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At My Bank, NSF = Non-Sufficient Friendliness - Comments

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Nobody seems to have mentioned credit card fees run from the bank where the cheque account is kept. Yes this is from New Zealand but the banks on the whole seem to be tarred with the same brush. Pay the credit card run by the bank that you are with and its several days before the credit shows up on your credit card account. Who has the money in the mean time - bet ya its the bank and add this up with all the other credit card holders who have money taken from their accounts to pay the credit cards and the bank hanging on to the money for several days is doing very nicely thank you.

Ask them about it and you get the big fob off that it does take several days to process the finances. Garbage! In this day and age with computers etc. it should be possible in a matter of seconds. But if they did that they couldn't screw you.

Wells Fargo and I had some...let's just call them "personal issues." I used to write all of my ones in European fashion and cross my 7s. Seeing as how they never actually READ the amount on the check, they were taking out $70 for $10 checks. When you add in the fact that I was a broke college student and quite often within dollars of being overdrawn, this was a very bad thing. It would take several days every time for my account to be credited back the NSF fee and the difference between what the check was written for and what they took out, which would mean I couldn't spend any money in the meantime. This was before they posted digital images of checks, so they'd actually have to get the physical check from whereever it was stored. I finally changed my handwriting to avoid this problem.

More recently, they've been taking out big debits before little debits so that if something bounces, they get more NSFs. My accounts with them have now been closed.

I really believe that, as several people here have mentioned, it comes down to the individual people at your branch. We bank at Fifth Third, which seems to have bought up every nice little local bank in the area. (When 5/3 bought out our bank, my dad switched his account to another local bank, only to have 5/3 buy them out, too!)

When we deal with the 1-800 customer service number, we often end up frustrated and angry...but walk into the branch where we know the tellers, and it's a different story.

That said, errors happen everywhere. When my husband and I refinanced our home, we had our mortgage directly withdrawn from our checking account. When we went to close on the paperwork, the account number was incorrect. I pointed it out, they corrected the error, and we all signed the paperwork.

The date of our first payment, the money was never debited from our checking account. I called the bank to see if there was an error, and they assured me that my mortgage had, indeed, been paid. I asked who paid it, so I could send a thank you note. They said it was taken out of our money market account. Not having such an account, I asked "what account?" They told me that they could not disclose that information, as my name was not on the account. HUH?

LONG story short--they had taken it out of my mother in law's account (you guessed it, the wrong number that was on the paperwork earlier-my husband is the secondary name on the account), which had only $50 in it at the time. She got hit with a few hundred dollars of various NSF charges, which had her calling the bank as well to find out what happened.

They fixed the error by putting the money back into her account, taking it from mine, but still wanted her to pay the NSF fees! Getting nowhere with the "customer service" rep on the phone, she went to the local branch where she's lived for 30 years and had it fixed in about 5 minutes.

Oh, and by the way, my mother in law and I couldn't handle ANY of the initial calls to customer service, because my husband was the only name on both accounts, so he had to spend his breaks at work dealing with this, when we were both home all day.

Of course, if we had "real life reasonable" banking laws, it would all be so much simpler. Banks might then have to prosess debits and credits in the exact order they took place, for instance. Or, for same day transactions, deposits before withdrawals, and of course, service fees last.

Tell that to whichever politician (or representative of one) knocks on your door next....

But the only reason we need a law, is because of lack of morality in big business.

As for credit unions being better than banks, I don't know. Here in Canada, I have had much better service from 2 banks (Royal and TD) than from the local Caisse Populaire, which has driven away all the members of my family (and a number of friends) but me, and they will shortly be rid of me, as soon as a GIC they renewed without my permission comes due... at which time, I will take my money and run. You know service (and nickel and diming) has gone bad when a customer of 50 years can't wait to leave!

It seems that just about everyone's comment relates to cheques and customer service and guess what mine is no different.

I was due to catch an international flight, I had friends waiting to take me to the airport and I 'just' had to stop into the ANZ bank to deposit a cheque. There was no queue so I thought I'd be at most 5 minutes.

