The bank branch manager who felt uncomfortable that his bank was making him choose between misleading customers into signing up for overdraft protection and keeping his job has decided to quit.
I’m happy to say I have given my resignation and will be moving on to a new position where I will be helping people, not deceiving them. However, I do want to make all the readers aware that there is a facility in place to complain to your state government about similar practices. Before I left, I filed a complaint with my state attorney general about the practice. Rather quickly I received a letter explaining that the Attorney General’s office didn’t have time to respond to my individual complaint, but they are always on the lookout for a pattern of complaints about similar bad business practices. I confirmed this with a representative on the phone as well. The thing is, it’s surprisingly easy to file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office. For example, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has an online form where you can file a complaint within 2 minutes.
You get the point.
I firmly believe that the consumer protection laws were passed to do just that: protect the consumer. To those who cry “let the buyer beware,” we must understand that not all buyers are simply aware in the first place. I spoke to a woman today whose English was spotty at best. I asked her if she knew about the changes in the laws regarding bank accounts. She told me that she had already spoken to someone in my company who assured her that “everything was okay – things will just be the same.” I had a translator help me actually explain the differences, and the customer was appalled to learn that the representative she had spoken to her earlier had made her election for her to provide affirmative consent to pay overdraft fees. Not only are banks packaging the overdraft “service” in a deceptive way (e.g. “Account Protector), they are allowing their employees to sell it to customers whose language or cultural differences make it difficult or impossible to understand.
Ben et. al., thanks for getting the word out. An informed consumer is a sustainable consumer, and an economy made up of sustainable consumers is a sustainable economy.
Concerned, but free.