Wachovia Demonstrates How To Lose A Customer

We have more than a passing interest in customer service over here, so it always amuses us when a company loses a customer simply because they’re too stubborn to apologize for messing up.

“I’m sorry,” costs nothing. All those commercials touting Wachovia’s reputation for customer service… are those free? No, we didn’t think so. Reader Cory writes:

I made a deposit before the cutoff time into a Wachovia branch ATM with one check in it– a check from my Business Account drawn on Wachovia into my personal account, drawn on Wachovia. The Business account had plenty of money to cover the check, the personal account was on fumes, with most bills needing to go out yesterday, 6/4.

They placed a hold on the check.

That’s right– they placed a hold on THEIR CHECK from an account with verifiable funds in it. It gets better.

It certainly does. Read Cory’s email inside.

Cory writes:

I’ve been a Wachovia member since 1999. I incorporated my business 2 years ago and use Wachovia for my business checking as well. On Thurs 5/31, I made a deposit before the cutoff time into a Wachovia branch ATM with one check in it– a check from my Business Account drawn on Wachovia into my personal account, drawn on Wachovia. The Business account had plenty of money to cover the check, the personal account was on fumes, with most bills needing to go out yesterday, 6/4.

They placed a hold on the check.

That’s right– they placed a hold on THEIR CHECK from an account with verifiable funds in it. It gets better.

The woman who placed the hold, Ms. T [redacted] placed the hold without notating the account as to why exactly she had done so. She left the office Thursday, and did not return on Friday, nor did she return on Monday. On Saturday, I tried to use my card to buy gas, and it was declined. Looking at the account, although the deposit appeared on the posted balance, the available balance had gone negative. I called customer service, and they explained that a hold had been placed on the account, but they couldn’t tell me why, and I’d have to call back on Monday.

On Monday, I called back and waited 30 minutes to get a live individual, as Ms. T was out of the office. The woman handling the call said she couldn’t see why the hold had been placed, but eventually, I convinced her to drop the hold and restore the funds. She said she’d do it immediately.

On Monday afternoon, I went to use the card again, and found it had no funds available. I called back, waited again, and they had no record whatsoever of my conversation in the morning, although they immediately removed the hold with almost no question (whereas I had to convince her to do it in the morning)

I continued to try to find out why this happened– the afternoon customer service rep acted as if she was doing me a real favor by releasing the hold without knowing why it was placed on hold, and nobody I spoke to could give me a clear answer.

I went to my branch this morning, and they couldn’t tell me anything– they had no record of the hold ever being placed. (I pointed out that my overdraft protection had kicked in over the weekend, so there was SOME record of that.) The local branch, very nice and polite, offered to get Ms. T on the phone, and succeeded where I had failed.

They put me on the phone with her, and she proceeded to explain that the deposit “had not been uploaded in their system so that they could see it” so there was no way to verify “what was in the envelope.” But here’s the kicker– they refused to acknowledge that it was their fault, and proceeded to tell me that they could hold any deposit from anyone anytime they wanted to, I should go read my terms of service.

At that point, all I wanted was her to say “yeah, we had a technical problem, I’m so sorry for your inconvenience, and I’m sorry I forgot to notate your account.” But this woman would not concede that anything was improper anyway, and this was perfectly acceptable. From one side of her mouth she was saying “it didn’t get uploaded” but kept saying “it’s not our fault” and acting as if its perfectly reasonable to hold locally drawn Wachovia checks with verifiable funds being deposited into Wachovia accounts.

The thing that really kills me is that as of today’s mail, 6/5, I still haven’t been notified of the hold– there’s no reason in this day and age not to be able to generate an email or call if something like this happens. I get calls once every 2 months from my credit card company’s fraud division– they let the charges go through, but if something isn’t quite right (I bought gas two times in a row for myself and my wife) they call. Why can’t the bank do the same?

Why are they absolutely unapologetic about this?

And while I’m at it, with the new “Check 21” why is this an issue at all? They clear faster when you write em, holds are taking the same amount of time. Check 21 is just more corporate welfare.

I’m off to find a new bank. Any bank that tells me that they can hold my check anytime they damn well please, no matter how insane a hold it is doesn’t deserve my business– or anyone else’s.

Cory

And that’s how you lose a customer. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Maulleigh)