Wachovia Demonstrates How To Lose A Customer

We have more than a passing interest in customer service over here, so it always amuses us when a company loses a customer simply because they’re too stubborn to apologize for messing up.

“I’m sorry,” costs nothing. All those commercials touting Wachovia’s reputation for customer service… are those free? No, we didn’t think so. Reader Cory writes:

I made a deposit before the cutoff time into a Wachovia branch ATM with one check in it– a check from my Business Account drawn on Wachovia into my personal account, drawn on Wachovia. The Business account had plenty of money to cover the check, the personal account was on fumes, with most bills needing to go out yesterday, 6/4.

They placed a hold on the check.

That’s right– they placed a hold on THEIR CHECK from an account with verifiable funds in it. It gets better.

It certainly does. Read Cory’s email inside.

Cory writes:

I’ve been a Wachovia member since 1999. I incorporated my business 2 years ago and use Wachovia for my business checking as well. On Thurs 5/31, I made a deposit before the cutoff time into a Wachovia branch ATM with one check in it– a check from my Business Account drawn on Wachovia into my personal account, drawn on Wachovia. The Business account had plenty of money to cover the check, the personal account was on fumes, with most bills needing to go out yesterday, 6/4.

They placed a hold on the check.

That’s right– they placed a hold on THEIR CHECK from an account with verifiable funds in it. It gets better.

The woman who placed the hold, Ms. T [redacted] placed the hold without notating the account as to why exactly she had done so. She left the office Thursday, and did not return on Friday, nor did she return on Monday. On Saturday, I tried to use my card to buy gas, and it was declined. Looking at the account, although the deposit appeared on the posted balance, the available balance had gone negative. I called customer service, and they explained that a hold had been placed on the account, but they couldn’t tell me why, and I’d have to call back on Monday.

On Monday, I called back and waited 30 minutes to get a live individual, as Ms. T was out of the office. The woman handling the call said she couldn’t see why the hold had been placed, but eventually, I convinced her to drop the hold and restore the funds. She said she’d do it immediately.

On Monday afternoon, I went to use the card again, and found it had no funds available. I called back, waited again, and they had no record whatsoever of my conversation in the morning, although they immediately removed the hold with almost no question (whereas I had to convince her to do it in the morning)

I continued to try to find out why this happened– the afternoon customer service rep acted as if she was doing me a real favor by releasing the hold without knowing why it was placed on hold, and nobody I spoke to could give me a clear answer.

I went to my branch this morning, and they couldn’t tell me anything– they had no record of the hold ever being placed. (I pointed out that my overdraft protection had kicked in over the weekend, so there was SOME record of that.) The local branch, very nice and polite, offered to get Ms. T on the phone, and succeeded where I had failed.

They put me on the phone with her, and she proceeded to explain that the deposit “had not been uploaded in their system so that they could see it” so there was no way to verify “what was in the envelope.” But here’s the kicker– they refused to acknowledge that it was their fault, and proceeded to tell me that they could hold any deposit from anyone anytime they wanted to, I should go read my terms of service.

At that point, all I wanted was her to say “yeah, we had a technical problem, I’m so sorry for your inconvenience, and I’m sorry I forgot to notate your account.” But this woman would not concede that anything was improper anyway, and this was perfectly acceptable. From one side of her mouth she was saying “it didn’t get uploaded” but kept saying “it’s not our fault” and acting as if its perfectly reasonable to hold locally drawn Wachovia checks with verifiable funds being deposited into Wachovia accounts.

The thing that really kills me is that as of today’s mail, 6/5, I still haven’t been notified of the hold– there’s no reason in this day and age not to be able to generate an email or call if something like this happens. I get calls once every 2 months from my credit card company’s fraud division– they let the charges go through, but if something isn’t quite right (I bought gas two times in a row for myself and my wife) they call. Why can’t the bank do the same?

Why are they absolutely unapologetic about this?

And while I’m at it, with the new “Check 21″ why is this an issue at all? They clear faster when you write em, holds are taking the same amount of time. Check 21 is just more corporate welfare.

I’m off to find a new bank. Any bank that tells me that they can hold my check anytime they damn well please, no matter how insane a hold it is doesn’t deserve my business– or anyone else’s.