So after 5 minutes waiting for the teller to do who knows what, I speak to the teller who rapidly tells me that she can't deposit my cheque because there are "people behind me" presumably waiting to deposit their cheques.

I can't help myself and start arguing with this woman. It can't take that much time or effort to stamp a deposit book and sign your name that you have received the cheque now can it.

Anyway the argument progresses getting very heated and I ask her to tell me her name so I can write to the bank and tell them who it was that lost them (and anyone I can tell) a customer for life to which she says and I quote "I don't have a name".

I ended up leaving completely unsatisfied but with a promise that I would continue telling everyone this story from that day on. I did attempt to make an official complaint to the bank (everyone deserves a second chance) but after having been given and taken the time to complete the form was told my complaint would not be dealt with as I was no longer a customer.

Now, whenever I pass an ANZ branch I smile and think about all the people who I have helped in deciding to leave ANZ for any of the other useless but more polite banks.

Although most banks are the worst, I can't begin to tell people about the bank that I use; it is the absolute best. About a year ago, my wife and I moved to another state. She changed jobs, I did not. Her first move was to join the Credit Union at work. I refused to change my direct deposit, wanting to stay with our old bank, which is only a 5 minute drive from where I work.

Long story short--she is now back with our old bank. When she wanted to buy a car a few months ago, I called the branch manager (local rules!), gave her the information, and she called me back in less than an hour with all the loan information and a time when we could stop, sign the paperwork, and pick up our check.

Let me also say that this bank credits all deposits first, then withdrawls. We have never been overdrawn because of same day timing.

---

I asked Tom what the bank is. He replied:

Harleysville Bank and Trust, in Montgomery County, Pa (Philly area!). Small, locally owned, has fought off a number of takeover offers, stays small and community based.

-rc

I have a horrible customer service story (internal customer service, yet) that actually worked in my favor. I worked for Bank of America for a few years, and had my paycheck directly deposited into my employee account.

I found a higher-paying job elsewhere and left the bank. Part of my job duties were to process departmental paperwork, which included my own separation paperwork (fortunately, I kept personal copies).

What should have been my last paycheck was higher than expected, but I thought it might have included vacation time or something I had forgotten about.

Two weeks later, another full paycheck hit my account.

I called the 1-800 number for employee benefits. I explained that I was applying for a mortgage (the new job involved relocating) and wanted to make sure my last date worked in their records matched mine.

The young lady I spoke with said I was still listed as an active employee. She then told me I needed to fill out a separation form, have my former boss sign it, and fax it to them. I told her I didn't work there anymore and it would be a huge hassle for me to try to track him down with a form. I then asked if she, as a part of the HR department, could get the form to him for signature.

She said, and I quote, "That's not really our job."

I said, "So, if I don't contact him and get him to fax you the separation form, I'll still be listed as an active employee?" She said yes, I said thank you very much and hung up the phone.

I was furious, so I then turned around and called my replacement, the one who was now responsible for departmental paperwork. I told her about the conversation, including the name of the person in HR. I also faxed her my copies of the paperwork, which included the fax confirmation page showing it had been sent correctly the first time.

She said she'd handle it and would make sure the boss knew about it. I had hoped for this, as he's been known to chew a few butts in his time.

I was paid for two more months.

I consulted a lawyer about the situation and was told it fell under contract law -- if they didn't ask for the money within two years it became mine.

Finally, my old boss called me. He said he had to ask me to give the money back. (I hadn't touched it -- it was still sitting in an account in his bank)

I told my boss I had no problem giving the money back. However, I added, this has been reported to the IRS as income. I said I would need a letter or something from BoA stating what they would do to defend me in case I got audited over this mess. When I had that, I'd gladly send him a check.

I never heard from them again.

I still have the same account, and it is still listed as an employee account, with certain fees waived, etc.

I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say something in defense of rude tellers. Part of the reason they are so difficult is because they have to deal with a lot of obnoxious customers, so they go ahead and treat the nice ones that way too. For example, I heard a story about a man that came into a bank asking for an NSF charge to be reversed. He explained that he had taken his family on vacation for the weekend, and deposited sufficient funds to cover all expenses "first thing Monday morning." Since the account was overdrawn "only for a couple of days", the bank should reverse the charge, he claimed. When the teller refused, he started accusing her of "not caring about his family" and "putting money ahead of bonding time."

