Bank Of America Refunds $315 In Overdraft Fees Thanks To EECB

Ryan convinced Bank of America to drop their demand for $315 from nine overdraft fees by sending a well-crafted Executive Email Carpet Bomb. Ryan admitted that he was wrong to expect his checks to clear so quickly, but gently reminded the bank that nine overdraft fees was excessive, and explained that he would consider taking his business elsewhere if they thought this was an acceptable way to treat a long-time customer. Two days later, the fees were gone.

Ryan sent the following to the members of Bank of America’s board:

Good Morning,

My name is [redacted], and I have been a loyal Bank of America customer for many years now. In fact, I opened my first checking account with Fleet Bank, which as you know, now has become part of the Bank of America family and has been for some time.

I have always been a great proponent of Bank of America. It seems no matter where I am, both in-country and abroad at times, there is always a Bank of America somewhere nearby for all my banking needs. The customer service at the branches has been exemplary most times, with a knowledgeable and helpful staff on hand.

Recently, upon logging into the Bank of America website, I have discovered I have a total of nine over draft penalties incurred on my checking account. While I generally accept one or two overdraft fees can be the fault of the customer, I fail to see how nine overdraft fees resulting in $315 being deducted from my account can be seen as acceptable.

I am switching jobs in June, and need to setup a new direct deposit for a checking account. I would hate to have to close my account with Bank of America and move it to a competitor. I really enjoy your online banking system and the responsiveness and amiability of your staff and do not wish to discontinue my service with you.

I hope you understand I simply cannot afford to lose this $315, and I hope you feel like you cannot afford to lose a loyal customer.

Thank you for your time.

He later added:

This was sent Wednesday, May20, 2009. Today, May 22, 2009, I received a phone call from Nancy Condos with Ken Lewis’ office. She said she was going to refund all nine over draft fees, as well as let me know why these fees occurred. She was professional , courteous, and very respectful. All in all, the conversation lasted maybe four minutes, and upon logging into my BoA account I see a credit for $315.

Learn how to write your own Executive Email Carpet Bomb by reading this post.

(Photo: old defeatism)


Edit Your Comment

  1. EdaDiores says:

    stop playing check roulette

    • anduin says:

      can someone explain how someone gets that many overdrafts ? I mean I don’t own a checking account, just savings so I don’t deal with checks. So is it basically you write a check out and you don’t have the money in the bank ?

      • Cocoa Vanilla says:

        @anduin: Simple. You pay all your bills today. But you accidentally wrote out a check for the wrong amount, forgot to make a deposit, or someone else fucked up (i.e. employer not putting your paycheck in it). So the first check that gets deposited lowers your balance to $1.00 (if it doesn’t overdraw it), then the rest of the checks start piling up.

        • bbb111 says:

          @Cocoa Vanilla: “can someone explain how someone gets that many overdrafts ?”

          Two more ways for the account to have insufficient funds (both have happened to me but fortunately I found out before a problem occurred.):

          When you make the deposit you are told that the check will clear in three days. Five days later you get a letter stating that the check will be help for 10 days because they are not confident about the other bank, the amount is too high, the account is too new, etc.
          (Someone higher up overrode the teller on the hold length.)

          You deposit a check from the same bank and are told that there is no hold because they can see the check is good. (plus, the check is drawn on another account you control. i.e. your business) Someone else in the bank later “fixes” a “mistake” resulting in the check getting deposited to the wrong account (even though you have a computer printed receipt with the correct account number.)

      • nucwin83 says:

        @anduin: Usually, yes. The idea is that the check has to go through the mail to the original bank, get cancelled out, funds transferred yadda yadda yadda… so you’ve got a few days that you can essentially get an interest free loan from your bank. Problem is, Check 21 allows for electronic copies of checks to take the place of the actual check, which means speedier check clearing (at least for the banks), and for the folks who try to float checks, the unanticipated 35$ insufficient funds fees.

        From the dates involved, I’m going to assume (and you all know what that means) that the OP got paid on the 15th (a Monday), and wrote a total of nine checks over the previous weekend, thinking that they wouldn’t clear on Monday before his deposit hit from work. Unfortunately for him, they did.

        Solution: Get a credit card with a small limit and use it during the time when you’d be writing checks, then pay it off when you get paid.

  2. sven.kirk says:

    Did he even try to talk to a regular CSR before doing a EECB?

    • Anonymous says:

      @sven.kirk: this.

      i overdrew my account with BofA in January totally on accident; thought i’d deposited a check and hadn’t. i had something like $325 in overdraft fees on about $125 in charges. i called Customer Service and told them i was really sorry and it was my fault but seriously? That much in fees? The rep was very nice, transferred me to a supervisor, and she refunded all but about $40 or so of the charges because i was somewhat okay with it, it WAS my fault. i didn’t have to EECB or do anything out of the ordinary and got almost all of the fees refunded. If i’d pushed, i may well have gotten all of it refunded, but i was okay with what i got.

