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Sunday, May 26, 2024   

3 Bank Deception Stories
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

Below are three stories of bank deceptions submitted by email newsletter readers. Thanks to all for your feedback about my Chase story. However, keep in mind that we need to use the banks against each other. That means you donít want to close your accounts. Transferring your balances is the best revenge!

Sunday due-date raises rate to 28%
From Mona Williams

Chase was the bank. We had written a convenience check to make an investment, with the life of loan interest at 3.99%. Our monthly bills are paid electronically through our personal bank, with most of the electronic transactions occurring in about 24 hours.

We were quite meticulous in making sure the date of payment was 2-3 days in advance of the due date. After about 9 months of payments made on time, our due date fell on a Sunday, and we had designated Thursday as our electronic payment date. When we received the next month's billing statement, our minimum payment had doubled, and our balance now was listed at a 28% interest level.


I immediately called CHASE customer service, explained that we had electronic payments each month and that we had never been late--and that our payment was made on Thursday and should have been posted on Friday.

We argued about this, including the rep telling me that it was my bank's fault. I asked to speak to a supervisor (who ended up being very rude to me, BTW) to discuss the matter of when my electronic check was posted. She informed me that "Friday's" were part of the weekend, and it wouldn't have been posted on Friday, even if they got it on time (again, blaming my bank). We (my bank and I) should have made sure that the payment was made in time to meet the deadline, which in looking at past statements, 24 hours was the time it took to be posted to the account--not 3 days.

I asked if the interest could be reduced back to the 3.99%, since this was obviously an issue with the due date following on a Sunday, and most businesses allow the following Monday to be the due date. She was very rude, stating that CHASE couldn't do that since the deadline was missed, and in accordance with our agreement, by writing the convenience check, we would forfeit the low interest if we were late on any payment--which we knew and understood.

After arguing about Friday being part of the weekend (Since when? Most banks do business on Friday and Saturday, don't they?), and that the payment should have been posted on Friday but wasn't until Monday, and that they were not going to budge about the interest rate reduction, I told her that this was very poor customer service and that as soon as I could our account with CHASE would be canceled. At that point she hung up on me. Again, poor reps being rude and not caring how the customer is treated. Thank you for letting me vent about this matter--I was really steamed when it happened. BTW, a couple of months later we did a consolidation loan and canceled that account.

Cheers to you Ms. Robinson
From John Phillips

A few years back, my partner Ben, who is an authorized user on my Bank of America Rainbow VISA card, had charged up to the $7,500 limit. At the time, the card had been issued by MBNA, prior to their merger with B of A. I contacted MBNA customer service, and I asked if it would be possible to lower the interest rate, which at the time was 14.49%. I admit that was my first mistake...talking to a customer service rep at MBNA!

The first rep I spoke with, a Ms. Robinson, indicated that that was the lowest rate I could qualify for. (On the Rainbow Card website, it indicated that the lowest rate available was 7.9%.) After going back and forth with Ms Robinson, I knew I was not going to accomplish anything. I thanked her for her time and hung up. That very day, I received an offer from Citibank, indicating that I could balance transfer up to my credit line on my Conoco MasterCard, with no fees, at an interest rate of 3.99%.

Armed with the offer in my hot little hand, I contacted MBNA again and spoke with a Ms. Medley. I again asked if it would be possible to lower the interest rate on my Rainbow card. Ms. Medley then brought up the word "risk." I asked her if she was calling me a risk, and she got very defensive. She said she did not call me a risk. I then inquired why she brought up the word in the first place. She gave a really peculiar answer that MBNA does that on accounts that have a high balance. I asked her to look over the account to see if there were any indications that the account was not being paid each month? She said the account was current. I then told her that I had received an offer from Citibank with a 3.99% balance transfer offer.

I stated this was their last chance to lower my interest rate, or I was going to be on the phone to Citibank. She declined. I called Citibank a few minutes afterward, and the full $7,000 was transferred over. At this point, I don't trust B of A/MBNA. They have since then up'd my limit to $10,500 and the interest rate down to 10.49%. But do you think I am going to use that account?? No way, Jose!

Deliberately set up to be overdrawn
From DebtSmart Reader

My check goes in automatically, and I have items that are set to come out on the same day. I also deposit several cash transactions throughout the month. My friend who worked at Bank One said they will deliberately try and set you up to be overdrawn, showing a larger item to come in first, and sending back three items, charging three fees, when the two smaller items could have been paid, incurring one overdraft fee.

I am diligent about not putting myself in a situation where anything will be returned. In September, I was out of town, and my son's SSI check came. I cashed it and deposited it a day later than I normally do. (I started to deposit it in cash because so many teenage bankers cannot understand why I am depositing a check made out to me for my son. I have even had them refuse it. Oh, to be so young and stupid again.)

Anyway, when I got home after a Monday holiday, on Tuesday, they showed a check coming through on Friday night that was not there on Saturday morning, and even though I deposited $500 cash, every time I used my ATM card on Saturday, they were charging me $35!!! Not in this lifetime. I called branch manager, I told him I was not paying fees when funds were "available," and he refunded them.



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