Die, Bank of America, Die

It’s been more than a year since I launched a full-fledged rant at corporate America. This year’s target is Bank of America.

Last Saturday (Dec. 22, 2007) after services, WineGuy and I stopped at a local branch of Bank of America, to make a deposit. (BOA replaced its old ATM machines with new machines containing optical scanners that allegedly obviate the need for deposit slips.) I put in my ATM card, entered my code, and selected my deposit transaction. The machine asked me to insert the check. I double-checked the endorsement and the correct way to insert the check. I inserted the check into the machine, which ferociously gobbled it up. It failed to recognize the check. It ate my ATM card. There wasn’t invective enough to verbalize my rage.

I whipped out my iPhone and dialed BOA customer service. After keeping me on the phone for 20 mintees, they explained that they couldn’t do anything over the weekend except for cancel my ATM card. They would issue me a new one, but that it would take 5-7 business days, and maybe longer because of the holidays. BOA customer service said that the ATM machine would be reconciled Monday evening, Dec. 24th, and to look for the transaction to be posted online then. Guess what? No check. Did I mention it was a $5000 check from WineGuy’s office? Did I also mention that we’re Premier account holders and are supposed to receive better treatment? BOA did not offer me any expedited or special service for being a Premier account holder. In fact, in the end they didn’t do squat to resolve the problem.

Christmas Eve came and went. The fat man made his rounds but didn’t drop that check into my bank account. I checked online for two days and saw nothing of that attempted deposit. This morning, WineGuy woke me up and insisted I go down to that branch and straighten out the mess. So, I showed up at the branch at 9:00 a.m. sharp. I presented the problem to the account rep. in the lobby. He wanted to discuss it in the middle of the bank, but I asked to sit at a desk. Lowly Rep could not resolve the problem, so he proceeds to “call someone”. Someone ended up being the same department I had spoken with four days earlier: Electronic Claims. I was on the phone, in the lobby of the bank, for 40 minutes. I accomplished NOTHING in the end. Electronic Claims, conveniently located 150 miles from The Zone, was happy to file a claim and launch an investigation. ::cue “Dragnet” music:: That would get underway in another five days or so, maybe longer. In the meantime, BOA offered to issue a temporary credit of $5000 to my account, pending my timely and accurate completion of their claim form. EC first offered to fax the form to the branch, sometime within the next four hours, and then refused to do so. Then, Electronic Claims told me to contact the issuer of the check and have them call their bank to see if the check had cleared. During this whole time, no one could tell me where my check was, whether the ATM machine had been cleared or serviced in the prior 4 days, or physically retrieve the check. At one point in this ridiculous charade, the Assistant Branch Manager, who looked all of 27 years old, strutted over to “see what he could do”. ABM couldn’t locate the check or find out when and if the ATM had been serviced either, but he promised me he would return my call later today. He did not.

While I was waiting for someone to find the damn check or give me some service, I called WineGuy’s office manager, Gladys. Gladys runs a tight ship, and pretty much everyone is afraid of her. I certainly don’t like to cross her, so I was extremely apologetic to toss this headache in her lap. Gladys had everything taken care of in 15 minutes: she called the office’s bank, confirmed the check had not cleared, stopped payment on the old check, reissued a new check, and put it on WineGuy’s desk. I had left the bank by this point and was on my way to my next errand. I tried calling the branch six or seven times, only to get stuck in their voicemail hell. When I finally weaseled my way through their system, ABM would not take my call. The bastard. I called Electronic Claims back myself and got the only sage piece of advice: don’t cancel the electronic claim until the new check has cleared the bank.

Despite having thousands of dollars deposited in BOA checking and savings, having a safe deposit box and all my children’s accounts there, having a Platinum credit card with them, and being a Premier account holder, BOA did jack-shit to resolve my problem. They’ve strung me along for days and have completely obliterated my trust in them or their g-ddamned, optical-scanning automatic teller machines.

Wachovia is looking better and better.

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5 thoughts on “Die, Bank of America, Die

  1. Oh, man, this has my blood boiling!! I HATE Bank of America! We’ve got our main credit card with them (only because of the frequent flyer miles), and we’ve got my SIL’s guardianship account there (my SIL is mentally retarded and my husband is her guardian), because BOA is where my MIL originally opened the account. I just HATE BOA, but don’t have time to tell stories now. Must get ready for work.

  2. I left BOA a few years ago due to problems like that. They would hold funds for up to 10 days (payroll checks) which is hard given that teachers here get paid once a month. They also jacked around the kids accounts, who in their right mind would pay $4. a month per account for an 8 year old? Anyway, I feel your pain so much that I now frequent Wamu. 🙂

  3. Join the loathing of BofA club. Oddly, this dates back to the 1970s in my family!! My parents had trouble with them way back then and I remember my mom telling me to never use them. I have never personally, BUT, when the university used them I wanted to drive downtown and throttle people. So yes, even their corporate services sucks. Plus, they were the LAST bank to go online for corporations. Then MM made the mistake of trying them – as Anne pointed out, he was nickel and dimed to death with fees.
    Look for a credit union – I hear they are really the best. I am with Wells Fargo and have been since 1988 and have everything there as you do with BofA and they have never done me wrong so my loyalty is with them, BUT, if they ever screw up, I will move to a CU.
    Blood boiling in sympathy.

  4. AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! We still haven’t switched from BOA …you may remember I was asking about alternatives for us after they screwed something big up and we got the same crappy treatment. But since we don’t know for sure we’re going to live here for any length of time I don’t want to go through the bank change hassle only to potentially do it again.
    And I also hate those new ATM’s BTW…..we frequently have many small checks to deposit at one time and you have to do each one separately.

  5. I’m also a member of the I Loathe BOA Club.

    We switched to a small local bank and have gotten much better service without all the ridiculous surcharges BOA was trying to tack onto everything (and raising the bar to avoid those charges).

    I could use a Gladys in my life.

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