Bank of America Randomly Gives You $400, Takes It Away, Then Charges You For 9 Overdrafts

This is a confusing story, but we don’t really know why Jenny would make up such a crazy sequence of events.

Apparently, Bank of America randomly gave her $400. She thought this was money from a lawsuit settlement being deposited into her account. Apparently it wasn’t. 4 days later, Jenny had a balance of $-159 and 9 overdraft charges. Bank of America says they have “no record” of the mysterious $400. What?

Read Jenny’s email inside.

Hey guys!

A co-worker of mine sends me messed up articles from your site regularly and that’s gotten me hooked. Anyway to make a long story short I was on vacation 2 weeks ago when I called the Automated Center of BoA to get my account balance to make sure I had enough money for food, gas, etc. My account was positive with a credit from my employer (May 3rd) and another $400 credit that was issued on May 6th.

I didn’t question the random $400 credit as I have money from a lawsuit settlement flowing in at random times so I figured that was what it was. Anyway I returned home and checked my account online on May 10th. My account balance was -$159. I was dumbfounded on how I had spent over $1000 in a week (employer check and random $400). I scoured my account to see what went wrong and I couldn’t find the $400. So I left my account to run its course because I hadn’t made any purchases since May 8th and thought that the account would remain at -$159. So I check my account yesterday because that’s when my employer check was direct deposited and I knew my account would be positive again.

I realized that I had been hit with not 1, not 3, not 5, but 9 overdrafts totaling $315. Not only do I think that this is excessive, I also blame BoA for this unfortunate event. Yeah I probably should have researched that $400 a little more, but why is a BoA associate randomly putting in $400 into peoples accounts and then 2 days later withdrawing it? I then researched your site to see who I should contact about this. I spoke with a representative named Felicia who told me that she doesn’t see a $400 credit and withdraw that was made on my account. Seriously? Your company doesn’t keep a record of things like this? Not only am I looking like a liar, but I’m also out $315.

So I’m basically just writing to vent and see what I can do about this situation. I have already written the CEO of BoA as mentioned in the previous posts. It was sent via UPS and reached their office at 9:45am this morning and signed by a Dixon. I guess I’ll let you know the outcome of that.

Is this situation really messed up or am I just being crazy?

Thanks for listening!


Jenny, this situation is really messed up. You do seem to be handling it well, however. Anyone else have some insight for Jenny? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: cmorran123)


Edit Your Comment

  1. eldergias says:

    If you have online access to your account, check it ASAP. Though the CSR might not see it in their system, you might be able to see it in your login (I know, they should be tied systems, but trust me in that somehow systems that should be identical many times are not). If you see the $400 phantoms on there either download your account info, if you can, or take a screen-shot of the image as proof.

  2. crnk says:

    Wait, so you had money randomly appear in your account, didn’t question it, and then spent it after they removed it? If they took money you had deposited into the account, removed it, and then billed you for overdrafts, then yes, they’d be at fault since they stole money from you. But, it looks like here that the money was added and then corrected, but the additional amount was relied upon for purchases. Sounds like the same “don’t spend money you don’t have” advice would apply here (or at least until you resolved what it was and that it would stay there). Sorry, but I question every amount added or deducted from my balance until it clears (exception with checks for rent, since they are a large even amount that I keep close eyse on).

  3. ideagirl says:

    I busted a bank on a similar thing a few years ago. Once I figured out what they were doing, I beat them at their own game, turned it to my advantage, then changed banks.

    Screw em. Your best bet is to go wotha small, locally owned bank. You will save more in the bogus overdraft fees then you will pay for using out of network ATMs.

  4. SOhp101 says:

    I think this is one of the main reasons why I have a ‘print to PDF’ program so I can record any weird events like this without worrying about keeping track of random papers around the house.

    You can find a few that are free off the internet. Hope things turn out good for you.

  5. crnk says:

    In addition, people should be aware of how the bank processes money with your account. they usually work large to small, so you get hit with fees for the last 5 items at $10 each instead of the single largest at $100 instead.

  6. crnk says:

    Cute PDF works great.
    Been using it at home for several years.

  7. gypsychk says:

    Could the $400 have possibly been added to your account by BOA to cover overdrafts? My bank covers overdrafts by transferring money into my checking account from my savings … it shows up as a transfer online, but when I call to check my balance, it’s reported as a regular, old deposit. Maybe the $400 was just to cover a balance already below $0.


