Bank of America Suddenly Charges You $146 In Fees For Using Your Checking Account Too Much

Reader Ophelia has a problem. It seems that after 10 years of perfect customer service from Bank of America, they suddenly decided to treat her checking account like a savings account and are charging her hundreds of dollars in “over use” fees. Her apoplectic letter is inside.

I have been a BofA customer for over 10 years, with the exact same checking and savings accounts. I NEVER had a problem- my debit card was stolen twice, and the funds were replaced in my account within hours. I never experienced the ridiculous holds, fees-from-nowhere, or other craziness other people complain about. I even recommended BofA to friends when Wells Fargo screwed them up.

Until this month.

This month alone I have been charged $146 in “over use fees”. WTF are overuse fees? Apparently there is suddenly “too much activity” on my account. Too many deposits (WTF?), too many ATM withdrawals (BofA atms), too many transfers, and too many uses at stores as a debit card. The irony is, I’ve been doing LESS transactions by close to 50% in the past two months. I also have “free checking.”

I called the bank. Ooops, their bad. Here, they will refund HALF that money as a “courtesy”. I was also treated to a hard sell about how I should open ANOTHER BofA account and how if I did, then they would waive all the fees.

The kicker though, was the debacle of my last deposit, made yesterday. I made my $900 deposit at the local Bofa ATM- the new fancy kind with the optical reader. Verified the scan, to go to my checking acct. Went to withdraw, and hey, where’d my $ go? Into my SAVINGS account.

Went into the bank. Manager apologized profusely. Couldn’t get tech support on the phone, they were too busy. The Manager stood next to me at the ATM and directed me to transfer the $900 from savings to checking, he watched to verify it worked correctly. It seemed to. Life went on.

Today…..$900 were removed from my accounts…. FEES for “erroneous ATM transfer”. The ENTIRE paycheck? GONE.

I LOSE IT.

I call Bofa. I cannot get through for over FIVE hours, “there are too many customers waiting to speak to an associate, please call back later.”

They would not release the funds….they would not admit error.

Two more HOURS of talking to 3 reps, and 2 supervisors, plus getting a banking advocate (my friend who is a former BOFA manager) to talk to them for me, the funds are released.

Except ANOTHER $87 in fees because the other fees counted as transactions and now once again I was subject to an activity fee, which hadn’t gone through because the deposit was messed up and so I had a overdraft fee for the bogus fees. Is that clear? EXACTLY. I’ll try it again. Bank messes up, puts deposit in wrong acct. Manager directs me to transfer. I do. I incur a fee because the funds weren’t released properly (no one can tell me why this crap happened). ALL money taken from my account. Additional fees because those other fees I just said put me over an activity limit (WTF?!?!), which never existed before, but now does. Now an overdraft fees because without the deposit being available all those fees overdrew my account.

So that refund for half the OTHER wrong set of fees? MEANINGLESS. I am now even more in the hole.

On Monday I am closing my accounts, taking the CASH and going to WaMu.

Well, Ophelia, it seems that Bank of America thinks you have two savings accounts rather than a checking and a savings account. We checked their fee schedule and there’s no mention of a transaction limit for checking accounts. You might want to report them to their regulatory agency.

Here’s how you do that:

1) Contact Bank of America with a formal complaint. You can do this in writing,
or by email. Keep a copy of this complaint for your records.

2) Figure out which agency regulates your bank by calling or using FDIC’s Bank Find.

3) Write a formal complaint letter to the bank’s regulatory agency. Follow the FTC’s instructions for writing a complaint.
This document also has the correct contact information for the various regulatory agencies. Keep a copy of this complaint for your records.

By filing a complaint, the regulating agency will investigate whether Bank of America’s incompetance actually violated any banking regulations.

Then, of course, you can find a new bank.

(Photo: Maulleigh )

Comments

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  1. B says:

    Wow, BofA is really pushing for that worst company in America trophy.

  2. SkokieGuy says:

    Does ending a letter “On Monday I am closing my accounts, taking the CASH and going to WaMu” hurt the situation?

    The bank obviously massively screwed up in multiple ways and the OP’s outrage is totally understandable – but, I guestion, short of legal or regulatory agency intervention, what incentive the asshat bank has to rectify their screw up of someone who has already made it clear they will not continue as a customer?

  3. Truvill says:

    Now I’m scared. The only reason I opened an account with them was because I had some checks coming in overseas and BoA was the only entity near me that would allow me to cash those checks through them and have it directly deposited in my account.

  4. Konrad says:

    Looks like they outright stole $900 from you.

    I would be calling your state’s attorney general.

  5. whoareyou says:

    Don’t go to WAMU. Find a reliable credit union and put your money there. Credit unions are commonly owned by their members and aren’t nearly as fee crazy as banks.

