Zombie Bank Of America Account Makes Me A ‘Delinquent’

The last time that Jen had visited a Bank of America branch, her deposit of more than $3,000 had been credited to the wrong customer, and she was there to make sure that she got her money back. A branch manager denied her assertions, denied that there was a mistake, and told her that she must have deposited the money in another bank. There was no other reasonable explanation…or so it seemed until she pulled out the receipt from her deposit. Oh. She closed her account that day, and assumed that her relationship with Bank of America was now over. She was incorrect.

Oh, BoA, you certainly have a way of convincing me that you are indeed the Devil.

Today, I had the pleasure of not only being yelled at and belittled by a full-of-himself Assistant Manager, but also being told that I am a “delinquent.” Before I continue, a bit of back story for your reading pleasure…

Three years ago, I went into a branch office to make a deposit into my BoA bank account, as I’d done regularly for years. As I handed the teller over $3,200 in cash and checks, I had no reason to believe there would ever be an issue with accessing my own money. That was until two days later when I noticed that the deposit still hadn’t been credited to my account.

A quick trip back to the same branch revealed a serious error: My money had accidentally been credited to an account that belonged to someone else. The kicker? The manager was adamant there was no mistake and “I must not have deposited the money in a BoA account.” Excuse me??

Luckily, I happened to still have the small receipt they give you with each transaction. As I pulled it out of my bag and calmly placed it on the man’s desk, he turned 27 shades of red and began to apologize profusely. Undeterred, I smiled as I requested the immediate closing of my account. Again, this was three years ago.

Fast-forward to last week when I received a mysterious letter from BoA in my mailbox. Upon opening it, you can imagine my surprise as I read that my account was “overdrawn.” An account that I no longer have a debit card for, have no checks, and have never received an e-statement or for which a single piece of mail was never sent to me in.three.years.

I immediately Googled a customer service number, and I had the joy of speaking with a woman whose only response to my request for more information and options to clear up the mess was, “You need to go to a branch and hope somebody there can help you.” Needless to say, I could tell this wasn’t going to be a fun experience.

Today, I went into a local branch right before closing time. The Assistant Manager was at a desk near the front door, so I approached him about clearing up the outstanding issue. A long story short, he not only told me that I was a “delinquent for not managing my own accounts,” but that I needed to “stop blaming others and own up to my mistakes.” Mind you, this was said quite loudly and in front of a very crowded teller and ATM queue.

Perhaps the best parts of all of it were when we laughed at me as I had tears rolling down my face from sheer frustration and embarrassment, then proceeded to kick me out of the office because he “couldn’t help me” (apparently I needed to do this over the phone) and “I needed to leave immediately because the bank was now closed.” As I asked what number I could call, he rolled his eyes, locked the door in my face, then went over to his desk. He scribbled a number on a scrap of paper, came back to the door, slipped the paper through a crack in the door, and pretty much dropped it at my feet.

Score one for amazing customer service!

When I finally managed to get everything taken care of in terms of backing out the fees they’d been charging me without my knowledge and actually closing the account (again), I did make sure to share my story with the customer service rep. Luckily, she was appalled and immediately transferred me to a person who let me file a complaint about the manager’s behavior.

Moral of this story? Be diligent about your accounts, get everything in writing, and don’t ever settle for being treated like dirt by anyone.

Shame on you, Bank of America, for allowing such a monster to be the face of your business.

Today, a Bank of America Manager Told Me I’m a Delinquent [The Happy Homeowner]

Comments

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  1. NickJames says:

    “Moral of this story? Be diligent about your accounts, get everything in writing,”

    Umm.. DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      The problem with what sounds like a simple piece of advice, is that you’re not going to get that piece of paper. The bank won’t give you a piece of paper saying you closed your account. They will give you an excuse claiming that it will take X days before your account can be closed due to possible uncleared transactions. But no piece of paper.

      • NickJames says:

        Thus going back to the “be diligent” part.