      EECB is a great tool, but it should ONLY be used when all other options are exhausted. Calling Customer Service most likely would have gotten him the same response, and faster too.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @sven.kirk: more or less irrelevant, because they would have said NO

    • CaptCaveman says:

      @sven.kirk: Regular CSRs are drones that read from a script. If someone above them didn’t tell them that they can refund overdraft charges then they aren’t going to refund overdraft charges.

      I had an issue with U.S. Bank. There were a couple of charges on my account that I didn’t know about. Some place was charging me 20 bucks a month for some Travelers Advantage type of thing. That brought my balance below where it should have been.
      Long story short. A couple of debit card charges created an overdraft. But this is where it gets good. The overdrafts caused more overdrafts. And since they weren’t paid off in a day or so caused more charges against an account that was already overdrawn which, yep you guessed it, caused overdrafts.

      When I found out about it during one of my “tours of bank accounts” it became a race to get cash from another account into the U.S. Bank account to stop the hemorrhaging. After putting everything into a spreadsheet and finding the charges that were not supposed to be there, then having them refunded to the account, going to a local branch with bank statements and spreadsheet in hand proving that if the unauthorized charges didn’t happen the account would have never been overdrawn to begin with resulted in a very small amount of the overdrafts to be refunded. When the assistant branch manager was finished I asked for my account to be closed.

      It could just be me, but I felt that charging you on top of the overdraft charge was a bit much.

    • Heresy_Fnord says:

      @sven.kirk: I just got hit with 3 overdraft fees at $35 a piece. My GF banks with Regions and says their overdraft fee’s are only $10 a piece. I tried talking to a local bank and there wasn’t anything they could do. I realize that I make mistakes from time to time and some will argue that the overdrafts are mine to deal with. But if I can choose between $35 a pop and $10 a pop, I’m going with the latter. $35 x 3 is $105 and that is highway robbery.

    • calchip says:


      Bank of America recently changed their policy and no one, not even a bank manager, is allowed to refund overdraft fees on pain of getting fired. The only exception is a “clear bank error” but the CSRs are given a book-length list of excuses why it isn’t the bank’s fault even when it is.

      Bank of America is the worst piece of shit on the planet. Every month, they come up with new scams to rip off the customer.

  3. Julia789 says:

    Did he try calling customer service first? Some banks will waive overdraft fees over the phone, up to a limit (certain amount or once per year, depending on the bank).

    Failing that, if you physically walk into your bank, the branch manager can refund them, even if customer service told you no over the phone. Each branch has a monthly budget for refunding fees of their customers. Usually they are happy to do so for you, as long as they have not gone over their limit. This is how it was explained to me by the branch manager at the Wachovia I use.

    Customer service over the phone flatly refused to refund an excessive overdraft fee we had, which was caused by a miscommunication between my husband and I on our joint checking account for which we each have a debit card. We both made a large purchase on the same day by mistake and didn’t tell each other until we got home later.

    Our account was literally overdrawn by pennies, resulting in hundreds of dollars in fees because I had just paid all our bills online. Customer service said they’d refund “$30 as a courtesy” which barely put a dent in it. So I told my husband if that is how they treat customers of 15 years with multiple accounts and a mortgage through them, let’s go close our bank accounts. We went into the branch to close our accounts, and the manager refunded all the overdraft fees on the spot. She then linked two of our accounts so that the overdraft would not happen again.

    So sometimes what they will not do over the phone, the branch manager has more power to override then the service rep on the telephone.

    • pot_roast says:

      @Julia789: I suppose it depends on the bank. Golden One Credit Union in California are complete assholes about it and will not refund ETFs under any circumstances. I had a conversation with their CSRs about an overdraft fee I incurred as a result of PayPal using the wrong funding source. (PayPal refused to refund the fee as well)

  4. sirwired says:

    I think the amount per overdraft fee was excessive (after all, there is little cost to the bank to deny a check), but if you write nine bad checks, you get nine overdraft fees, end of story. I would not have been upset if BoA stood by their decision.


    • aristan says:

      @sirwired: Bank Of America rearranges items in the account to maximize overdraft fees. It’s the reason I left and why my best friend is considering leaving.

      Let’s say you have $129 bucks in the bank. 6 small $5 transactions in one day put you at $99. Now, let’s say you spend $100 because you didn’t balance your checkbook right. How many overdrafts would you get? How much would they be for?

      One for $35?


      With bank of america, you’d get 7 for $245 total.

      They move the largest amount spent to the top, rather than list things in chronological order. They say it’s because people don’t want large debits to bounce, but with BoA’s Overdraft protection, they get paid for anyway.

      The only one benefiting from this is Bank Of America at the expense of customers who likely made a simple accounting error.

      • Stile4aly says:

        @aristan: @aristan: Actually, in that case you’d have 6 fees since only 6 transactions caused an overdraft (assuming they all post on the same day) and the bank would waive at least 2 of them since the overdrafted balance was less than 10.

        What you haven’t explained is why you shouldn’t be charged an overdraft fee when you overdraw your account?

