A customer service rep (CSR) for U.S. Bank’s 24-hour banking hotline has stepped forward from the shadows to reveal 12 tips that can save customers money and time. Insider tips on how to get fees refunded, how “available balance” is a lie, and why you should demand the Portland call center when you have a fraud problem, inside…
“12. “THIS FEE INCURS AN ADDITIONAL FEE”
Continuous Overdraft Fees, the best fee ever! You’re already negative and we have already charged you plenty of overdraft fees (most likely) so after 4 days we’re going to charge you more fees! We charge you $8 per calendar day that you are overdrawn past the fourth day for 45 days (when the account is closed) or until the BUSINESS day a deposit brings the account negative. This fee can take an account that went one cent negative (maybe because someone rarely uses an account, or forgot they had one) and escalate it until there negative 380.01, then we charge it off with another charge off fee to make it so for one cent you owe U.S. Bank 410.01.
11. “AVAILABLE BALANCE” IS A LIE
Your “available balance to use” is a lie. Between Midnight and Seven am (12AM-7AM) Tuesday-Saturday U.S. Bank’s automated systems and bankers lose information about pending charges, your balance will go up for no reason because we have released anything that was going to post that night or older then three days but will most likely show up again with a few hours, if you use this information and go negative because of it, it is your fault (at least that is what we say). Some charges won’t come through for the right amount or will change when they post, your available balance will be too high. The only way to keep this from happening is a good old fashioned check register. Keep your own balance, don’t believe U.S.
10. OUR SECRET PAYDAY LOAN
One of the first and most insane products that we offer is the Checking Account Advance (CAA), if you have a Checking account and meet the “eligibility” requirements (which are basically have direct deposit and be with us for 6 cycles) you can advance up to $500 and payback 550 with your next direct deposit (which is only $1 for every $10, what a great rate). This causes the looping problem with the CAA, where now with every paycheck the person comes up $550 short. Here’s what they don’t tell you, after nine cycles of use it is disabled for three, and there is no way around it. None. Nothing. It’s a computer program that says “no”. They also don’t tell you about random rules like if you file fraud, no CAA, if you overdraw your account too much, no CAA, etc. There is no “warning” other then being able to read the rules and make sure your in constant compliance. The best part? Its not regulated in any state (including Ohio) because “its not a payday loan” its a “feature of the checking account”, meaning that U.S. Bank has found an unregulated cash cow. People think were doing them a favor when we advance the money. Lets not forget that the computer also has “offers” to tell them to use a CAA because their account “indicates that they have a high chance of using the CAA” which means they keep a low balance in their account much of the time and have direct deposit.
HOW (AND HOW NOT TO) GET FEES REFUNDED
9. Pay attention to your pending authorizations, if something “ages” off the account that was part of the reason you went overdrawn but it has not posted yet and its not pending (even if it is a valid) call us right away as long as its outside the hours of 12am-7am (during that time charges posting won’t show, and we won’t reverse fees) we will reverse the fees that the aged authorization caused, DO NOT REQUEST THIS AT THE BRANCH, they will deny the refund because branches believe that merchant errors should punish the customer for some reason. This also occurs often due to hotels and car rental places over authorizing, if it posts for a lower amount that you could have covered we will reverse the overdraft fees as well.
8. Ask 24-hour banking for fee refunds first. The computer tells us if we are able to refund fees, but by asking us, you avoid the dreaded “No refunds per Branch XXXX” remark on the account, if the computer allows us to reverse fees we generally do right away but if you ask your branch first and they don’t want to (even if the computer says they can) they will put a note that says “no refunds” and 24-hour banking is NOT ABLE TO OVERRIDE THIS, not myself, not a supervisor, not a manager, not a site manager. The only person who can override that note is the Branch or the District Manger’s for that branch. If 24 hour bankers are saying no fee refunds, pressure them to check with their manager, we will do that and in some cases they may be able to approve one or two fee reversals if there is no other refunds in the last 10 months on any accounts with your name on it, you’ve been with us for more then one year, and you rarely go overdrawn. If we are still saying no, this most likely means that the “computer says no” and the manager can’t over ride it.
7. Talk to your Home Branch (the branch where the account was opened at), they are allowed to use their discretion to approve fee reversal, they are not required to listen to the computer system to approve anything. They are able to do this because at U.S. Bank every account is linked to a branch somewhere, so when you overdraw your account those funds are put on the banks record as “income” but when they reverse them it is “debited” back out, so to the branch they are losing money. The same thing occurs when 24 hour banking refunds the fees, they are counted against the branch so they get the final say and that’s why we refer you to the home branch. The branch manger is generally the highest “authority” with U.S. Bank that a consumer will speak with, so make sure that if other branch bankers are saying no, go for the Manager.
6. If the Branch Manager refuses to refund fees and you have a valid case and/or you believe he is treating you unfairly for one reason or another you may request to contact that branch’s district manager, the branch manager is required to provide this information. If the branch manager refuses, contact 24 hour banking and explain that due to a problem with a branch you would like that branch’s district manager contact information, if the 24 hour banker says that they do not have that info tell them “Go to the Knowledge Center, go to Procedures then Customer Servicing. Look for the Call Escalation Procedure, expand all and there will be links to the metro and community branch district manager information, locate my XXXX branch and tell me the contact info, as it says you may provide that for me”. If they offer something like “filing feedback” just request a manager or supervisor. If they also say they don’t have it try and teach them how to find it or just call back. The district manager has the final say in all situations regarding your account. If your lucky you might also get the contact info for someone higher up if they fail to read the sheet correctly, and I’m trying to get the executive contact info so stayed tuned.
5. Please don’t directly go to the District Manger, while it seems like it would save time if you do go that route district managers will commonly note that we are not refund any more fees.NEVER INDICATE *THAT YOU WILL CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT, we will note you said that and it will make us less like likely to refund fees.
4. If a 24 hour banker or branch banker seems to through you a sales pitch, sound genuinely interested, we are required to meet sales goal and if you seem interested before we go to the manager we may mention that and its more likely you’ll get fees back. (Although its illegal for us to require you to apply for something to get a fee refund, so we won’t ever say “do this to get this”).
3. Be as nice as possible, being rude will just make us defensive and can even cause a “rouge” 24 hour banker to try and leave fake branch notes to confuse other 24 hour bankers and the branch into denying a fee refund. It can also cause us to note that your “unhappy” or “angry” and cause problems in the long run. Though don’t be afraid to be stern.
2. Telling a 24 hour banker that your going to contact a district manager if “you don’t do what I say” is not going to help because we are not part of the “districts” that the branches are in, so your threat is in vain and will just cause us to get moderately irritated and less helpful.
1. Be careful which call center you speak with, Portland, OR is known for being by the book so if you know something should be done they will get it done, but if you’re trying to get something you really shouldn’t have it may be best to play ball with the other five. If you have fraud, demand for Portland or call back until you get them.”