Bank of America: “Corporate doesn’t listen to us.”

I’m a new customer at Bank of America. Though Citibank has bought billboards all over San Francisco to advertise their unsettling belief that money isn’t important, they have only one or two actual branches. This forces me to use other banks’ ATM machines, for which I get charged two dollars. Still, I stayed loyal until they turned me down for a small overdraft facility with a form letter that said, in block capitals, ‘YOU ARE NOT A PERMANENT LEGAL RESIDENT.’ Yes, I’d noticed. It hadn’t stopped them giving me an automatic overdraft for years, which I’d never even used.

Feeling rejected, I walked across the street from my office and opened an account at Bank of America. This branch exuded ugliness, from the low, dark building, to the ancient, grubby Windows terminals, to the tacky welcome kit. Though I missed Citibank’s shiny ATMs, pride kept me there even as the terminal crashed three times on the young Relationship Manager who was setting up my account. “Your first check will take three weeks to clear,” she said. That seemed fair enough.

Then I tried to confirm receipt of the credit card and debit card that arrived two weeks later.(They are almost identical, and butt-ugly. I’m not sure how customers with poor eyesight are supposed to manage.) On two separate calls, I had to sit through a six-minute pitch for an identity theft protection ‘service,’ which I didn’t want. There was no indication that my card had been confirmed until right at the end, so each time I was trapped with a robot huckster. “Welcome to Bank of America,” she lied.

Then I went to the branch and deposited a pair of checks. Since I was a new customer, the teller told me, they were going to place a ‘Hold’ on them for three weeks. I asked how long this policy would apply, and he consulted a more senior employee. I’d be on ‘probation’ for six months, she explained.

Probation? These people are getting automatic delivery of my paycheck.

I told the poor young clerks that these experiences were not what I’d hoped for as a new customer. They looked stricken. ‘We can’t do anything. Corporate doesn’t listen to us. Maybe if customers told them they’d do something, but we have no way to tell them. Maybe you should try to find out who to complain to.’ They had no idea who that might be. “Corporate?” they bleated.

Bank of America, are you listening? You’re toast.

17 thoughts on “Bank of America: “Corporate doesn’t listen to us.””

  1. Ugh. After tallying up all the fees HSBC reamed me for over the last year, last weekend I decided it’s finally time to switch banks. B of A, though now in New York, was not on the list of prospects thanks to some infuriating but now only dimly remembered interactions I had with the company back when I lived on the West Coast in 1992-93, but thanks anyway for reminding me why I hate it.

    But is there any bank that isn’t the devil?


  2. Oh yeah, the “hold”. BoA did the same thing to me, almost three months after I opened the account, causing me no small difficulty in paying my rent. No one there could explain what the hold was for – it sure didn’t take that long for the check to clear. I guess they might get a few pennies of free interest if they hold onto lots of checks. Grr.


  3. Wells Frago is your only man, a bit like BoI, they make lots of money out of you but at least that treat you nicely.


  4. Washington Mutual put “the hold” on me, too — they explained it away as a post-9/11 security thing.

    In general, they’re useless and over-centralized; I wouldn’t recommend them either. However, my girlfriend C seems to have good luck with her bank — a local credit union.


  5. Yes– in my experience, credit unions are good. Community or local banks are the next least offensive (and often more convenient than credit unions).

    Citibank is evil, but usually efficient (I was not aware of the non-resident policies: how obnoxious!)

    But BofA is INSANE. Run! I had a credit card with them for a year. I always pay bills on the company websites; theirs required me to re-register EVERY time I logged on. Because no matter what, it did not recognize my user name and password. When this happened the third time, it was quite clearly their problem. 😉 (They re-vamped their website a few months ago and it now works like a dream, but who cares? They’re idiots!)