        Both the OP and BOA are doing it wrong.

        • longfeltwant says:

          No, BOA is doing it wrong, and OP is doing it right, and you are a wag.

          • NickJames says:

            And you are a bastifulo. Look I can make up insults too.

            • AstroPig7 says:

              Wag has been in use since at least the 15th century. It’s applied to habitual jokers or mischievous youths.

              • NickJames says:

                Ok I decided to google it and apparently it’s slang for truancy? Nah wouldn’t apply to me since I am already a graduate guess he should try again.

                • Jaynor says:

                  And I’m happy to say that hooked on phonics worked for you. Congratulations on your graduation.

        • vnlindstrom says:

          OK, but it’s not like the OP holds any cards, Nick. I’ve also closed BofA accounts before, and I’ve NEVER gotten anything in writing. Your account stays open for a while, so they won’t give you documentation. Then it moves to a limbo state for six months or longer where any activity, even a bank error, will reopen it indefinitely. Here’s the fun part: even if nothing happens to the account in that period, they won’t give you documentation anyway, because they “don’t have access” to accounts once they’re closed. So I’m not really sure what the OP could reasonably have done differently in this case.

      • Jet Phoenix says:

        That is why I happily type of my own letter telling them I am closing the account on this day. And keep a copy.

    • Whtthfgg says:

      bravo…way to be a condescending tool

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Chill.

    • Driblis says:

      What, are you twelve years old? Who the hell says Ummm. DUUUUUUH like that?

      Jesus man.

      • NickJames says:

        Close, but I am also a consumer and BOA account holder.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        You never know. He could be 9. Kids are really saavy these days. That goes for both the basic documentation issue here as well as being on the Internet.

        I would say that it’s not 1992 anymore but intelligent 9 year olds were on BBSes back then too.

    • who? says:

      Please don’t feed the troll. Feeding it only encourages it.

    • runswithscissors says:

      This was a bad post and you should feel bad.

      /Zoidberg

  2. Wesblog says:

    I had a similar experience when I asked Bank of America to “close my account and mail me a check for the remaining funds.”
    They mailed me a check for the remaining balance, but didn’t close the account so I was continually charged for being below the minimum balance. They sorted it out when I called to complain.

    Perhaps the customer service reps just dont want the blemish of closing accounts on their watch.

    • evilpete says:

      When I had to have my debt card replaced the call attendant also changed my address and phone # to one known for ID fraud.

      Luckily I caught this. When I filed a complaint I did not hear anything for weeks. Eventually I got a call from a investigator who informed me *I* was closing the case.

      I use schwab bank now

  3. Vox Republica says:

    This manager’s world view can be traced back to his days as the youngest boy in an orphanage that some would describe as Dickensian, except there were more lice and fewer things that weren’t additional lice. The older kids would tease him for being “delinquent for not managing the purpleness his own nurples,” and that he needed to “stop hitting himself and own up to his own self-hitting.”

    It was after years of this torment that the staff of the orphanage kicked him out because they “couldn’t help him,” and sent him on his way. When he asked where to go, the orphanage staff rolled their eyes, scribbled something on a scrap of paper, and slipped it under the door at the boy’s feet. The scribbling in question?

    The street address of the nearest Bank of America.

    And so it began…

  4. scoutermac says:

    I had my previous mortgage through Bank of America. When I would contact them to ask them a simple question about my mortgage they acted like I was an inconvenience and would answer “We will get it done when we get it done.” I was glad to be done with Bank of America when I sold my home and purchased another.

  5. ashtonn4 says:

    5/3 Bank did the same thing to me…I closed the account twice initially because after the first time I received a statement a few months later saying I owed for having a zero balance. They assured me it was all taken care of and I double checked a month or so later. Fast forward about 3 years…and out of no where I’ve got a collection account showing for them on my credit report for about $200. The first few people I spoke with said I should just pay it since it wasn’t very much. It took several phone calls and some high up rep saying she would have to investigate it all the while I even start getting collection calls about it with the collection agent telling me that “you went on a shopping spree and didn’t pay” and that the police are going to come get me.
    I did get lucky with it actually getting taken care of by that higher up, I didn’t have any documentation of the account anymore, I had moved probably 8 times since then including a 1500 mile move and at some point many things went missing.