Cory

And that’s how you lose a customer. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Maulleigh)

Comments

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  1. Black Bellamy says:

    I really like the way the passive voice is used to deflect blame. “It didn’t get uploaded” indeed. Not “we didn’t upload it”, no. Apparently the “it” uploads itself, and when it doesn’t, well, who is to blame but “it”, over which we of course have no control.

  2. ToddMU03 says:

    I had a similar experience. They put a hold on all my checks when I opened a new account. I got a paycheck they put a 10 day hold on. I wasn’t going to be able to pay my rent and other bills on time if the hold were not removed. I talked to the branch manager and she said they did that because I didn’t have a banking history with Wachovia yet. Now my paycheck was from SunTrust. She told me if I went to SunTrust, I could cash the check since it was from their bank. So I replied with “If you don’t release the hold on my check, there won’t be a banking history.” I also asked what was keeping me from closing my account and switching to SunTrust. That’s when the hold was released by her personally. Although, since then, I haven’t had any problems with Wachovia.

  3. Meat_Shield says:

    Short of marching in the branch office with a large club, moving to another bank is the only way they will notice your displeasure and their mistake. Sadly.

  4. Here here! Agreed 100% with Cory. Also agreed on the Check 21 note– I love how Check 21 only works in their favor but never in our favor.

  5. Asvetic says:

    Looks like someone should find themselves a Credit Union. Some place with an online bill paying service and 24 hour telephone account service. Setting your accounts up for transfers via any of these services should be easy, no need to deposit checks from one account to another.

    I’ve only experienced one hold for a check over $2500 and it took 4 days to process. I love my credit union.

  6. bkaid says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but why go through all the hassle of writing a check, depositing it, etc? Shouldn’t you be able to just do a simple (and instant) transfer from one account to the other?

  7. kastickboy says:

    And yet another reason I do all my banking with USAA. Anytime I request a funds transfer (up to 8pm CST) it is instantly and available in the account that I specify. Plus their over the phone CRs are extremely helpful!

  8. snazz says:

    so you deposit a check into an ATM machine and are surprised that it takes a few days for the funds to clear?! i dont think the woman, nor the bank owe you an apology here. checks take time to clear, and ATM transactions can be even longer. ive seen delays of several business days for checks, regardless of which bank issued it.

  9. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    I haven’t had any problems with Wachovia.

    Anecdote: One time they had processed a check for $500 more than it was written for (someone got a 2 & 7 mixed up on my car payment) which ended up causing multiple NSF charges. One phone call & it was fixed the next day with all NSF charges being removed immediately.

  10. Lewis says:

    Ugh. So frustrating and yet so typical of CS nightmares these days. Big props to Consumerist for relentlessly staying on top of these kinds of issues.

    To Cory – without assigning any blame to you – not sure why you wrote a check from one account you own to the other – there are usually many more efficient ways of transferring funds. I am not sure about Wachovia, but Citi lets you transfer from accounts which you own electronically, and almost any bank would let you do a wire transfer.

    Sorry for the bureaucratic mess just the same.

  11. lawnmowerdeth says:

    I’ve been with a local bank for years in St. Louis, only about 8 branches or so. Because of that you have to pay a fee at most ATMs for withdrawls (so I plan ahead instead), but the customer service is totally worth it.

    Anyway, I’d recommend you find a smaller local bank.

    (And for those of you in the St. Louis area, it’s Pulaski Bank. They’re awesome. – Not a paid endorsement!)

  12. Wormfather says:

    Just Stay away from Bank of America…and Commerce…and Washington Mutual.

    May I suggest Fat Tony, he doest appologize either or a shoe box.

  13. kerry says:

    That’s the fundamental problem, right there. Of course they reserve the right to hold your check for any reason, but they should know better than to be assholes about it. This guy had every right to an apology from the woman who put a hold on his check (and from the person who successfully removed it after someone told him they’d already done it but didn’t really do it), but they refuse to relinquish their power for even a second and just admit there was a mistake. Good luck finding a bank that doesn’t do this, and if you do please post it here, I want to know so I can go there, too.

