Bank Of America Uses Temporary Hold To Trigger Overdraft Fee?

Bank of America got so fee crazy last week that it applied a $10 overdraft fee to Christopher’s account even though it wasn’t overdrafted. I went back and forth with Christopher to try to figure out what BoA could have done to trigger this, but as you can see from the screen cap below, he only had two debits on the day of the event.



Christopher mentioned that there had been a $4.50 debit that had never posted, so I asked him to elaborate:

The 4.50 never posted and would have been dated before on 10/21 depending on if it had been a legitimate charge. The charge was there on the 21st but cleared without posting (temporary hold due to a broken credit machine). It was dated on the 21st.

So if that charge was not a real charge—it doesn’t even show up on the 10/22 section of transactions, as you can see above, and it didn’t seem to impact the balance—how again did BoA justify the overdraft?

Christopher says Bank of America won’t actually investigate the issue and give him a real answer. Instead, they’re just keeping him in a “web support” loop that’s growing smaller and smaller:

I also find it highly difficult to continue a thread with them as it is limited to 10,000 characters but each time includes the previous message(s) in an un-editable quote in that 10,000 character limit. So after three messages that is full, and I must start a new thread, which then gets the same chain letters, in order.


Update: Several commenters made good suggestions below. To help Christopher and future readers, I’m highlighting some of them here:

lankysob says this is how BoA’s Overdraft Protection works:

When BoA approved the Overdraft Protection (which was tied to my BoA Amex card I set up long ago as backup to save me from paying the stupid $35 O/D fees per transaction), it moved $100 from my Amex to my checking account and considered everything cool. When I called to complain and ask why would an account that has more than $0.00 in it ever need Overdraft Protection, I was told that BoA “goes ahead and determines a dollar amount ABOVE $0.00 based on the credit/debit history of the last few credit/debits applied to your checking account, and then uses that number as it’s ‘0 Point’ as to when to kick Overdraft Protection into effect for you.” I was, understandably, outraged by this and asked “Ok, well where is this magic number you’ve chosen for me so I know to treat that as my $0.00 amount?” “We can’t/aren’t able to give you that information because it’s not an exact number that stays the same.”

Both Hobart007 and MedicallyNeedy suggest that you go into a local branch and speak to the branch manager in person. If it’s a first time issue or you can convince the manager it’s BoA’s mistake, he or she might waive it.

And trillium points out a helpful feature on the BoA website:

A little known of (I know I didn’t know about it ) feature on the B of A website is on the left hand side titled “Available Balance History”. Unlike the default view this shows the order of which charges have hit as well as holds on the account.

(Photo: P/UL)

Comments

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  1. scotttboy says:

    Honestly I’m not surprised at all. This sort of activity is not uncommon with Bank of America, which is why I no longer bank there or continue to use my BoA credit cards.

  2. jvanbrecht says:

    Thats an awfully low balance available on that debit card…. Not saying the OP is wrong.. but seriously… unless that card has a single purpose and you use it only for things like netflix etc and transfer the exact amount of money into that account as needed, then fine.. but if you are using it for lunches and stuff.. going that low seems like its asking for trouble.

    • mythago says:

      @jvanbrecht: If by “asking for trouble” you mean “making it easier for your bank to screw you,” yep.

    • morganlh85 says:

      @jvanbrecht: Ever hear of “paycheck to paycheck?”

    • Snockered says:

      @jvanbrecht: How exactly is that relevant?

      B of A owes him a response to his question–they get away with acting like people are LUCKY to be allowed to keep their money there.

    • Naame says:

      @jvanbrecht: As soon as I saw the screenshot I knew some dummy would bring up his low balance. It has absolutely nothing to do with the point of the article. If we attached 4 zeros to the end of each of those transactions and balances would it really make any difference at all?

      • lankysob says:

        @jvanbrecht: Here’s a thought: a lot of us have been unemployed, searching for jobs and have no choice but to have low balances.

      • bwcbwc says:

        @Naame: Nothing to do with the point of the article, except “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

        If he can’t afford to keep a higher balance, so be it. It’s not his _fault_ the bank screwed him over. But continually having a low balance in a BofA bank account is like wearing fancy jewelry into the drug-dealing section of town. It’s not your _fault_ if you get mugged, but it IS preventable.

        • nbs2 says:

          @bwcbwc: I don’t want to agree, but I have to. Having a low balance shouldn’t be an excuse for BoA actiong like BoA, but as a “One to Grow On” lesson, it seems like BoA customers need to maintain a balance that meets the magic threshold. So, while the OP got screwed, for those poor sould who have to deal with BoA, it’s something to notice, know, and grow from.

        • Naame says:

          @bwcbwc: I agree, but understand that few people “want” to carry a low balance. Out of the number of people that do carry them regularly it needs to be understood that a great many of them these days are very much aware of the value of saving money for a rainy day and all that jazz.

          The problem is that we are at nearly 10% unemployment. That means out of every 10 people you pass 1 of them doesn’t have a job (I realize the exceptions but you get my point). They a struggling. They are forced to make a choice which is to either be responsible by paying all the bills and leaving themselves with a small balance regularly or risk being late paying the bills or using that CC more just to keep a larger balance of liquid cash in the bank. They are trying to be as responsible as they can. What BoA is doing is taking full advantage of the situation and they can go to hell.