  8. acambras says:

    Sorry to be negative, but it seems like now that we have online and phone banking, a lot of people don’t take responsibility for keeping a check register anymore. For example, let’s say Jane writes John a check in May and doesn’t subtract the amount from her balance. Then, in June, Jane checks her balance over the phone, they tell here there’s money in her account, so she pays a stack of bills or goes shopping. Then in July, John finally gets around to cashing the check Jane gave him in May, it bounces, and Jane’s account is overdrawn. Jane can blame John all she wants about hanging onto the check for 2 months, but it’s ultimately Jane’s fault for not keeping track of transactions that may not yet be reflected online or over the phone.

    Maybe this isn’t the case with the OP, but she seems a little cavalier about her recordkeeping. Never trust that the bank’s got your back. And she should have investigated that $400 before she spent it.

    Don’t count on the bank to keep track of it all for you.

  9. @gypsychk: But then, wouldn’t BoA be able to tell him that instead of saying they know nothing about the $400?

    I also think he should have made sure the money was from the lawsuit but BoA isn’t free and clear of guilt either. Why didn’t they call him about the error? He might have found out his balance was wrong before overspending.

  10. Oh crap, sorry, he should have made sure.

  11. RonDiaz says:

    When I was with Wells Fargo their online access was totally inaccurate, I still believe that it was set up to intentionally go all over the place so you really didn’t know how much money you have. Sure I should keep a check register, but I mostly do debit card purchases and both my old and current credit unions online access is always accurate. If you ask me they did it on purpose to reel you into bouncing some checks. I always hope thats not the case, but these MegaCorporations are crazy about screwing the customer for a buck.

  12. Lula Mae Broadway says:

    I finally dumped BofA b/c of their outrageous overdraft charges and other sundry annoyances. It’s pure robbery that they let ATM/Debit charges go through when there’s not enough $ in your account to cover it, and THEN charge an overdraft. Last I checked, computers have been handling simple addition & subtraction since, oh, at least, the late 90s.

    They do have one manager in the Burbank area – (Linda Roderiguez – you go!) who is fantastic and knows what she’s doing, but all in all it’s a rotten company.

    I went with a credit union (First Entertainment Credit Union) in LA, and have never been happier! Every time I drive past a BofA, I’m full of glee b/c I don’t have to deal with them and am giving my business to a smaller, more deserving company.

  13. cakesandsteaks says:

    I had something similar happen to my account at BoA but on a much smaller scale. I logged in and noticed a $0.02 charge for eBay India, so I immediately ran to the nearest BoA and told them my account was hijacked. They told me it was a pending charge and not an actual charge (yet), and it was probably a transcription error that would correct itself (which it ultimately did). Currently there is no record of this action anywhere on my account since it was never completely processed. Whoever programs their system must think it’s funny to add other people’s credits and debits to your account.

    Also, seperately, I was charged a fee of $5 for no reason. I talked to a teller who told me the bank manager would call me immediately to rectify the situation (never happened). I filed a complaint with the BBB and got my money back along with a bullshit excuse (supposedly I changed account types, which I did 2 weeks AFTER they charged the fee).

  14. GearheadGeek says:

    Balance. Your. Accounts.
    Don’t play the float, EVER. Don’t spend money you’re not sure is in in the account, that’s what credit cards are for (please don’t howl that credit cards are evil, eat babies and impale kittens… they have to be managed responsibly like the rest of your financial life but a reputable card doesn’t spend your credit without your help.)

    To the people thinking that a print-screen PDF of the screen when they look at their account carries any legal weight, I’m guessing you’re wrong. It might help in a discussion with a representative of a bank, but it would be too easy for people to edit such documents or create them of whole cloth, the bank’s lawyers won’t be impressed.

    If your employer paid you $600 and your account was empty before the paycheck, keep your spending within the $600. Not rocket science… not even calculus.

  15. whitedevil01 says:

    Unfortunately, most people don’t “keep track” of their finances (which does include ‘mysterious deposits’)… Those who don’t investigate “why” their balance is not in the expected amount, are literally asking their banking institution to do what they please.

    From time to time, banks do make errors. But as illustrated above, usually not in an individual’s favor. My advice? go for an executive email carpet bomb. (and maybe try traditional letters too)… Make noise, and try to prove beyond a doubt that this was a bank error, and you deserve full compensation.