        As far as the largest to smallest arrangement of items, it makes no difference how the items are arranged if you maintain your account properly. What it does do is prevent the largest items such as a mortgage or car payment from bouncing. And when I say bounce, I mean bounce. A debit card transaction is authorized at point of sale which means that the bank cannot refuse to pay the charge when it is presented for payment. Checks and ACH items which are the typical form of payment for large dollar transactions are not pre-authorized and so can bounce.

        Yes, you’re upset that you spend $40 for a $5 cup of coffee because you overdrew, but wouldn’t you be more upset if your mortgage check bounced because of a $5 cup of coffee?

        • coren says:

          @Stile4aly: Actually, it’d only be one overdraft.

          And yes, it does make a difference – what if you got overcharged by 2 bucks somewhere, or a check didn’t clear that you thought had (or it got pulled back out)

          • Stile4aly says:

            @coren: If you were overcharged by 2 bucks and that caused you to become overdrawn then your situation would be covered by Regulation E. You would file a claim for the amount of the overcharge and the bank would refund you the fee. You may have to provide proof of an overcharge, though for $2 I doubt it.

            If a check cleared that you forgot you wrote, then that is your fault. It is your responsibility as an account holder to know what checks are outstanding.

            If someone wrote you a check which came back as uncollectable then that is the responsibility of the person who wrote you the check in the first place. You would need to have them pay back the cost of the overdraft fee or fees caused by their failure to provide you with a valid instrument of payment. You may need to go to small claims court to enforce this, but it is not the bank’s responsibility to guarantee the validity of your deposited items.

      • aguacarbonica says:


        Left to go where? Wachovia does the same thing. I think most banks do. No point in going elsewhere.

  5. arsenicookie says:

    i had a bank of america account when i was young, stupid and very prone to overdraft fees and they were always such jerks about it… though my recent dealings with them over my bofa credit card have been decidedly more pleasant (i didn’t realize that bills put post marked by the due date are considered late, when i called about the late fee the customer service rep happily removed the it and allowed me to pay that months payment over the phone without charging me the retarded “pay by phone” fee)… i’m almost considering going back.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “She said she was going to refund all nine over draft fees, as well as let me know why these fees occurred.”

    Why did they occur?

  7. takes_so_little says:

    Wow, negative crowd. Let me be the first to say:

    Congratulations! Nice letter!

    There’s more to this story, sure, but if nothing else it looks like an amiable resolution to a service conflict.

    • Damocles57 says:

      I agree, negative crowd. It’s possible that when there are no companies to criticize, we need to attack the person or the facts of the story.

      I like the letter and will save a copy of it if/when I ever need to use a similar effort to resolve some issue with any company.

      At times, using the standard CSR route creates notes in a file which will be reviewed by the next higher level as things escalate. Depending on the tone of the first and subsequent contacts, the moods of the people who are contacted, the comments they enter in your account notes, etc., it may get out of hand by the time you need to make the EECB.

      This type of letter with a polite tone lets a concerned consumer present their case to a person who can actually make the decision without creating any damage along the way. The responder has no negative comments to deal with or subordinate employees’ decisions to defend.

      Good job on the letter and good job to Bank of America.

    • Kimberly Gist-Collins says:

      @takes_so_little: Wow, it’s sad that people who feel like illegal behavior is wrong are called negative.

      • Coles_Law says:

        @Kimberly Gist-Collins: I wouldn’t call it illegal-illegal would be holding the bank manager’s family hostage unless he refunded the fees. It certainly qualifies as an “Above and Beyond” on BofA’s part though.

        @takes_so_little: I’ve noticed the weekend draws out the worst in commenters here. Of course, that could be because Roz pulls the worst of the vitriol before I read the weekday articles.

      • Coles_Law says:

        @Kimberly Gist-Collins: OK-missed your post below. I thought you were calling the EECB illegal. Sorry!

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @takes_so_little: My thoughts exactly. A really GREAT letter: short, to the point with a call to action at the end. Well done!

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      I@takes_so_little: It appears that the banking industry trolls have carpet bombed the Consumerist. How anyone can defend this and NOT be an industry troll is beyond my comprehension.

      • SabreDC says:

        @HurtsSoGood: Yes, anyone who agrees with them is automatically a troll… how ridiculous. That’s like saying that everyone who agrees with immigration reform is an illegal alien. Guess what… you can agree with something without being a shill of that industry. I, personally, don’t agree with the banks in this case, but that doesn’t mean that anyone who speaks out in their favor is a troll.

      • Damocles57 says:

        @HurtsSoGood:You said, “How anyone can defend this and NOT be an industry troll is beyond my comprehension.”

        Pointing out the obvious for you, in case you missed it: your statement is a critique and assessment of you and your ability (or lack of) to comprehend. There are fair and balanced minds who can offer objective perspectives and praise when circumstances allow.

        The people whose motto is “Ready, Fire, Aim” often lose some of their credibility when all they can do is find wrong in all situations.

  8. Kimberly Gist-Collins says:

    Geez, if he wrote 9 bad checks, sounds like he has way more problems than overdraft fees. I think he deserves every last overdraft fees for writing hot checks. It is illegal to write bad checks. My dad works at a prison where there are plenty of people serving time for floating way fewer than 9 bad checks.