          Yes…there are also those who only have low balances regularly due to poor spending habits, but the main thing to remember is that these days we are not seeing an increase in these kinds of people. We are seeing a forceful decrease in them while we are seeing an increase in the responsible types that I am referring to due to job loss.

        • Naame says:

          @bwcbwc: You know what is really messed up? Considering the state of the times, these kinds of business practices prove that BoA’s success has almost nothing to do with offering a quality product/service at competitive costs. We already knew that of course, but this is just another shining example.

          If BoA was actually maintaining their success based on true consumer friendly competition that is both fair and healthy for our capitalistic society then they would be doing the exact opposite. They would be meeting the demands of their consumers to remain competitive by ceasing these predatory practices and offering much more appealing services to the consumer which are actually true to their description from A-Z. Why isn’t that happening? Because they are corrupt as all hell.

          • Dorkington says:

            @Naame: Well… I am sure I’ll get eaten alive for this… but BoA has always treated me well. I have 3 accounts with them, and any time I’ve had the slightest problem I’ve been able to call them up and its been resolved without issue.

            Are they a big greedy corporation? Sure. Most companies are…. they are in the business of making money.

            But my experiences have told me that they actually have pretty decent services when you take the initiative to make change happen.

            I imagine with the amount of accounts they have they must be doing something right, no?

            • Naame says:

              @Dorkington: Something right? Yes. Compared to their competition? Not a chance in hell especially when you compare them to most credit unions. You also need to consider how much of their success is based on the billions they make from overdrafts alone which are supposed to be for “our protection.” Being big doesn’t mean you are a quality business whether that be fiscally or ethically.

              I think the main reason a lot of people are still using BoA is because their branches and ATMs can be found everywhere. They are like the Starbucks of banks. That plus people are never comfortable with change especially when they do not realize what alternatives are available. A lot of people think that if they go to a competitor that their experiences will not change, but that is not true in many cases.

              For example, you might not have a branch for your credit union of choice everywhere you go, but many will accommodate you with things like refunding any ATM fee that you incur regardless of the amount and they will not charge you an additional fee on top of the ATM fee. They also offer other things like the ability to scan your checks at home or your office and send it to them if you don’t have direct deposit available. Some offer rewards for using your debit card similar to rewards like credit cards offer. In general, their rates tend to be a lot better, their services are typically more receptive, and overall it just feels like you are getting a banking service which is being driven by real consumer friendly competition.

              If you really need to go to a branch for something important then you still can if you select a credit union within your general area which shouldn’t be difficult unless you live some place very rural. When it comes to actual consumer friendly competition, there are many out there who beat BoA.

    • eccsame says:

      @jvanbrecht: If he had a high balance, we wouldn’t be reading about it.

      • bwcbwc says:

        @eccsame: Which is jvan’s point. It’s not OP’s _fault_ BofA is screwing him over, but if he had ditched the Netflix membership back when finances got critical, they never would have had the opportunity in the first place.

        I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, and when I got below $100, I simply stopped using my debit card for anything. Even for groceries, I would take out cash at the ATM to set a spending limit rather than risk hitting the debit card with an extra $10 or $20 at the checkout line. And this was back in the days when banks were more reasonable about fees than they are now.

        BofA is the bad guy here, but OP is not being a smart consumer. And constructive discussion of how to reduce the risk of this type of overdraft fee is (or at least should be) appropriate.

    • Karita says:

      @jvanbrecht: Maybe he keeps track of his balance and only keeps as much as he needs in there, so the rest of his money gets their (pitifully low) interest rate? Or maybe he’s just not rich. It doesn’t matter.

    • bohemian says:

      @jvanbrecht: His balance isn’t the issue. There is a piece of family lore about when my dad bounced a check for around 50grand. Money was supposed to be in the account as a transfer from another account. This was in the days before online backing and debit cards. The check for the upcoming large purchase showed up on time. The bank screwed up something on their end and didn’t post it to the right account. Luckily he knew the bank prez who handled it as soon as it was brought to his attention. Things happen to anyone.

      I really hate the insinuation that because this guy didn’t have a big balance he was somehow at fault for what BoA did.

    • Difdi says:

      @jvanbrecht: It’s his money. He didn’t spend more than he had in the account. Why should it matter if he had $0.68 in the account? He still had a positive balance after his last debit.

      Spending all the money in a debit account isn’t foolish, as long as you don’t try to spend more than you have. If it’s asking for trouble to have less than a $1 in it in case the bank makes a mistake, the same logic would also state that anyone with less than $81,400,836,908.01 in their account is being foolish as well. Bank errors happen no matter how much you have in the account, and there is no magic amount of money that would be safe from them.

    • bender123 says:

      @jvanbrecht:
      So what? I keep an “Allowance Account/Debit Card” that gets a Direct Deposit every paycheck of $200…I use this over a two week period, so I know what my “fun/gas/music/movies” budget is over each two week period. By the next paycheck it is almost always around $20.

      The only advice I have is to always use your card/pin, so they can’t approve it as credit and you cant get killed on a check clearing. I have had to do the whole “Declined card, lower your head in shame and leave store” bit a few times. I would rather get declined as NSF at the register than get a fee the next day.

