David closed his Chase credit card account instead of accepting a rate increase earlier this year. That should have been the end of it, but it turned out Chase later went ahead and increased the interest rate anyway.
Wachovia has a new financial product called Way2Save that automatically moves $1 from your checking account into a high interest personal savings account every time you make an electronic bill payment. Susan tried to maximize her contributions by making a lot of little bill payments, but Wachovia cut off access to her funds without notice and triggered an avalanche of penalty fees. Now she owes over $5,000 to her credit card companies, far more than she would likely have ever earned through Wachovia’s complicated savings program, and of course Wachovia is denying any responsibility.
Bank of America got so fee crazy last week that it applied a $10 overdraft fee to Christopher’s account even though it wasn’t overdrafted. I went back and forth with Christopher to try to figure out what BoA could have done to trigger this, but as you can see from the screen cap below, he only had two debits on the day of the event.
PayPal has locked Jessica’s account and won’t release her funds until she pays off the negative balance in her other account. That’s fine, except that she doesn’t have another account. Whatever they linked her to, it’s not hers. Of course, this being PayPal, they won’t give her any information about the other account. She can’t even access it to see what the balance is or who it belongs to.
When Wally first got his Capital One credit card, the interest rate was 12 percent. Then they raised it to 22.9 percent. Now they’re going to raise it again—the day after Christmas—to 25.9 percent.
William wrote to us this weekend to point out how little Microsoft does to fight phishing attacks on their hugely popular Xbox LIVE network. It’s unfortunate they don’t take this sort of crime more seriously, since so many kids—who by all rights should have less experience with phishing—are on Xbox LIVE. Below is what two different Xbox CSRs told William when he contacted them to complain about phishing attacks.
We’re no longer indignant about Amex’s weirdly lax security policies anymore, we’re just confused. Why would a major credit card company cold call new customers and insist they give up bank and address info over the phone, or email sensitive data to strangers? Or, we just learned, demand that you use a lame password that isn’t case sensitive, is only 6 to 8 characters long, and can’t contain special characters?
Lynne writes, “Citizens Bank is now charging customers an annual overdraft protection fee. This is a charge for linking your savings account to your checking account. Customers can be removed from the program and can get the fee back.” We don’t know when this started—they just say there might be fees involved and call for details on their website—but if you’re a customer of the bank you might want to make sure you haven’t been enrolled without knowing it.
We’re not sure why a company would bother with offering a password feature on their customer accounts if they disable them without warning 3 months later as a matter of policy, but that’s how Southern California Gas Company rolls. Does it really matter, you ask? It might if you’re a victim of domestic violence.
Hey, we helped get an Ameriprise customer banned from the financial company’s consumer advisory panel! Sorry about that, Brendan.
Reader Adam wrote in to let us know that he’s switching to FiOS after Comcast credited his payment to the wrong account number, accused him of not paying his bill, disconnected his cable, lied about it, then couldn’t get it back on for several days.
Web hosting company Host Monster only has so many SQLs to hand out to people, and can’t go around passing them out willy-nilly. Why, there are probably websites in Africa that don’t have any SQLs. We’re not really sure what “SQL” is but we think it’s used to store blog entries; whatever it is, Joe Posnanski used too much of it. The Kansas City Star/Sports Illustrated reporter upgraded his hosting package a few months ago and was assured by Host Monster that there’d be no problems as his professional blog drew more traffic. “No problems,” except that last Friday they permanently closed his account without warning.
In Slate today, Timothy Noah describes his hour-long ordeal to cancel the eFax account he never uses anymore. If you’ve ever tried to cancel an online service, you probably already know how this story goes: it was impossible to find a “cancel my account” link anywhere on the site, support numbers were no help, and a scripted service rep tried to shove an extension on him instead of simply providing customer support.
Last week, New York Times personal finance columnist Ron Lieber discovered that his family’s financial planner was being investigated for fraud, because millions of dollars had been transferred out of clients’ accounts without authorization. What’s funny is Lieber found the financial planner while writing a column on how to comparison shop for one.