  14. banned says:

    Banks can and obviously do whatever they want, whenever they want, period. The problem is they won’t say that when you sign up. I think your problem is not enough money. I know you have a business account but unless its a multi-million dollar/year business, they still don’t care so I wouldn’t expect much more from any other bank. We should boycott them altogether and use credit unions or just hoard it all under our mattresses.

  15. bluebuilder says:

    I had been considering wachovia for some of my business. After a story like this, they have also lost a prospective customer. I don’t need BS like that in my life.

  16. All this guy wanted was an apology: basically some assurance that this was a mistake and wouldn’t happen again. What he got was some lady telling him it would happen anytime she felt like making it happen.

    Why shouldn’t he change banks when he’s just been told he can’t expect his deposits to be made in a timely matter?

  17. mantari says:

    CREDIT. UNION.

  18. royal72 says:

    good for you cory, by taking your money elsewhere. it’s the only real power we have against these bozos… now finding a good bank is a whole other story.

  19. levenhopper says:

    max hold leangth is a week, if my dad is correct. over $10,000 it goes to 2 weeks.

    if you knew you needed the money, why not just walk into the branch, and make sure that it hit within the minute while she processed it?

    and bank tellers can override system holds for amounts under $1,000…or at least that it how it works at National City (my bank of choice).

  20. levenhopper says:

    @kerry: yes, but federal law limits the max hold time on checks now…so she was lying when she says that it can be held “as long as they want”

  21. ndjustin says:

    Two years ago, I created a Wachovia checking account using their online service, which did not work to say the least. But that’s another story.

    Anyhow, I deposited a payroll check on a Friday night. Come Tuesday afternoon, I went to a ATM machine and checked my balance, the funds were there! I made a $40 withdrawal and went about my day. Wednesday morning I checked my account, and they had placed a hold on the payroll check late Tuesday night. Thus creating a negative balance and overdraft.

    I called them up, tried to explain my problem and how the funds were there, they were no help.

    A week later after the funds posted I went to cancel my account, I was told I would need to pay a ETF of $50 since my account was not six months old. I refused. The teller said I could get around the fee aslong as I made a formal complaint against something. I made a complaint against the customer service phone reps, and I’ve never step foot on any Wachovia property since.

  22. Dan25 says:

    just quote Truth in Lending. Banks are not allowed to place holds on their own items. They can only verify funds and call the issuer. I dont normaly say this, but this would be a good time to email the higher ups. What they did is unacceptable.

  23. jeffj-nj says:

    FWIW, I love Commerce Bank. I don’t think they’re nationwide, though.

    When I move to Colorado, I’m going to need a new bank, and I’m going to be sad to leave Commerce. I’ve been banking with them for over 10 years now (switched after another bank wronged me in a way I find more disgraceful than this story here) and never had a single problem. In fact, any story I have regarding Commerce is a good one.

    So, yeah, switching won’t be easy. I guess I’ll look into this thing called a Credit Union which people seem to snobbily always mention here, in addition to reminding us peasants how awesome they are for using one, but never seem to provide any kind of useful information regarding how we might possibly one day become as awesome and enlightened as them.

    I’ll Google it when I need it, I suppose. For now, Commerce loves me and I love them.

  24. JimF says:

    Funny, I’ve been a Wachovia account holder for 8 years, have 2 personal checking accounts, and 1 business checking account with them. I don’t think I’ve ever had a single problem anything like anyone in comments or the OP has described. My dealings w/ Wachovia have been nothing but positive.

    They identified fraudulent activity on my debit card and re-issued me a new card and put the money back in my account within 24 hours.

    I’ve moved funds from my business acct to my personal acct via check deposit at an ATM hundreds of times, nary a problem.

    The point is that there are bound to be problems with any bank. I don’t care about an apology. What is this, pre-k? I understand that there might be issues, and as much of a PITA it is, as long as they fix it and I get the money, fine. Problem solved.

    Customer service could have handled it better, I suppose, but ultimately the dude got his money.

  25. scoobydoo says:

    Holds are the new profit machine for banks. Check21 only seems to apply when you take money OUT. Write a check? It’s gone in minutes. Deposit a check? Wait a week.