    • Nick says:

      @jvanbrecht: I knew I was asking for trouble when I lost my job.

    • katstermonster says:

      @jvanbrecht: I run my balance down to 20ish or so bucks toward the end of each pay period, and I’ve never overdrafted. Ah, the life of a grad student. :-

      • bwcbwc says:

        The OP ran his balance down to $0.68. @ionerox: Still pretty ironic that the fee for the OD protection is larger than the transfer amount. That’s just about as wrong as the original scenario.

    • hi says:

      @jvanbrecht: Let me assume you have never gone paycheck to paycheck. It’s fun! Try it!

      • Dorkington says:

        @hi: When I lived paycheck to paycheck and got down to that sort of balance, I definitely cancelled such services as Netflix. BoA screwed up here. Definitely.

        He should be able to get it resolved by contacting customer support or going to a local branch.

        But also, he is managing his money poorly.

        • mm16424 says:

          @Dorkington: “When I lived paycheck to paycheck and got down to that sort of balance, I definitely cancelled such services as Netflix.”

          Indeed. It gets a little tiresome to hear about how banks are feeing to death those living paycheck to paycheck, yet, when those living paycheck to paycheck post their account info, they have money for Netflix, cable tv, movies, and eating out.

    • TJ says:

      @jvanbrecht:
      Maybe the banks could just charge a fee for an awfully low balance. Problem solved?

  3. KarbonKopy says:

    I agree with jvan on this one, that’s a awfully low balance, and would easily be prone to these kind of issues with who knows what being held for purchases.

  4. Skaperen says:

    We can end this problem once and for all right now. The answer is simple. Shutdown Bank of America and sell off all the pieces on EBAY.

  5. AHemp says:

    Bank of America does this all the time, which is why I closed my accounts and will never again give them my patronage.

  6. ExtraCelestial says:

    This is similar to what my account looked like when I banked with Chevy Chase. Nothing ever posts when it should whether it is a deposit or charge. It’s impossible to keep up with.

    Even with all the highlights and sidenotes added for the article I still can’t tell what’s going on. Why are there two charges regarding overdraft? And even with the $4.50 there would still be a positive balance, yes?

    • yevarechecha says:

      @ExtraCelestial: Same with Wells Fargo. They debit significantly before they credit, which meant that when I paid my credit card bill online, it looked like I had lost that money out of my checking account but still owed the same amount on the credit card. It took 2-3 days to clear, which was absolutely ridiculous. I called them freaking out that my money had disappeared somewhere into cyberspace during the transaction and the guy was a complete a-hole about it.

    • Dorkington says:

      @ExtraCelestial: My credits post before my debits. BoA supposedly changed to that tactic a few years ago.

      The way it shows on my account (looking at it now), Credits first, biggest to smallest. And then debits, biggest to smallest.

  7. mm16424 says:

    Hm, the online account is confusing. Tell us, what does the OP’s pen and paper check register say?

    • craptastico says:

      @mm16424: the online doesn’t seem to make any sense at all. it looks like he had a balance of 8.99, was then hit with a $10 fee for “overdraft protection fee” to take it below 0? it also looks like the 1.40 “keep the change” caused him some issues. Bank of America is terrible. end of story.

      • mm16424 says:

        @craptastico: My best guess is that the op had several charges pending on the 21st that would have overdrawn the account. Money was xferred to cover the pending charges, which cleared, partially, on the 22nd. He then overdrew thanks to the xfer fee.

        I feel the open can expect a slate of charges as more pending items clear, which once again demonstrates the value of writing down one’s purchases.

    • Etoiles says:

      @mm16424: Bank of America’s online display resequences. The transactions on a given day will appear in this order as oldest to newest:

      1.) Any incoming funds: transfers, direct deposits, overdraft protections

      2.) Outgoing funds, from largest to smallest

      3.) Pending outgoing funds, from largest to smallest

      It’s really incredibly frustrating, because you can’t actually tell in what real-world order things billed or were deposited. Yes, it means the paycheck is “there” at midnight Thursday/Friday so that the rent check of Friday afternoon gets paid, but if you happen to be putting in a lot of swipes (say, if you’re running a big loop of errands on a Saturday), you’ll never really know what order you paid in.

      • mm16424 says:

        @Etoiles: In all fairness, the bank can’t always tell “the real world order” either. For example, the bank doesn’t know about that rent check until it is presented for payment. The only person who would know is you, the check writer, hence the value of a check register or spreadsheet.

        What’s more, the order of posting is irrelevent if one spends less than what’s in the account, and if one only spend money that has cleared.

    • thezone says:

      @mm16424: Since the false charge was from a broken machine the OP wouldn’t have put the charge in a “pen and paper check register”. Looks like you’re blaming the OP for living in the 21st century. Either way your point is moot since the OP wants an explanation.

      • mm16424 says:

        @thezone: “Living in the 21st century” costs people hundreds, if not thousands, every year. Hell use quicken or an excel spreadsheet. The cost of one overdraft would make a mischarge from a broken machine moot.

