Dear Bank of America -
(Oh, you’re going on the stupidheads list. Forserious.)
Once upon a time, about 6 months ago, I was a happy customer of the LaSalle Bank, who’s branches were friendly and bright and who’s people were intelligent and savvy – saving my ass when my wallet got stolen, answering all my questions, making prudent financial information available to me. When I first moved to Chicago, I found myself at a loss to find many National City banks in the area, and as such had to put my money somewhere. After a terrible experience with the Chase bank by Clark and Barry in Chicago (seriously, why be assholes to wide-eyed newbies to the city who want to give you business? Dumbasses.) I, almost in tears, headed right across the street to The LaSalle Bank, and was greeted warmly and treated like my business mattered.
And all was well. I’d heard rumblings that Bank of America was taking over the LaSalle Bank, and though it slightly saddened me, it didn’t make me lose sleep.
Until May of this year (2008) when Bank of America actually started taking over the LaSalle Bank and their customers.
In May, about a week before I was to head out of town for Mike and Megan’s wedding, I got a letter in the mail with a brand new Bank of America debit card and instructions not to use my LaSalle Bank card anymore. I’m savvy, I’m aware, so I obeyed – cut up my LaSalle Bank card and bid it adeiu.
The first sign something was wrong was when I got to Taylor, Michigan for the wedding and went to an ATM, and found that my checking balance was roughly $800.00 less than it was when I left Chicago. I wasn’t panicked, there was still money in it, so I called up Bank of America (who’s ATM I had visited and who’s customer service number was on the receipt I had gotten) and inquired as to my actual balance. The lady on the phone seemed nice, until she asked for my SSN. I gave it to her – and she promptly responded that it was “too short.”
Think about it, readers. How many digits is YOUR SSN?
9? Yeah. So’s mine.
I argued with her that SSNs were only 9 digits long – backed by a room of friends who were frantically counting the digits of their own SSNs and realizing, yes, they’re 9 digits long.
But the snarky lady on the phone (no longer friendly) assured me that my 9 digit number – which I repeated MULTIPLE times to her – was too short.
Then she told me that not all the LaSalle Bank customers information had been transferred to Bank of America yet, and it would be complete soon.
Groan. So hmm. I hung up, annoyed and figuring – “Whatever, I can make it through the weekend. I’m in Michigan. Can’t do anything else here.”
I get back to Chicago, go to my online banking statement (computer wasn’t available at the wedding – hotel life, aah) and all is fine. I let it go, thinking it’s probably just one dumb woman who doesn’t work for much money and hates her job.
In July, I went back to Michigan and along the way deposited a check in a Bank of America ATM in Lansing, Michigan – and it took 5 days to clear. When I called, their excuse was that it was because it was out of state.
Huh. Remind me never to leave the country – I might not be able to get back.
Fast forward to yesterday. My Mom’s amazing, and sent me money – so I head to the Bank of America ATM at the LaSalle Bank branch I’ve been using non-stop for the past 3 years and have never had a problem with – and I deposit it. I get a receipt, with the fancy new scan of the check on it, so I assume all is well. I carry on with my day.
Today, 8am, at work, I open my online banking. Normally, there would at least be a record of the deposit, even if it hadn’t cleared yet. There’s nothing. At 1:30 right before my lunch break, still nothing. So I call up good ol’ useless Bank of America yet again.
…and am, this time, told that not only is my SSN too short, but that my debit card isn’t in their system.
Mind you, it’s a BANK OF AMERICA debit card that they mailed me that I’ve been using for months now. Um. I can access it through my online banking.
I talk to a variety of women, getting more and more frustrated -
Woman #1 – Asks me to spell my name three times, tells me my SSN is too short, and mishears my debit card #. There’s no record of me, she says, and transfers me to…
Woman #2 – Asks for my address three times, my SSN is again too short, and tells me that since I was a former LaSalle Bank customer, all the records won’t be officially transferred from LaSalle Bank to Bank of America until October. She transferrs me to the actual branch of the bank that I deposited the check into.
Woman #3 – A LaSalle, now Bank of America employee, is lovely and does her research. She has a record of me – and tells me that, even though it doesn’t even make sense to her, though that branch has a big ol’ Bank of America awning and Bank of America fancy schmancy ATMs and I have a Bank of America debit card, they’re still a LaSalle Bank, and that since the records are all in limbo my money should go into my system tomorrow. She says it’s all good – especially since I have the receipt, and to come in Saturday if it still hasn’t gone through.
So yeah. Apparently, until October (5 months after the transfer of customers) I don’t exist to Bank of America, except when they need to ding my account for an overdraft – which, twice now, their delay in processing information/money has led to….
I no longer trust Bank of America to have my back. As soon as this check, my next paycheck, and my bonus clear, I’m going back to Chase. Other than my first bad experience with one cranky teller – I’ve got lots of friends who use that bank and have never heard anything bad.
Take your money and run, folks.
Before they lose record of you and your funds completely.
Just lookin’ out for you.