    I assume there are tens of billions of dollars in held checks at any given moment. That means banks have a few billion extra to play around with while you wait on your money.

    And to top it off they then slap on their bonus by charging an ODP fee if you happen to use any of that money too soon…

    These games cost Chase my business account when they took a check for over $25k, cleared it instantly, then put a hold on it after 2 days. They repeated this game 4 times with the same check. When I closed the account they didn’t understand I wasn’t amused by the way they played with my hard earned money.

  26. ExecutorElassus says:

    I’ve used a major bank ONCE in the last ten years, only because I couldn’t find a credit union in San Diego (it was BofA, fwiw, and it sucked). Find a credit union, and – if you’re in a military family – USAA for credit cards. Checks post to my credit union account the next day, I can pay my USAA bills online directly from checking, and I NEVER get hassled. It’s totally worth the rare times I have to pay for an ATM.

  27. SadSam says:

    Scoobydoo nailed it: Check21 only seems to apply when you take money OUT. Write a check? It’s gone in minutes. Deposit a check? Wait a week.

    Check 21 is going to continue to be a problem for consumers and a profit machine for banks.

    That being said, I’ve been a long term customer with Wachovia (multipl accts) and I’ve generally had good results with local and company customer service.

  28. rdm says:

    Meat_Shield, some banks don’t even care if you leave. They have enough customers, either way. It’s really frustrating.

  29. Slytherin says:

    @kastickboy: I agree! I

  30. megnificent says:

    @: ATM transactions shouldn’t take any longer to process than a deposit performed at the branch. ATM deposits are emptied out of the machines every business day before the cutoff time and processed by the tellers before their proof work is collected for the day. The deposit is actually processed by a teller whether it’s through the drive-thru, the night drop, or the ATM.

    On another note, it is possible to transfer funds between a personal account and a business account. However, the only way that is possible is if the business account is a DBA or other unincorporated business. Once the business is incorporated, as Cory says their business is, the account is no longer listed in the computer under the same customer ID as the personal account, making an electronic transfer impossible.

    This is FWIW, coming from a former SunTrust teller. At least with that bank, we had to call any depositor when we put a hold on an ATM deposit to notify them, plus send notice in the mail. Someone at Wachovia screwed the pooch on this one.

  31. SOhp101 says:

    Wait, I don’t really get why you’re getting mad at the bank. If you REALLY wanted that money to be available immediately you should have deposited the check in person, not at the ATM.

    ATM deposits usually take 1-2 days. Teller deposits are immediate.

  32. rlwhite86 says:

    I’ve worked at a bank for 5+ years and been around the industry my entire life (family business). Whenever I see other banks screwing up it makes me happy, because it gives us a chance to move in and provide better service.

    His situation may have been unavoidable, though. I know that with ATMs, deposits made through them are subject to some delay, due to the fact you’re not handing your transaction to an actual employee. While ATM deposits credit your account immediately, the ATM doesn’t know where the check comes from or the amount. The hold may have been placed on automatically by the system when it saw a large, uncoverable amount coming into the account. I know our system doesn’t do this, but Wachovia’s may.

    There is no way for banks to ‘profit’ off of check holds. Holds are only in place during the time it takes the check to circulate back to its originating bank, and funds are collected on it. As soon as the funds come in, the hold drops off and the account is credited. This is only to prevent fraud, as many criminals in the past have used check float to rip off banks for countless millions. You are suggesting that banks collect on the check and hold it anyway, which does not occur.

    Check 21 is simply a new method which the feds use to transfer checks between federal reserve branches. Instead of shipping checks across country, checks are all sent into the fed, and then electronically sent to other federal reserve branches. They are then printed and distributed to their originating banks. It can reduce check float time, but not eliminate it, since there are still alot of non-electronic elements.

    Don’t get me started on credit unions. Basically they are a institution with a government mandated advantage in the market, backed by powerful lobbyists in washington. They pay no income tax, which is our number two expense.

    Sorry this turned out so long!
    Bob

  33. ladycrumpet says:

    Consumerist, have you considered a post about credit unions? Where to find one, how to join one? Seems there’s enough interest out there.

