Is Bank Of America's $0 Liability Guarantee Any Different Than What You Already Have?

If you’ve lost your remote and been unable to fast-forward through your DVRd shows — or heaven forbid you’ve had to watch something on live TV — in the last two months, you might have seen one of Bank of America’s commercials touting its “$0 Liability Guarantee” for all its credit and debit cards. But is all this just window decoration on guarantees you already have?

Over at the DefendYourDollars site operated by our kin at Consumers Union, they’ve asked the very same question.

The BofA “guarantee” says that consumers who discover unauthorized transactions or billing errors are not liable for those charges so long as they report the problem within 60 days.

But as CU points out, BofA is already required to do this under federal law.

And then there’s the claim that BofA will “usually” credit your account by the next business day if you dispute a transaction. However, the fine print of the guarantee says it can actually be up to 10 business days.

Writes CU:

[A]gain, this is just like the federal standard for debit transactions. In the case of credit cards, consumers cannot be charged for a transaction if they dispute it, at least while an investigation into the dispute is underway.

Have any BofA customers had to take advantage of this guarantee yet? We’d love to hear whether or not your experience was any better or worse than you would get elsewhere.

BofA’s “$0 Liability Guarantee” – Is It As Good As it Sounds? [DefendYourDollars.org]

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Just waiting to see them spin in this way:

    “Despite the recently enacted CARD Act, we will STILL give you our $0 Liability Guarantee!”

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    “The $0 BoA-Chooses-to-Acknowledge-Your-Rights-As-A-Human-Being-Guarantee.”

  3. moderndemagogue says:

    Wow — an advertiser turning a federal requirement into a propositional benefit. That’s new. Not.

  4. framitz says:

    I assumed it meant that the Bank has $0 liability…. that is the way it seems to work.

  5. tkmluv says:

    About 2 months ago I had a fraudulent charge on my BofA Debit Card. I called them within 2 days of it showing on my account and had the money back the same day. Over the next few weeks, I had to fill out some paper work (1 sheet) that they sent me explaining that I did not authorize the charge and that was it. Very easy.

    • tkmluv says:

      I should also note that I have moved to a new bank. The only reason I was staying with them was because I had my account numbers memorized and I did not want to have to learn a new one. Since they had to issue me a new Debit card number, that made it easy to switch.

  6. sirwired says:

    This is a classic advertising technique in use for decades. Nothing to see here… move along.

  7. bradmo says:

    Funny you should post this today. Last Thursday, someone availed themselves of my BoA debit card without my knowledge or consent. I got a text alert from the bank about unusual activity. That was the last thing the bank did that was pleasing. From then on out, it was a complete and total CLUSTERFUCK!!!
    When I first called in, I was concerned it was a scam because it immediately asked for my card #. So I logged on to the website and saw 10 fraudulent transactions, all from that day.
    I called back and spoke to a woman who canceled my card and sent me another one. She told me I needed to file a claim, gave me the number of the department she was transferring me to, then transferred me.
    I was immediately caught in a voice prompt system jail, asking for my claim #, which I did not yet have. Out of desperation, I hung up and called the number she gave me, which turned out to be only for California, and not reachable from Texas.
    I called back in to the regular number and then was told I didn’t need to file a claim because the transactions had not “posted” to my account. I beg to differ…if my account balance has been reduced by a transaction, then I consider it posted!!
    By Saturday, a couple of the transactions had dropped off my account, BUT my balance had not been restored for those transactions.
    It was as if the money just completely disappeared. I have a real problem with this approach and wonder if it’s not a violation of state and federal banking laws.
    After many subsequent phone calls with different people giving me different information, AND being transferred THREE times every time I called, I finally got the claims filed.
    They said they were going to mail me an affidavit to sign and return on one of the earlier calls.
    On a later call, after my frustration was building, and the guy said he’s sending me an additional affidavit, I asked him WITF they don’t send them electronically using Adobe .PDFs.
    His response? Oh, we can send it to you that way. Why on earth wouldn’t this be offered as the first option??!?!?!?
    His electronic version never showed up, but the third lady I talked to, after calling back the next day, did send one that came through electronically.
    I’ve already printed it, executed it, and returned it.
    One of the reps also had the audacity to ask me if I had “loaned my card to a friend.” Are you serious?!?!
    I was also interested to know how someone was able to use my debit card on 3 different websites, without having to enter the 3 digit number on the signature panel. It has never been out of my possession.
    I’ve rarely if ever used this card online, and always make sure it’s https if I do.
    Here it is more than a week later, and the funds were not returned to my account until yesterday, and they still say pending deposit, so technically I don’t think I have the money back yet.
    I also filed a theft report with my local police department, and a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
    BoA will be losing this customer as soon as I get all my money back.
    What a nightmare.
    I literally laughed out loud when I saw the ad on the website, when I went to log on.

  8. satoru says:

    It’s similar to the chicken “no hormone” bullshit. Since you can’t do this already with chickens saying ‘no added hormones’ is essentially meaningless. It’s basically on par with ‘doesn’t turn black in the can’

  9. nybiker says:

    I am going to say ‘window dressing’ as my answer. I saw their ‘ads’ in a few branches’ windows.

  10. Claystation says:

    There’s been a rash of credit/debit card fraud here in Seattle. As it happens, I called my credit union this morning to check what happens if it happens to me. The credit union offers the exact same thing as BofA is claiming. So… is BofA claiming something special? I don’t see how.

  11. webweazel says:

    Hm. Interesting. Almost all of our cards at some point called us and wanted us to sign up for their “protection services” which included $50 limit liability of fraudulent charges, and a return of the disputed amount while under investigation. For $xx.xx per month. “But aren’t these Federal regulations?” “Uh, wellllll, yes, they are.” “So, you want to charge us a fee per month so we can have coverage that we already have under Federal law?” “Uhhhhhhhh, I guess you don’t want the protection then?” O_O?

  12. probablykate says:

    At least they don’t try to convince you to pay for the “extra” protection like one of my credit cards does, and then insist that I’m leaving myself unprotected if I don’t.

  13. Downfall says:

    I also like how BofA is running ads about how innovative and cool their new smart ATM’s are… advertising the features that Chase has had for nearly a year. Way to innovate, guys.

  14. kalanit says:

    I’ve had to use the BofA claim process several times over the years, most recently in September when my account was charged $250.01 by swipe-bid.com, a website I’d never visited and a transaction that I never made. As soon as the transaction cleared, BofA put the money back into my account with no hassle.

  15. DanRydell says:

    I thought federal law only limited your liability to $50? Or was that changed? It does seem like all banks limit it to $0 though, so this wasn’t something that would have made me consider switching to BofA

  16. tanyaandkarl says:

    Before the CARD act, the law limits your liability to $50.00, as long as you report fraud within 60 days of the closing date of the statement on which the fraudulent charge appears.
    After the CARD act–maybe less?
    For practical purposes the liability to the cardholder has always been $0.00 for any but the shittiest banks.

    The reason–the merchant doesn’t get paid until AFTER the card issuer has your (the cardholder’s) money–usually least 30 days AFTER the time limit has passed.
    Not keeping your $50.00 means zero financial risk to the card issuer.
    As long as you sign an affidavit that says fraud, you’re on the hook if you’re lying.
    So, no legal risk, either.
    They just let the merchant eat the whole thing.

  17. stooj says:

    As I remember the wording, it isn’t “‘usually’ credit your account the next business day.” Instead they say, “as soon as next business day.” That’s even worse in my book.

  18. JeremieNX says:

    All advertising is inherently deceptive.