Consumerist reader Frank recently wrote to Bank of America — copying us — on behalf of his girlfriend. Seems that BofA was conscientious enough to not only notify her of suspicious activity on her debit card, but also to credit her account for the fraudulent ATM withdrawals… Only to take it all back a week later.
A couple weeks back, Frank’s girlfriend got a call from Bank of America to let her know they believed her debit card had been compromised following two suspicious withdrawals totaling $960.00 from BofA ATMs outside her immediate vicinity.
After verifying to the bank that she had not made the withdrawals and signing a document to that effect, she was told that everything was going to be okay and BofA credited her the $960.00.
Here’s Frank’s version of what happened next:
We thought ‘wow they really helped you get out of a problem fast.’ Not so; on Saturday April 24th we received a letter from the Fraud Dispute Department, and it stated, “After conducting a thorough investigation of the above reference claim it has been determined that no error has occurred in this instance our records show that transaction in question was authorized and posted or billed correctly to your account.”
Um wait what? You’re the one that called her to tell her account was compromised and now you tell her that it was her stealing her money, come on. How are you going to tell her this when we can verify that money was stolen from her account?
She calls the dispute hotline to find out what has happened during the investigation. We are told the investigation is closed and that no fraud was found. We ask if we can speak to the investigator, because no one ever called her… We are told that no we can’t.
This investigator knows nothing about her or her spending habits so how does he close it in less than 7 business days? Oh by the way BofA ATM’s were used to take the money — Did anyone verify from the many cameras around BofA ATM’s?
The operator on the phone said that a new investigator would be put on our case. My girlfriend asks for the exact times these ATM transactions happened so we can prove to them that she was at work with a signed document from her superiors but BofA will not give us this information.
She was told initially on the first call that a police report was going to be made, but since BofA closed the case there is none.
We ask about filing a our own police report. We can so we head immediately to our local precinct, where we are told by an officer at a desk that we need to have BofA fax over a document stating fraud was committed in these amount of charges on this day at this time.
BofA will not send this information because to them there is no fraud. So now it feels like she is getting screwed, you’re not helping her out, AND YOUR PRETTY MUCH CALLING HER A LIAR, WHICH IS NOT GOOD BUSINESS. People don’t pull out $960.00 in two days and forget about it.
As in most situations where consumers believe their bank is at fault, we suggest the following:
â€¢ Contact the bank, not just the branch, with a formal complaint. You can do this in writing, or by email. Keep a copy of this complaint for your records.
â€¢ Figure out which agency regulates your bank by calling or using FDIC’s Bank Find.
â€¢ Write a formal complaint letter to the bank’s regulatory agency. Follow the FTC’s instructions for writing a complaint.
This document also has the correct contact information for the various regulatory agencies. Keep a copy of this complaint for your records.
According to the FDIC, “The regulatory agencies will be able to help resolve the complaint if the financial institution has violated a banking law or regulation. They may not be able to help where the consumer is not satisfied with an institution’s policy or practices, even though no law or regulation was violated. Additionally, the regulatory agencies do not resolve factual or most contractual disputes.”
By filing a complaint, the regulating agency will investigate whether the bank actually violated any banking regulations.