  6. darkrose says:

    My local credit union doesn’t charge me usage fees…and I can use any STAR or AFFN ATM worldwide for free (they refund if I get charged a fee). Been with this bank for 20+ years. I guess they like me.

    But yeah, quit feeding the megacorp banks and go with a local bank or credit union. I’d rather get hit with a few $3 ATM fees than hundreds of dollars in “usage” fees for the privilege to use my money.

  7. Coelacanth says:

    One more reason to hate them. As if I needed any more.

  8. HalOfBorg says:

    The Pointy-Haired Bosses are running the asylum…..

  9. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    I think it is the transfers that she got charged for. I think I am limited to 3 or 4 transfers from my savings to my checking, and unlimited transfers the other way around.

    I switched my main account to ING Direct months ago, I only transfer money to BofA if I need to actually write a physical check. Don’t know why people still trust ‘em with so many alteratives available.

  10. BlondeGrlz says:

    @SkokieGuy: Your comment is funny because this story was actually from the comments on the LAST BofA post, where several posters suggested all that was missing from the letter was “I’m taking my money and leaving for a Credit Union on Monday!”

  11. burgundyyears says:

    Too many deposits? Even if their systems got confused to the point where they thought it was a savings account, there shouldn’t be any limit on number of deposits. Crazy.

  12. Buran says:

    Still have not had a problem with BofA, but thank you for the tips on what to do if I ever do.

    Sadly, I’ve seen horror stories about all sorts of banks (and credit unions), so I don’t know that switching will actually do a lot, but good luck anyway.

  13. Eels says:

    I am so glad I don’t have BOA anymore. They sure made a lot of money off of me when I was a college student. I refuse to even use their ATM anymore which has a three dollar (!) surcharge.

    For a long time after I closed my account, I just used cash. I thought all banks had to be equally evil.

    I am with the Credit Union now and I don’t know why everyone doesn’t use one. Everything is completely free, including overdraft protection. I even got my debit card the day I signed up for my account.

  14. JDAC says:

    The day BofA told me an out of state check would take 8 business days to clear was the day they lost me. This was on top of allowing me access to my money until midnight friday, then reversing the hold.

    Although I generally had good luck in their branches, the phone support is dire. I just hope Bank of Texas is an improvement…

  15. Scuba Steve says:

    @SkokieGuy: “what incentive the asshat bank has to rectify their screw up of someone who has already made it clear they will not continue as a customer?”

    The proper “rectification” is the replacement of whoever screw up so badly. I doubt that will happen.

  16. starrion says:

    WaMu is just as bad

    GO to a Credit Union! These mega-corp banks treat customers as nothing more than fee-cows. They are all “that bad”.

  17. smithereensblog says:

    Man, I was writing a blog post about poor customer service in the banking and wireless industries in Canada today, and I popped by Consumerist to find that last BoA article to use as an American example, only to find another 3 horrible bank-customer-disservice stories today! Glad to know it’s not a problem unique to Canada…

    I dub this phenomenon “Collaborative Incompetence”, when all the companies in a niche think they don’t need to be the best to succeed, the only need to… not be the worst. I linked to a few of these articles in my post.

    Cheers,

    Daniel

  18. WaMu? That’s like switching from McDonald’s to Wendy’s. Find a credit union. You’ll thank me.

  19. malvones says:

    personally, I would run, not walk, from a bank that reported 95% losses in the 4th quarter. erratic behavior could just as easily seep into the consumer unit.

  20. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @Steaming Pile: But… but Wendy’s has delicious chicken sandwiches and Frostys… FROSTYS!

  21. pmathews says:

    A few years back my wife and I moved into an area that Wells Fargo didn’t serve. We didn’t like them anyways so it wasn’t hard to switch banks. We wanted something local and not as wide spread as the mega-banks (ie BofA, Wamu, etc) so we went with a Louisiana based bank that also served East Texas. I was doing a lot of traveling between the two areas so this bank was perfect. So we opened up our Hibernia checking account. Two months later we received a letter informing us that Hibernia was bought out by Capital One. So much for the hometown bank. But Capital One has been good to us so far and we can’t complain.

  22. g1cwells says:

    As a former BofA “helpline” employee (we were the ones the employees called when they didn’t know how to do something or couldn’t solve a problem), I think I can give you some insight here.

    Occasionally (maybe once every 2 or 3 months), I’d get a call on something like this. Bottom line, somewhere deep in the “BOSS” program (this is the mainframe interface that the windows-based programs interface with)there is a code that for some reason has been triggered to make your account look to the back-end system like a savings account, even though the front-end system says it’s a checking account. THAT code needs to be changed, and until it is changed, you’re going to continue to have these problems.

