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Just Deserts

My worst experience with a bank, by far, was with Ozark Bank. They cost me $110, got me arrested, and made me spend a night in jail. I wrote a blog about it already so I won't go into detail, but it was pretty bad, for sure.

A couple years ago, I had another bad experience with a bank. This time it was Bank of America. I had been a B of A customer for 11 years. I wasn't a fan of them and had only stayed with them as long as I had because of the volume of ATMs they had in Springfield. In addition to the ATMs at their branches, they also had them in every Git-N-Go in and around Springfield. I found that to be very convenient so I stuck around as a customer despite disliking their service.

In 2004, however, Git 'n' Go was bought out by Kum & Go who quickly removed all of B of A's ATMs and replaced them with generic ones that would charge every user with a fee for usage. So, overnight, the reason to stay with B of A dissolved.

I didn't get rid of them, though. I should have. I dragged my feet for a few reasons that in retrospect weren't good enough to continue banking somewhere I despised. But, oh well. What's done is done.

So, fast forward through five years of procrastination, and we reach the summer of 2009. I took a photography job in Michigan. A check was written to me for my services. I cashed that check in Springfield three days later. Four days after that I get a notice showing I have had three separate $35 overdraft fees charged to my account.

I immediately go to the bank where I find out that the Michigan check bounced and that they removed the amount of the check from my checking account to make up what they gave me in cash. They could have handled this a thousand ways but the way they handled it was by trying to process the check twice over the course of a couple days, then seizing the money out of my account when it didn't work for them. All of this without contacting me about it. Then when my account balance fell below zero which it eventually would since they just removed hundreds of dollars from my account without notification to me, they happily twisted the knife by charging me $105 in fees.

I had come with cash in hand to make a deposit and repair the issue, but they were unwavering and unsympathetic. The woman I spoke with took my cash and left to deposit it for me. She took it to a teller, despite knowing that had she deposited it in the ATM or directed me to do so that it would have posted that night. Instead, she took the teller route which wouldn't post until midnight the next night, over 24 hours away. So, in that time period, three more pending items came that could have been avoided adding another $105 worth of fees.

So, back to the bank the next day for me. This time I had the bank manager to talk to. After a lot of talk, she reluctantly dismissed the $105 worth of fees that could have been avoided had her employee cared enough to think about it. But, she refused to do anything about the prior fees. She retained the position that the bank was not at fault and was only following policy. She wasn't interested in logic, only following their supposed policy.

But, I know how it works. She is a bank manager and has the power to waive the fees if she wants to. The same way she waived the wees on the other latter set of fees. She just didn't want to do it. Finally, I changed my approach and simply asked her if her bank would pay $105 for an eleven-year customer. She avoided answering the question despite me asking it several times. I knew the answer and so did she. She also knew that refunding me the fees wouldn't keep me as a customer. She knew at that point in our conversation that I was going to close my account regardless of what she did, so she kept the money.

I closed my account finally and have been happily banking at Great Southern ever since.

The day before yesterday, Jodi called me at work to give me the following news that came in the mail for me: Bank of America has agreed to pay a $410 million settlement to those who had a B of A checking account with debit card services who had overdraft fees charged to them between Jan 1, 2001 and May 24, 2011.

Sweet justice. :)


I read yours so you read mine.

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