Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

Beware your bank

I just spent over an hour on the phone reversing 420$ in "overdraft fees". Rather than declining the sale, the bank "does you the favor" of accepting the transaction and "not worrying" you so you won't experience the anxiety of fixing the mistake you made and transferring to the correct account. This can go on for days and weeks until you are ruined.

Even after speaking to a rep over replacing a missing card, I had no clue what was happening to my account. They claim they "can't call everyone". I claim they would "rather not call anyone and forego interest rates close to 100%".

Anyway, after arguing my way to the middle, I got my money back, and thanks to new legislation, I can now opt out of the "service" they sneaked in to my account when I wasn't looking. So now my account operates as it used to. Of course, if another bank starts marketing itself as non-usurious and ethical, I will be very susceptible. Being rational. That's my revenge! hah!

This is an unethical practice they do, and while I have enough cash to catch their attention and get my way at the moment, poor customers who can't afford this have no leverage. 420$ could easily be half a month's total expenses for someone. Or food for a family, or even heat. That kind of usury only leads to more problems, more fees, and eventually the street.

So call your bank, and tell them you don't approve and want to opt out of their latest "service". Tell them if you want to pay those rates, you will find a loan shark.

there, I feel better. I'm in the right forum, right?

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Wow. That's a LOT of money. :shock:

My advice to everyone: Read checking-account, debit-card statements, credit-card statements, and the like from a bank as if your life depended on them.

It does.

You spend many hours of your week = percent of your life generating that money. Make sure your money/life is not going somewhere you didn't intend for it to go; look at each and every line on each and every statement.

If you don't understand it, call the bank/issuer. If the first person you reach can't answer your questions, work your way up the line of authority. Get the names and direct-line phone numbers of the people you talk to.

If you still can't reach a resolution, find a non-profit consumer advocacy group nearby. Have them talk to the bank/issuer.

THEN, after things are settled, move your money to a credit union.

I'm currently at a bank. Miraculously, it's a relatively small bank which has thus far survived all the weirdness of the economy. But if they start pulling stunts with my checking account/charge card (independent accounts), there is at least one credit union hereabouts I can join.


Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

yes, it's a lot of money. on one day, I spent 150$ and the fee was 105. I found an apr calculator and plugged in the numbers: loan- 150$, days to repay - 1, total fee - 105$. What's that, expressed as an APR? 25549.99% !!!! Pure profit!

and they consider that a service. Thanks but no thanks! I'll stick with Fat Tony or Jimmy the Gouger.

What irks me the most, perhaps, is that I am a naturalized citizen from Canada. My American bank used to be great, until it was bought by a Canadian bank. So you can trust us with being polite, mediating conflict, cultural sensitivity, and a very strong social contract if that's what you prefer.

but don't trust us with money! We Canadians have a dark side. We did, after all, invent the anti-personnel land mine.

This doesn't happen to people "back home". Why? We simply pay a monthly fee to cover the cost of banking unless we can keep a big chunk of cash in the account at all times. So no robbing the customer to pay Paul. There are rules. This is the Wild West.

This new policy was not on any statement. Probably it was buried deep inside the "updated agreements" they periodically send out that nobody understands or reads. Before my bank was taken over, you had to apply for a line of credit to get the service (so they know it is a lone, despite denials).

Charlie MV
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1544
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 11:48 pm

On a related topic, we closed our accounts at two effected banks [bailed out] and moved all our business to local small banks. We checked on their credit card.debit card policies as well.

Banks are swine, health insurers are swinier.

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