Bank Of America Wants Customer To Travel 1,500 Miles To Close His Mother's Account

It hasn’t even been a month since our last dead Bank of America customer story, but here the bank is at it again, refusing to let a woman’s son close her checking account no matter what he does. Although she lived and banked in Tennessee and he lives in Pennsylvania, the latest nonsense has the bank demanding that he visit Texas in person to get a document notarized.

I wanted to share the ongoing saga of trying to deal with the resolution of my mother’s estate. My mom died in July of last year. As the executor of her estate I’ve made sure that her outstanding debts were fully paid, sold her house, filed her income taxes and closed most of her financial accounts…except for her checking account at Bank of America. My mom lived in Johnson City, TN and I live near Pittsburgh. It’s been a painful experience, but the logistics of handling everything long distance wasn’t that bad. I found a great lawyer and real estate agent that made the process reasonably smooth.

My mom’s Bank of America checking account has turned into something of a nightmare. I tried to close the account in person during a visit last Thanksgiving, but was missing my father’s death certificate. Because of the holiday I was unable to return, but figured I would simply handle this by phone and mailing in the required documents. I tried calling a couple of times, but wasn’t able to get a definitive answer. I put the issue on the back burner for a while, but the sale of my mom’s house had triggered a $20.00 per month service charge on the checking account. I figured I should take another crack at getting the account closed.

I initially called BofA’s customer service who told me that I’d have to call my mom’s local branch. This seemed odd, but I did it. I was told by the local branch that the only way to do this was in person. I protested that this was a 7 hour drive and just wasn’t in the cards. They responded that I could close the account at any branch of Bank of America. Unfortunately the closest branch is 4 hours from me in Maryland. I continued to argue that I had closed my mom’s other accounts and even sold her house without having to make a trip.

The local branch transferred me back to the corporate customer service dept. I continued to argue and ultimately asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor was great – he said I’d been misinformed and gave me an address to BofA’s Resolution Services Department and told me what to send. I followed the directions to the letter – I sent a notarized letter, death certificates for both of my parents and the Letters of Testamentary. These are the same documents I had to send to the other financial institutions I had worked with so this was old hat.

Today I got a letter from BofA acknowledging the receipt of the letter. Unfortunately they said they just needed one more thing – an “Indemnity Agreement” for the state of Texas??? I figured that was a little weird, but started to fill it out – it turns out that the form is required to be notarized in Texas! I called the customer service number provided in the letter and after having spent a bit of time on hold and arguing I was told that yes, my sister and I would need to travel to the great state of Texas to complete this whole process. I of course asked to speak with a supervisor.

The supervisor was initially sympathetic. He indicated that this document was surely a mistake. Unfortunately there was nothing he could do to fix the issue. He refused to contact the Resolution Service Department to determine what had happened. He would not provide a phone number to the department. We went around and around until I got frustrated and hung up.

So now I’m stuck. I’m writing a letter back to Resolution Services, but given the ridiculous responses I’ve gotten so far I don’t have high hopes.

Any thoughts on a next step?