Monday, May 11, 2009

Bank of America = Catch-22

How I spent my lunch hour.

Dear Bank of America,

Your bank has invented a Catch-22 that even John Yossarian would find amusing. I deposited 3 checks totaling about $200 in the ATM at your Newton Centre office on Sunday evening. Halfway through the deposit, the machine went dark, keeping my debit card and the three checks.

Upon calling the bank, I was told to hold on for the claims department, to make sure I got credit for the deposit. After I gave the date and time and location of the deposit, the person asked how much each check was for. I said I didn't know, but that the total deposit was about $200. I offered to tell her who had made out the checks, and also pointed out that each of them had my name and address on them. She said, "I can't file a claim without the specific amount of each check."

I said, "I don't have the checks. Your machine ate them." She said, "I can't file a claim without the specific amount of each check. Can you tell me exactly what the total deposit was?"

I said, "Your new automatic deposit mechanism for checks no longer requires an envelope, so I don't have an exact total, and I no longer have the checks." She said, "I can't file a claim without the specific amount of each check."

"Perhaps you should contact the makers of the checks. They can give you an amount, and then you can call back. If you do, it can take 45 days for a claim to be processed. Maybe you can have new checks made out more quickly."

Right . . . .

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, at least they're just stupid instead of dishonest, unlike Merck who invented a phony peer-reviewed journal:

http://blog.bioethics.net/2009/05/merck-makes-phony-peerreview-journal/

It's a wonder we can all get through each day without losing it.....

nonlocal

The Medical Quack said...

Thanks for the warning, I have them too as a bank. I found out something interesting the other day as well, if you have more than one account, let's say a business and a personal account and the money has been verified, if you want immediate access to the funds in the account you transferred it to, use your online banking account on the computer.

If you do a transfer of funds at the ATM it puts a 24 hour hold on the money. I found that one out as I needed to transfer funds to make a large purchase and it was denied; however the next day everything was fine as the hold was gone. Again, these were funds that had been in there for a few weeks and not new deposits. I found this out via customer service.

Anyway, just thought I would pass that along for whatever it might be worth and hope you get your money back for the checks!

Adam Gobin said...

This is pretty expected from Bank of America -- terrible customer service. Every time you call them, always participate in the survey -- they need to understand how terrible their customer service and loyalty is. Good thing they're not a health system!

Jack Hamilton said...

Maybe you should file a complaint with some state and federal regulatory authorities.

margalit said...

That same machine at the same branch ate my card. Just ate it. No reason. You used to have 30 seconds to pull out your card. Not anymore. You pull it immediately or you can't have it back. NICE!

Paul Levy said...

YOur card is now shredded. I found out they do they automatically even if you did everything right.

Paul Levy said...

Oh, and there is no longer a telephone next to the machine to report it. So, you need to call the 800 number to find out next steps. But, since you no longer have a card, you have to find that number elsewhere.

LJCohen said...

Another reason I bank at 2 local banks--Watertown savings and Auburndale Cooperative. Their customer service is responsive and respectful. It makes a difference banking with people you feel you have a relationship with.

And with the SUM atm network and online banking, there's little they big banks can do that these smaller, local banks cannot.

Bostonia said...

Two suggestions: Northern Bank and Trust out of Woburn, I banked with them for years until I moved out of that area. Very hometowny. They will call you and let you know if a check is going to bounce and offer to hold it until you can make a deposit. Wainright Bank of Boston, very good customer service and free ATMs anywhere(!!).

Anonymous said...

Pretty much having a similar experience with their mortgage dept. My loan was recently taken over by BOA through acquisition. Trying to get anything done through their off-shored customer service is an absolute nightmare.

Anonymous said...

I Have just two words for you my friend......
CREDIT UNIONS.....
I never use a bank... greedy for profit behemoths.

Lindsey said...

I tried to open an additional checking account 2 weeks ago online and this action somehow prompted BOA to close and delete my existing savings and checking accounts. Several phone calls, emails, in person visits and live chats later, the money has been recovered but my billpay and credit cards are still horribly screwed up. Bills have been paid twice, I almost bounced my mortgage check and my last explicit email [x, y, and z are still wrong, please do 1, 2, and 3 to fix them] was answered with a "Sorry for your trouble, here's how you log in to the website" cookie-cutter response. I work in technology, logging into a website is the least of my problems.

I could go back and yell again but instead I'm taking my money elsewhere - a local credit union. I will miss the convenience but I have heard so many complaints over the years from friends and colleagues, I should have known it was only a matter of time before I got screwed. Oh, and 2 days after they lost my $8k, the articles came out saying how they need $35m of our tax dollars to stay afloat. Yeah.....

Marsha Maurer said...

Hi Paul, I am two for two for deposit mess-ups with the new BofA system. Glad to know I'm not alone. My new plan is to see the teller!. Marsha

nana said...

...some things never change. I have a 45 yr-old tale about BOA stupidity. This is back in the days when a PERSON did the data entry. I had checking balance around $200... BOA entered "insufficient funds" 3 times, bouncing my checks to different businesses.. the statement read: balance $199 -$2 insuff funds....balance $197 -$2 insuff funds....balance $195 -$2 insuff funds....balance $193
I've wondered ever since what the genius typing that was thinking!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul!

Was this at a branch or at a stand-alone ATM vestibule? If it was at a BoA branch, you could be in luck - if you stop by during business hours they should have your checks (and maybe your card). This has happened to me before, and they've been able to dig them out of the machine. If it happened at a vestibule, I have no advice - sorry!

Also, Brookline Savings has a great reputation - and they don't charge fees for using other ATMs.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Paul, there are about a gazillion banks in Newton Centre. I have never had a problem with an ATM at Sovereign. It amazes me how many people I know who have problems with BofA, yet still have their accounts there.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the BOA ATM in the hallway right outside your office ate my check soon after it was upgraded to the newfangled type not requiring envelopes! Fortunately, I knew the amount of my check so it was easier to get the provisional credit, followed by the permanent credit. Strangely, I still use that ATM to deposit checks, but make sure to know the amounts before trying to deposit them.