The Place to Go For BofA Justice: Twitter

Reader Alex was at his wits end with Bank of America and their ever-present rate changing. After using every other resource, he turned to BofA’s Twitter, and actually got some resolution. Full letter inside.

Hey guys,

I’ve been reading the consumerist for awhile and have never had a reason to contact you guys. I love your work and it actually has helped me spend less and pay off more on my credit debt. (I think the best thing I learned on your site was about the girl who paid off her credit debt in 12 months or so. Like her, my credit card is also frozen in the freezer). Well I’ve finally had an experience that was so unexpected that I had to tell you guys about it.

Here is my experience:
I lost my job last march and have struggled to keep my life afloat financially. Because of the loss of job, my credit card (Bank of America) balance has been up near the limit. I have just been paying the min. payments on the bills and haven’t been getting anywhere on the principle. This was alright for the time being, as I planned to start paying more than the min. once I got a job.

In December I finally got a job again. By this time my credit card was maxed out, and had been over the limit a few times due to the monthly fee’s that were imposed on the account. In December, I had my first late payment. This payment wasn’t “late”, it was done on the due date, but apparently Bank of America considers a payment made on the due date as a late payment. This caused my interest rate to go up from 13% to 29.99% (default rate) and the min. payments to go up from $100 or so to $214/month

I’m a college student who gets paid minimum wage + tips. I hardly had the money to pay the payments as it is, let alone with this new rate. This new rate would have led to a snowballing effect of me not having the money to pay the payments and incurring more fee’s. I was dreading what was to come. I called Bank of America customer service and tried to get the credit rate reduced. However they said they were unable to do anything do to the times the account had gone over the limit or a late payment.

I read your article about Bank of America’s twitter account (http://consumerist.com/5133139/reach-boa-customer-service-on-twitter) and figured that this would probably be my last chance of getting something changed. I signed up to twitter for the sole reason of getting in contact with BofA_help. I got a hold of him and he emailed me asking for some info and to tell him what happened. He said he would see what he could do. Three days later, I got a phone call from Bank of America saying that they were able to reduce my rate from 29.99% back to 13%.

This has completely made my day. I feel like a huge wait has been taken off my shoulders, and I am now putting all available funds towards paying this card off. I told myself that if David Knapp (real name of BofA_help) could help me out with this, that I would make sure that someone would hear about it. This is why I’m letting you guys know that their twitter account is real and can actually help get better results than talking to customer service alone. Thanks for your time guys and keep up the great work at The Consumerist!

—Alex
(consumerist user name: alex_fett)

Comments

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  1. rubyfrog says:

    That is a great story and I’m very glad you were able to get your rate reduced, Alex! I’m still wondering why BofA wasn’t able to help him out over the phone. What’s so special about contacting them over Twitter? Maybe Twitter is BofA’s new form of escalations :-p

    • MiltyKiss says:

      @rubyfrog: Maybe the customer service reps were lazy or didn’t know what to do so they told him that. This happened to me with my old credit card company (NOT BoA).

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @rubyfrog: One guess is that perhaps Reps only can lower rates so many times per day.

      Since the twitter reps are probably far less popular they are more likely to have not met their limit when you contact them.

      pure speculation but sounds good to me.

    • Charlotte Rae's Web says:

      @rubyfrog: I have to assume that that BofA wanted some good pub with the Twitter stuff so was willing to go the extra mile. Twitter can be helpful tool but it is also a great PR tool – it ended up here after all where BofA and many other banks get slammed.

      I’m a BofA customer so this isn’t being bitter, just realistic that PR is a game companies factor into their service equations now.

    • TheWillow says:

      @rubyfrog: My guess? Typically, there are fewer people on twitter than there are on the phone, and yet the people who know about twitter are more likely to be vocal about their displeasure.

      It’s probably more beneficial to BoA from a PR perspective to respond to twitter complaints than phone queries.

  2. pmcpa2 says:

    Same with comcast_cares here. If Comcast Cares, train your people on the phones properly, then issues will never be posted here!

    • Blueskylaw says:

      @pmcpa2:

      If you complain on the phone and nothing happens then they win, if you go complain online then there will be a record for other people to see. This tends to force them into damage control mode so their “good” name isn’t sullied.

  3. savdavid says:

    I agree with rubyfrog. Why couldn’t the CSRs help him over the phone? I guess the less people they help the more money they keep so they make it as difficult as possible to get help. I mean, what percentage of BOA customers know about twitter?
    Don’t they know that having to search the web for help or luck out on finding help is no service at all? It is a planned maze they put between the customer and REAL service?