  6. I recently had a problem with paying a bill online. It went trough but i couldn’t print the conformation number. The money was taken out of the account, but not posted anywhere. When I went to the bank to try and find out why, the Personal Service Clerk would not look at my spread sheet I use as a check registar,or listen when I tried to explain it was not possible for the final monthly balances to agree if the money was still there. . when I tried to talk to the Vice President of the branch she said that it doesn’t show anywhere. and without “proof” the bank can’t do anything.

    Don’t ever get behind an one of their credit card payments. They have got an recording that is used to try to get you to pay it right then over the phone. If you don’t then or make up the payment, the recording “calls” your phone number approximately every 2hours starting at 8 AM till 7 pm.

    I am looking for a new bank, thanks for the heads up on CitiBank


  7. Oh, all the tales of pain and suffering! Why do the banks do it? Why can’t they be JetBlue?

    Now that I know I’m not imagining it, I should get my lovely company (Stone Yamashita) to sort them out.


  8. HypoVereinsbank was plenty evil to me here in Germany. Dropped my overdraft when I became self-employed. Told me a credit for the apartment-deposit I asked for wasn’t interesting to them because it wasn’t big enough. And so on.

    So I found a noticeably less evil bank, the local savings association. Moved all of the automatic stuff over.

    Then went to HypoVereinsbank and told the branch staff, “Your bank has worked very long and very hard to lose my business. Today is the day. Close the account and give me my money.”

    Customer satisfaction indeed.


  9. 30 years ago I vowed not to engage another bank, I see they haven’t changed. I have since exclusively used credit unions. I visit the building only once every few years to sign for an occasional car loan and I have never paid for any service including all my ATM transactions. I’m actually mildly pleased with the arrangement.


  10. Well, at least they gave you a credit card. When I went into our local Bank of New Zealand (your campus bank etc., etc., etc.) there was no problem setting up checking accounts or even saving accounts, but a credit card? You’re not a resident, they said. So “Shopping around” a.k.a. Mary Harney I will go…..


  11. Fascinating…after my experiences today (short story: hold placed on paycheck funds at random when previous checks went right through, couldn’t pay bills on time, three CS reps and a branch teller lied to me about it), your story is the final nail in the coffin. I’ll be placing my name on my husband’s account and researching somewhere new to take most of my business. Good luck and thanks for telling us about your troubles.


  12. It should be called Bank of Satan, or at least you would think so by my image url.

    I’ve had what I call unreasonable hold times at Bank of America (BoS) after previously holding an account with a credit union in perfect status for about 4 years.

    Support your local credit union.



  13. I have recently been dealing with Bank of America’s Check Fraud Department or voicemail I should say. BofA released funds from an electronic Paper Draft with my account information but not in my name or state I live in. The first time the check came in it was caught and the fraud department returned it as unpaid with a big old stamp marked “SUSPICIOUS” then the check came back and someone I guess did not know how to read and decided to release the funds. Now I have to deal with a voicemail everyday with the Check Fraud Department and Customer Service is telling me I will have to open a new account and close my old one (no kidding). Bank of America is not guaranteeing that I will receive my money back, but they want me to open another account with them. I don’t think so and for the security of everyone else I would advise everyone to look towards another direction when considering a financial institution.


  14. We have been customers since 1989, and I tried just htis week to get BOA to follow up on a pension check that was mailed to the Jacksonville mail center, but never made it there. At least that is their story, but no one was willing to take the time to call that mail center to check on it. They said they don’t have a number to contact the mail center for their own bank!!! Here’s their sign!! STUPID!!!! Guess who I talked to at the local branch who “supposedly” could not contact the mail center. The assistant vice president, or so she said. I am sick of their incompetance and lack of ethics. Of course when I said we were planning on moviing to another bank, she told me it would take three months to get our S.Security direct deposits moved. That must be the story they give to all FIXED INCOME SENIORS!!!
    Shame on you Bank of America. With your practices, maybe you have the wrong name. Maybe you should have a foreign country name. You seem to not give a hang about the Americans you profess to serve.


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