  34. Elara says:

    I dropped Wachovia the time they somehow mixed up my account with my sister’s. Everytime I bought something with my debit card, it came out of her account. This was after us both having separate accounts with them for more than five years. How they confused the two, we never figured out.

  35. Buran says:

    @Asvetic: I just love (not) how people blindly throw out the phrase “credit union”. I travel. I like having access to my money, without BS ATM fees, when I do. That’s just one reason I don’t use a credit union.

    That phrase isn’t the magic answer to everything.

  36. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    I made a deposit before the cutoff time into a Wachovia branch ATM

    Cory’s expectation that the funds would be available over the weekend are unfortunately incorrect. Deposit regulations for ATMs are different than teller deposits.

    This is the same for every bank, as these are federal regulations. If his deposit was made on Thursday, his deposit should have been available on the second business day after his deposit. That would be Monday.

    As to what happened on Monday, he may have a complaint there. That being said, some of this story doesn’t add up to me: his card was declined over the weekend, but his overdraft kicked in as well. It sounds like Cory was threading a very tight needle in terms of getting some bills cleared. I’m just not clear on what the situation with his account was by the time Monday rolled around.

    Unless some other details come to light, it sounds like either Cory is partially wrong or maybe just wrong.

  37. Buran says:

    @lawnmowerdeth: I’m in St. Louis, but I’m with a national bank (which one isn’t relevant to this argument) and I must say that while others have complained about the bank I’m with (as is the case for any bank, really) I haven’t had any problems; all NSF fees were really my fault through accidental goofs that I don’t do now that I watch for them, the phone reps have been polite and helpful, and I haven’t had any shenanigans pulled on me.

    If I ever do, of course I’ll consider switching, but honestly, as long as a business treats me right and is helpful when I need it (when I called in to make sure the bills would still be covered the one time I overdrew the account a few years back they were quite helpful, explained the process and told me I had nothing to worry about) and I can find an ATM of theirs pretty easily most of the time… but for now I’m happy with that bank.

    What I really don’t get is … what’s with Brentwood Blvd. being turned into the Vegas Strip of banks? 4 banks within 1/4 mile… and I STILL have to drive way out of the way to deposit a check on the rare times I get paper checks! (I’m paid via direct deposit). Our post office was ripped down and turned into a bank. We have no post office. The TGI Friday’s got ripped down and is being turned into another bank. I’m surprised the abandoned gas station turned into a Starbucks instead of a bank, to be honest.

    All the older people in the area who used to walk to the post office now can’t, but if they need a bank, no problem …

  38. Buran says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: Not necessarily. My bank has signs on the ATMs stating that if you deposit before the cutoff time the funds will be available that night for use the next day. That’s a valid expectation. If you have said signs, you should indeed clear the money — especially if it was your own freakin’ check!

  39. Buran says:

    @ladycrumpet: Seems to me more like a ton of people who blindly throw that phrase out as the magic answer to any banking problem … which it is not. Plenty of regular banks, including the national ones, can and do have good service and don’t screw everyone over. It’s always the dissatisfied people who yell the loudest and the vast majority of satisfied customers stay silent.

  40. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    Buran, if his bank has a sign that says ATM deposits will be available the next day, then they would have to be available to the next day.

    But I think you are misreporting or misremembering the signage on your bank, because certain checks will never be available the next day, whether by teller or ATM. Unless your bank is willing to clear any check in 24 hours…

  41. Falconfire says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: Just about all banks at this point have their cutoff time for ATM the same as it is online and through teller. And since it was a check from their own bank there should never have been a hold.

  42. bbbici says:

    can’t you just transfer your funds electronically?

  43. Jabes says:

    @Buran: Of the several different places I’ve had accounts, it was ONLY the credit union that did not charge me fees for using an ATM outside the U.S. One needs to shop around for a credit union as much as one needs to for a bank.

  44. mmartinphd says:

    I’m still pissed at Wachovia for the completely bogus Microsoft Money fee (they now charge if you use Money or Quicken on their supposedly FREE checking).

    How about an alternative (other than a CU, which I don’t want) anyone?? Maybe USAA (I am a member) but I want good ATM access. Anyone have anything good to say about Suntrust??

