Is 3 Weeks Too Long To Wait For My Bank To Refund $1,200 It Took By Mistake?

Consumerist reader Josh is currently staring at a depleted checking account — and it could be several weeks before it’s back to looking healthy again — all because his mortgage lender screwed up some paperwork.

Back in 2011, Josh decided to refinance the mortgage he’d gotten from BB&T. All was fine and good until he recently received a notice saying the bank had learned he didn’t have insurance on the property, and it would take out its own policy if he did not immediately provide proof of insurance.

Problem is, Josh has insurance.

So he contacted BB&T and it was eventually discovered that the insurance documentation was still attached to his old mortgage. Josh says he was told that all was taken care of and he didn’t need to do anything else to resolve the matter.

Well, maybe he didn’t need to do anything, but someone at the bank certainly forgot a step.

Earlier this week, Josh looked at the statement for his non-BB&T checking account and found that a pile of cash had been siphoned off. Apparently, he tells Consumerist, BB&T had created an escrow account and used his checking account to fund half a year’s worth of insurance at $1,200.

Josh contacted BB&T again and was told — surprise, surprise — it was a “computer error” and that the money would be refunded.

However, he also learned that it would take up to three weeks for that money to be refunded.

“It is beyond me as to why a refund cannot be issued instantly or at least in a few business days,” he writes. “Is this an over reaction or is this just business as usual?”

We’ve written to BB&T asking why it would take so long to fix its own goof. If they reply, we’ll update this story.

Comments

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  1. clippy2.0 says:

    Because fuck you, that’s why

  2. AtlantaCPA says:

    Yes, three weeks is about two and a half weeks too long in my opinion. I can see it not being a same day fix but 48 hours should be enough time.

    What to do about it? That’s another question.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Fuck that, three weeks is about twenty days too long to wait for that size refund. If it were me, I’d not be getting off the phone until that shit was back in my account.

      • Difdi says:

        Phone? Waiting times for small claims court cases are less than three weeks on average, where I live. I wouldn’t be surprised if the money got refunded within a day of the court papers being served.

    • kc2idf says:

      I disagree. Three weeks is two weeks, six days, 23 hours and 59 minutes too long.

      The impacts of having this money taken away for three weeks must be mitigated, and the only way to do that is to give it the hell back. It wasn’t theirs to take.

      Oh, and turn off that damned auto-pay. Never pay by any kind of pull-based transaction; any money flowing to your service providers should get there by you pushing it to them.

  3. Costner says:

    To answer the question…. yes. Yes it is.

    Next.

  4. dolemite says:

    Yeah, 3 weeks is way too long. It should be 3 days, MAX. There should be a law forcing them to return the money within 1-3 days. And any fees that occur due to their error needs to be covered by them, along with any credit reporting problems.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Josh should call them EVERY day, morning and afternoon, and ask about the status of where his money is. if ever any two people say the same thing, then his response should be “so, over this 3 week people, you guys have STOPPED working on this. I’m calling my lawyer and having him file the lawsuit now” (and hang up and call the lawyer).

      There is no 3 week wait if someone just DOES IT right now.

  5. dwtomek says:

    Step 1) Fail to make payment due to “computer error”.
    Step 2) Inform them they will have their payment in 3 weeks.
    Step 3) ???
    Step 4) …Profit?

    • JoeTheDragon says:

      better idea tell BB&T that they have a overdraft of $1,200 and there is a $30 a day fee for each day they are in the red.

      • dwtomek says:

        Well yeah yours is definitely the superior plan. My intention was more to point out the blatant hypocrisy in that the lender would be throwing bricks if the situation was reversed.

      • Lucky225 says:

        Ahh yes, and when they claim to have ‘opted-out’ of overdraft protection, explain to them they have a business account with you, and opt-out doesn’t apply.

      • Gravitational Eddy says:

        Then you could force the bank into court (to protect it’s ASSets) by forcing them to account for this issue during a federal investigation of money laundering. Your money.
        Once you get a summary judgement against them, you could ask the court to enjoin the bank from ANY further fiduciary operations until you have been made whole again.

        Instant money transfer!

  6. sir_eccles says:

    Small claims court

    • sirwired says:

      It’s gonna take a LOT longer than three weeks to recover the money via small claims court. That would only be appropriate if he has some quantifiable damages as a result of the improper withdrawal.

      • coffee100 says:

        > It’s gonna take a LOT longer than three weeks to recover the money via small claims court.

        Horse#%*#%

        File a motion for an expedited hearing. Subpoena the branch manager and all of the account records and then file for an injunction and summary judgment. Petition the district attorney to convene a Grand Jury to hear testimony in lieu of a felony indictment for grand larceny and bank fraud. CC the branch manager and every member of the bank’s senior management and board of directors.

        Money will magically appear in a day. Maybe two.

