Consumerist reader Chris says he’s been a customer of Fifth Third bank for around two decades, as well as the rest of his family in the Midwest. Heck, his grandfather even worked there. But he says he’s now growing very disappointed with it, and a recent rash of overdraft fees isn’t helping that dissatisfaction.
Chris says he signed on to the bank’s website to check his account balances, and was surprised to find he was $700 in the red, with around $300 of that comprised of overdraft fees. He was charged a daily fee for overdrawing, as well as a fee for every transaction. He had no idea this was going on, because although he had signed up to receive email alerts of overdraft notices, no such email ever arrived.
I wrote Fifth Third to explain that I had opted for their e-mail notifications of overdraft activity and had received none whatsoever, even in my spam inbox. If I had, I would have taken care of the problem immediately and wouldn’t have hemorrhaged money for several days. They wrote back, and and, “as a courtesy, we will waive $37.00 in overdraft fees.” They also said, “we are unable at this time to make calls or send email alerts to customers regarding a negative account balance.”
I am puzzled as to why they would offer the option to provide e-mail notices when that’s clearly not the case. I find it misleading and deceptive. The customer representative also wrote, “Failure to receive an alert does not exempt the account from fees.” I did not FAIL to do anything. Fifth Third FAILED in upholding its offer to send me an e-mail notification when my account experienced overdraft activity. Why offer the option if it’s not true?
In a screenshot of Chris’ account services he sent us, the option reading “Alert me when an Overdraft Notice is available for viewing on Internet Banking,” is selected as “On,” with notices set to go to “Primary Email.”
Chris says the only comfort he can take from this whole situation, and the loss of $300, is “that Chase Bank is currently offering $200 to new checking customers… I will soon be finding another bank.”