EECB Finally Gets Someone At Bank Of America To Listen, Admit Responsibility

Bank of America messed up Andy’s credit score by failing to send him credit card statements or giving him online access to an old account he only recently started using again. They also refused to work with him over the phone, telling him each time he called that they had no record of his previous conversations with customer service and therefore no reason to believe him.

He tried sending a certified letter. He contacted the credit reporting agency to dispute the delinquency claim, and he ended up being sent back to BoA’s credit dispute department, where they refused his request. Finally, all other channels exhausted, he resorted to the following Executive Email Carpet Bomb (EECB).

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing today to express my frustration in the lack of help I’ve been receiving from the associates at Bank of America. I’ve been in constant contact with your Credit Card Customer Service department about an on-going issue for the past few months along with sending certified letters (see below for tracking info) for someone to help me. Because of the lack of notes each associate has taken on my record, each call to Customer Service is always new adventure. Another result of the lack of notes is that no associate believes anything I say and are quick to note, “well we don’t have a record of that” which allows them to offer minimal help. It came to a point where I called on 6/18/09 asking for help and was told “there is no help and there’s nothing I can do.” I can’t express how embarrassing it is to call your customer service, explain my situation, and then be treated as if I were irresponsible and, basically, shown the door.

I have multiple products with Bank of America including a checking account and 2 credit cards and have contemplated moving more accounts over to take advantage of some of your other products. I have been a member since my accounts were MBNA back in 1999. That’s ten years of loyalty. But I am writing to talk about credit card account [redacted] which I used as my secondary credit account in the event my primary Bank of America card had any issues.

Since I used my primary card so much, it got to a point where no card readers would accept it. So I put in a call to Bank of America for a new card and used my secondary card (which carried a $0 balance) until my primary card was replaced. Since I’m also a heavy user of the BankofAmerica.com website, I enjoyed checking my statements and paying my bills online. I noticed the account-in-question was not attached to my online profile and a point came where I was not receiving a statement to pay off the account. I called Customer Service and after a couple hours of back and forth with your tech department and other managers, they were able to return with “an issue linking old MBNA accounts/profiles that were transferred during the buyout”. The customer service agent said that they were going to work on the online problem, but until then, a statement was definitely on the way.

Time passed, and I still didn’t get a statement. So I called Customer Service again and was told that the statement was already sent and to wait a couple days and call back again if it doesn’t show up. So I waited, no statement, and I call customer service again. The new agent I spoke to was confused as I tried to explain my situation, again, that my account was not attached online, your tech department was working on it, I’m not receiving statements, and I have no way to pay my bill. The customer service agent said I can pay over the phone but there was a fee. I asked if she can waive the fee considering all the issues and she told me she could not do that. So I said I’ll wait another week for the statement since the agent ASSURED me one was on the way.

Time passes, again, no statement. I jumped on my BankofAmerica.com account and the account in question had Finally attached to my profile. I was relieved because I really didn’t want to call customer service again over this issue. BUT, I had toÖ The account was past due and late fees were tacked onÖ I called and had to explain the story again, and of course I get “there’s no record of any of that” and that I needed to be more responsible. Obviously I’m trying to be responsible, which is why I have been calling. But the agent politely apologized for the inconvenience and waived all the fees to the account and stayed on the phone with me as I completed an online payment to the account. I was VERY happy with how the situation ended (or so I thought) and we proceeded to close the account since I still was not receiving statements.

I recently ordered a pre-approval for a mortgage refinance and received my credit report. I noticed a flag on my credit report for the account in question. After the constant communication with customer service, the issues with the web site, not receiving statements, an admitted “issue with previous MBNA profiles/accounts” and not to mention the 10 years of loyalty with absolutely no blemishes, I cannot understand how this account was reported as a “delinquent account.”

I wrote letters to the 3 main credit bureaus (certified mail), a letter to Bank of America (see tracking info below), and, again, called Bank of America customer where I was greeted with “I don’t have a record of any of that” but will put in a “request” to the Credit department to review the account (April 22, 2009). A few weeks later I received responses from the 3 credit bureaus all stating, “We have verified that Bank of America did in fact report this account. All disputes should be resolved through Bank of America.” That’s fine, but I had yet to hear anything from Bank of America from the letter and dispute I requested.

June 17, 2009.

I decided to call again to see what steps were being taken on my account where, again, I was greeted with “I don’t have a record of any of that except that we closed the account and a dispute was generated by our customer service department.” So I again repeated the entire story in which the agent told me “we already made a decision and we will not be removing the delinquent notice from your credit report.” I asked who else I can speak to but was told “there is no one else.” I don’t buy it, there’s ALWAYS someone to talk to. I didn’t ask to speak to a CEO, just to someone who can help me and who would listen to my side of the story.