  7. Ed says:

    I don’t ever EVER give anyone the ability to pull money out of my account, ever. Also why i don’t use debit cards.

    OP’s fault.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Must be lonely being up on the high horse all the time…

      • axhandler1 says:

        You kidding? It’s probably getting crowded up there, the way society is going.

        • Ed says:

          Just stirring the pot. No one else had blamed the OP yet, so I felt I needed to step in. :-D

    • Blueskylaw says:

      I don’t blame the OP but I also don’t let anyone auto debit or
      have access to my account, I just pay the bills as they come in.

    • coffee100 says:

      There’s one in every thread.

    • runswithscissors says:

      Did you eat a lot of paint chips as a kid?

    • msbask says:

      Ed’s message is right on the money, even if his delivery leaves something to be desired.

      Never, ever give anyone access to your bank accounts. Ever.

  8. sirwired says:

    If he goes to his own bank, he can get the $1,200 payment reversed rather quickly. Why mess around with BB&T?

  9. BStu78 says:

    This is the sort of thing that really demands great banking regulations. Banks don’t get to be in a hurry to transfer funds when it benefits them but take things achingly casual when they are the ones who’ve taken money wrongly. I’m sure if a bank made an incorrect transfer into a customer’s account, they wouldn’t accept being told to wait 3 weeks for the customer to get around to transferring it back. In this day and age, there is simply no plausibility to this kind of delay. Its self-serving and if the banks won’t fix it themselves, they need to be made to fix it.

  10. StarKillerX says:

    The story didn’t mention it but I assume the OP has to have his mortage payments automatically deducted from his checking account?

    Yes it is, but remember it could well be they say 3 weeks the same way Amazon free shipping is 5-8 business days but I usually have my shipment in less then a week.

    I’d probably give it two full business days after you they said they would return the money and if it isn’t there I’d contact the bank and if they aren’t willing to fix the issue that very day I would inform them that you will be contacting your state AG, and also that you will hold them liable for any and all fees incured by their improperly taking money from your account.

  11. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Send them a bill for interest.

    • Gorbachev says:

      Checking account has a .0000000000001% interest rate.

      The bank owes him $.02

      • Doncosmic says:

        It’s not interest on the checking account, it’s interest on the loan BB&T took out from the guy.

  12. mac-phisto says:

    i’m not sure if this exact problem falls under reg E (also known as the “EFT Act”), which governs electronic activity in consumer account, but it should. even if it doesn’t, regulators typically use the reg. E error resolution clause to govern error resolution as a whole. this clause states that the bank must refund the consumer within 10 business days of notice from the consumer, or, if they must investigate, they must provide the consumer with provisional credit within 10 days and refund the consumer WITHIN ONE DAY after their investigation determines an error has occurred (if they determine it’s not their error, they can revoke the provisional credit within 45 days).

    there are some loopholes for the bank, however, specifically with regards to how notice is given. OP should write a letter & provide written notice to the bank (at the address contained in their reg. E disclosure) to ensure he is covered under the reg. furthermore, he should contact his bank’s regulator & file a complaint if they don’t comply.

  13. mac-phisto says:

    i’m not sure if this exact problem falls under reg E (also known as the “EFT Act”), which governs electronic activity in consumer account, but it should. even if it doesn’t, regulators typically use the reg. E error resolution clause to govern error resolution as a whole. this clause states that the bank must refund the consumer within 10 business days of notice from the consumer, or, if they must investigate, they must provide the consumer with provisional credit within 10 days and refund the consumer WITHIN ONE DAY after their investigation determines an error has occurred (if they determine it’s not their error, they can revoke the provisional credit within 45 days).

    there are some loopholes for the bank, however, specifically with regards to how notice is given. OP should write a letter & provide written notice to the bank (at the address contained in their reg. E disclosure) to ensure he is covered under the reg. furthermore, he should contact his bank’s regulator & file a complaint if they don’t comply.

  14. oldwiz65 says:

    He is lucky to even get the money back. Banks will hound you to death if you owe them money, but if they owe you money you are lucky if you ever get the money. Besides, the bank can earn interest on the money while they delay paying you back.

    • StarKillerX says:

      I don’t disagree but wanted to point out that this behavior isn’t limited to banks either as it’s standard practice for governments as well.

      NYS is especially well know for delaying income tax refunds, sometimes for months, so as to help with their budget.

  15. Blueskylaw says:

    When you charge something, computers take your money out IMMEDIATELY, when you ask for a refund, computers take 3 WEEKS to refund it?

    Like clippy2.0 said – Because f*ck you, that’s why!!!

  16. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I found out that if Kaiser over-bills you, and you pay, it will take 16-20 weeks to receive your refund. Straight from their mouths.

    Especially in these technological times, any time more than 5 business days seems extreme for a bank.