        • thezone says:

          @mm16424: I’m sorry I hear too many people say what you just did. The point is if the charge was from a broken machine he would not have put it in any tracking system (pen and paper, quicken or excel). You are blaming the OP for supposedly not keeping accurate track of his finances. Of course the OP seemed to quickly see what happened. So please tell me how keeping any type of tracking system would have helped the OP when the charge in question was not valid?

  8. primalsilicon says:

    I’ve actually had similar happen with Commerce Bank in Kansas City. Basically, the merchant places the charge “request”, and then the actual charge comes through on a separate charge request. The money is supposed to be released before the separate request, but if you are already overdrawn for more, the “money” returns, but in not enough to allow the “real” charge to go through without triggering the next overdraft.

    Basically, the “credit autorization” isn’t the actual purchase, but can still trigger OD fees.

    • writergrrl11 says:

      @primalsilicon: This happened to me too. I charged a Britrail pass ($300) to my BoA card. That company put an authorization “hold” on it for that amount. That means that if the money is there, the bank will “hold” it as a pending charge until the company asks for its release and actually captures the money.
      Well, the timing of the hold release and capturing missed by a few minutes and BoA automatically transferred money to cover what they saw as a potential overdraft. The computer does, it’s automatic.
      I called, they explained it very nicely and removed the OD charge no questions asked.

      /Never had any issues with BoA handling my wierd questions and issue.

  9. Vermifuge says:

    I had something like this happen before. i deposited a check the night before and funds had cleared the same say so i paid some bills.

    Even though my balance was positive the bills i paid that same day came out of the old balance and the next day when the deposit actually posted they deducted the funds from my predeposit balance.

    This put me over my balance for all of 1 sec before the applied my deposit. Tricky huh? I was able to call and have the free removed.

    • Gracegottcha says:

      @Vermifuge: I’ve had this happen a few times too. The money is there BEFORE I pay by debit card, but they try to nab me for OVERDRAFT fees because THEY did not do the transactions in the order in which they were received. THIS is my #1 bank grievance of all time.

  10. ionerox says:

    It appears to be a charge for the OP’s Overdraft Account kicking over the $8.31. It is quite common, for the bank to charge a fee for noticing that your account is too low to cover the bills and transferring money on your behalf from your Overdraft Account.

    So, in essence, it is not an Overdraft Charge for going below $0, but a fee for using the automatic transfer service on the Overdraft Account. This should be explained in BoA’s fees and services documentation.

  11. sp00nix says:

    Reminds me of the other week when TD went all nuts. I had 2 OD fees, i asked to have them removed and i was +3 bucks? So math some where was not adding up.

  12. NotYou007 says:

    I’ve never had a single issue with BOFA but then again I keep enough money in my account to avoid these types of situations.

    I’m wondering why he didn’t just go down to his local branch and get it taken care of. The ladies at my local branch rock. Some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

    • Etoiles says:

      @NotYou007: The employees at my local branch don’t comfortably speak any of the same three languages I do. Makes it really hard to get some stuff taken care of.

    • tbax929 says:

      @NotYou007:
      I have found that good service varies branch to branch (I’m with Wells Fargo). They know me at the branch up the street from my house, so that’s where I go if there’s ever a problem or concern.

      • NotYou007 says:

        @tbax929 is rooting for a Phillies repeat:

        At my main branch I have most of the ladies names memorized. We will even chit chat about life when nobody else is in line. It is a very relaxing environment.

        When my mother passed away Jan 18th of this year, my mother banked with BOFA as well they where truly sorry for my lose. I could see it in their faces. They went above and beyond of what they should have in providing me information about her accounts. They could not provide some details and I understood that but they did their best to help me, in my time of need.

        I would never even think about moving to another bank because of this group of ladies. Maybe living in Maine has something to do with it. For other branches I do not visit that often they ladies are always very pleasant as well.

    • meg9 says:

      @NotYou007: When I had BOA, I had a student account and was charged extra for physical visits to talk to a teller—-so that might be why the OP avoided the branch.

  13. Karita says:

    That happens to me at BoA occasionally. However, the fees do disappear once the temporary holds are gone. I freaked out the first few times, but I’ve learned to wait a few days, and things tend to straighten themselves out. Don’t know if this guy will be so “lucky”, but the bank is rarely helpful until charges and fees have switched from pending to posted.

  14. AllanG54 says:

    I don’t know…I have my IRAs, my personal checking and my business checking with BoA. I don’t get charged fees for anything and I have no problems with them. Maybe it’s just me.

  15. JGKojak says:

    The point is not the low balance. Times are tough for a lot of people. The point is that a bank USED to be a place where you safely keep your money, instead of under a mattress. Now, appearantly, I have to struggle to keep my money safe from my bank too?

    There is no excuse for not having time-of-transaction based fees. In other words:

    I have $100 in my account,
    at 9:30am I charge $90 to it
    at 12:20pm I deposit $300 (balance=$310)
    at 1:00pm I charge $302 (balance=$8).

    If my check for $300 does not clear, THEN I am hit with an OD fee/penalty.

    As it stands, we all know the scenerio:
    I have $100 in my account
    the next day I see:
    Balance 100
    Charge -302 (-198)
    OVERDRAFT -35 (-233)
    Charge -90 (-323)
    OVERDRAFT -35 (-358)
    deposit +300 (-58)
    OVERDRAWN
    ACCT FEE -10 (-68)

    Why doesn’t everyone (i.e. blame the ops) see how completely wrong that is???

