Thursday, November 04, 2004

Customer Service

This hasn't been a very good week. To give you an idea of what it's been like, you should know that my car blew a head gasket, and then got a flat tire so I couldn't take it to the mechanic when I had planned. But today wasn't about the car. Today was the day I had to deal with the bank.

Friday, I went to my former bank and withdrew essentially all of the money in my old account. Then I walked across the street to our new bank and deposited that money in cash to our joint checking account. We left the bank, ran a few errands, came home and I logged onto our new bank's online banking service.

Now, note that my deposit had been made in cash. Also note that when I logged in that night, the balance presented to me indicated that the money I had deposited earlier in the day was present in my account. I proceeded to transfer two-thirds of that deposit to our joint savings account, which is where it belonged.

Yesterday, I logged onto the online banking service. Lo and behold, we have an overdraft charge. I clicked on the link that says "Customer Service". I called the number that is listed there. The phone rung, picked up, then immediately disconnected. Thinking I had dialed the number wrong, I tried again. Same thing. Fine. I clicked on the link to send them webmail, which assured me I'll get a response within 24 hrs now. I explained the situation in their form and submitted it.

Today after work, I checked my messages. No word back from the bank. It's been over 24 hrs. I try calling the number again. This time it doesn't hang up on me. I get to be on hold for awhile, and then I get to talk to a man who's lucky I was busy folding laundry at the time and didn't get to write down his name.

I tell him we have an overdraft charge, and I don't understand why it's there. He pulls up the account info, then tells me that it's because I made a transfer on 10/29 that overdrew us. I ask him if he also sees a deposit on 10/29. He says he does, but that it didn't post until 11/1 because we made it after 2 pm. There's some debate about dates, because apparently the info he's looking at on his computer and what I'm seeing via their web interface aren't the same. After about five minutes of going back and forth, I lose my patience.

"Let me tell you what happened in real life," I begin. "On Friday, I walked into your bank and deposited XYZ amount IN CASH. I came home and made a transfer that you showed I had enough money to cover, and that you allowed me to make. Can you understand why, based on that, I have a problem with you charging me an overdraft fee?"

"Ma'am," he says, "Any deposit made after 2 pm is always credited to the account the next business day."

"Fine, then," I responded. "We'll close our accounts and go to another bank."

And I kid you not, he then said, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"