Better Business Bureau
I wrote to the Better Business Bureau over the weekend and filed a complaint with them against Bank Of America Corporate Headquarters in North Carolina. The complaint was regarding the excessive fees the bank had assessed me, and which since August of last year I had been requesting the bank return to me after discovering that the bank's associates had lied to me about provisions in my account that would have allowed me the waiver of one fee. It was the refusal to waive their newest nuisance fee (called the extended overdraft fee) that ultimately turned an $11.13 overdraft into almost $200 on NSF fees. And it is this situation and the immense difficulty I was experiencing in getting the reversal of these fees that started me on the mission to change the way the banks in this country operate.
It is now three days following my complaint with the BBB, and this morning I received a phone call from the executive level. It seems that in reviewing my account the bank finally determined that the bank had indeed made an error, and - long story short - refunded all of the fees back to my account.
Wow. That only took 7 months.
The BBB gives Bank of America an A+ rating. I sure as hell couldn't see why (I told the BBB I give them an "F" - and you know what that stands for). After all, B of A had been anything BUT willing to refund any of the fees it collected, and I was mishandled and treated rudely in the process. Now it seems that Bank of America is very protective of their A+ rating (also understand that it pays the BBB dues to maintain this rating). So when all other attempts at resolving your problems with Bank of America fail, go to the BBB.
I thank Bank of America for FINALLY revealing that it does have a customer service department, albeit it is ensconced high up in the corporation where the average Joe (and even branch managers) don't easily have access. And I thank them for FINALLY doing the right thing. However this does not mean that I am shutting this movement down. Nooooo.... not at all.
The return of my fees does not change the fact that the bank is still a predatory operation lorded over by some of the greediest and heartless people in the financial world. It does not change the fact that the bank operates on the principle that your money is their money and that they have the right to pick-pocket you at every available opportunity. In other words, I may have won a battle but we have not yet won the war.
So please, use the BBB as your ally in winning your own battles, but please continue to stand firm on demanding the banks adopt our PROC-7 policies. The time is ripe for change, and we are leading the movement to make that change happen!
Power to the People!!!
* A couple of further observations: I cannot guarantee that filing a complaint with the BBB will yield the same results as I received. Your particular issue with the bank will color what they are willing to do for you. But, the BBB is a great place to start if you want to grab the attention of those high up in Bank of America's ivory tower.
Also, it may help if your account shows that you, like me, have cleared out the bulk of your money from your bank account (remember, I left a total of $1.00 in my account after withdrawing the rest of my money). When they review your account and see that they have all but lost your business they may be more willing to mend fences with you. Be sure to withdraw as much from your account as you can without incurring such nuisance fees as minimum balance fees, and make sure that all of your pending charges have cleared and that you shut off any and all automatic payments. Tie up the loose ends and take your money and run.
It's a sad thing to learn that your money speaks more loudly to the bank than your own voice of discontent. Just remember that YOU have the upper hand here, even if the banks aren't ready to acknowledge that little fact yet. And the Better Business Bureau will help you remind them.