  16. AcidReign says:

    …..I’ve had mystery money show up, and subsequently disappear in my Compass account, too. Fortunately, I do balance my checkbook, AND I keep $1500 in there that I don’t show in my register, and I never spend. That covers little math errors, either on my part or the bank’s. Getting half a percent interest on that $1500 is well worth the peace of mind!

  17. Voyou_Charmant says:

    It’s like some of you just scan the story and jump to conclusions based on some predetermined position.

    – She explained why money showing up wouldn’t be unusual.

    – She explained the order of events

    – Clearly the money existed at some point or they would not have allowed the 9 purchases that showed up as over drafts…

    I’m not saying there is no chance that she made a mistake or had too much faith that her balance reflected… her balance. But why in the world would you simply side with the bank and make her out to some idiot that cant handle her finances.

    None of you (or myself included) know all the details or exactly what happened, but im pretty sure assuming the bank is right and she is wrong is a less reasonable approach.

  18. bignetbuy says:

    I weep for Bank of America.

    This episode highlights why most banks levy monthly service fees on low-balance checking account users. To pay for BoAs time and effort dealing with this NON-ISSUE.

    She had a mysterious deposit appear. She spent it — and admits as much. Now she wants to blame the bank for her own actions? The nerve of that woman. The simple answer is to not spend other people’s money.

    Oh, and that bit about the lawsuit money sounds shady. The erroneous $400 just happened to exactly match the amount of her lawsuit money?

  19. bignetbuy says:


    “- Clearly the money existed at some point or they would not have allowed the 9 purchases that showed up as over drafts…”

    It doesn’t matter if the money existed. It wasn’t hers and she had no business spending it. Because she did, she should have to pay every single NSF.

    When banks get stuck with customer errors like this, they raise rates on all of us.

  20. klondikedog says:

    Accounts can be goofy. A few years ago we discovered our bank account had $2600 extra in it. Apparently a teller had misapplied someone else’s deposit into our account. We told the bank, who denied there was a problem. After investigating it, they applied it to the correct account. What bothered me is that in the meantime, this other person would have been justified writing checks against their “balance.”

    The point is banks do make mistakes and keep on them until you get a clear explanation.


  21. Slusy says:

    @thisaintsweettea: I agree with your first two points, but not the third. They’ll let you overdraft until the cows come home and take the $19, $39, or $59 for each one. There’s really no incentive for them to not cover the charges, so they almost always let them go through.

  22. @Rectilinear Propagation: D@MN!!


    she, she, she!

    @GearheadGeek: This has nothing to do with float. She was told by the automated system that there was a $400 deposit in addition to her paycheck and now they’re saying they have no record of it.

  23. johnnyboi1016 says:

    cakesandsteaks: Your account might have been part of a growing trend for bank account thieves to try out randomly generated bank account numbers and test them out with a small transaction. The subsequent $5 taken from your account might have been an attempt to take small amounts of money out of your account without you noticing (after the initial trial deposit succeeded). However, you need not be alarmed necessarily because you thwarting their attempt may have stopped it for the future, or they may wait a few months or even a year to try it again and hope it goes unnoticed.

    And for Jenny, the first thing that came to my mind was that maybe the $400 deposit was a clerical error (wrong bank account #?) that showed up for a day and was quickly corrected so that no record of the credit nor debit would be in the system. If that is the case, you unluckily checked your account during the small window before it was corrected. Just a guess tho.

  24. mac-phisto says:

    ok, here’s what you need to do: you need to press the issue of the $400 & get them to acknowledge its existence. whether or not it was actually yours, if you can get the bank to admit it, then you have grounds to get your o/d fees reversed.

    good luck with that. it is easier for an ant to move a mountain than it is to prove that a bank made an error.

  25. VicMatson says:

    Hey, thats my $400 give it back…they can’t find it!

    Seriously, one time I used a blank deposit slip from a teller and my money went missing until one day I got a call. The bank deposited it into a church account(using an account number looked up by the teller). Then they credited me, took off 3 return fees and sent apologies(I insisted) to the people I gave bad checks to! When my statement came there was no record of any of this happening.

  26. Uriel says:

    untrue, they would need to contact a third party computer specialist to prove such documents were altered. My friend used such actions against paypal at one point, when they tried to change the documents he had originally agreed to. He won.

