Call Bank Of America About Account, Get Credit Limit Cut By 65%

Sean has a warning for Consumerist readers with Bank of America credit cards. At the beginning of December, he tells us that he called the bank about a billing issue, which earned him an account review and a drastic reduction in his credit limit.

This evening I contacted Bank of America about a minor billing issue and without warning, request, or recourse, had my available credit reduced by over 65%.  Now there is only $300 of available credit on my account just before the Christmas shopping season.  Further, I will now have to go through the stress of moving all reoccurring charges to my debit account or suffer default consequences.

The first thing I find strange in hindsight is that I never made a request to have my account modified in any way (interest rate, credit limit, etc…) I was immediately transferred to an analyst after calling the number on the back of my card.  After explaining my unrelated problem (which is still unresolved!), the analyst (who still has not introduced himself as such) explains he needs to update some information on my account.  I find it strange, but I am happy to comply.  After asking me about my current employment and salary status, I am placed on a lengthy hold.  When the analyst comes back he seems happy to inform me that he has already taken the liberty of drastically reducing my available credit and left me with barely enough money for two weeks’ worth of groceries.

I am immediately shocked to hear this, almost speechless.  I am even more stunned to learn that the changes are irreversible and that it would be impossible to talk to a manager.  If reading Consumerist all these years has taught me anything, it is to remain calm, polite, and respectful on the phone.  And although I feel like I might explode, I kept my calm and remained persistent in trying to talk to someone else.  After being told several times that “my manager is on vacation” I am left with no other option than to expose the analysts’ lie by explaining to him that Bank of America is a major corporation and I know that he has a supervisor somewhere around there that I can talk to.  After another lengthy hold I am connected to a “senior credit analyst.”

[The analyst, B.] insisted that although the actions they took led to a very angry customer (who has done business with BoA for over 9 years!) it was the “right decision.”  Another thing that B. couldn’t stop repeating was that he “understood my frustration” (but really he didn’t).  B. told me that he would not be able to reinstate my original credit line or even increase it at all.  But what I find most disturbing is when I asked B. how else he could help me, he was happy, eager almost, to tell me that if I had problems making payments he could immediately enroll me in debt relief program, canceling my cards and starting a payment plan!  Awesome!

So after thinking about this for a minute I realize that I now have no available credit, and will have to allocate more cash to other resources…  So maybe I do need some debt relief?  After all, I went from 30% credit utilization to 95% in a single 90 minute phone call! 

The way I was treated today by BoA is reprehensible, irresponsible, and unacceptable.  I know that there is no chance I will ever be a customer of theirs ever again.  And most of all, I just don’t get it.  If you are a good customer, for a very long time, maintain a manageable balance, and pay your bills on time, you obviously deserve to have Bank of America punch you in the face, kick you in the groin, and… I digress.  After all, it’s the RIGHT DECISION!

A few days later, Sean followed up with the results of his call to executive customer care. They were not helpful.

I did take the time to contact executive customer care.  They advised me that there is nothing that can be done and It must be the economy’s fault that I am no longer credit worthy.  They also said that customers used to be subject to review every three months and now they review every month and next year they will review every two weeks.  I have a feeling this may become an epidemic.

Since it is clear now that there is no recourse for me, I have informed my friends and family I will not be able to travel or exchange gifts this year due to lack of funds.  I have also told Bank of America that I have no desire to continue business with them.  I will be aggressively paying off and ending my relationship with them for good.

We’re not sure what the lesson here is: “Don’t call your credit card company, ever?”