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 )