    It’s terrible how the bank manager treated you, I hope he was fired. There’s never any reason for someone in that position to treat someone else like that.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      With collection agents like that you could have come out ahead!

    • ahecht says:

      A debt collector threatening criminal prosecution, arrest, or the notification of police or law enforcement authorities is a violation of the FDCPA, and you could’ve sued in small claims court for $1000 ($3000 if you can prove it’s a willful violation).

    • OutPastPluto says:

      We recently paid off a mortgage with 5/3. They registered the lien release in the wrong county and refused to register it in the correct county when we told them their error. They are legally and contractually obligated to get the paperwork right. They blew us off until they were sent a demand letter from a lawyer detailing the relevant case law in their own home state.

      The incompetence of banks is mind boggling some times.

  6. glp1233 says:

    Moral of the story … stay away from BOA. (Hey, that rhymes!)

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Also: “You don’t make friends with salad.”

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      …that and reconcile all bank statements at the end of the month.

    • Difdi says:

      Won’t help. As we’ve seen from past stories on Consumerist, BoA has no problems at all reaching out to screw people who don’t do business with them, and never have done business with them. Foreclosing on a house with no mortgage, for example.

      Avoiding them won’t save you from them.

      • Kate says:

        Yes, I’m to the point of waiting for the complaints to start about the bank dunning people who’ve never even had accounts with them that their accounts are overdrawn and then yell at you when you come in and try to clear up the mess.

  7. JenK says:

    That’s horrible. You should post that wherever you can along with the branch location until you get a sufficient apology (such as that bank manager grovelling at your feet).

  8. msbask says:

    Did you really walk into a bank to fix a problem… right before they closed?

    I’m curious how the conversation with the manager really went.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Are you still open?

      We close in five minutes, but we can still serve you.

      Good, it’s nothing to complicated. Can I have a Braised Pheasant with red-wine reduction sauce?

      • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

        However…

        It’s going to be f*ckin’ RAW!!!

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      And yet, the bank was OPEN for business at the time she arrived. Funny how that works.

      • msbask says:

        Do you think that it’s reasonable to walk into a business at 5:29pm expecting help with a (probably) complicated problem, if the business closes at 5:30pm?

        • Coleoptera Girl says:

          Both the manager and the OP were in the wrong. Mr. Assistant Manager should have played nice and stated that she would need to come back when there was time to address her problem and she shouldn’t have arrived a few minutes before close in the first place.

          • msbask says:

            But we really don’t know if that’s actually what happened, because it’s at that exact time that the OP chose to “make a long story short”.

  9. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    “Today, I went into a local branch right before closing time.”

    “Mind you, this was said quite loudly and in front of a very crowded teller and ATM queue.”

    Those two things don’t usually happen. Also, if you were crying and sobbing, maybe the reason they said it loudly was to make sure you heard as you were not acknowledging what they said to you as you laughed at yourself crying?

    • Jemish says:

      Yeah, I don’t get it either. Emotional leeps and bounds out of no where because of a three year old issue. If it was right at the end of the day they very well may not have been able to do anything for her, seeing as how some banking systems are timed and won’t have full functionality for the amount of time that may be needed to resolve the issue. If they can’t force deposits after a certain time into the system, how would they be able to fix this?

      I’m interested to know where the jump went from asking for help to sobbing. Depending upon the level of the emotional outburst it may very well have been within protocol to escort her out.

    • Auron says:

      FTA: Today, I went into a local branch right before closing time. The Assistant Manager was at a desk near the front door, so I approached him about clearing up the outstanding issue. A long story short, he not only told me that I was a “delinquent for not managing my own accounts,” but that I needed to “stop blaming others and own up to my mistakes.” Mind you, this was said quite loudly and in front of a very crowded teller and ATM queue.