I was then told “Sir, there is no one else to talk to, we’ve made our decision. From what i’m reading, you were late and you disputed this.”

Even after explaining the story and all the issues again, and being told that there is absolutely no one else I can discuss this with, I asked, “So where is the letter I sent you explaining the situation? Did anyone review it?”

“I don’t have a record of that,” your associate responded.

I respond, “Well, I have a record that I sent you a letter, and I have a record stating you received it, so why isn’t THAT recorded in your notes, and why hasn’t anyone responded? If you guys record every contact you receive from us, why hasn’t anyone contacted me” (see tracking info below)

“I’m sorry sir, that may be on another recording system.”

SERIOUSLY?? Another recording system?? So are all my other online issues and phone calls also on another recording system?

We again went back and forth about how many other people there are at Bank of America and I, in no way, can speak to any of them.

I asked how the last customer service associate put in the dispute I requested by phone. “There is a form we fill out,” he said.

I asked if its just “Check off your issue” and then fill out an explanation, or just copy/paste my account number and then push send.

“No, I fill out your account and then select ëwould like to dispute’ and send it in.”

Any employee can look at an account and see the person was late and say “we won’t fix it.” But that wasn’t the case with mine. I wanted to speak to someone. I wanted someone to read my letter. I wanted someone to HELP me. SPEAK to me. GIVE me the respect of explaining what was going on over there… I even went out of my way to write a full letter requesting help as well as attached a copy of my FULL credit report with the issue highlighted to make the issue for your associates as simple as possible upon receipt.

Now, I understand mergers can be stressful, I also understand mistakes happen, I am also VERY forgiving when it comes to mistakes, but, constantly being told that it’s my fault, “we don’t have a record of that,” “we can’t do any more for you” and “there’s no one else that can help you” is UNACCEPTABLE. I’ve been extremely patient with your staff, I have never yelled at them, never cursed at them, and have tried to uphold as much professionalism as I can muster. But this has gone TOO far. 10 years of loyalty, 10 years of being in “good standing” and an issue I had NO control over arises and I get screwed over with absolutely no help from anyone.

I’ve hit a dead end and would like some help from somebody. A manager, a district manager, someone who will actually take the time to listen to me and review my situation without looking at the lack of notes and saying “we don’t have a record of that.”

I included my contact information below and am available, at any time, to discuss this matter.

Your kindness in this matter would be GREATLY appreciated.

Sincerely ,
Andrew

Whew, that was long! But it was a long story, and a frustrating one. We were especially annoyed by how, as time went on, Bank of America used its own institutional amnesia to justify blaming Andrew for a series of mistakes made on their end. What’s the point of having a “notes” section on an account, and of repeatedly referring to it, if your CSRs aren’t actually using it correctly?

The good news is that the EECB had the desired effect. Andrew wrote back to us this morning,

The day I sent the email (Friday), an executive named Nereida called me from the office of Ken Lewis. She was extremely polite and seemed to really care about how I felt with getting a dead end in the customer service I should have received. She was prepared with a list of names of managers ready to work with me. But she did NOT send me on a calling spree. She had already put in calls to these people, but since it was Friday night at 730pm, everyone here on the east coast was gone for the day. So she said she would call me first thing Monday morning and keep me informed on any updates she received, and again apologized for not receiving more attention.

I received a call from Nereida this morning at about 10:30am and she conference-called me with Myron who worked out of the Consumer Credit Affairs division. Myron told me that they would be removing the alerts from my credit report. He also told me that he did see a couple reasons as to why I may not have recieved a statement and because of that, and along with all the details I had given, he saw no reason not to remove the alerts on my credit report.

The lesson here is that the EECB still can work, if you have a good reason to send it. As Andy points out in his summary below, it really pays to exhaust your other options first. When you launch and EECB you should be able to explain how you were blocked from a solution at every other customer service path in the company first.

Originally, I thought that my EECB would be a lost cause. Even fall on deaf ears… But thanks to Nereida’s kindness and swift action, she helped to make my issue go away in less than 2 days.

To the readers of The Consumerist, the EECB works, but PLEASE do not abuse it. I exhausted every resource including numerous phone calls to customer serivce, secure emails from my bankofamerica.com account, and even resorted to Certified Mail with the USPS, which I feel was the biggest help in my case.

(Photo: Indigo Goat)