  27. Uriel says:

    EDIT @GearheadGeek:

    Sorry klondikedog, wrong reply ;)

    untrue, they would need to contact a third party computer specialist to prove such documents were altered. My friend used such actions against paypal at one point, when they tried to change the documents he had originally agreed to. He won.

  28. AskCars says:

    when I moved from Florida to Chicago I still had BoA but at the time they had only 1 bank in the city and you had to use ATMs otherwise. After they lost one deposit envelope with checks in it, they also did the same “deposit $500 and then take it back out” to me. Since I actually dealt in that very specific number a lot I too assumed it was a regular deposit, not some random money.

    I dumped them then and don’t regret it, even with all their new banks opening here. Chase has been pretty good since.

  29. workandrent says:

    Higher Crap-dards

  30. FromThisSoil says:

    Whether or not Jenny is at fault for not questioning a mystery $400 deposit, it is insane that a bank would charge ANYONE 9 overdraft fees totaling $315 for $159 in withdrawals.

    The bank is effectively loaning you $159 at a near-100% one-time interest rate!

  31. FromThisSoil says:


    EDIT: Make that near-200%

  32. Chase is jacked up too. I’ll deposit my wife’s paycheck and 1/3 will be available immediately, then 3 days later it will clear, then 2/3’s of it is there. After another few days the final 1/3 of it is available when I think all the money was there and spent already X amount shows up in our account.

    Additionally, I accidentally overdrafted my checking once, Chase denied the transaction and charged me a 95 dollar overdraft fee.

  33. Lula Mae Broadway says:

    @FromThisSoil: Yes, it’s awful! In the old days (like 7-10 years ago), they would have simple not paid the check or charge. Instead they cover it and charge you for the “convenience”… you don’t even have a choice as to whether you want them to do so or not.

  34. alk509 says:

    Something like this happened to me at one point – a 500 buck deposit randomly showed up on my Citizens Bank checking account online, so I called to ask where the money came from. They didn’t have any record of it, and a couple of minutes later the money was gone again. In my case, however, it actually showed up as a back-to-back deposit and debit on my account…

    Banks are weird, man…

  35. Jon Mason says:

    @FromThisSoil: Its actually worse than that, its a near 200% interest rate – $159 borrowed and $315 in charges. But I agree that overdraft charges like this are ridiculous, I have been charged nearly $100 for like 2 overdrafts totalling around $30. I admit it was my fault and wouldnt have minded paying the charge, which I expected to be around $10 or so, but should never be more than the overdraft itself… and definitely not 2x or 3x the original amount.

    The “monster mega banks” really have you over a barrel if you want easy access to your money/banking – I tried to change banks recently after mine screwed me over on several occasions, there really are no decent options. They know they have you, but this is one occasion where government needs to step in and regulate, at least in a minimum way (say, banking or finance charges may not exceed 100% of the original transaction amount.)

  36. Alexander says:

    I read up to “I didn’t question the random $400 credit…” and stopped. I don’t care what I have coming or going but if I see any amount of random deposit in my account I will question it and most importantly NOT SPEND IT. Whenever I see a “random” activity in my bank account I will immediately call customer service. Although online banking does not tell you details right away of most transactions, if you call customer service they will probably tell you who put the deposit, where, and when. Another unrelated note, who goes around not knowing what should be going on with their bank account? I pretty much have it nailed as to what transactions should be going on in my bank account and never have any discrepancies.

  37. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    This happens to me constantly. Money will appear and disappear – I’ll have a negative balance one day and be several thousand dollars richer the next. My conclusion is that online banking is FUCKED.

    All I currently do is balance my checkbook. But aside from chiding people about the necessity, isn’t the bank obligated to tell you roughly how much money is in your account? You know, ACTUALLY in your account? It seems to be that when we go looking for an account balance, we should actually be getting that balance.

  38. Alexander says:

    Also, I don’t get were the overdrafts fees came from? Were they random or did she actually spend the money? If she spent the money, wouldn’t she have been overdraft whether the extra $400 was there or not?

  39. Hoss says:

    @Lula Mae Broadway: I think you’re right that it’s more common for banks to enroll customers in overdraft protection — but if wedid not have it, our overdrafts would trigger insufficient funds fees (bounced checks). Bounced checks actually cost more because there are fees on both ends.