    I’d advise you to go into a branch, instead of trying to call on the phone, and then ask the customer service person to call National Helpline to get some help.

  23. yetiwisdom says:

    I keep seeing those “join a credit union” comments and decided to take a look around for how I might do that – not that I’m going to (I have a F&F account with one a’tha big banks and get personal service & no fees).

    But still, I was curious. I took a look around and found this credit union search engine which returned some good results for me and might prove helpful for others:

    [www.howtojoinacu.org] & [www.findacreditunion.com] (same content, 2 URLs)

    (not affiliated in any way, just contributing – if anyone else knows good www resources for finding a credit union maybe we can help people get outa these abusive relationships with BoA/WaMu…)

  24. anarcurt says:

    Don’t close that account until you get your fees back, once you close that account they will do everything possible not to pay. Keep whatever the minimum is and if there is no minimum keep at least $100. Feel free to pull the rest and establish an account at a different bank, just make sure you give yourself 30 days to ensure your direct deposits are switched over.

  25. Buran says:

    @g1cwells: I’d advise better error checking, actually… don’t band-aid the problem. Cure it.

  26. PAZAN says:

    As their television advertisments clearly pronounce – “Bank of Opportunity”. Shocking yes, suprised, definitely not. The government regulators and congress have allowed these financial institutions to get too big.

  27. buzzybee says:

    If they refund half, you’ve lost $73 over 10 years. Suck it up, it’s not that much in the long run.

  28. BalknChain says:

    Every two weeks when we go to BoA to deposit my paycheck, which is drawn on that branch no less, it’s the same thing : “Can we see your ID?” this is to deposit the entire check. Kind of like begging them to take our money. They originally wanted 2 forms of ID and a major credit card.

  29. Nighthawk Foo says:

    This is why I love my credit union.

  30. Coder4Life says:

    @buzzybee: No the point is why don’t I just take $200 out of yoru next paycheck you put in. Don’t worry it’s only $200 over your lifetime you are scammed out of. Or maybe that $200 was for gas, groceries or your medication. Don’t worry about that, no big deal.

  31. MaelstromRider says:

    Isn’t closing your account at BoA and opening one at WaMu instead kind of like preferring to be killed by Jason than by Freddy Krueger?

  32. Maybe but at least Jason will kill you quick Freedy likes to screw with your mind first. So one is slightly better

  33. baristabrawl says:

    Seriously? You get one change to screw up my money. Then I go shopping for a new bank.

    Incidentally, people are much nicer to me at my bank if I deal with my “joint” account as opposed to my single account. Joint checking is much bigger than my puny single account and they’re not linked for a reason.

    Just saying.

  34. Consumer007 says:

    File suit for all the money they STOLE from your account and the resulting bogus fees, and then when the judge orders you to settle / into arbitration, stand on the table and scream and yell at them in the “negotiation”. Become someone they can’t handle and scare them to death (whatever it takes short of getting arrested, that is.)

    Get the name of the branch manager and call the police, arrest him / her for theft. It’s not like you don’t have proof.

    Maybe people being led out of the bank in handcuffs will make them rethink the nonsense.

    Class action suit anyone?

  35. TPS Reporter says:

    @buzzybee: Give me $73 every 10 years and see how you would like it. If you really think that way you’ve completely missed the point.

  36. stinerman says:

    I’m going to say it again because it hasn’t been said enough:

    Umm…credit union?

  37. wesa says:

    Two words: credit union

  38. MissGayle says:

    We love our credit union – free checking, all our kids checking accounts and savings accounts are linked to ours and we can transfer things all over the place as much as we need to with no fees at all – all online!

    Forget WAMU. They suck. I’ve only got one credit card left with them and I’ll be extremely happy when it’s paid off.

  39. Lambasted says:

    Too many transactions on a checking account?!!! Outrageous!! Dear god, it’s nasty American business practices like these that sometimes make me wish I was British.

  40. geoffhazel says:

    It’s all because of the high cost of oil, and the banks have to make up the additional costs SOME way!

    oh, wait… that’s airlines….

    never mind!

  41. SayAhh says:

    I go to East-West Bank. They know me so well, they’ll even let my dad deposit my paycheck and withdraw money for me. I swore years ago that I’d never bank with BofA again after using the ATM card to buy gas at ARCo three times, getting charged a $15 fee per occurrence because my checking account had a withdrawal limit. Might’ve been my fault, sure, but they could’ve waived it. I was 16 years old, though, at the time, but that’s when I started not liking them. Well, that, and I missed their old logo: [www.marketingwithstyle.com]

  42. tony23 says:

    Is it me, or has nobody ever heard of Small Claims Court?

    F*@# class action. What would the reaction be from these big corps to THOUSANDS of small claims lawsuits?

    Why is it that I have no hope of seeing it actually happen?