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility? This fool writes checks he doesn’t have the money for then points the finger at BOA? I am disappointed at Consumerist for even printing this. Way to reward negative behavior!

    • mmmsoap says:

      @Kimberly Gist-Collins: Incurring overdraft fees is not the same thing as “writing bad checks.” While it’s possible that might be what happened, it’s far from the only scenario.

      The OP could very easily have mis-timed direct deposit with online payment or debit purchases. It’s an easy mistake to make, and I’m sure we’ve all done it in some form. The bank’s policy is generally not to debit the smallest transactions first, but to debit the largest first. That way, you eat through whatever balance you have, and several small purchases/trasactions that might add up to less than $30 or $40 can incur fees of multiple hundreds.

      On the converse, “writing bad checks” usually implies that you deliberately and willfully tried to defraud someone, by paying with a check when you know you don’t have the money.

      One is carelessness, the other is a felony. See the difference? There’s a reason the bank applied overdraft fees rather than call the FBI.

      • Biggbrother says:

        I was always taught to never write a check unless you have the funds in your account. I have no sympathy for this guy! Sure, BOA is a terrible bank, but I can’t fault them for charging him. Nine bad checks! They probably paid the checks and charged him the fee. Use a checkbook next time!! @mmmsoap:

    • bohemian says:

      @Kimberly Gist-Collins: Overdraft fees are not the same as writing bad checks. There could be something reasonable and beyond the control of the person involved. A company that had access to draft off of the account could have had a glitch and taken more than they should have or was anticipated causing overdrafts.

      Many banks also run the largest amount through first causing every smaller amount to overdraft rather than running items in the order they came through possibly only overdrafting that last item not nine smaller charges. There are 1001 ways banks game their system to increase the chances of someone racking up over draft fees even if they are on top of their account activity.
      Don’t be so fast to blame the consumer.

    • Julia789 says:

      @Kimberly Gist-Collins:
      It’s not always “writing bad checks.” One year our company’s direct deposit paychecks, there was a screw-up in the system, and our last paycheck of the month (we get paid on the 15th and the last day of the month, always, twice a month) was not deposited. They had to send out paper checks instead of direct deposit and we all had to wait a week for them to mail from headquarters on the other side of the country. Well, because the direct deposit was on the 31st, many employees had mortgage payments or rent payments between $1,000 and $4,000 set up to automatically deduct from their checking account on the 1st. Hundreds of employees were hit with overdraft fees. Not everyone has a buffer in their checking account of $1,000 to $4,000 to cover a major screw up like that.

      The company reimbursed us for any overdraft fees we incurred due to their system screw up, we all had to submit expense reports for it with a copy of our bank statement showing the date and amount of the overdraft fees. It only happened once in 10 years I’ve worked there, hundreds of paychecks have been direct deposited on time without a problem. But it only takes one screw up to ruin it.

      There are other reasons, too. My husband and I both have debit cards on a joint checking account, and every few years it happens – we’ll each buy something big on the same day without calling each other first, and our account will overdraft by a dollar or two, setting off a row of dominoes (see my post above.)

      Or, what if a merchant makes an error and charges you way, way more than you agreed to for an item? Instant overdraft fees. I had this happen to me a few years ago with Enterprise Rental Cars. They took a debit card number in case there was a problem (like the car not being returned or being damaged.) But my car dealership was supposed to cover the cost of the rental 100%. Their was some miscommunication between the dealership and the rental car place, and my debit card was charged $500 for the month I had the rental car (my car was in the shop for a while, there was a serious electrical problem they could not figure out. (Now I know to use a CREDIT card for holds like that, lesson learned.)

      Of course it was immediately refunded with a phone call and the billing sent to the dealership as promised, but by then I had dozens of overdraft fees, for all the little things I’d charged to my debit card over the weekend every purchase turned into a $30 overdraft fee – eating out with my family for $50 = $30 overdraft fee, the pharmacy for $25 co-pay = $30 overdraft fee, groceries for $100 = $30 overdraft fee, a haircut for $40 = $30 overdraft fee, etc.

    • coren says:

      @Kimberly Gist-Collins: He didn’t write bad checks – he got checks from others which didn’t clear as fast as he expected

  9. kolacek says:

    It doesn’t matter why the overdraft fees occurred.

    The bank did absolutely NOTHING to earn that money. Does anyone really believe that we – their customers – would have a snowball’s chance if the situation were reversed?

    After listening to months and months of the shady shenanigans pulled by our awesome American banks, in my mind they can eat a bowl of dicks. I am not going to watch report after report on CNBC and CNN and then stomach a lecture from a flunky branch manager about why they have a right to steal $270+ dollars from me.

    I was nailed [hard] for a negative $3 balance after US Bank sat on a coffee purchase for almost 30 days [and yes, mom…I look at my “available balance” versus my “account balance.” Three times a day.] According to the manager, the missing transaction was the “vendor’s fault.”

    Yeah, lady. Sure it was.

    Rather than lose my nut I followed the same email strategy I found on this site along with some serious late-night detective work. Nobody gets to treat me poorly and no one gets to take money from me unless I bought something or borrowed funds.