      Perhaps the best parts of all of it were when we laughed at me as I had tears rolling down my face from sheer frustration and embarrassment, then proceeded to kick me out of the office because he “couldn’t help me” (apparently I needed to do this over the phone) and “I needed to leave immediately because the bank was now closed.”

      I guess though belittling someone and blaming them for your company’s mistake, laughing while they are crying, and saying all of those things where pother customers can hear is perfectly acceptable and OP just should’ve grown a pair and not let any of that affect them, right?

    • Snapdragon says:

      “Perhaps the best parts of all of it were when we laughed at me as I had tears rolling down my face from sheer frustration and embarrassment”

      I think she mistyped and meant “he laughed at me as I had tears rolling down my face”. I’d probably be crying tears of frustration, too, if I were being belittled by a bank manager in front of other customers–who, like his predecessor, refused to shoulder the blame when the blame was clearly the bank’s from the get go.

      It also shouldn’t matter when you go into a bank for service; at the beginning of the day or the end, if their doors are still open you should get what you need. She could have gone in 30 minutes before closing, which is not exactly squeaking in as they were trying to lock the door.

      I’m so glad I am not with BoA anymore.

    • soj4life says:

      A bank bust before the time they close, yeah it happens all of the time. I worked for a bank for almost 9 years. There were plenty of times when we closed the doors and people were still trying to come in. Called it the chimes when someone would start to pull on the glass doors back and forth making a ruckus.

  10. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    “Luckily, I happened to still have the small receipt they give you with each transaction. “

    It’s a good thing she had that, otherwise it would have been a nightmare to resolve, without some kind of paper trail.

    I imagine there’s someone out there who got a $3,200 deposit three years ago and didn’t say a word. He probably thought he was sticking it to BOA and a giant bank wouldn’t miss the money at all.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      He didn’t have to say a word, or may not have even noticed it, as that mistake was resolved two days after the initial deposit.

    • scoosdad says:

      Bravo for having the receipt in the first place. I’m amazed now when a BofA ATM asks you “Do you want a receipt? Yes/No?”

      Of course I want the receipt! Even if I just take it home and toss it in a box full of other receipts that I eventually shred, it’s mistakes like this that only get fixed by having the receipt in your hand.

      There was another story here a year or more back where a self-service gas station attendant called the cops on someone whom he thought had driven off without paying. It was only because the driver had the receipt from the pump in his pocket that he avoided being taken to jail.

  11. limbodog says:

    This seems like a common story. I wonder just how often BoA fails to completely close accounts, charges people fake charges as a result, and actually gets paid for it.

  12. donjumpsuit says:

    There should be a federally mandated “Code” you get when you close a bank account. This is ridiculous. I closed a Chase account a while back, and they said “You’re all set”. Really? Or am I a consumerist post down the road?

    • arcticJKL says:

      I like that idea.
      I always get a signed letter from the teller noting the account is closed. When I have had problems later with the bank I call and when they ask for the account number I tell them I don’t have one because I don’t have an account.

    • Derigiberble says:

      I agree and it is something the CFPB needs to address. When an account is closed it should be CLOSED at that instant. That means zero ability for any other fees or charges to hit the account. Bounce any incoming checks or debits which arrived after the closure.

      • vnlindstrom says:

        See, I think that might be going too far. That’s just a recipe for fraud if someone can write big checks or make big purchases knowing a charge won’t be processed for a couple of days, then go to a bank straightaway and close the account.

        However, I do agree that a bank should be required to give a customer written documentation of any waiting periods or limbo periods where the account could be reopened, AND that letter should include specific instructions on where the customer can go to request a final closing document after the waiting period, AND the bank should be required to send written documentation if an account is reopened after a closing attempt.

        • Derigiberble says:

          How would that situation be any different form check kiting or writing a bad check now?