  45. wiltony says:

    I must emphasize others’ support for Credit Unions. I really can’t quite figure out why anyone does individual checking at a bank anymore.

    Tip: Try to get a Credit Union that is a part of the Co-Op network (http://www.co-opnetwork.org). That way, you can use all Co-Op ATMs in the entire U.S. completely free (no fees on either side!). You can use Co-Op ATMs for deposits to your CU as well. It’s awesome.

    In my case, I did an internship in NYC (I’m from the west) and just about every ATM in all the McDonald’s there were Co-Op! I never had to pay ATM fees.

  46. kaikhor says:

    ExecutorElassus: How long ago since you were in San Diego? I currently live in San Diego County and the Credit Unions are everywhere! I could easily name 4 or 5. I do agree, though, about USAA. Those people make life much, much easier.

    As for Wachovia, you have me worried since I just set up a new car loan with them. Anyone who treats their everyday banking customers that poorly makes me think how they treat those with things like car and home loans, who they don’t see.

  47. zoneviii says:

    On Monday, I called back and waited 30 minutes to get a live individual, as Ms. T was out of the office. The woman handling the call said she couldn’t see why the hold had been placed, but eventually, I convinced her to drop the hold and restore the funds. She said she’d do it immediately.

    I used to work at First Union/Wachovia about 5 years ago and, unless things have changed, if he called the customer service line or the branch, they should have been able to tell that the funds were in fact available and taken the hold off the account. A CSR can usually get a hold released if the funds can be verified – they can either call the other bank or check the other account.

    IMO, it was ridiculous that it went that far. Sure he could have done things a little different (like go inside the branch and request for the funds to be made available immediately), but there’s no reason that a competent CSR couldn’t have taken care of his problem Saturday – apologized for the inconvenience and gotten a fellow CSR to follow-up with the branch and customer on Monday.

    Well… that’s what I would’ve done.

  48. Asvetic says:

    @Jabes: Excellent response Jabes. Buran sounds pretty defensive. my guess, he’s with Wackovia.

    What I don’t understand is, why was Cory depositing a check to himself? If he shared accounts couldn’t he have them connected and then transfer a balance from one account to the other and vise versus? Especially if those accounts are in the same bank.

  49. kpanov says:

    A small correction. I download from Wachovia into Quicken and pay zero fees for the service. We’ve been a Wachovia customer for about three years now (since they bought out First Union), and the customer service has always been first rate.

    About four months ago, we had to close out our account and open a new one on Saturday morning. It was a security concern, we thought we’d had our info compromised online. We walked out that day with checks, ATM cards, and the full deal, all at an hour before closing – on a SATURDAY! (sorry, it still gets me amazed). I was truly floored (yet happily so) that a bank could work so well.

  50. ladycrumpet says:

    I’m from a mixed household – my husband and I have accounts with both SunTrust and a credit union (he’s in academia, which is how we have access to a CU).

    I’ve been with SunTrust for over 3 years; through my employer I was able to get a decent checking/savings setup – although the savings I don’t use so much, mainly to separate money that I plan to use soon, but that I don’t want intermingled with the rest of the checking account. For real savings I have an ING account (since 2001).

    What I like is knowing that I can find an ATM pretty easily – near my office, near my home, at the supermarket (Publix). My husband has access to the credit union, mainly because there’s an ATM on campus. We have looked around for other credit union ATMs that are close by, and there are a few, but they’re not so readily available to us as the ones from SunTrust. It works for us, with no problems so far (*knock on wood*).

  51. mmartinphd says:

    @Asvetic: As he pointed out, one was a business account and the other personal. You cannot connect those, they are separate tax entities….

  52. mmartinphd says:

    @ladycrumpet: Well, that is one good vote for Suntrust… I live in ATL and ST is based here, so ATMs everywhere!

  53. Zgeg says:

    It sounds to me like they may be some confusion here as to what “Clearing” a check means. Most banks will allow you access to your funds on the next business day for a check not drawn on that bank, but this is usually a courtesy. The check then has to go to the originating bank for your bank to get its money. If there is a problem with the check, the originating bank will return it to your bank and then a hold will be placed. There could be a lag of a day or two as not everyone can clear checks electronically. This would cause your account to show a check one day, and have it held the next. Banks fo this to protect themselves from losses.

