Public Shaming Does The Job: Bank Of America Gives Army Vet His $25K Back

It’s not that we love the act of shaming a big, greedy bank into doing the right thing — wait. Scratch that. We totally love it, which is why we’re happy that Bank of America finally refunded over $25,000 in fraudulent debit charges to a U.S. Army reservist. All it took was years of fighting, a little public flogging and collective indignation.

Two years had to go by before John will finally see the money that was taken from his account, after he paid for a few drinks at a club in Greece and someone else then charged thousands of dollars on his card. Bank of America had told him they’d done all that they could, and that he was on his own to battle the merchant for his funds.

ABC News says John’s now waiting to receive his refund after a senior executive of veteran affairs from Bank of America called him on Wednesday evening to tell him the good news.

“I’m hoping now the politicians in this country will use this to change these laws to protect consumers,” said John. “Whether a debit or credit card, if someone forges your name, it’s the responsibility of Visa or the bank to hold that payment until it’s verified.”

Bank of American maintains that it followed the rules of fraud protection, and that it was Visa who determined the case was between John and the merchant. But maybe their close call in our Worst Company In America tourney softened their hearts a bit.

“That being said, in light of Mr. McDevitt’s service to our country we are extending him the benefit of the doubt and refunding the full amount,” said a BofA spokesman.

Oopsies, Bank of America. Your tiny speck of compassion is showing.

Former Army Reservist Says Bank Of America Refunding $25,000 in Fraudulent Debit Charges [ABC News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. az123 says:

    Though I am glad to see the guy is getting his money, I still maintain the OP was an idiot for keeping that much money in an account linked to a debit card he was using to purchase things… and even stupider for using it overseas in a night club.

    I also think there was a lot more to this story than the OP was letting on, I have seen / heard of scams where this type of thing happens and they tend to involve a bit more than a couple drinks happening…. So the investigation by Visa may have shown a bit more as to why the OP was not so innocent in this happening as he makes out, still a victim perhaps…

    • XianZomby says:


      While I totally support Soldiers, I do like your idea of not putting all my money in one place.

      I’ve totally got like $103,426 I’ve been saving up in my savings account that’s linked to my ATM card (acnt#2384626433832795) and I’ve been meaning to move it somewhere else. Can somebody help me move that money somewhere else?

      • az123 says:

        Either find an investment or at least make sure that account is not linked to your checking account or any debit card you use on a regular basis.

        • dwtomek says:

          Whoosh! That sarcasm sure was flying low. From my vantage it looked like it went right over your head!

      • Me - now with more humidity says:

        Why, yes, I can. I am a barrister who was recently granted an opportunity to gain an inheritance of $20,000,000. All that is required is a deposit of $103,426 to make the transfer from that account. In return, I shall grant you 50% of the inheritance as a token of my utmost gratitude.

      • Confoosed says:

        2 Funny! :-)

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      The OP is “an idiot”, “stupider for using it overseas”, “the OP was not so innocent”.

      Do you happen to live in Arizona or Florida perchance?

    • Jane_Gage says:

      If he had 500.00 in his account he’d also have 109,375 in overdraft fees.

  2. Hibyeman says:

    This was a PR stunt the bank of bad service,wrong foroclosures,refusaly to pay damages and transfers to foot fetish lines would not do something like this unless to was a PR stunt sorry for bad spelling

  3. vliam says:

    Came here looking for the OP blame-game response.

    /done in 1
    //nice work

  4. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    They’re not sorry. They’re just sorry they got caught.

  5. Coles_Law says:

    “Whether a debit or credit card, if someone forges your name, it’s the responsibility of Visa or the bank to hold that payment until it’s verified.”

    I may be missing something-isn’t debit PIN (so no signature to forge?) Or is he talking about debit ran as credit?

    • humphrmi says:

      I’m going to guess that since Europe has chip-and-pin, which is incompatible with swipe-and-pin, it was the latter.

  6. Hungry Dog says:

    I am learning this lesson right now as Apple is siphoning my account dry. Luckily I have USAA and they are working with me on this but lesson learned is to never link the debit card with anything. I am going to start being much more paranoid now.

  7. Costner says:

    I’m glad it worked out for him, but personally I don’t think the fact he is a veteran should have any bearing on the end result. I think we all know had this been just a regular civilian on vacation in Greece when the same thing occurred they would likely still be out their $25,000.

    This was done for PR reasons, not because of policy. In fact it seems they went against policy just to make him go away. Public shaming is all fine and dandy, but I don’t think it should matter whether the person is a server at Applebees, a retired postal worker from Detroit, a hedge fund manager from NYC, or a US Army Reservist.

    • BobOki says:

      While I agree, you must be fair. When your option have run low after following standard protocol, and the time comes to go all out to attempt to get your money back, you will play any extra card you can to achive that goal. I think pulling the vet card greatly helped his cause and directly effected the outcome.

      If you put the “I’m special becuase I am military” feelings you have aside, you can agree that it probably was the only reason he got his money back, which in my book makes using this card, this time, acceptable.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Nope, it shouldn’t. Soldiers do get special treatment on many things, but shouldn’t get it by default for everything.

      That said, I still think BoA was in the wrong to begin with, and the outcome is what should have happened. It’s just too bad it took a PR nightmare to get it done.

    • phonebem says:

      I’m willing to bet it was less of a PR choice than a business decision. I’m betting the contract for the issuing bank for all the DoD Travel Cards is coming due and BoA wants it.

  8. Lyn Torden says:

    They’re just doing this because they are mad they came so close to getting the golden poo and failed!