    Lo and behold, it turns out that everybody above “Regional VP” at US Bank runs from customer service like the vampires from “I Am Legend”. The very day I sent them a letter I received a refund.

    Eff all banks with a rusty chainsaw . I have no sympathy for them whatsoever.

    • bohemian says:

      @kolacek: I had the displeasure of spending the good part of a day tracking down a bank error that lost my payment to my internet provider. The funds were taken out of my account and then just sort of evaporated. There were two problems, one the third party company that handles online bill payment and my internet provider. We never found out who lost the payment of the two but the bank eventually made good on their end of it and retrieved my money so I could pay it in cash.
      Screw ups are not always the customers fault and getting a bank or a company to own up or even look into what they did can be a painful process.
      I wasn’t going to let someone just keep almost $200 of my money for nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      @kolacek: “The bank did absolutely NOTHING to earn that money.”

      The bank paid for items when the customer lacked the sufficient funds to cover them in the clear.

      Overdraft fees don’t mysteriously appear on a random person’s account… they appear when the account holder (who should have the financial responsibility to begin with) has total and full control of what checks he/she writes, in addition, wherever their checkcard is being used.

    • coren says:

      @kolacek: They covered debits he didn’t have the money for – that’s certainly doing something

    • dave_coder says:

      @kolacek: The banks provide credit for you when you don’t have the money. In return they give you a set of policies that they (and you) are expected to follow.

      If you don’t want to follow the policies you don’t have to. My parents don’t use ANY credit cards at all and they work close to minimum wage.

      • econobiker says:

        @dave_coder: Banks taught people how to use checking account registers. Now they change the way they debit/credit the accounts in order to generate more penalties and fees.

        Banks debit the largerst amount first and then down to the smallest versus by transaction order of presentation. How are people supposed to use checking account registers now in the face of this issue?

  10. Jonbo298 says:

    I love it when people play the “loyal customer” card. Especially where I work. Loyalty with big corporations is paying things on time, and getting the service you expect. If you don’t, competition exists for a reason.

    The funny thing, is that you could take your business elsewhere, but other banks will know if you close an overdrafted account and try to open a new one. Went down that road once years back and learned the err of my way.

    Good job at least for refunding THAT many overdrafts. A CSR could have waived at least a few without having to resort to an EECB.

    • anim8rjb says:

      @Jonbo298: But he would hate to have to transfer the business to a competitor…he has negative balance – who gives a shit? ;P

    • econobiker says:

      @Jonbo298: For some reason the people who run banks want loyal customers versus spending money on marketing and promo’s to gain new ones… until they decide that the loyal customer’s are not profitable enough.

  11. MedicallyNeedy says:

    Say you have $180 in your account. You withdraw $20, $20, $20 and $20. The next day you withdraw $100.01.
    They will move the small charges ahead of the large charge giving you 4 overdraft fees!
    Now come on! What the hell is up with that!

    • realserendipity says:

      Your math is off. Even if they started with the big amount first, only one $20 transaction would put you in the red.

      • MedicallyNeedy says:

        @realserendipity: Woops?
        Say you have $180 in your account. You withdraw $20, $20, $20 and $20 AND $100.01. 1 cent overdrawn. 1 overdraft fee.
        The next day you withdraw $200. $200.01 overdrawn and an additional overdraft fee.
        As all these fees are still pending, they will be automatically reordered with the $200 cumming first then $20, $20, $20, $20 and $100.01 for 6 overdraft fees instead of 2 overdraft fees.

        I had the math screwy the first time but knew I could figure it out because they did it to me more then once. The overdraft fee was $30 then. I just got a notice, it’s going up to $35!

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @MedicallyNeedy: They do that to save you the embarrassment of your having to shrug to some guy manning a swipe-card machine that you’ll never see again.
      The embarrassment of being homeless because the $300 you were going to use for the security deposit of the new place that you were supposed to move into, on the other hand… Well, that’s a bonus!

    • econobiker says:

      @MedicallyNeedy: Depends on the transactions pending type deal. Actually the bank would process pending transactions this way at once:


      Otherwise for the first day only processing:
      $20= nsf fee

      Next day
      $200=nsf fee

      But for all of the ways then probably add an account under balance fee of $35 too for a nice extra penalty.

  12. Felix the Cat says:

    I absolutely agree that this sort of carpet bombing is a good way to get attention, also calls to Executive CS – if you get the right person – sometimes you get lucky and other times you end up with some Exec CS drone, sort of a crap shoot there.

    I also find it very helpful to establish a ‘sucks’ site, I use blogspot for that as it is so easy to put up a blog there. Having a sucks site mentioned in your carpet bomb helps get their attention and they can go look at the site for more details than would be found in the initial missive you have sent to them. My BOA site is found at; []

    I did get my $100 initial deposit back but it took over a month. In doing research on BOA complaint sites I was totally amazed at how badly they treat their customers. My little complaint was absolutely nothing when compared to all the problems they are creating for their other customers. This firm truly SUCKS!