    • biggeek3 says:

      @JGKojak: It may be wrong, but that’s where the banks make the lion’s share of their profits…Overdraft fees from processing largest-to-smallest debits first before processing deposits.

      The only real way to avoid this is to make your deposit, then sit on your hands 24 hours until the transaction is applied before making any purchases.

    • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

      @JGKojak: Awfully spendy there, buster. Who goes around leaving only $8 in their account? I always leave an extra thousand in case of bank errors. I also have never ever had to leave a balance on a credit card, I never go abroad without at least 4 types of payment choices, and I bank at a credit union. Basically, I’m awesome. What were we talking about again?

      /end barely-related rant.

  16. dognose says:

    Seriously people, can we just start using cash again? Bank accounts should not be used like a wallet.

    • Scuba Steve says:

      @dognose: Screw cash. Cash gets lost. Cash doesn’t work online.

      • 2 replies says:

        @Scuba Steve: Cash doesn’t have fraud protection.
        And most importantly, Mint doesn’t support my wallet.

        • wild homes loves you but chooses darkness! says:

          @2 replies by: How would cash need fraud protection, though? Isn’t that the point? I mean, the actual cash could be stolen from you, but at that point I’m more worried about having been robbed, then about how the guy’s going to spend my money.

          • thisistobehelpful says:

            @wild homes loves you but chooses darkness!: Actually I’d be reassured that they only stole cash. If someone steals your credit or debit card they have access to potentially all your funds and we’ve seen how great banks are at helping out victims of theft that have been featured on this site. At least with cash it’s a finite amount that was stolen.

          • NancyCpants says:

            @wild homes loves you but chooses darkness!: I don’t care how he spends my money, I care that he has it and I don’t.

            If someone steals my card or I lose it, I call the bank and tell them. I’m liable for like 50 bucks. That’s the law, and if they fight me too hard then they will get smacked down by the man. In that time, I can still access that money. If it’s cash, it’s gone forever.

            I have an easier time keeping track of plastic than paper, because once I break a bill, that money either drops from my radar or turns into instant spending money, because it’s just five bucks.

            Maybe if the damn bank would follow the rules, this wouldn’t happen.

    • dognose says:

      Well, it seems like most bank accounts have a little hole that money leaks out of. Your wallet doesn’t have fees, or lousy customer service.

      For online, use a credit card and pay it off every month automatically.

  17. lankysob says:

    I had something similar happen to me earlier this year with my BoA account. I’ve spent most of 2009 (from February until just recently) unemployed, so I’ve carried ridiculously low balances all year as I’ve lived off of my unemployment benefits and searched and searched for jobs. At one point, BoA “went ahead and activated” (their words) my Overdraft Protection when I still had $17.24 remaining in my account – while, mind you, an umemployment check was pending clearing at the same time. So, not only was my account $17.24 in the positive, it was also pending a transfer of around $800 from my Maryland Citibank Unemployment Account (I have it set up to automatically transfer 100% of funds to my BoA debit account upon receipt of funds in that one).

    Anyways, when BoA approved the Overdraft Protection (which was tied to my BoA Amex card I set up long ago as backup to save me from paying the stupid $35 O/D fees per transaction), it moved $100 from my Amex to my checking account and considered everything cool. When I called to complain and ask why would an account that has more than $0.00 in it ever need Overdraft Protection, I was told that BoA “goes ahead and determines a dollar amount ABOVE $0.00 based on the credit/debit history of the last few credit/debits applied to your checking account, and then uses that number as it’s ‘0 Point’ as to when to kick Overdraft Protection into effect for you.” I was, understandably, outraged by this and asked “Ok, well where is this magic number you’ve chosen for me so I know to treat that as my $0.00 amount?” “We can’t/aren’t able to give you that information because it’s not an exact number that stays the same.”

    Long story short, I caught this “error” immediately thanks to BoA’s email notification service that sent me an email as soon as the Overdraft Protection was applied, so I was able to – within the next day or so – move the $100 back to my Amex card to pay off the $100 that BoA so kindly decided to move for me. Thankfully, I was only out at most few cents due to the APR accruing for the time it took to re-transfer the $100 back to my card. The card has since been paid down to $0.

    As this was happening, I knew I should have shared this with Consumerist, but had forgotten to write in. So, hopefully this information is useful to other BoA customers.

    • AJ_Syrinx says:

      @lankysob: Wow, that “zero-point” sounds like total bullshit. Congrats on finding employment, BTW.

      • lankysob says:

        @AJ_Syrinx: I know. I couldn’t believe it when she told me, either. It took all I had to calmly (and as un-sarcastically as possible) ask about what my ‘actual 0 point’ might be. Unbelievable.

        And thanks! Though, I’m not fully employed yet, the contract work I’m doing is still better than sitting around at home sending out resumes.

    • Uncle Billy Time! says:

      @lankysob: Absolutely amazing to hear about BoA’s “policy”! Thank you for posting. Is there any way this doesn’t sound illegal or scam-like? “We can’t/aren’t able to give you that information because it’s not an exact number that stays the same.” So not only is there an arbitrary secret number at which you’ll start seeing penalties, but that number changes over time!
      Just wow. And I’m a BoA customer, too.