  40. adriftinthecorporatesea says:

    My job is processing checks and deposits for a big big bank. Let me tell you that there is an entire world of check processing that most of you wouldnt believe. If someone deposits a check at the branch and gets a reciept, that literally means nothing except the bank recieved the check. If you don’t bring younr own deposit slip with the bank account already imprinted on it, the teller wrties it out by hand. Now I process 2300 items an hour between checks and deposit slips. Think about how fast that is… I could easily type in a wrong account number on to a deposit slip and have the money deposited in to the wrong account. The bank will figure out my mistake %99 of the time before the customer does, but if they don’t, it might be a few days. I haven’t even dented the surface with how many steps are in check processing, but if you think that it happens at the teller, you are dead wrong.

    The teller is the bottom of the chain. The don’t do any real banking. They are there for customer service.

  41. Charybdis says:

    It’s entirely possible that the tellers won’t be able to see the $400. We had similar systems in the past – instead of reversing a transaction we could literally erase it from the account history.

    The records are there, however. There should be a daily transaction record available that would show the day the money went into her account, as well as the day it was reversed. It might take some work finding it, especially if she isn’t sure of the date it first appeared, but it can be done if you can find someone who knows where to look.

    Basically, she needs to escalate this until she can find someone familiar with their processing reports who can verify the transaction. She’s still at fault for not verifying where the funds came from (it’s all on the paperwork she signed), but if she’s polite and sympathetic about it she can probably get them to reverse the overdraft fees because of their error. She needs to be persistant without getting angry or threatening. That is the surest way to get them to tell her “Sorry, nothing I can do about it.”

  42. phrygian says:

    Last summer, the credit union I’ve been with since I was 2 y.o. managed to do phantom withdraws on both my and my husband’s savings account — multiple times. They admitted the 3- and 4-figure deductions were their fault and ultimately credited the accounts, but not after we had to jump through hoops:

    a.) proving the deductions happened (the tellers couldn’t see them on their end

    b.) getting them to cover the overdraft charges we received as out regularly-scheduled bills weren’t able to be covered.

    c.) getting them to reimburse the fees they charged me for NSF and not-enough-money-in-your-account-for-your-account-type.

    At least if we’d had phantom deposits, I could have just not spent the money…. having phantom deductions is a pain in the posterior. If I hadn’t had exceptional experiences with this CU for the past 30 years, I would have taken my accounts elsewhere.

  43. phrygian says:

    I forgot to close my italics… sorry!

  44. g1cwells says:

    I worked for BofA 11 years prior to changing careers. One of the several jobs I had with them was in a department that helped other associates figure out mysteries just like this. So with that knowledge, here’s my best guess:

    The $400 was likely a memo credit (an intra-day credit that has yet to hard-post) made by an employee in error. These memo credits are immediately available to spend, and will show up in your available balance if you inquire about your balance via phone, online, or in person. If the employee who placed the credit realized later that same day that s/he made a mistake and deleted the credit, it would never have hard-posted, and thus there would be no record of the money ever having been in her account.

    Again, no way of knowing for sure, but this makes the most sense with the facts given.

    As for the overdraft fees? Every account is assigned a confidential amount, based on numerous factors (account history, length of banking relationship, number of NSFs, etc.), that the bank is willing to risk taking a loss on by allowing the account to overdraft. That’s probably what happened here.

  45. Charybdis says:


    It’s entirely possible that your account is close (numerically) to another who prints their own checks and deposits. We have issues where customers will either misprint or print with bad ink, usually causing the items to reject as No Account Found, but sometimes they hit another customer’s account. The bank may very well be aware of it and be working with that customer to fix the issue, but sometimes there can be hundreds of outstanding checks. This would explain why it’s being corrected so quickly.

    And if it’s a BIG customer they may be too frightened of driving them away to force them to fix it. If you request, they should be able to trace the transactions and find out if this is, in fact, the case. They won’t legally be able to tell you who it is or what their account number is, but you would at least know to close your account and open another.

  46. coreyander says:


    Thanks for the PDF writer tips, you two. Cute FTP looks like it will come in handy for a lot of things.

  47. Datacloud says:

    Apologies if someone has already posted this rhetorical question, but why in the hell do people continue to bank at BofA? I’m that close to saying their customers get what they deserve through the sheer ignorance of their decision.