  13. ColoradoShark says:

    I’d love to see the follow up:

    Was it the typical bank shenanigans where they processed the checks in the order most likely to cause fees? You know, 10 checks come in, they pay the biggest one first leaving you almost broke, then run the other 9 that make you go negative.

    As opposed to paying the 9 you can afford and then paying the one that sinks you so you are only hit with one fee.

    Carey, please see if you can wrest the rest of the story from the OP.

    • coren says:

      @ColoradoShark: I don’t think it was checks that were his problem, in the sense you think they were – but rather his checks going into his account

      • ColoradoShark says:

        @coren: You may be right. I’m happy the guy had the fees refunded. If BoA thought they were in the right, they certainly would have dragged it out longer than two days. I’m curious to know in what way they were wrong. Yes, for the fun of mocking BoA but also educationally so maybe I can avoid the same trouble.

  14. PLATTWORX says:

    I have a number of accounts with BofA and have for years. I stick with them because I like being able to get to MY bank when I travel and they seem to be everywhere.

    That said, once last year (partly due to my poor planning and their clearing a batch of checks BEFORE crediting a deposit that would have covered them) I had 5 overdrafts hit my account. In addition, I had been told when I setup my accounts (with Fleet also) that I had overdraft protection to my savings which I had never used, nor did it kick in.

    I e-mailed BofA calmly and nicely explaining my long term relationship, the non-functioning overdraft protection and the fact that if they had posted the deposit first, none of this would have occured.

    Within a day, I got a repsponse, the overdraft link was fixed and all my overdraft charges were refunded.

    I give them credit. They stepped up for me too!

  15. savdavid says:

    They must have changed. When I was with them in 2003 they refused, absolutely refused to refund any charges. On top of that, if I went inside to use a teller more than 3 times in a month I was penalized with charges for each visit. I left them and went to a local bank and have never looked back. I am very happy with my new bank who respect me as a customer, something BOA never did.

  16. WeAre138 says:

    I hate bofa with a passion. In 96, they made an error that resulted in multiple ODF. They admitted it was their fault then reversed all but 1 of the ODFs. Being a college student at the time, I was extremely poor and couldn’t pay it. They ended up reporting me to Chexsystems and I couldn’t open an account another bank for 5 years because of it.

  17. takes_so_little says:

    @Kimberly Gist-Collins: With the info given in the article, we’re not even sure anything illegal was done. I find that everyone assuming that the OP’s a criminal without knowing the facts is negative. Wow, it’s sad!

    • SabreDC says:

      @takes_so_little: True. The only reason I’m not fond of this post is because the OP is watering down the EECB. If we use them without first going through the proper channels, they will eventually be less useful. EECBs should be used only when all else fails, not before going to a bank branch and asking them for help.

  18. ZoeSchizzel says:

    Our teenage daughter — away at college — is still getting the hang of personal finance and learning some lessons the hard way: the amount shown on your atm receipt or online is NOT your actual balance; when you add a withdrawal to your debit register you had to include any atm fees that MIGHT apply; that if you make a mistake and overdraft (even a penny!) for-profit banks will run smaller checks first to stick you for as many overdraft charges as they can.

    We had been with our bank for over 30 years, but when our daughter recently had the “avalanche overdraft” scenario happen to her and ended up paying $250 in overdraft charges for purchases that totaled less than $30, we pulled ALL of our accounts and went to the credit union. No it wasn’t their fault that our daughter was irresponsible — although anyone with very little padding in their account, like college students, can be off by enough to start an avalanche — and of course they have every right to have policies that are punitive and profit-earning, but why would I want to do business with a company that treats its customers like that? I don’t. It’s been a pain to switch banks, learn their online banking system, and set up bill pay alll over again, but it will be worth it to support our non-profit credit union and their customer-oriented policies.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Overdraft protection is definitely something we need as consumers. But, if nothing else, trying to get these overdraft fees removed by a simple phone call can easily wipe them all away.

    It is really aggravating, though, to see people get hit with hundreds of dollars of fees after purchasing small, inexpensive items worth much less than the overdraft fees.

  20. MedicallyNeedy says:

    Say you have $180 in your account. You withdraw $20, $20, $20 and $20 AND $100.01. 1 cent overdrawn. 1 overdraft fee.
    The next day you withdraw $200. $200.01 overdrawn and an additional overdraft fee.
    As all these fees are still pending, they will be automatically reordered with the $200 cumming first then $20, $20, $20, $20 and $100.01 for 6 overdraft fees instead of 2 overdraft fees.

    I had the math screwy the first time but knew I could figure it out because they did it to me more then once. The overdraft fee was $30 then. I just got a notice, it’s going up to $35!

  21. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I agree with everyone else who says it was a well written letter. He handled an unfair situation very efficiently and got an appropriate result. My guess is, he has a normally good history with the bank, so they refunded the excessive fees and also cut him a break on whatever reasonable penalties they may have been well within their rights to charge him.

  22. Anonymous says:

    He wasn’t necessarily writing “bad checks.” He probably used his check card a number of times in a short period of time without realizing that he was over-drafting the account.