  9. Press1forDialTone says:

    Mary Beth, “Bank of American…”? Really?
    Proofread, proofread, proofread….
    In my humble opinion, there is nothing that makes an author lose credibility
    faster than spelling, grammar and style (among other things that deal with
    the actual content, of course). Yes, this is the Journalism/Writing Police.
    Pull over and get out of your desk chair.

  10. Press1forDialTone says:

    Whoa nelly! Who wants to put odds on a wave of military service personnel
    (who had this happen and didn’t get their money back because they didn’t
    make the kind of effort the OP did) coming out of the woodwork?

  11. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “Your tiny speck of compassion is showing.”

    No it isn’t. No compassion involved. Someone realized they were getting bad press over it, so they acted. Simple as that.

  12. Power Imbalance says:

    ‘yet EA is a worse company….

    • RiverStyX says:

      No, they aren’t. But it’s always about whose ox you gore. The audience that’s pissed off the most, in this case a buncha armchair gamers who probably don’t need a bank for anything other than depositing their paychecks and buying shit online, are the ones who ended up stuffing the ballot box.

      That’s exactly what happened. EA is an expendable company in terms of world economics and recreational activity. BofA can completely ruin millions of peoples lives if they chose to and get away with it.

      • Power Imbalance says:

        Totally agree. I hope next year the editors disallow any frivolous companies such as EA and concentrate on companies that actually have power and cause real harm.

        • crazydavythe1st says:

          What constitutes a “frivolous” company?

          Nominations were taken for WCIA – should we only allow companies you personally approve? How many times do you want BOA to win?

          Three, four, five times? Let’s give BOA the award in perpetuity. That will make it exciting.

    • kbsparky says:

      I never even heard of EA until I started reading the Consumerist pages …

  13. tbax929 says:

    As soon as he gets the refund, he should move his money to another bank, preferably USAA, since he’s a service member. Just in case B of A (which should have won WCIA) changes its mind.

  14. ablestmage says:

    They should not have refunded it because he was a Vet, but because they are honest.

  15. nishioka says:

    > “That being said, in light of Mr. McDevitt’s service to our country we are extending him the benefit of the doubt and refunding the full amount,” said a BofA spokesman.

    Garbage. Do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because the guy is a vet and you don’t want to be seen as vet-hating jackballs.

  16. bitplayer says:

    If the guy was using regular plastic and not a debit card he would have been far safer. I never use debit for any situation where the card is out of my hands. Never. Only credit cards.

  17. pegasi says:

    it shouldn’t matter whether or not the guy is in the service… if his card was charged fraudulently… the money should be returned.

  18. farker22 says:

    way to pass the buck boa pos.

  19. RiverStyX says:

    Just one reason I voted them the worst company in america. It seems like the only way progress is ever achieved in this country is when enough people complain about it..What’s 25k to a bank that awards its CEO’s 50+ million a year in bonuses anyway? Pure greed, that’s the best way to describe this country and the 1% that dominates it.

    • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

      And the wage-slaves just get up and go to work the next day hoping the next fiasco won’t be them.

      Hope and change didn’t do it. We need something else. Something a little more…direct.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Direct democracy?

        • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

          Yeah we could set up camps in each city aimed at starting a direct democracy. Our First Amendment rights will ensure we can do this.

          Wait, what?

  20. oldwiz65 says:

    Maybe BofA would have responded more promptly if the soldier had told them he was an experienced pilot with a fully armed Apache helicopter and would like to fly out and visit them and show them the error of their ways?

  21. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Looks to me like BoA decided “we’re in the right, but privacy laws prevent us from showing everybody that we’re in the right, and we’re getting hammered in the press, so we’re going to take the $25k hit.”

    Thus far I’ve seen zero evidence that BoA was in the wrong here.

  22. xjeyne says:

    If I was in his shoes, I’d immediately pull the entire $25,243.71 and close my account.

  23. MikeVx says:

    And again:

    Plastic should only be used for situations where cash is not feasible, and there is no excuse for having a debit card tied to your household spending account. You should only use cards tied to dedicated accounts on different institutions from your household spending so that “helpful” bank staff can’t mess up your finances by moving money to “save you the trouble of denials”.

    I’m usually against the “OP screwed up” stuff that happens so much here, but this is one case where the accusation is accurate. In addition to only having debit cards tied to dedicated accounts, you should never have more in an account with debit card access than you an afford to lose with no possibility of recovery. Doing it that way limits your possible losses, it also gives you the option of telling the bank that the negative balance is fraudulent and they are not getting it out of you, since you can close/abandon the account. You are in a better position as it is the bank that is in the red. They will still likely try to put the onus on you, but you’ve still got the money you kept out of harms way.

    • SKChance says:

      “Doing it that way limits your possible losses, it also gives you the option of telling the bank that the negative balance is fraudulent and they are not getting it out of you, since you can close/abandon the account.”

      That’s a very good way to wind up in ChexSystems and never be able to open a bank account ever again.

  24. dwtomek says:

    While the details are certainly scant, I still can’t fathom how this charge went through in the first place. It takes FAR less to trip my card into a lockdown. $25,000 at a dining/entertainment location in Greece? I would have to go tell the CU president in person that I wanted to make that payment before it would go through… Oh wait, credit union, that explains it.

    • vorpalette says:

      For real. I got shut down by my CU at the outlet mall an hour and a half away for a $100 purchase a few years ago.

  25. impatientgirl says:

    This makes me happy.

  26. zibby says:

    Cool. My takeaway is that we bring back the stocks. Cheaper than prison.

  27. Zydia says:

    So I didn’t use my debit card at an overseas nightclub, but my bank recently acted the total opposite of BOA and seeing this article makes me more happy I’m not with them anymore. Of course that guy should have been responsible, but a bank should be verifying withdrawals that large.