  48. shejake says:

    I recently deposited $506 into my BofA account and when I got home, transfered it online to another account. The balances looked correct so I logged off. The following morning, it appeared that the transfer hadn’t been made. So, thinking that I had messed up, I transfered the $506 again. Next day, I had an overdraft on my account. I was told by a CSR that due to their computer problems many transactions did not occur the evening of May 9th and that they were completed the following evening. So both of my transfers went through and I was in the red. They proceeded to refund the overdraft charge and corrected the transfer, but if I hadn’t called and been angry, I’m sure they never would have let me know it was their error and they would have been happy to collect the $35 overdraft fee.

  49. coreyander says:


    I think that part of the problem is that consumers are…: Amen to that. I don’t normally get all biblical, but this is the sort of usury that made Jesus go ballistic. You know, according to the Jesus video they advertise late at night.

  50. coreyander says:

    Wow, way to eat my comment, Consumerist.

    Completely ignore that bungled last comment… I don’t know where the entire -uh- most of it went or why it was replaced by an ellipsis. I blame banks. ;)

  51. tripdog says:

    I’m with Datacloud. I have my own B ofA horror story. A merchant charged my debit card 400.00 instead of 40.00 on a charge. It caused a negative balance from a Friday til Monday night. I used my card for 12 small purchases over the weekend (all money that was mine…no float issues). When I found out about it, BofA told me my only choice was to tell their loss recovery department that the mistaken charge was fraud (which it clearly wasn’t). I chose to close the account and switch banks. In the course of the next 2 weeks, they managed to make the balance almost -$1,100.00 (none of it legitimate). The “debt” was sent to collections, I disputed and refused to pay. They still send me pre-approved credit card offers. What a sorry company.

    I would rather keep money in a mattress.

  52. Buran says:

    @alexander: Aha, so you admit posting BS because you didn’t read the whole article! Your advice is worthless because your high-handedness has already been addressed in the rest of the article — the part you were too smug to bother reading.

    Go over to Slashdot. They like your kind there.

  53. Buran says:

    @Datacloud: Uh, because not everyone has had an issue with them?

  54. quantum-shaman says:

    1. Retarded bank employee credits wrong account.
    2. Retarded bank employee finds mistake and destroys the evidence.
    3. Without a statement, customer is SOL.

  55. Charybdis says:

    Unless you’re very well placed in a company, destroying evidence like that is nigh impossible. But not everybody knows where to look for it.

    And while it may sound funny in your head, retarded people aren’t the only ones who make mistakes – I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in your case.

  56. Charybdis says:

    I’ve also noticed that I say “It’s entirely possible…” too often. At least I didn’t repeat myself a third time. :)

  57. Voyou_Charmant says:

    @Slusy: I may have stated that poorly. I meant that the funds must have existed in the account (short of any sudden out of nowhere large charge). Otherwise it would have not let the charge go through when she was placing the order.

    If she did not have the funds (ie $400 of leeway) the money that was purchases that were overdrawn would never have been approved at check-out. Pending charges and holds count against your balance.

    So, if you have a balance of $1000 spent $800 in one day, checked online and saw the pending charges of $800 that have not yet cleared, you’re not going to be able to purchase a $400 anything.

    What happened with me when i got 5 (i think) over draft fees, was because of a check that posted. Checks never show as pending as far as i can tell.

  58. tvh2k says:

    No no, CuteFTP is different than Cute PDF. One transfers files, one prints to PDF documents. You want the latter.

  59. saram says:


    Actually, we knew about the error, pulled a ton of overtime to get it all corrected, and were automatically reversing your charges. The associate that you spoke with made it sound like we were doing something special for you, because that tends to make people feel like they pulled one over on us or something. Just fyi.

  60. @bignetbuy: It’s interesting you mention this (that is, the fees that BoA levies on its account holders).

    Last week, I made a $1,600 transfer from my ING Direct Savings Account (love ya, babe!) to my Bank of America Savings Account (you suck like a vaccuum!) Because I knew the money would take a while to clear, I had to move some funds around within my BoA accounts. For about a day and a half, the balance in my savings account was below $300.

    Imagine my surprise when, on my next statement, I discovered a $3 monthly goddamned account fee. I immediately called BoA Customer Service (877‑231‑9372, the number from GetHuman), and I spoke to a very friendly, competent CSR.

    “I’m just wondering,” I said, “if you could reverse this monthly charge.”

    She looked up my information. “Well, hon,” she said, “it looks like your account dipped below $300 recently. That’s what we charge for.”