  4. FordingTheRiver_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Any chance he can help me get my job back at B of A?

  5. jtheletter says:

    Bank of America this is shameful.

    Any company where you have to know some insider secret method to get actual service – because true customer service CAN’T BE FOUND through your advertised channels – is a company that has failed to serve its customer base.

    BoA how much are you spending (wasting) on call centers empowered to do nothing?

    • tbax929 says:

      @jtheletter:

      This was my reaction to the story as well. Why do we need some sort of decoder ring in order to get good service; shouldn’t that be a given. B of A lost me a long time ago, and I’ll never go back to them.

  6. chrisgeleven says:

    The ComcastCares guy on Twitter is fantastic as well. I was once having internet speed issues and the Comcast phone line had a 45+ minute wait. I sent him a message on Twitter when I noticed he had been recently replying to messages and within 5 minutes I noticed my cable modem was rebooting. When it came back up, the Internet issue was fixed and he had replied to my e-mail asking if everything was working now.

    Now that is fast service!

  7. Amy Alkon000 says:

    Glad to hear that, because I put in a complaint at the Comptroller of the Currency on September 22, and it’s February, and they still haven’t dealt with it, and I believe they have a period of 30 days in which they’re supposed to do something. I in turn complained to the Federal Reserve, and I just got a letter from the Comptroller acknowledging that complaint letter. A privacy rights lawyer told me the guy who’s the Comptroller used to be a banking lobbyist. I wonder if that has anything to do with this. I don’t know that it does for sure, but I don’t like the fact that the fox is guarding the henhouse.

    Oh, and my complaint is in regard to B of A’s “security” procedures at teller windows. Seven times, their gave thousands of dollars to my money to women with ONLY a fake driver’s license with the wrong expiration date. No bankcard was demanded, no PIN required, no sig checked. SEVEN times. I got my money back, and the bank fired me as a customer after I complained that they failed their fiduciary duty to me. I’m complaining to the Comptroller in hopes of protecting all the other people who I feel are in serious jeopardy of identity theft based on an investigation I did over a period of months (with reportorial skills — I’m not just an ordinary interested person).

    I would sooner keep my money in a mason jar in the backyard than bank at B of A.

  8. Cocotte says:

    re: paying on the due date: it’s important to remember that payments often take a couple of days to process, depending on the method you use.

    • lauy says:

      @Cocotte:

      True, but they should be effective dated back to the date the payment was received by the bank. Providan got hit with a multimillion dollar class action lawsuit in California for this practice (inaccurate payment dating, often times weeks after the bank processing date on the back of the consumer’s check).

      The only caveat to this would be if the payment was received after the daily cutoff time. I recall most cards have a payment deadline for same day payments.

  9. BrazDane says:

    A good guess as to why Twitter worked is that it is a public complaint, not just something a bored phone rep is hearing. Second, Twitter is likely kept an eye on by PR/marketing people, and they know the negative publicity such a story can generate. It is much smarter for them to attend to his problem and get positive PR out of this one case, than to extend it to everyone who calls in with a similar situation and don’t know about Twitter.
    In any case, it is good customer service – kudos!

  10. Anonymous says:

    An EECB to Bank of America helped me after the first person I talked to on the phone said that there was no one else I could talk to and she didn’t even have a number to transfer me to since I wasn’t available for a rate descrease because I had two late payments. I got the BofA addresses from Consumerist.

  11. Residentdrunkgirl says:

    They did this for me OVER THE PHONE last week. Basically the same story exactly.

  12. tworld says:

    Step #1 – Every time a company rips you off, post it on the web on as many blogs as possible. Also send out messages to your state’s Attorney General, The New York Times, you get the idea. Just lots of high profile places, AND keep a link to the page your message is on.

    Step #2 – Go to the company’s web site, look for Contact Us, or any e-mail to their Shareholders, Corporate office. Or, the best one of all, the company that does their Public Relations who are getting paid to keep a smiley face on their image.

    Step #3 – Send an e-mail to highest person listed, with cc’s to the rest, advising you’re not going to stop until they resolve your issue, and below that put all the links.

    The above may be a little bit of work, but you know what? IT WORKS BIG TIME. I once got a phone call from a CEO who apologized for the problem and told me it had already been resolved. And, I received a letter in the mail from someone lower on the totem pole, giving his direct phone number, and telling me to call him if I ever have another problem.

    It was like a Hollywood happy ending.