It's customers like these that ruin it for the rest of us.

I had the exact same problem with Compass Bank. Really ticked me off. I've been with them for 9 years and a couple of weeks ago they posted my deposit after the debits for the day... then they charged me $36 NSF fee. My other bank, Vystar CU, posts deposits BEFORE debits. Go figure!

Anyway, I let Compass know via email I wasn't happy with how they chose to treat a good customer and that they had made my decision for me since I had considered changing banks anyway since Vystar now accepts business accounts. They promptly refunded my $36.

I just don't like being treated that way. I may not be a million dollar customer, but I am a good customer who brings plenty of money in.

One way to get a reaction (and sometimes results) is to give up on customer service and call the corporate offices. Ask for the vice president for the region or some other title that will not get you sent back to "customer service." [Be very professional, polite and calm] They don't usually deal with customers and don't like being bothered - usually, they don't blame you, but they get mad at customer service for letting the situation get to them. I've found that about half the time you get results, but you might make an enemy of the branch manager or whoever gets the order to deal with the problem.

A while ago I used a business only bank that had phenomenal service. [Imperial] Even though I was a very small business, I had a manager who was MY account representative. Once, I left a message informing her that my checks were misprinted and then about a half hour later I noticed that there was a contact phone number for Deluxe on the paperwork - I called Deluxe and they told me that the replacement order was already placed and being shipped the next day. Another time I got a call at 3PM telling me that a check had been presented for payment that would cause me to be overdrawn (business partner had written a big check the day before and not told me). She told me that if I could get cash or a check that would not require a hold in by 5PM I would avoid NSF. I got there at 4:30 and she unlocked the door to let me in (that branch closed at 4PM) She took my personal check and marked it cleared so the account was in the black at the end of the day. This bank also had services available to small businesses that normally were only available to big companies.

Then, as with most stories in Cranky Customer, things turned bad - the bank was bought by Comerica. Within a month, all the competent people I dealt with were replaced with humanoid droids who could not handle anything beyond what you could do yourself on the automated phone response system. I no longer had a specific person responsible for my account.

I called corporate and got a VP who was very interested in why I was leaving. He had reports indicating that a LOT of the customers from the acquired bank were leaving, but he had no real information as to why. He apologized and thanked me for the information, but he knew that the level of service I had come to expect was not available at the new bank and did not ask “what can I do to get you to stay?”

I too have had the wire that takes three days to clear [at a US Bank. When the person I was talking to over the phone realized that I was not accepting this, he called the processing department and someone found my transaction and cleared it. They said that there was a backlog on someone’s desk, but I should not expect wires to go through the same day.]

the check debited from the wrong account by Bank of the West (my business check was debited from my personal account), [My branch manager got the back office to fix it within hours -- customer service had said the investigation would take 10 days]

three different people quoting three different fees for the same transaction, [US Bank]

being told that my balance was in the "low threes" (low hundreds) so they wouldn't replace my logo'ed checks after the bank was sold. My 1000 fancy custom computer printable checks were going to be replaced with 100 checks in a small checkbook. They actually told me that if I had a large balance, they would have replaced them. A calm but firm tirade about how the change of bank is not supposed to cost the customer money got them to replace my checks with the same quantity and style. They made me bring in all the unused checks so that they could “destroy them" (I'm sure they wanted me to prove that I had that many checks) [There were many other small incidents including a manager telling me to go home and call the 800 number instead of answering my question.] [US Bank] After I got the replacement checks, I closed the account and moved to another bank.

My current bank [Bank of the West which bought a smaller bank but actually left the staff intact] has a branch manager who provides great service. I still have occasional questions and problems, but my manager always provides great service.

If she leaves, I'll follow her to a new bank.

That is the key - find a good manager and make sure you have regular contact with them so they remember you - - - don't just go in to complain, say hi, chat about local things, let them know if a teller is helpful, etc. When you do complain, don't blame the manager, ask the manager to help you figure out what happened or to deal with a problem that "corporate" created. Treat them as an ally in the fight against the main office.

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