    Bank of America charged me nearly $400 for a similar situation. They assessed me with $30-something fees for extremely small transactions resulting in over-drafts. In one of the transactions, I actually bought a pack of gum for 99 cents.

    The regular CSRs refused to reverse the fees and I switched to Wachovia.

  23. tbonekatz says:

    I think it helps to have a friendly relationship with the people at your bank. My husband banks with BOA. He goes in to cash checks and make deposits. He makes small talk with the tellers and the bank manager. They see him every week when he gets paid. The times he’s had overdrafts-absolutely his fault-even if they’re the ones that stack into the hundreds, he just goes in and asks, and they take them off.
    I bank at Wells Fargo and I never go inside. I always use the drive-thru. I haven’t had an overdraft in 20 years, but if I did, I don’t think they would refund it.

    • jkinatl2 says:

      @tbonekatz: Absolutely agree. Facelessness works both ways.

      I personally found I had far greater success with errors (mine AND the banks) when I showed up, wore a smile, and became a person, not a number. Have we really evolved (devolved) into a society that so shuns human interaction that we simply become faceless automatons dealing with the same? And if so, do we have much right to protest when we are treated like the non-entities we struggle so hard to achieve?

      Seriously. Be a person. Treat the people around like people. THEN you can take it personally when reciprocation is denied.

      As to all the posters attacking the OP for personal irresponsibility and whatnot… it’s really easy to see out of those glass houses, yes?

    • locakitty says:

      @tbonekatz: I have gotten so much free stuff from my bank it’s not even funny. Cashier’s checks, money orders, a few overdrafts refunded, because not only do I bank there, my business banks there. And I made nice with every single teller in that place. Even the manager.

      It also helps to throw a few pizzas their way every now and again. :)

  24. corezz says:

    Surprise surprise witrh a bank stealing from its customers. To me this is perfectly normal since for a business it is their nature to maximize profit by any means necessary. It is the rules imposed by the government that keeps things in check..the less rules the more likely thye are to be break something.

  25. exkon says:

    While I’m glad this guy got his overdraft fees refunded, BUT ALL NINE?

    I’m surprised he accepted responsibility for them, but wanted them all refunded?

    So you made a mistake and DON’T have to pay for it?

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @exkon: He didn’t ask them to refund all nine. They just did.
      “While I generally accept one or two overdraft fees can be the fault of the customer…”

      And let me point out (not in reply to exkon) that it’s so nice to see all the fine commenters who have obviously never overdrawn their accounts. Bravo, I say to you!

  26. morganlh85 says:

    This is why I love my credit union. If checks are going to bounce, they simply hold them until my direct deposit goes into my account from my job. If I try to use my debit card and don’t have enough money, it simply declines my card instead of charging me $37 for the “pleasure” and “convenience” of allowing me to buy that $1.19 pack of gum without my card getting declined.

  27. Anonymous says:

    This is Ryan, the person referenced in the article.

    I did not write nine bad checks. If this was the case, I would not have pursued the matter. All over drafts were caused by using my check card, and all the purchases were under $25 (most were $5-$10).

    The timing was unfortunate, they all cleared after a week or so for some reason or another, and led to the over drafts. Should I have kept better watch on this checking account? Perhaps. Do I think a $315 total over draft fee is merited from $50 in purchases? Hell no.

  28. calchip says:

    Bank of America only cares about one thing, making money. This is not about penalizing customers who don’t keep track of balances, it’s about finding ANY POSSIBLE WAY to steal money from customers. Among other things, they recently added a policy where they charge for overdrafts for *pending transactions*, even if the final transaction never comes through.

    So, not long ago, we had a vendor accidentally authorize a $1000 transaction twice. It only went through once, but that didn’t stop BofA from charging us a bunch of return check fees even though the funds had only been authorized, were never withdrawn from the account, and the authorization dropped off.

    They absolutely would not return the overdraft fees, and even with a letter from the vendor, said it was “not a bank error” and it was the *vendor’s* responsibility to pay us for the fees.

    As a result of these issues, I also discovered that they had turned “Pay No NSF” back off, without our permission, on all our accounts. So we went through all of our accounts (both business and personal) and had them turn on “Pay No NSF” which means they reject all debit and check transactions where there isn’t money to pay them.

    The interesting thing was, as soon as we did that, all our checks and debit transactions started clearing MUCH faster… it was clear they had been holding transactions for 3,4 5 days, hoping that there would be a low enough balance to put them all through on the same day and create overdrafts. Now, everything clears instantly, which is better for us anyway, and we have no overdrafts, no “accidental” double-authorizations.

    Shady, evil pieces of shit.

  29. dham says:

    People also regularly forget that businesses can put “holds” on your account that are never actually charged. This happens at gas stations most commonly.

    When I was in college, with $11 in my account, I tried to buy a $10 metrocard. The machine asked me to swipe my card again, which I did. It showed up on my statement as one $10 charge and a second $10 hold, complete with a $35 overdraft fee from Citibank.

