From calling at all hours of the day and night to contacting you at work, we’ve told you before about the large number of banned practices for debt collectors. But one man says he’s the victim of a tenacious debt collector trying to collect a debt he doesn’t even owe. [More]
Elizabeth wishes that Chase would stop sending her emails. They’re not spam, exactly: she used to be a customer. But she’s getting e-mails as if she still had accounts there, and she closed hers more than a year ago. She was afraid that it has gone zombie: that is, that it’s been mysteriously re-opened without her permission to make unwanted payments and devour her credit score. [More]
Stephen had an account at Suntrust, and decided to leave that bank behind and start a shiny new credit union account with his wife. He left the Suntrust account open instead of withdrawing all of his money and transferring it to the new account, spending it until it was empty, then going in to close it. This plan would have worked beautifully if Suntrust had actually closed the account when he asked them to. [More]
Over the lifetime of Consumerist, we’ve written a number of stories about so-called zombie bank accounts, where a consumer finds out their closed account has been re-opened without their knowledge or approval, usually after some third party attempts to make a direct deposit or debit on the dead account. If you were a Chase bank customer and your account was resurrected from the grave, we’d like to hear from you.
For years, we’ve been telling tales of terror abut bank customers whose supposedly dead bank accounts suddenly sprang back to life after some unwitting third party attempted to make a direct deposit or debit on the account. But realizing that this whole zombie thing is so overdone these days, Bank of America says it has put an end to the practice.
If Bloatware Keeps You From Downloading Phone Apps You Actually Want, Should Carriers Offer An Upgrade?
We’ve written before about the annoyances of bloatware — those apps you are never ever going to use but come with your smartphone and cannot be deleted no matter how much you swear at your phone. Consumerist reader Ryan’s got his own bone to pick with zombie apps that can’t be killed on his Sprint phone, because they’re interfering with his ability to use it in the way he intended when he bought it. In short: he can’t download apps he actually wants because the bloatware takes up too much space, even with a new SD card.
Aaron is ditching Wells Fargo. Not out of any animosity toward megabanks or dissatisfaction with their policies, though. He’s just moving to an area where they don’t have any branches. He did what you do when breaking up with a bank: withdrew his money and closed out the account. Well, he tried to. He wanted to. Perhaps he did. But the employee who helped him couldn’t guarantee that a stray old check or a recurring charge he failed to change over wouldn’t bring the closed account back to life, resulting in overdraft charges and a zombie account lumbering around.
Way back in 2004, Cameron had DirecTV service. When he moved, he ended his service and turned his equipment back in. At least, he thought he did. It wasn’t until this year that he learned the account had gone zombie back in 2005, charging the debit card of a bank account he didn’t watch closely for two years before going dormant–likely because the debit card expired. The zombie account had been slain, and a collection agency tracked Cameron down earlier this year to make him pay the balance on the account that he had never reactivated in the first place. Never mind that he had paid almost two years’ worth of bills without noticing it or even having a dish at the time.
Zeke once worked for now bankrupt and defunct Hollywood Video. Employees had special accounts allowing them to rent older movies (more than a few weeks old) for free and not have to pay late fees when they didn’t bring them back. Zeke is sure that he wouldn’t hallucinate free movie rentals, but the collection agency that sent him the letter insists that this policy never existed, and that it’s up to him to prove that he didn’t owe the company $28.95 in late fees at the time he quit.
The last time that Jen had visited a Bank of America branch, her deposit of more than $3,000 had been credited to the wrong customer, and she was there to make sure that she got her money back. A branch manager denied her assertions, denied that there was a mistake, and told her that she must have deposited the money in another bank. There was no other reasonable explanation…or so it seemed until she pulled out the receipt from her deposit. Oh. She closed her account that day, and assumed that her relationship with Bank of America was now over. She was incorrect.
Outrage over fees assessed by banks on checking accounts and other unfair practices has led to consumers attempting to leave their institutions in droves. But as a new report by Consumers Union points out, banks throw up a myriad of obstacles that can confuse consumers who are trying to switch banks.
We love the rare instances where a company makes a proactive effort to fix a problem before customers have to resort to a barrage of complaints. In this case, Mojang apologized for an upgrade glitch for Minecraft users, and as reader Derick puts it, “You just gotta love it when a company assumes responsibility for a billing mistake without the need to be publicly shamed first.”
Chris was one of the many in October who closed their bank accounts with Bank of America, and other similar big retail banks, in protest over planned fees for using their debit card. But last week she found it had been reopened for no apparent reason, with a 1 penny balance out of nowhere.
Earlier this year, we posted a handy tip to avoid zombie billing: for a service that you plan to stop using after your contract is up, use a credit or debit card with an expiration date shortly after the end of the contract. The idea behind this plan is that an expired card can’t be billed. This didn’t work so well for Rob, whose expired credit card was zombie-billed by Microsoft for his Xbox Live subscription.
Considering how insistent and persistent the emails are, you would think there was big bucks in pushing pills that increase the flow of blood to one’s penis for an extended period of time. That may be true, but only because the costs of spam advertising are so low, as revealed by this nugget in a New York Times article that reveals it takes 12.5 million spam emails just to sell $100 worth of Viagra.
How can you prevent a zombie billing invasion after your satellite TV contract is up? Simple, explains reader catastrophegirl: give the company a credit card to put on file that expires before your contract is up. If they try to put the zombie charges on the card–well, they can’t.
Leigh thought that she had laid her Wells Fargo checking account to rest. It was closed, gone, out of her life forever. When some forgotten auto-payments hit the account, though, instead of rejecting the payments, the bank zombified the account, brought it back to life, and charged Leigh and her husband a $35 overdraft fee for each item that hit their account. Wells Fargo put them on a payment plan to repay their balance, then turned around and sent the account to collections less than a month into the agreed-upon payment plan. Now they’ve been flagged as overdrafters in the Chexsystems database, and are still watching the account to make sure that no erroneous auto-payments hit it and trigger more overdrafts.