          The bank still has all of your contact information and can easily point the defrauded party and the police in the right direction.

    • ARP says:

      Agreed- If the account is closed, it should reject all charges to the account. If there are pending charges, it should keep the funds needed to cover those and then automatically reject all “new” charges.

    • Auron says:

      but but but but regulation is BAD because it will interfere with the free market, esp when it applies to banks. Haven’t we fully learned that lesson from the Republitards yet?

      • Kate says:

        Yes, but corporations never would do anything that would reflect badly on them.

        The republican economics 101 book has this on the first page.

  13. Derek Balling says:

    Moral of this story: always deal with your local credit unions who actually give a shit, as opposed to megabanks who are habitually on the “Worst Company in America” brackets.

  14. longfeltwant says:

    Well, hey, at least they didn’t do what the WCIA did, and stop selling a video game that a few people still like.

  15. PAHACKER says:

    I was forced to open a BOA account when the company that bought my company mandated daily deposits of checks and I as the President could not cash anything since I never had a BOA account. Well of course they were very pleased to see my new worth and gave me a free $100 deposit as part of opening the account.
    I close the account four months later due to shitty service and after it is closed they deposit the free $100…four months later…thus reopening the account without even a call to me much less authorization. Without a single statement the account ate away at the $100 due to service fees and six months after that I get my first collection notice. Took me an entire business and a call form my corporate partners to special BOA managers to get this cleared and closed with no damage to me.

  16. Kaleey says:

    I like the “Zombie Banking” tag. I’m planning on bailing from Chase in the next few weeks, and this worries me. No bank gives you a “closed account” letter or anything, so this can happen with anyone.

  17. sparc says:

    this is why i got a closing statement in writing when i recently closed an account. This is the land of the paper trail. Get everything in writing or it didn’t happen.

  18. ColoradoShark says:

    Secret memo from BofA HQ to the branches: We love golden poo and must have more. We know you can do it!

  19. tanyaandkarl says:

    Of course the manager humiliated you. This is for the benefit of the other customers.

    They see an emotionally unstable irresponsible person who tried to blame the bank for her own negligence. The other customers think “I will continue to bank here. Clearly BofA tolerates no incompetence. As I’m not a moron, I will have no problems here.”

  20. whatsfair says:

    although it is a tiresome thing to do – nothing changes unless we make the Big complaints.

    –please take the time to document your horrible banking experience to some of the following –

    http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/complaints/index-file-a-bank-complaint.html

    https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/bankaccountorservice/ask

  21. Sam says:

    Four words: consumer financial protection bureau.

    My story actually got posted a little while back about the fact that an account I thought I had closed 13 years ago turned out to be a zombie account with another bank (due to sales, mergers).

    One complaint with the cfpb later, and it took two whole weeks to solve what years of phone calls and letters directly to the bank could not.

  22. FDCPA expert says:

    My advice is that you sue them under the FDCPA if you live in a state with a state statute allowing you to sue an original creditor.

  23. theRadioMan says:

    It is stories like this that get our story put on the back burner by the media. BofA is attempting to accelerate and foreclose on our home, and we are NOT even delinquency or in default! In fact, we are AHEAD in our payments! We pay more than is due every month and we pay many months in advance….all documented!

    However, it is stories like the couple in Florida who paid cash for their home and and were fraudulently foreclosed upon by BofA. And articles like this particular Consumerist piece that are more interesting reading….

  24. jackcooper says:

    I’ve used BOA for a credit card for a while with no problems (so far). Stories like these always make me worry that trouble is just around the corner. eep!
    I keep meaning to look into other credit cards but I am not really finding other companies that are any better.

  25. Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

    It’s bad enough that BoA made an error crediting that deposit three years ago and then pulled this BS with the zombie account. Trying to sort this out must be a nightmare, and there should be regulation regarding reopening bank accounts and charging fees for the practice.