    “Aaah,” I replied, “but it didn’t dip below $300 for a month. It dipped below $300 for a day and a half. I don’t mean to be a complete asshole,” I continued, “but, last time I checked, a day and a half is not a month.”

    She laughed and said, “No, hon, you’re right. It’s not. I’ll just take care of that $3 for you.”

    And then — poof! — the charge was gone.

    I thanked her for taking care of my problem before I hung up the phone. But I’m still switching to a credit union when I move next month!

  61. Miguel Valdespino says:


    What are these “Checks” you refer to? You mean people actually trust their financial transactions to paper promisory notes? How 19th century!

  62. saram says:


    If you refer to the “Personal Schedule of Fees” that you were (hopefully) handed when you opened your account, you would see that a service charge is assessed any time your balance falls below the minimum balance At Any Time throughout the cycle. The CSR was a sweetheart to remove it. If you were polite, and it appeared that you typically kept a higher balance, it was reasonable for her to do it.

    Also, I love me some ING.

  63. @therasett: If you were polite, and it appeared that you typically kept a higher balance, it was reasonable for her to do it.

    That’s what I’m saying, and that seems to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back around Consumerist. I happened to get in touch with a CSR who knew her way around BoA’s policies and was willing to grant me a “bye” for the fee. I did take her name down, and I am going to send BoA a note about how much I appreciated her knowledge and kindness.

    That’s why I love ING. No balance, no minimum, and, if you call their CSRs, you get some nice folks in Minnesota (at least I did the last time I called). I’m thinking of opening a checking account with them — has anyone here had any experience with that?

    Thank you, Consumerist, and thank you, posters, for making me a better, more confident consumer.

  64. That’s why I love ING. No balance, no minimum…

    I meant no minimum balance. Sorry! It’s 7:32 on a Friday night, and I’m still working! Yeesh!

  65. saram says:


    I opened an Electric Orange account, which was super easy and great, but I have ordered a debit card 3 times and never received it. I understand that their call center and all of their procedures must be new, so I’m being patient. But I’m starting to get a little irritated. A friend of mine got his no problem, and he totally loves it. They automatically extend you a 250.00 dollar line of credit for overdrafts, and the service charges on it are really reasonable. I recommend it, but I can’t give my total stamp of approval because I haven’t actually . . . used it yet.

  66. MikeTheKat says:

    So BOA puts $400 into your account, but two days later takes it back and you bounced 9 transactions? My questions is how can there be no record of the funds going in and out, its a bank and they must record every transaction correctly espcially at audit time.

    Yeah the float game is a bad game and should never be played, but the funds where there and obvious mistake or not BOA put the money in and took it out. I say write your State Attorney General and ask their opinion.

  67. jaewon223 says:

    It seems like everybody is posting their own horror stories of BoA. Let’s not forget the main reason here is to help a fellow consumerist with her problem with the mysterious $400. If she had $400 on her account at one point wouldn’t it have to show on her statement? I’m not sure how to even approach this issue.

    Someone commented how nobody read the actual article. If you read the article you would really understand it wasn’t really her fault because she was expecting money coming in to begin with. Don’t blame the victim!! And also 9 overdraft charges are ridiculous. I had a similar experience with a merchant error (citibank credit card) charging me twice which made my account go into overdraft and everything in between. Wachovia was very helpful about it and refunded me all of my fees. Citi was also helpful about it too.

    On a side note, the comment section of needs to be updated. How about implementing a positive/negative feedback of comments so we can rate how helpful someone’s comment is or how it is relevant.

  68. AcidReign says:

    …..We can help the poor gal. Moral? Don’t spend mysterious deposits till it’s clearly resolved as to how it came to be in your possession!

    …..A relevance rating is probably going to bite folks like me in the ass. See, this comment is in response to a comment crying for more code on Gawker’s servers, not the original plea for help the esteemed Ms. Marco posted…

  69. AcidReign says:

    …..I’d add that the Consumerist Forums are a great place to spew wantonly and frequently. There IS stuff besides LOLCatz you should read there…

  70. starli says:

    I don’t think it’s particularly unusual to not question random deposits in your account. I have an account that is just “spending money” and I have money directly deposited in it for contracted jobs I do. People also deposit money in there as gifts from time to time.

