deposit on my BaA account; then I closed my account when I happened to be up in New Jersey for a few days.

  7. joeblevins says:

    What is the purpose of changing accounts when you move from State to State? I have had BoA for 12 years. Opened in NC, but I have lived in NY and SC since then. The only issue I have is when I need a deposit slip from the bank, I need to use an out-of-state account version. Otherwise, no issues.

  8. GenXCub says:

    To continue the trend. BoA is notoriously bad to deal with when you move states (this also includes moving from/to Northern California from/to Southern California, as they are treated as different states to BoA when it comes to where you’d have to go to cancel. (If you started your account in San Francisco, moved to San Diego for a few years, then moved to Arizona, you’d have to go to San Francisco to close your account).

  9. Vinny says:

    It probably has to do with how many cobbled-together old bank systems they’re dealing with.

    They didn’t exist in NYC. They bought Fleet (and a few other smaller ones) and I’m sure it happened elsewhere. The fact that it sucks is a direct consequence of the fact that they wanted to make the “transition” easier for customers of the old banks without thinking forward to the grief it would cause later.

    As an example. For me, my BOA account login is my debit card #. For others, it’s a username, and for others, it’s their e-mail.

    That’s just one way they haven’t gotten their s together yet.

    That being said, after hearing that guy last month with the greek vacation drama, I would NEVER bank at Wamu.

  10. drbrn_grl says:

    Yikes — I’d stay away from Washington Mutual. I just cancelled my credit card with them. They arbitrarily refused a balance transfer check from another card. Charged me with a late fee, and two separate returned check fees. Even after I cancelled my account, they decided to add insult to injury by cheerfully telling me they were cancelling the bonus points I had collected to purchase books from the Quality Paperback Book Club. I will never do business with them again.

  11. Buran says:

    Why would I need to close and reopen my account? I’m a BofA customer (was with National (whatever, I can’t remember the full name) which was bought out) and I plan to move from MO to FL. So what exactly would I need to do, and why can’t they do it for me automatically?

  12. jpcarter says:

    So I give up. Where can I keep my money that is:
    1) FDIC insured
    2) won’t have a 5 day waiting period like the online banks
    3) won’t F the customer

    I’m asking for the impossible, aren’t I.

  13. szepherd says:

    Something very similar happened to me with BoA, even without switching states. My wife and I opened a joint account shortly after getting married. Wanted to have all of my bill pay info moved to the new account and have our (old) personal accounts closed. Long story short, they screwed up and we wound up getting hit with $280 in overdraft fees after paying some bills. We did eventually get the fees returned, but only after making seven calls and telling the whole (long) story to at least 10 CSRs.

    This event was actually the last straw that made us switch to a local bank. We got tired of the constant fees, crappy customer service, and even crappier online banking. BoA is hands-down the worst bank I’ve ever dealt with.

  14. Steve_Holt says:

    @jpcarter:

    Try joining a local credit union instead of a bank. They’re usually much friendlier when it comes to customer service, and their accounts and fees are set up to “F” the customer less than these huge Nationals.

  15. slapstick says:

    Like Steve Holt said (Arrested Development fan, or real name?), a local credit union is your best bet. I might not be able to find an ATM for my union on every corner, but I have never had a problem either, unlike my friends who are always complaining about BoA or WaMu screwing them.

  16. smarty says:

    You really don’t have to close an old BOA account, and open a new BOA account. I opened one in Texas (T1), moved to IL for two years, then back to Texas (T2).
    I used direct deposit and online bill pay with no problems during T1. I used direct deposit and online bill pay for 2 years in IL with no problem except for one caveat…whenever I spoke to a BOA rep in person or the phone, I reminded them I had a TX account. Never a single problem. Still using direct deposit and online bill pay with no problems during my current T2 residency.

  17. asherchang says:

    IMHO he skipped a few steps there that may have solved the problem more quickly…

  18. singingarc says:

    WaMu not a better choice. When I moved from CA to MI, they told me that when I was ready to close the account, all I had to do was call.

    When I called, they told me I had to visit a branch, but at the time, there was no branch near me. So then they told me to send a letter. Which I did… six times.

    Eventually they told me to send a registered letter, but refused to give me any address other than a PO Box. Can’t deliver registered mail to a PO Box, right?

    I finally had to let the account go in the red $150 to get them to close it. Then I paid them off and said a few unkind parting words.

  19. Elle Rayne says:

    It seems that BoA has some issues with its employees. When I had a checking account there, representatives frequently gave information that conflicted with the policy posted on the website (which changed without notice; this was part of a fiasco in which I was charged hefty overdraft fees when I shouldn’t have been). While all companies have these issues, almost everybody I know who uses BoA has the same complaints about its customer service.

  20. closer says:

    washington mutual are a bunch of motherf**!!!!

    don’t deal with them. you miss one payment, your interest rate on anything is going to 31% for the next 3 years.

    DON’T DO IT.

  21. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    I haven’t had issues with BoA but when I move to New York in a few months I guess I have to change banks, but maybe I won’t until my CD matures because my CD balance is supposed to go into my BoA account…but anyway has anyone heard bad things about Chase or Citibank?

  22. synergy says:

    I’ve never had any problems with BoA in the 3+ years I’ve had an account with them.

    I switched to them after Chase decided to close my checking because it had sat at $0 for 10-14 days and they didn’t call first to ask if I was planning on continuing to use it or something. Nope. Just closed it. Guess where I was supposed to get my check direct deposited? >:-|

  23. Anonymous says:

    I opened an account with BOA in 2007 after moving to NY. I closed that account right afterwards in November 2007 because I was told I had to deposit my entire check and wait for the hold to be lifted on it. They sent me a check for a dollar and some change to close out the account, and I have never been back to BOA again!

    Here is my dilemna: A short time afterwards, I started getting monthly statements saying I had a balance of $51?? Knowing it was not my money, I ignored it. I figured someone had made a mistake and I just laughed about it and went on. My daughter kept telling me to go withdraw it, but I said no, its not mine!

    Here it is almost 2 years later, and a creditor from 2001 attached a judgment on that account, and now they are saying I am responsible for overdraft charges, due to not enough money in that account??

    First of all, some incompetent moron didn’t do her job by closing the account like she was supposed to. And then another moron deposited someoine else’s money into that account. Believe me, things are tight, and if I had $51 in an account it would not have stayed there for 2 years, I would have taken it out. But it was not my money!

    Knowing what I know now about BOA, I should have taken the money, but honesty does not pay I guess cause now they are trying to stiff me for their mistakes!

    These are people that other entrust their life savings to??? That’s very scary!!

    I will not give up, until someone admits there was a msitake made, takes away the overdraft charges, and finally closes the damn account!!