  54. TinaT says:

    People still write checks?

  55. Dan25 says:

    You can transfer funds between personal and business. The only problem you run into is if your business is incorporated and theres a check made payable to the business, its needs to go through the corp. account before you distribute the funds. But once the check has cleared in the business account, of course you can transfer the money out as long as you are an owner of the business. If you are just a signer you would need to write yourself a check.

  56. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    I stand corrected on my post. Reg CC stipulates that on the first business day following the banking day of deposit:

    “Checks drawn on an account held by your institution (“on-us checks”) deposited in person to one of your employees or at on-premises ATMs or night depositories, if the branch or branches involved are in the same state or check-processing region.”

    So unless Cory had a history of overdrafts, he is completely correct and Wachovia is completely wrong. If he has a history of overdrafts, then Wachovia would be allowed to delay his deposit.

    I still think there are inconsistencies in Cory’s story, but the regulations are certainly on his side.

  57. Jabes says:

    @TinaT: Um, yes. Businesses write checks all the time. It costs a lot less than a wire transfer. Since his accounts are not connected, I’m assuming he doesn’t have the ability to do a transfer on-line or by phone.

  58. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    Edit: Reg CC stipulates that on the first business day following the banking day of deposit… the following must be made available:

    “Checks drawn on an account held…

  59. healthdog says:

    @mmartinphd: USAA charges no fees on foreign (which is all of ‘em) ATMs, PLUS they refund the fees that the ATM owners charge you. [sigh] Oh, USAA.

  60. Slytherin says:

    @Buran: Credit union. :) :P

  61. The Doctor says:

    I also bank with Wachovia and had an issue similar to this. I deposited several checks over several days as I was going to buy a car. I went to the branch a week or so later to get a bank check for 12000 dollars. My online statement said everything had cleared and both the Posted and Available funds were well over 12000 dollars. I was in the bank for over 2 hours while they called this person and that person to verify the funds. I hit a roadblock because they had failed to upload the image of the check. It took the bank manager an hour and a half to get someone on the phone from headquarters who could remotely access her PC, go in through some back door and find an image of the check. I’ve had horrendous experiences with Wachovia customer service in the past and since then. This one shining example is the exception. It took two hours, but I didnt feel like I’d been called an idiot like every other time I’ve been into a branch or called their customer service number. They’re idiots, one and all. I still bank there though…who knows why.

  62. FLConsumer says:

    Did anyone bother to read the story? KEY PORTION:
    “I made a deposit before the cutoff time into a Wachovia branch ATM with one check in it”

    Guess what? If you bothered to read the bank disclosures given to you when you opened your bank account, you would know that check deposits made via ATM are subject to a 2-day hold. Surprise, surprise, it’s right there in black in white.

    If it’s THAT important that the check clear immediately, make the transaction with a HUMAN teller whether via phone, or in-person.

    I see everyone trying to jump Wachovia’s case on this one, but it’s truly a case where it’s not their fault. Any check you drop into an ATM has to be manually entered by a teller when the machine is emptied.

    Even my credit union’s very up-front that checks will take an additional day to clear when deposited via ATM. The reason for this? Too many people were making fraudulent deposits by stuffing empty envelopes into the ATM machine, then would make a withdrawl that day before the CU figured out what happened. Some of the latest Diebold ATMs are capable of scanning the checks directly, and when these become more prevalent, they’ll probably do away with the delay.

  63. mmartinphd says:

    @kpanov: If you do the autodownloading into quicken, they now charge $5.95 a month (see previous Consumerist story about that), if you do it manually, you don’t pay.

  64. mmartinphd says:

    @healthdog: I’m going to check with USAA today! Thanks.

  65. lincolnparadox says:


    Is there any way to check how crappy a bank corp is online?

  66. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    @FLConsumer:

    Actually, you are wrong. I made the same comment and corrected myself. If you read my correction, you’ll find that Cory made a deposit of a check from his own bank and Reg CC says that such deposits, even at an ATM, must be available on the first business day following the banking day of deposit.