    It’s not like she didn’t know what was going on in her bank account; she looked to see the funds she had available, so she probably does that often. She said she gets random deposits from a settlement, therefore, she probably thought, “Cool, they deposited some money from my settlement!” Not, “Huh? $400? That’s weird! Well, I better go spend it.”

  71. swalve says:

    As some of the posters have said, bank accounting is much more complicated than a simple ledger.

    Lesson 1: You can’t trust the “instant” balance in your account unless you can see the transactions that lead up to it. The only correct balance is what you get when you balance your checkbook after every transaction.

    Lesson 2: The bank cannot, in most cases, instantly stop you from spending money you don’t have. There is no mechanism for the gas pump to reject your debit card purchase if your checking account happens to be low at that moment. I’m sure someday there will be, but the structural issues of the global banking system right now force slowness.

    Lesson 3: In almost all cases, getting charged the overdraft fee and having the check clear is preferable to the bank rejecting the transaction. Usually, the bank will still charge you an NSF fee, and then whoever gets the check back will be pissed at you and probably charge you a fee too. In fact, it probably costs the bank more to NSF a check than it does to cover it, since the bank has to send the debit back up the banking chain to where it came from.

  72. xVAGUE says:

    If the $400 posted on the account, it can’t be “removed” from the records. What I mean by that is if you saw a hard posting credit, the only way for that to be removed is a hard posting debit –

    You would see

    Then at a later time see

  73. Blackneto says:

    not my experience, but a co-worker’s with National City.

    We work 3rd shift. he was looking at his account because he was going to buy some cattle in the morning. (his sidejob)

    He checked it at 11pm and had 40+k in his account which was accurate.
    for some reason he checked it again a 2am and there was only 10k in it.
    he immediately printed out the page. and tried to get a hold of customer service, but it seems that their 24hr service is only active during business hours.
    he checked it again at 6 and the balance was correct.
    He contacted CS and they said they don’t know what the problem is and gave lame excuses.

    over the next few weeks he tracked it as he had time. and randomly at times the phenomena repeated.

    Here comes the tin-foil hat part. we noticed the times that the money was gone was when the markets were opening in tokyo. He’s firmly convinced that the bank is playing the market with customer’s money.

    I’m sure he’s nuts but still it’s too freaky.

  74. shazzambam says:

    I know someone who continued getting paychecks from BoA, even half a year after he had left. Even though he had called them 3 months after he left to say, “Why are you guys still sending me paychecks?”

    Of course, he had to pay it all back. But the point is, BoA doesn’t know what they are doing and can’t keep track of their internal finances – how would you expect them to manage yours?

  75. ddjw2005 says:

    We banked at BoA for 22 years. WE NEVER HAD any problem UNTIL we moved to University Park (Dallas), TX to the BoA at the corner of Lemon and Mockingbird, they HAD difficulty is setting up our account or in fact doing anything correctly. All they had to do was to transfer our accounts from one BoA to theirs and set it up the same. We had always had a savings account that was tied to our checking account for overdraft protection. After months and months of frustration with them and approximately $700 in erroneous Overdraft charges, I talked to a Customer Service REP on the phone (she was in Nevada). She made sure the accounts were tied together correctly and then credited our account $220 for what she could see on-line. She then told me to request copies of our accounts to show them the other monies they needed to refund our account. After six months of calling BoA every other week to obtain the information, I finally received in on a Friday. That week-end I researched the incorrect Overdraft charges – highlighting their mistakes and showing them where there was “monies” available and I should not have been charged this OD. I took this to the bank that Monday and they saw the errors – but you know what they told me? They don’t have to refund any monies if it’s been “more than six months”. I closed our accounts with a $318 OD still there and DO YOU want to know what BoA did to us? They reported against our CREDIT, that we were “irresponsible” with our accounts. Does anyone know how to correct this? One additional comment, I WILL NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH BoA again!!!!!!

  76. beyond says:

    I had a problem with Bank One similar to this, which made me dump them entirely. They would randomly apply charges to my account, as if someone elses account was being crossed with mine. Days later when the transactions should have “cleared” they would vanish. It often left me with no money waiting for these charges that I never made to clear. It happened on almost a daily basis for 2 weeks, despite me going in and trying to get it resolved in person. Of course when they cleared they had “no record” of any such transactions, and at first treated me like a nutcase. I made them print me daily account statements and finally I showed proof of their errors, they were apologetic but offered no resolution, so I pulled all my money out.

    They blamed computer error. Probably the same issue here with BofA.