When David tried to report some fraudulent activity on his debit card, Bank of America transferred his call to a 1-900 type phone line that specialized in feet-related activities.
My wife and I have and account with Bank of America through service known as ‘Bank of America Military Bank’. Despite hating BOA as a company, we’ve stayed on with this military account because it offers us the benefit of a national branch with no monthly fees. Over the weekend my wife noticed some strange purchase activity – someone was making multiple purchases at a brick and mortar retail store in Birmingham, Alabama totalling about $500, even though we live in Texas. I’m not sure how my debit card was compromised, since it’s in such bad shape that I almost never use it. The only thing I can think of was that I did use it at a drive-up BOA ATM on the same day the strange activity started. I normally look over the machines carefully for card skimmers, and I didn’t notice anything strange. The card (surprisingly) worked and I went about my business.
On Sunday evening we called the Bank of America Military Bank customer service line, but they were closed for the weekend. We then called the regular lost and stolen card division of Bank of America, and they told us that the Military Bank branch has a lost and stolen department that is supposed to be open 24/7. We were transferred to an automated voice system where we again had to enter in all of our required information, only to be put on hold for several minutes where we listened to annoying music, followed by an automated message telling us that they have a state of the art system to prevent fraud, and then hung up on. We did this two times – both with the same result.
On the third try, we explained to the Customer Service Representative (at the main fraud division) that we were having problems with the transfer. He apologized and then transferred us. There was a short pause, and then we heard a breathy, aroused female voice enticing us participate on a phone sex line specializing in something called ‘Feet Sex’. Although mildly amusing, this was also extremely frustrating, since we were worried that additional purchases were being made as we were trying to shut down the card.
On the fourth try, when my wife explained that, on our last attempt, we were transferred to a ‘Feet Sex’ line, he simply replied “I don’t doubt it, ma’am”, and then successfully transferred us to the automated purchase verification system where we were able to flag the suspicious purchases. After all of this, we never did reach a live person at Military Bank. We had to wait until the next day before I could reach a real person at BOA Military Bank, have them shut down the card, and learn more information about getting my money back. Apparently we have to wait until all the pending charges post to our account, and then we have to call in again and file a claim. This is not how we wanted to spend our Sunday evening.
I’m annoyed for several reasons: I’m missing money from my account, I wasted time dealing with a broken system trying to get that money back, and, this whole debacle makes me think that they are a bunch of unpatriotic cheapskates. I think Bank of America is a big enough company to afford live weekend support of the fraud department of their Military Bank division.
Certainly brings a new perspective in mind to those who think their bank is walking all over them. Bank of America is never going to fix itself, so you may want to give USAA a shot. They have no monthly fees and are expressly dedicated to fairly providing military families financial services.