  67. FLConsumer says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: I don’t see how any bank could comply with this given the existing base of ATM machines. They wouldn’t know where the check came from until a human manually extracts the check from the ATM and processes it. Considering how up-front Wachovia is about ATM deposits taking additional time, I still place the blame on Cory. You shouldn’t be cutting things THAT closely that a 1-2 day delay causes an issue.

  68. Spamboy says:

    For people saying switch to a credit union, it’s not always that simple because not all credit unions offer business services. USAA doesn’t, which is why my wife and I had to find another bank like Wachovia to handle our business checking needs.

    In the instance of Wachovia, we were unable to setup automatic transfers between our business and personal checking accounts, even though both were at Wachovia. So we had to do what Cory did — write business checks and deposit them into our personal checking account.

    The same issue that mmartinphd is now experiencing bit us recently as well. I was able to get the first Quicken charge rolled back, but I’m stuck paying additional charges until I can switch banks. Wachovia was once a nice institution, but they’re bending us over nowadays and refuse to apologize to us as well. We’ll have to keep our business account there or at a similar institution, but our personal checking business is now going back to USAA.

  69. gbroiles says:

    I’ve been aggravated with bogus “holds” on deposits from both my credit union and Bank of America. Any suggestions for identifying institutions that won’t do this?

    I am an attorney, and frequently get paid by check. I am investigating processing payments as ACH payments rather than depositing checks in my bank. I am not excited about this, because when I’m acting as a consumer I think it’s creepy, but I’m sick of having to watch the bank like a hawk to figure out whether or not I can write a check to cover rent or payroll.

  70. palegreenstars says:

    They did something similar to me – I deposited a check through their ATM, and they lost it. I had no idea about the error until I received a bank statement saying that my account had gone into overdraft, and that I owed them $200 in overdraft fees. When I called about the error, they informed me that they’d be happy to research their error (for a $70 research fee). The check itself was only for $100. They “found” the check, erased my overdraft fees, but kept my $70. That’s when I switched to the State Employees Credit Union.

  71. txgalinca says:

    Guaranty Bank is another nightmare. I deposited $400 cash in my account before closing time. As explained to me by the rather snooty customer service man, because I didn’t meet their “cut-off” time, my available balance was only $100. The full amount was not going to be available till the next evening. I was dinged $35 for a $105 check that cleared the morning after my deposit. Although my online banking NEVER showed I went in the red, Guaranty insisted that I had exceeded by “available” balance. I reminded him that I deposited CASH, not a check. He insisted that if I managed my account better it wouldn’t happen and perhaps I should sign up for their overdraft protection. I asked him whether he preferred to lose a customer or a service fee. He backed down saying he would do this as a one time courtesy!

  72. Jackson_Pollock says:

    I have to say that on the one hand I can appreciate the frustration and the anger I’m reading in the prior postings. On the other hand, I have no idea where some of the expectations that people hold may come from.

    When you have a check, you have a piece of paper. Not cash money, not coins, not bars of precious metal-a piece of paper. One of millions that a large bank has to transport every day from the branch to a processing center, and then either move physically through a federal reserve branch or electronify and move through the same channels.

    As for the vaunted credit unions and smaller, local banks, you may all be suprised to know that the majority of them process all their items through larger banks as well. They simply can’t support the necessary staffing and infrastructure to do it in-house.

    Which brings me to my central point; banks accept a risk every time they accept your piece of paper and exchange it for cash or available credit in your account. In fact, banks accept a LOT of risks when they handle your money-that’s why they were created. They exchange risk and convenience (yours) for profit (theirs).

    Without banks you’d have to carry all your money with you everywhere in a sack. Or hide it somewhere before you went to work every day. When you got paid you’d have to carry hit home at your own risk. If you bought something large like a car or house you’d have to bring a friend to help you guard the cash or gold on the way.

    Please; step back and take a realistic look at all of the transactions you make every day, and multiply that by 10-20 million people for the average large bank.

  73. Wachoviasux says:

    Business as usual for the #1 in Customer Service Bank in the wolrd…WALKALLOVERYA!