Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grand Theft Donna

I finally got my check for my 401(k). Whew!

So, today, after my eye appointment (where I found out I needed either bifocals or contacts and reading glasses...), I trotted on down to my bank with the check in my hot little hand. I discussed various account options with a "personal banker" and decided on the one I think is best for me. As I went to deposit the check, she mentioned that it would be a 7-(business) day hold on the check. Ugh. I kinda need the money sooner than that since rent is due in like five days. So, in order to maybe speed up the hold process, she suggested that I take the check to Bank of America (bank the check was drawn from) and ask them to verify it, then convert the check to a certified cashier's check. The cashier's check would cut the hold time down to three days (or less).

Off I go to BoA. Now, I used to bank with Bank of America. We had a difference of opinion on how much of my money I should actually get to keep in my account each month. They seemed to want a rather large portion of it for the honor of saying I was a BoA customer. I took my measly little sums to another bank. I'm sure they didn't miss me, and I certainly didn't miss them. I digress....

I walked into the branch and spoke with a gentleman who greeted me and explained what I needed to do. He told me that, "we don't do that, but I'll check." I'm thinking, how negative is that!? He escorts me up to the tellers and passes me off to a teller.

The guy briefly explains to teller #1 (I'm numbering them, can you already see that this is not going to be good?) that I need a cashier's check. Teller #1, stares at me blankly and I explained further what I needed and he continued to stare blankly at me while holding my check. He really didn't say much to me, but turned to Teller #2 and asks if they can do that. Teller #2 took my check from him and looked at it, then me and told me that they can't normally do that for non-customers and then wandered over to a computer with my check in hand and entered something and in "hushed" tones just loud enough for me to hear told Teller #1 that they won't do that.

At which time, they both come back to the counter and tell me that as a non-customer, it will be a $15 charge for the cashier's check. I said that was pretty steep, but to go ahead and do it. To which she replied that they don't normally do that for non-customers. (Huh? If you've got a fee schedule for non-customers surely it's a service that's offered! Maybe it's because non-customers don't normally request the service?)

Teller #3 finished what she was doing and wandered over and gets in on the action. The three of them now are back at the computer discussing the account that the check was drawn on and looking at the amounts of money each of the checks had been written for. Still, they were talking just loud enough for me to hear. Teller #3 says to #1 and #2, "we don't even know if it's a real check." I think my eyes bugged out a little at that point. What do you mean you don't know if it's a real check? You're accusing me of trying to pass off a forged or fake check?

From my spot at the counter, I asked if there was a problem. Teller #3 comes back over to me and says that they can't verify the account. (But, wait, weren't they just looking at the account and discussing how much previous checks were for?) I pointed this out. She said that since it is on a California bank, they can't even verify that it is a valid check. Her words were "real check." So, to my face, she just basically accused me of trying to pass a forged or fake check. (That's felony theft she's accusing me of because the amount was well over the $1500 that makes it a felony in Texas! Then, she asked me if it was from the sell of stocks. I verified that it was from my 401(k). The she said that they're not connected to Bank of America in California, so they can't/won't verify the check. Huh? What does that have to do with the sell of stocks?

I was livid. I told her to just give me my check back and I'll deposit it at my own bank. And proceeded to say (just loud enough for everyone to hear) that this is why I'm a "former customer" of Bank of America.

There are so many ways she could have said that they couldn't do the cashier's check. The first teller (or the second or third) could have just told me that they can't do it and not wasted my time or theirs. They could have nicely said that they can't verify the funds and not that they can't verify the account number.... excuse me, you're looking at the account and discussing the checks written on it.

The whole experience was so negative. From the "can't do, but let me check" to the can't do that for non-customers, their customer service is sorely lacking in something.... oh, yeah, service!

On my way home, I had to drive past the branch, so I stopped back in. I was angry and wanted to write a letter, but I needed names. I decided as I walked in that I would just speak to the Branch Manager first. Turns out, Teller #3, the one who accused me of the fake check, is the branch's manager. Yep... how's that for customer service? So, when she said that, I didn't even try to hide the look of shock and disgust from my face and simply said that in that case, I was going to need her boss's name and how to contact him. She looked a little taken aback, but just printed it out for me (his admin's e-mail actually, but I wouldn't have given out my Boss's, either.)

So, e-mail written. It isn't sent yet, because I was still angry when I wrote it. I'll go back and proofread to make sure it sounds professional (something they could learn from) and then send it to them tomorrow.


Stephanie said...

Good lord, what a waste of your time and HORRIBLE customer service. I had to send an email to USPS support the other day where I actually said "you were no help whatsoever; thank you". I'm SO tired of bad customer service. And, like you, I don't think I'm going to sit back and take it anymore, which is why I found my balls to actually say that. :-) I'm glad you're sending an email - someone needs to know what happened. Good luck!

amanew said...

Wow that was a big run around for nothing. I wish I could say that the e-mail will help but it will probably be read by the admin and then nothing more will come from it. If not you will get a nice form letter.

Peter and Kate said...

I would definitely send it! People are so ridiculous. I'm sure the woman who treated you so poorly would have been disgusted to be treated the same way.

Anika said...

Bank of America! I feel your pain!