  17. Kestris says:

    For BB&T, this is business as usual.

  18. mcgyver210 says:

    This is really Theft & they wouldn’t get another dime from me until I received mine or they used up what they owed me.

    Also I would want interest since they always want interest.

  19. Lyn Torden says:

    There is no such thing as a computer error. There are programming errors and data entry errors. We are just blaming the computer for people being stupid and/or incompetent.

    Sue BB&T for all the losses.

    • StarKillerX says:

      True, and in this case it appears the the “error” was that someone somewhere started the ball rolling to make this deduction after a certain time period and then they didn’t bother to stop it once they realized their information was wrong.

  20. StarKillerX says:

    Oh and I’d open a new checking account and close your current one once everything is cleared from it.

  21. AllanG54 says:

    I’m an insurance broker and I constantly have banks force placing insurance on clients because they don’t update their computers….even after they’ve PAID the bill. But, I don’t see how BB&T can take money from an account that’s not with their bank and it certainly shouldn’t take three weeks to put back the money but hey, it’s a free loan.

  22. longfeltwant says:

    This is bad, but not so bad as, say, making a video game with an ending that some fans don’t like.

    • Barry Bunch O'Krunch says:

      Jesus Christ, will you shut the hell up? Has anyone ever replied to one of your threads with anything but “get the fuck over it?”

  23. axiomatic says:

    Because three weeks in the hands of BB&T is enough to make a small profit off of your money in an interest bearing account. Remember OP, its not about you, its about them.

  24. Hungry Dog says:

    It takes that long to refund it because f**k you. Taking it is the easy part, returning it is a carefully crafted process to ensure that the bank is refunding the “proper” amount on your behalf.

  25. Buckus says:

    Amazing how it only takes a few seconds to take your money, but three weeks to give it back.

  26. SharkD says:

    BB&T is obviously taking notes from its younger cousin, NCNB.

    (North Carolina National Bank gobbled-up Citizens and Southern National Bank, in 1991, to become NationsBank. And we all know what NationsBank devoured and took the identity of…)

  27. cheviot says:

    Go to small claims, file suit. $10 to $12. I bet they return the money the same day they get served.

  28. coffee100 says:

    Large companies respond to three things: lawsuits, cash and Congressional subpoenas.

    Sue.

  29. barbcole says:

    “Apparently, he tells Consumerist, BB&T had created an escrow account and used his checking account to fund a year’s worth of mortgage at $1,200.”

    Where does Josh live, Detroit?

  30. barbcole says:

    “Apparently, he tells Consumerist, BB&T had created an escrow account and used his checking account to fund a year’s worth of mortgage at $1,200.”

    Where does Josh live, Detroit?

    • mcgyver210 says:

      Banks always charge extremely unreasonable charges for services they arbitrarily add to your accounts.

  31. Invader Zim says:

    Watch, it will be longer than three weeks.

  32. smarty-pants44 says:

    “Apparently, he tells Consumerist, BB&T had created an escrow account and used his checking account to fund a year’s worth of mortgage at $1,200″

    I’m guessing you mean a years worth of insurance premiums. Because if his mortgage payment is only $1200 for the whole year then that’s one cheap house (@$100/month).

  33. dirtrat says:

    Small claims court!

  34. diagoro says:

    Sell the debt to a debt collection company, watch the hilarity ensue…..

  35. Levk says:

    48 hours too long imo, should get a lawyer and hunt them down really they had no right to steal your money and they would do the same if you did it

  36. kent909 says:

    I don’t know where this guy lives, but my home insurance has never been more than $650/yr. this $1200 for six months sounds like another scam.

    • msbask says:

      ….used his checking account to fund half a year’s worth of insurance at $1,200

      I don’t know where the OP is either, but in New York, we pay $1,700 per year for homeowners/contents insurance on a house with a rebuild value of about $300,000.

    • PiratePrentice says:

      They replace your insurance with their “preferred” carrier at an inflated price. Sometimes they receive what I will politely call “kickbacks” from the company while often, the insurer is under their corporate umbrella. HSBC tried this on my mortgage 4 years ago as they claimed the coverage had lapsed — which it had — because they had not issued payment from escrow upon receipt of the bill.

      Working where I work for a Committee that has oversight on these issues, the practice was not confined to a few mortgage servicers and it accelerated as their losses deepened after the financial meltdown.

  37. PiratePrentice says:

    Peter Swire, who testified to this practice in front of the Senate Committee I work for, recounted his protracted battle with WaMu requiring flood insurance though his house was not in a flood plain. It took months to resolve and he is an expert in the field.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/06/business/la-fi-lew-20110306

  38. Ephraim says:

    Fastest solution. Walk into police and fill out a complaint of embezzlement. Let the bank figure out it’s easier to move the money into your account and leave the missing money in their hold account.