    That said, as someone who gets to deal with all the customer complaints at one of my jobs, the dialogue seems just a tad exaggerated. Both managers went straight to attacking her without even asking for documentation? Even complete jerkoffs usually have enough instinct for self-preservation that they go through the motions first, lest they be surprised by a receipt or other proof after accusing the customer of lying. And nothing she said indicated this was the same AM or even the same branch, so two different guys going right to attacking her seems weird.

    This second guy laughed at her while she cried, told her she was a delinquent and needed to take responsibility for herself, then locked the door in her face and dropped a customer service number at her feet?

    Or did he just let her know that the bank was just about to close and that this had to be taken care of over the phone?

    Every time there’s a question of rudeness rather than procedural error, I have to pull up the video/audio of the transaction. I can only remember one time when the dialogue even came close to what the customer described. I hope that Jen wasn’t just taking her frustration out on someone who had no power to help her.

    • msbask says:

      Both managers went straight to attacking her without even asking for documentation?

      This is exactly what made me question the whole scenario. She makes a “long story short” in exactly the wrong place.

  26. vastrightwing says:

    And for all of you BoA customers who exclaim, “I’ve never had an issue with BoA. They treat me fine.” Yes for now, but you my friend are simply a ticking time bomb (get that NSA?) just waiting for your time to come up in the BoA game.

  27. PDXoriginal says:

    Moral of this story? Don’t bank with Bank of America.

  28. Gorbachev says:

    You took someone laughing at your face and purposely embarrassing you FOR THEIR MISTAKE sitting down?

    I would’ve raised my voice quite a bit, if someone did that to me. In fact, I would’ve been quite adamant on making sure every customer in that bank at the time got the FULL story right there and then, with a few comments about the competence of the bank manager and how nobody should ever hold any money in the bank.

  29. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    is there a Poe’s Law for Consumerist stories? I have a hard time believing the OP’s description of the manager’s behavior.

  30. do-it-myself says:

    What is with banks not providing documentation when you close an account? SunTrust is guilty of this.

  31. Broke_Daddy says:

    When you’re treated badly by BOA, ALWAYS call the CEO’s office. You get handed off to an Executive Assistant who makes sure that this stuff doesn’t interfere with their golf game and handles it for you pretty quickly in most cases. I did it a couple of times and it worked fantastically.
    Now that they’ve gotten as bad as they have I’m pretty happy I left them.

  32. Rhinoguy says:

    Charging fees on a closed account isn’t a simple mistake that they can do nothing about, Its a planned bit of extortion. Just like insurers know how many people are going to die in any year the banks know how many people will pay those bogus fees. They also know how many people will complain and how many of those need to be resolved. They have more data than Google!
    They also write what little federal regulations there are.
    So when you are feeling wonderful because “You beat them at their game”, get over it. They knew they had to let you win this one.
    I am not a pessimist, I am an educated optimist.

  33. azurecrayon says:

    i once closed out a BofA checking account when i moved to a credit union. i triple checked with the teller who assured me it was closed, and my online banking login was no longer valid.

    a month later i got a statement saying my account was overdrawn by nearly $900. some of my autopay accts werent transferred over soon enough (stupid but i often just wait for the “we couldnt charge you…” email before i switch stuff to new debit cards) and i got hit over and over again with overdraft fees. BofA didnt pay the charges, just racked up $35 overdrafts for each charge and tried to send each one through multiple times. i called and according to them, they dont close accts for 7 days “just in case” you have a check outstanding, which they neglected to tell me, but that still didnt explain why it was racking up charges for an entire month. BofA wouldnt refund the fees and refused to close the account until i paid it to $0. i refused to pay it, so eventually they closed it out, charged it off, and sent me to collections and reported it to the credit bureaus.

    it fell off last year at the same time they had that whole $410M lawsuit settlement for the way they applied overdraft fees. so the collections are off my credit reports at least.

    i havent stepped foot into a BofA in the 6 years since, and never will.

  34. Beef Supreme says:

    I’d be calling the Attorney General’s office in my state and the Consumer Affairs Board.