  18. roguemarvel says:

    It looks like the OP over spent the money, a pending charge still effects your balance and you need to make sure you have enough money. Just because chance made it so the 3rd charge didn’t post the same day as the other two doesn’t change the fact that the money wasn’t there to spend. If there was a pending deposit you might be able to make a different argument about trying to fix it but there is no info on that. The OP would have probably seen the charge regardless of the day it posted

  19. CompyPaq says:

    It appears that it is keep-the-change that did it. 22.73-18.05-4.00 = $0.68 But then $0.68-$0.95 (keep the change) = -$0.27 = Overdraft

    • BStorm says:

      @CompyPaq: Keep The Change does not work that way. It specifically states in the terms that if there are insufficient funds to cover a KTC transfer, then the KTC transfer will be cancelled (including the BoA match, if any). I’ve seen this happen on my own account when multiple transactions have come through in a short period of time and I had the funds to cover the original transaction but not the KTC transfer that resulted (in one case it came to almost $15.. lots of relatives have b-days coming up).

  20. 2 replies says:

    Am I having a stroke, or is this article a duplicate of itself…within itself?
    Is the surface tension of each dupe just too weak to support each individual post?
    Or did you guys at Consumerist create your own LHSC, causing the mass of all the Consumerist dupes to grow so dense as to cause them to coalesce into each-other?
    …towards the inevitable CONSUMERIST BLACKHOLE!

    • AJ_Syrinx says:

      @2 replies by: I noticed that too. I don’t know if it’s part of a redundancy joke or what.

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      @2 replies by: It should be three times then? Then again I’ve been smelling burnt toast lately…

      • Chris Walters says:

        @thisistobehelpful: In real time, that duped part of the post was live for LESS THAN 45 SECONDS before I caught it, deleted it, and re-pub’d. This is why I hate Gawker and their servers. I am going to throw petals around and dance a hallelujah dance when we move servers, because hopefully stuff like this–miscellaneous errors that last for an hour or more after being corrected–will be a thing of the past.

        But we’ll see.

  21. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    I’m guessing that the $4.50 reduced his available balance at the time the 10/22 charges were made, because the money was still being held at that time. They charged him the overdraft fee because his available balance dropped below $0. When the charge was removed it recalculated the ending balance after all subsequent transactions, making it appear that he never went below $0. Doesn’t change the fact that at the point the transactions were made his available balance presumably dipped below $0. Usually if this is a first offense a friendly CSR will remove the overdraft fee… but times are changing I guess.

  22. savdavid says:

    Time to leave BOA, pronto.

  23. 3eyes says:

    Because he is enrolled in keep the change, B of A was going to transfer $0.95 to his savings account because of the netflix charge. It says keep the change cancelled, because he only had $0.68 available. This 95 cent charge was what overdrew his account.

  24. thisistobehelpful says:

    Was half the article posted twice to be funny or is that a mistake or my browser? :( I’m confused now.

  25. Hobart007 says:

    I am chatting with my wife who works at BoA and she believes that if Christopher goes into a branch and speaks with a branch manager or platform associate (personal banker, etc.) that they have it within their authority an most branches to waive any fees that occur due to bank error.

    Maybe he can give that a try.

  26. JonBoy470 says:

    Problem is all the banks will screw you over just the same. The OP needs to go look on the BofA website at the “available funds history”, as opposed to the account history. The available funds history will show how funds moved in and out of the account throughout each day, and will show the account balance and available funds balance. It also shows which specific transactions triggered OD fees.

    With BofA, an OD fee is triggered if the debit exceeds the available funds even if the account balance is substantially higher. I suspect an authorization was outstanding on his account that trggered the OD. Of course, none of this fixes the real problem of BofA (and other banks) posting transactions out of chronological order so as to maximize OD fees.

  27. grebby says:

    Keep the Change is a decent program, but maybe not ideal for someone who regularly has a $20 balance. Come to think of it, a checking account is not ideal for someone who regularly has a $20 balance.

  28. MedicallyNeedy says:

    B of A moved charges around on me over a year ago causing three $35 overdraft fees instead of one!
    I had them all waived by the Bank Manager.
    It’s nice to look someone in the eye to get your point across.
    The manager and tellers are great. I did let them know that they every manager and teller could have been making over 100K a year if all the executive’s bonuses were passed down!

  29. justjoe says:

    I’ve had this same problem with BofA. Their end-of-day processing is confusing to say the least. I had a low balance on payday and got slapped with a a few NSF fees and then had my direct deposit credited last (deposit was received early AM, other charges credited late PM).

  30. trillium says:

    A little known of (I know I didn’t know about it ) feature on the B of A website is on the left hand side titled “Available Balance History”. Unlike the default view this shows the order of which charges have hit as well as holds on the account.

    I know this because I got bit by the same thing a few weeks ago.

  31. matt.thorne says:

    this is EXACTLY why i just left BoA after 20+ years of being a customer. They LOVE to do this when one of the transactions to post is a deposit, nail you with the fees, and THEN post the deposit.

    Find a local credit union. I did. Best move ever.