    The bank refunded it when I went in, of course, but it’s silly to assume these things are the fault of the customer. I may have only had $11, but I knew exactly how many I had.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Okay, here’s what happened. We wrote a check to a grocery store after verifying our balance on line (which was incorrect as the automatic deposit did not clear yet but was reported in the balance). The store check over drafted the account by 6 cents, they resubmitted the check which overdrafted again. The store did this over the next three days which overdrafted the same transaction 3 times which cascaded into more overdrafts on other checks. These were also redeposited and overdrafted again for a total of 15 overdrafts in 3 days! You do the math. The automatic deposit hit inbetween but so did the automatic withdrawals and by the end of this mess we had over drawn charges in excess of $900.00. It seems it is “legal” for any company that has a check in its possesion to redeposit the check and also to try and obtain the overdraft fees without asking for authorization. So we also started having overdraft fees caused by trying to withdraw payments for overdraft fees! We still cannot write checks at that first store and it is a year later. We had asked the store to stop trying to “sweep” the account for the OD fees, but they refused. Our attorney finally got it stopped and we ended up having to pay all but the last set of OD charges which totaled over $500.00. We had banked at this bank for over 30 years and had only 1 OD in all that time, but we never used to use auto deposits nor auto withdrawals and believe me we do not anymore, nor do we have online banking anymore!!!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I have used bank of America for a little over three years now after moving and having to leave my beloved credit union where I never overdrafted. I am one of those people who keep my account balanced in a register.

    I recently had a ton of fraudulent charges made to my account which Bank of America fixed. However my bank account was really confusing for about a week. Some bills I had paid earlier and some automatic drafts came out in the midst of it all and caused me to overdraft. I had transferred the money into the account the day I overdrafted but of course it wasn’t enough and they put it in AFTER the overdraft fees came out. So I was hit with $105 worth of fees. That same day I purchased a couple of small items which of course led to more overdraft fees because of the previous ones.

    All in all I had $700 in fraudulent charges and $210 in overdraft fees thanks to Bank of America. I tried calling Customer Service only to have a lady tell me to leave the bank if I wanted but I had to wait until all my overdraft fees cleared.

    I then went to my local branch only to be told that the previous lady on the phone had blocked anyone else from fixing the problem and refunding my overdraft fees (the whole “I can’t override the computer thing”).

    I then got back on the phone with claims and was told that I needed to give them time and the overdraft fees would be off by the evening. I’m pretty sure he was trying to get me off the phone.

    They are still not refunded and I am sending an EECB this morning. We’ll see how it goes.

  32. Edward Waribu says:

    All said and done the financial institution has to make money through this overdraft fees and other side charges, but honestly speaking we can all accept that one or two overdraft fees can be a customers mistake, but anything going to 10 or 11 charges, its being robbed out of ur account in daylight. Now, Im in the same situation and I bank with BOA to, I just want to know how to go about the EECB email, basically how to send it to the right person or how to make sure it gets to the board. On BOA’s executive list, I saw a couple of names and i was wondering how thier emails work with regards to or what. Any help will be highly appreciated

  33. kittykaboom says:

    I undestand that sometimes there are instances that are out of one’s you wrote a post dated check that was cashed too soon or you made a payment by phone that was submitted for too much…however if you just FAIL to add or subtract your purchases and withdrawals in your check REGISTER, you should eat the fees as they are your mistake. Deal with it. Grow up.

  34. sassmcghee says:

    Bank of America steals from their customers. They create overdraft fees by not processing your purchases as they occur even though you have the money available and at the time of purchase they went through fine. If you look at your balance you will see the “Balance” and “Available Balance” and will notice the amount you just spent is now gone from the “Available Balance”. So this means they have removed the money you just spent for the purchase you just made. Only problem is they don’t actually clear your purchase even though they have removed the amount from your “Available Balance”. Instead of clearing payments they hold them, sometimes for several days, and they call them “pending transactions”. Then they wait for other HIGHER charges to come through. When this happens they will clear those higher charges and then process the lower charges and often times this creates a deficit and will overdraft your account.

    If you have money in other accounts or a savings account they will freeze those accounts and not allow you to use or withdrawal any of it unless you use it to pay their fees and get the negative account into the positive. So you could find yourself with an unexpected negative balance AND be frozen out of your accounts unable to get any of your money.

    Right now we are in the middle of this nightmare, which we have seen several times since opening up accounts in 2005 and 2007. We were paid on Friday, January 29, 2010. We had plenty of money in the bank and that day, the 29th I paid several bills and then that weekend we bought groceries, and made several small purchases. Our account online looked in order and the “Balance” and “Available Balance” were correct because all the purchases we made were now gone from the “Balance” and showed what was left in the “Available Balance”, which was in the positive. When Monday, February 1, 2010 came I planned to deposit more money into the account to cover two car payments that were going to be coming out that day. When I went to check the online balance I saw that they had cleared the two car payments, which were supposed to clear Monday, and they used the money that had already been reserved (or so I thought) from the payments and purchases we made Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Then they proceeded to overdraft five of those purchases at $35.00 each. Later, in addition to that, they added another $35.00 fee called an “Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge” because the account had been in the negative for 5 consecutive business days.

    As far as getting them to reverse any of the fees, they refused and they were rude about it.