Dear Bank of America –
I have been a faithful customer for over a decade. I’ve been patient with you. When those anti-capitalists marched Wall Street I turned away and reminded those around me that you are a business and need to do something to stay in business. I thought that was true – after all, the government bail-outs, high interest rates on loans, and existing fees were used to provide better services to me, the consumer. I do want to voice some points of my dissatisfaction, however:
1. NEW FEES ON SAVINGS AND CHECKING ACCOUNTS. I am not happy with the "new" monthly fees you place on my checking and savings accounts. By "new" I mean the past year or so. Each month I call and ask why I was charged again for the fees the last representative told me were merely a "glitch in the system." Some have kindly refunded the fee, others have been condescending and told me the information about the fees is in my agreement. What agreement? And why did you, one of the largest financial institutions in the nation need to raise charges and add new fees anyway?
2. WHY ARE YOU CHARGING ME TO USE THE ATM AT YOUR INSTITUTION NOW? I can use my credit union debit card at non-network banks for less than it costs me to use one of your ATMs with your own card. Where is the sense in that?
3. UNCLEAR AND INCONSISTENT CRITERIA TO AVOID THOSE FEES. I am not happy that I’ve jumped through all these hoops to save money on fees and it turns out the last five representatives I spoke with were either confused about your policies or were making me do the dance for their own enjoyment. I was told that setting up a monthly transfer from my checking to savings would eliminate the monthly fee there. I did that. I was told that having direct deposits totaling at least $250 monthly into my checking account would eliminate the fee there. I filled out the paperwork at work and agonized over your confusing and slow website to comply. Over six months later I am told that a banking rep needed to set up the transfer, and that two monthly deposits of $150 (totaling $300) didn’t count – it needed to be a single monthly deposit of $250. I could accept this confused and nit-picky arrangement if it was my own decision to go with the two smaller deposits, but it was done this way at the suggestion of one of your representatives.
4. YOUR WEBSITE SUCKS. Most businesses make their websites as streamlined as possible. The exceptions are you and Verizon Wireless. Despite being "technology leaders," both of your companies have slow websites with unnecessary login screens, content that won’t display in several browsers and on most devices, and frankly, I’m sick of it. At least VZW is providing me good service.
5. YOU TRY TO TRICK ME INTO BUYING SERVICES I DON’T NEED. Every month, in bank-logo stationery, I receive offers for credit protection, loans, life insurance, and other things I get in higher quality elsewhere. You’re killing trees, stuffing my mailbox, and the practice is shady. Even worse, you periodically change your IVR (phone) system – not to make it easier to navigate – but to change what yesterday was "press 1 to access your account" to today’s "press 1 to enroll in our credit protection program for only $17.99 a month". Long-time customers in the habit of hitting a familiar sequence of digits inadvertently sign up for these services. You know that.
6. WHY ARE YOU STILL SENDING MY STATEMENTS TO MY OLD ADDRESS? It’s been more than a year since I moved. I changed my address with you over the phone, in a branch, and online. The post office normally wouldn’t still be forwarding it to me, but as a courtesy they have.
7. YOU CLEAR TRANSACTIONS SLOWLY. Maybe it’s because you are a giant corporation with billions of customers, but when I buy a Slurpee at the Qwik-E-Mart on a Tuesday, you don’t show it until the following Monday. I have to admit, until I got my account with the local credit union, I thought this was just how things are. I know better now! I swipe their card at the Qwik-E-mart, the pizza place, or he local retailer and the purchase appears on my account immediately. It doesn’t matter if the purchase is out of state or online, I consistently get a faster update with the small local company than with yours.
8. YOU SURVEY ME TO ASK ABOUT MY SERVICE THE LAST TIME I WAS AT YOUR BRANCH 3 STATES AWAY. I used to just fake it and say good things, but it got old after awhile. You’re sending me these surveys because of a glitch in your own system that I have attempted to fix numerous times over the past 5 years. Give up already. besides, you’re calling my cell phone and it uses my minutes.
9. YOU CHARGE MY FEES FEES. I’m a college student. I’m a single parent. I have a bad job. My money gets tight pretty often. When you don’t post that $1.30 purchase from a week ago and I lost the receipt, and then you drop in your monthly "service fee" a weekend early (because of some Monday bank holiday I’ve never heard of), I get "Insufficient Funds" or "Overdraft" fees of nearly $40 a hit. When I check my account a week later, you’ve charged fees to my fees. Over my time with you I’ve had more than my share of incidents of this variety that have cost me 1/7th of my paycheck. That isn’t acceptable. I need that money to pay my internet bill so I can go online and see my "paperless statements."
I HAVE ANOTHER BANK. They’re smaller. They don’t have a good "ePay" page on their website. Their customer service is only open during normal business hours. It is hard to find locations nearby. I can handle that because they have staff in on Saturdays. They give me access to all my deposit when I deposit it. They don’t have any monthly "service" fees. They’re FDIC insured just like you. Their checks and debit cards work just like yours do. My transactions clear with them immediately. I’ve been comparing the two of you for the past year, and I could go on and on about how much better they – and many other small credit unions – are, but this is all you need to know: I am leaving you. I’m not the only one. You have FAILED.