  32. judybat says:

    I have had this happen at Wachovia. $200 in the bank, deposited a check for $600, then spent $140–and got two overdraft fees because of holds that had been placed. According to their math, ASSUMING I yelled and screamed and said bad things about their mothers, but in the end just decided to close the account.

  33. judybat says:

    I’ve had this happen at Wachovia. $200 in the account, deposited a check for $600, spent $160, and got hit with two overdraft fees because of temporary holds. According to their math, they ASSUME all the holds will post and the deposit will not, so they go ahead and charge you an overdraft fee, which causes other things to bounce as they post. I yelled and screamed and said bad things about their mothers, but in the end, they would only give back 50% of the fees, and I closed the account.

  34. vastrightwing says:

    English has no words strong to express how much hatred, and how much I despise Bank of America. I could hardly escape their clutches: They kept buying the banks I used to keep my accounts in and I had to move several times to remove myself from thievery. Not only that, I used to be a Merrill Lynch customer and they used my investment account to prop up the worthless stocks they were market makers for. When the Enron debacle blew, their whole scam was spot lighted. Now with the Merril Lynch and Bank of America in bed together, you have the 2 most corrupt and venomous horrible companies in the world, in my opinion. They belong together. Banks are not your father’s bank. They try to suck you in as a customer so they can fee you to death. Yes, your mattress is a much better, safer place to keep your money. You can pay your bills with Postal money orders. Banks are awful and deserve the full unadulterated wrath the entire congress and house to regulate some sense into them. They are crooks! Every one of them. The banks too. I won’t even let Credit unions out of this. They all have similar fee models and their profits are fueled by people living on the edge. Go ahead U.S. government, regulate some sense into them. They deserve every paragraph of rules and more they get!

  35. bjcolby15 says:

    I had a similar problem a month ago, but with my savings account.

    Bank of America allows you three withdrawals and transfers from your savings account. There are no fees if you maintain a balance of $2500 or more.

    I had a balance of over $2500, and had two withdrawals and three transfers from the account. They got me for $6.00 (the additional two transfers, IIRC).

    Strange, but I replenished that $6 as soon as possible with a quick phone call to my bank. I’m glad it wasn’t $10 or $35.

  36. johnnyrighton says:

    After banging my head against the web customer service wall for a while, I went into my local branch with prints of the correspondences and hay on my horns. A customer service person there straight up told me if I had a problem I should call the branch or the phone customer service, because you couldn’t actually get customer service on the web.

  37. bramberkowitz says:

    without more information on the account its tough to see what happened but it appears to be a system error where the overdraft protection transfer isn’t cancelled even though the account is brought back to a positive balance. call the bank on it you shouldn’t have a problem over the phone

  38. The_IT_Crone says:

    Capital One just managed to charge me $78 for two days, for a $6.41 burrito.

    I’ll not have a credit card tomorrow, and I’m ok with that.

  39. pharmacyfires says:

    This happened to me once a few months ago. My credit union was nice enough to reverse the overdraft fee, but the woman made a point of saying it was a ‘good faith’ move and ‘one-time’ only. Ugh.

  40. calchip says:

    Bank of America is, without a doubt, the absolute worst of the worst, shadiest, most illegal piece of shit company on the planet. They are doing stuff that is blatantly illegal and fraudulent, yet none of our elected officials, the US Treasury, or anyone else will do anything because the only way BofA can stay afloat is to illegally steal money from its customers through fraudulent overdraft fees, unwarranted credit card rate hikes, exorbitant bogus fees, and other simply evil activities.

    They train their telephone call center staff to lie their asses off. If they can’t explain why a charge is there, a deposit didn’t post, a payment was made and cleared but later reversed, or any of a hundred other sleight-of-hand tricks they use to run up fees, they simply make shit up, hoping that the customer they’re speaking to will believe them. When you challenge them, the story changes. And this is repeated over and over, with dozens of reps, so it’s not a case of a couple of bad apples.

    In this particular case that the OP describes, BofA has been doing this shit for over a year.

    They deduct funds when they receive a pending debit or authorization, and even if the pending transaction never clears, they still will use it to generate overdrafts.

    When a debit transaction is reported, even if the transaction doesn’t settle and clear until several days later, BofA will go back to the reporting date, even though they did not release the funds on that date, and use the authorization date to justify overdraft charges.

    Online banking transactions to Bank of America credit card accounts are routinely lost, delayed, or reversed for no reason, in accounts where funds are clearly present and available to clear the transactions, and when pressed, BofA staffers will simply make shit up to try to explain why it occurred.

    When cornered, they point to a portion of their policy that says, in effect, “If no other part of the policy applies, we can change the rules at any time, with or without notice, and can say or do anything we want, whether we’ve told you in advance, and you agree to this.” This language really is there (not precisely, but in essence) in all BofA agreements.

    If only 1% of people who have a BofA credit card would refuse to pay their card, or a slightly larger percentage of customers would pull their funds out of the bank, it would force the bank to its knees, and perhaps some meaningful change will occur. But without action by the customers it serves, Bank of America will continue to screw over the American public until the end of time, or until it runs itself into the ground, whichever comes first.

  41. Coelacanth says:

    I had a similar problem with Chase, although it resulted from an in-person teller transaction they botched as I was obtaining a cashier’s check for a rent deposit.

    Thanks to them, they a very hefty negative balance and a few overdraft fees – including declining a CC payment.

    That was a lovely mess to clean up. Took months for the bank to admit fault and refund the charges.

  42. blimeybuddy says:

    Alright. I just went through this with BoA myself last week.

    BoA’s policy about how they pay items is pretty clear on their website. At the end of the day, they apply any credits to your account that are paid to the bank – like a check deposit, cash deposit, fee reversal, or transfer from another account. Those go in first. After that, they pay items going largest to smallest to ensure that things like mortgage payments and car payments get priority.

    What they don’t say on their website is that they cannot pay these items until they receive the full invoice. That’s why you’ll see a pending transaction for less than the cost of what you paid – they can’t apply the tip on a pizza purchase until they see the tip amount and your signature.

    If they pay an item that causes your account to overdraft more than $10, they charge a $35 fee per offending item. If the amount you’re overdrafted is less than $10, no fees. Once the item is paid, it posts to your account. If they don’t pay an item but it is still authorized – you *should* be off the hook as long as your available balance is large enough to pay the item before it is posted. Their policy does not clearly cover “what if” balances.

    You can check all of this activity in the “view available balance history” in your account screen. It will show you what transactions triggered an overdraft fee.

    Anyway, I have been very aware of this policy since opening my account, because every so often BoA tries to screw with my funds and I have to make sure it’s in line. Last week, they screwed with $105 – I was charged overdraft fees even though my account showed no overdraft. I called customer service, they tried to run me around, and I promptly requested a supervisor, who also ran me around until I asked my boyfriend to pull up the EECB list on Consumerist so that the supervisor could hear (I think I also said “PR nightmare” somewhere in the conversation because I do work in PR). The fees were reversed very quickly.

    I still have a draft of the email that I needed to clean up and was planning to send once I was sure the credit was for realzies… but now I’ve seen this and wanted to offer some quick advice on the subject.

    Long story short – BoA is trying to take advantage of customers who won’t understand how these things work and hoping you’ll lie down and take it or just won’t notice.

  43. jimv2000 says:

    It looks to me like there’s some missing history from this snippet. Whenever BoA got me for overdrawing my account, it was ALWAYS before a transaction posted that actually did overdraw my account. I think the OP isn’t sharing the whole story.

  44. docvb says:

    Why Would you ever use a debit card?

    Cash has no fees.

    Credit cards for my convenience. Like to not get pennies back.

  45. Skater009 says:

    Look people stop using your debit cards , use your credit cards . and pay your bills . debit card are the worst and there not regulated at all.

  46. coujo says:

    the more i read about these sorts of incidents, and the hows and whys of they’re occurences, the more i really want to hug my Citizens reps.
    so many times have i had issues with my own negligent banking that they have helped me with, almost always going above and beyond to try and actually keep me as a customer and actually help me to better my own banking habits with them for my sake and not they’re own. why cant every bank be like Citizens?

  47. Cristie says:

    Link to their newest (10/19/2009) addendum to fee schedule: https://www1.bankofamerica.com/deposits/odao/popup/disclosure_popup.cfm?template=sofNonNE&RequestTimeout=300

    …….The following overdraft changes apply to consumer accounts and small business accounts (except fully analyzed business accounts):

    Change to Overdraft Item Fee – We do not charge the Overdraft Item Fee on your account when we determine that your account is overdrawn by a total amount less than $10.00 after we finish processing for the day.

    Please note: When we determine that your account is overdrawn by a total amount of $10.00 or more, the $35.00 Overdraft Item Fee continues to apply to each overdraft item. The $35.00 nsf: Returned Item Fee still applies to each item we decline or return unpaid, regardless of your account balance. Additionally, if your account remains overdrawn for 5 or more consecutive business days, you will also incur a $35.00 Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge.

    Reduced Overdraft Item Fee – no longer applies
    We reduced the number of overdraft item fees and nsf: returned item fees you can get each day from 10 to 4. Fee applies to each overdraft item and each nsf: returned item with no more than 4 items charged each day.

  48. Cristie says:

    This same situation happened to me recently. I called back and referenced their Addendum. A nice ‘supervisor’ corrected the fees.

    Link to their newest (10/19/2009) addendum to fee schedule: https://www1.bankofamerica.com/deposits/odao/popup/disclosure_popup.cfm?template=sofNonNE&RequestTimeout=300

    …….The following overdraft changes apply to consumer accounts and small business accounts (except fully analyzed business accounts):

    Change to Overdraft Item Fee – We do not charge the Overdraft Item Fee on your account when we determine that your account is overdrawn by a total amount less than $10.00 after we finish processing for the day.

    Please note: When we determine that your account is overdrawn by a total amount of $10.00 or more, the $35.00 Overdraft Item Fee continues to apply to each overdraft item. The $35.00 nsf: Returned Item Fee still applies to each item we decline or return unpaid, regardless of your account balance. Additionally, if your account remains overdrawn for 5 or more consecutive business days, you will also incur a $35.00 Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge.

    Reduced Overdraft Item Fee – no longer applies
    We reduced the number of overdraft item fees and nsf: returned item fees you can get each day from 10 to 4. Fee applies to each overdraft item and each nsf: returned item with no more than 4 items charged each day.