Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Speaking of customer service...
Old 12-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
hguyw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 106
Speaking of customer service...

The Verizon thread reminded me of a customer service adventure I had a couple of years ago. I'll end it with a question that some of you folks may care to pontificate upon.

In December of 2007, I went online to pay my Capital One bill. The balance was just under $600. I had two accounts on file with them, M&T and my county employee's credit union account. I told them to take the payment from the CU account. Printed the receipt, filed it, done.

Two days later, I go online and check my M&T checking account and find it several hundred $$ overdrawn. What? What? Turns out CapOne had taken the $600 payment from the wrong account. I get out the payment receipt again and double checked...yep, it said they were to take it from the CU account.

So, it's 8PM and I call CapOne's customer service number. Of course, I end up speaking with someone on the other side of the planet. I could barely understand her and I'm not sure how well she understood me. Nothing she can do. I must have made the error, says she.

I go online and transfer enough money from M&T savings into checking to bring the account back into the black. The checking account was not one that I kept a lot of money in - it was used for gas, groceries, some Christmas shopping. IOW, lots of small local transactions.

Next morning, I head on down with my receipt and all to M&T bank. M&T was the 4th "owner" of my bank since I started there with my mortgage back in 1984. Anyhoo, I explain to Ms. M&T bank officer my problem. I show her my receipt...I did not do this...It's a mistake on CapOne's part. She said, "Well, it's not our fault." I said it's not my fault either. How much will the overdrafts total? She doesn't know. How many transactions in the account will "bounce"? She can't tell me. I again pointed out that it's not my fault, I'm not some deadbeat that bounces checks. Well, maybe I can get one of the OD fees cancelled. She disappears into the inner sanctum and comes back a few minutes later. Yes, her supervisor said they will credit my account for $18.(The first 3 overdrafts are $18 each, after that it's $32.) She lied. They never credited my account with anything.

I walked out of M&T, went home and started making phone calls. I found another credit union that offered all the services of the bank plus free Quicken downloads. (My county CU didn't offer electronic banking or downloads so I was on the verge of closing that one anyway. And Quicken downloads had been free at my old bank until M&T came along.) I immediately went to the new CU and opened new checking and savings accounts and after making sure there were no outstanding transactions I closed my M&T accounts a month later.

Now, how the thing got resolved. After I found a new CU, I called the NYS Attorney General's Office to complain about CapOne. They told me to call the NYS banking regulators who told me to call the Virginia banking regulators where CapOne was located. I called Virginia and the guy says he'll give me the number of CapOne. I asked if these was "customer service" overseas. Oh no ma'am, he says. These folks are lots higher on the food chain.

Turns out the number he gave me was CapOne corporate HQ. I braced myself for a nightmare of letters and copies and return receipt mailings trying to get some restitution. Nope. The nice CapOne lady, who was here in the good ole US of A, asked for the information on the receipt (transaction number), and the account/routing number of the M&T account for verification. She asked how I wanted to handle it. I told her the bill had been paid from the other account so we might as well leave it but I was getting dinged big time with overdraft fees because M&T had shuffled the transactions out of order, to bounce as many transactions as possible (8 all told). She said they'd credit my CC account for the full amount of the OD fees. We started with a guesstimate (since Ms. M&T couldn't tell me how much it would be) of $110. Well, that wasn't even close. I called Ms. CapOne back about a week later and told her the total OD fees were $214. So they still owed me $104. She said they'd credit me with $150 - the extra was to compensate for the inconvenience.

So in the end, I got a few extra bucks for my trouble and learned, within a month of M&T taking over my former bank, that they're sharks and there was no point in keeping my accounts there. (I could add some details about some other shenanigans they pulled with transactions appearing, clearing and then disappearing from my account, but this has gotten long enough.) And I earned a free $50 from the new CU for signing up for direct deposit. So, all's well that ends well.

So finally, my question: Why do you think more people don't just take their business elsewhere when they're jerked around by big banks? Most people have so many options in their area - and credit union memberships are so open now - why do they stay with a bank that's treating them badly? (Maybe fewer banks would be "too big to fail" if more folks would move their accounts.) My experience with M&T shuffling my transactions so they could suck 8 OD fees from my account instead of one, may not be illegal but it certainly is unethical - and it definitely isn't unique. Why do people put up with this cr*p from their bank?
__________________

__________________
hguyw is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-23-2009, 07:12 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,450
Kudos for Cap One for doing the right thing. Despite their bad rep my limited experience with Cap One was pretty good. Clearly get the right customer rep person on the phone is very important.

As for M&T, I was thinking about purchasing their shares. The M* Analyst for M&T pointed out that they made a lot of money for fees. This is generally considered a good thing by analysts. After reading you story, I can see how M&T makes money from fees. You clearly point out the risks of doing this to your customer. You take your business elsewhere. One of the wonders of Google and Internet is that your stories will be added to lore about M&T,. I very seldom purchase anything over $50 now days with a spending a few minutes googling the company. I contend doing the wrong thing for your customers in the internet age is very very expensive. Which makes me glad I didn't buy M&T stock despite its nice run up.
__________________

__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2009, 07:32 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,323
Unfortunately for me, I've had these same types of experiences. And I have taken my business elsewhere. I got really stung for a few hundred by 3rd Fifth Bank 6 years ago, and I'll never ever have anything to do with them again. I have a long memory.

**To check out the credit rating of your bank or credit union go to: Bauerfinancial.com.
__________________
Please consider adopting a rescue animal. So very many need a furr-ever home and someone to love them! And if we all spay/neuter our pets there won't be an overpopulation to put to death.
Orchidflower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2009, 07:36 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,872
Quote:
Originally Posted by hguyw View Post
The Verizon thread reminded me of a customer service adventure I had a couple of years ago. I'll end it with a question that some of you folks may care to pontificate upon.

Why do you think more people don't just take their business elsewhere when they're jerked around... Why do people put up with this cr*p?
The reason I am putting up with Verizon's cr@p is that choices for comms services are limited. We cannot get DSL. Buying high-speed Internet, TV, and phone services separately is expensive. AFAIK, there are only 2 choices for a triple bundle: COMCAST and Verizon FIOS. Both are reputed to be cavalier about customer service.

A.
__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success to be able to spend your life in your own way. Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2009, 07:41 PM   #5
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,823
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
The reason I am putting up with Verizon's cr@p is that choices for comms services are limited. We cannot get DSL. Buying high-speed Internet, TV, and phone services separately is expensive. AFAIK, there are only 2 choices for a triple bundle: COMCAST and Verizon FIOS. Both are reputed to be cavalier about customer service.

A.
A lot of times that's the reason! It's a choice of "the Devil you know" or "the Devil you don't know". And so many businesses are providing terrible customer service these days.

I would say more but I would sound old and cranky.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
hguyw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
The reason I am putting up with Verizon's cr@p is that choices for comms services are limited. We cannot get DSL. Buying high-speed Internet, TV, and phone services separately is expensive. AFAIK, there are only 2 choices for a triple bundle: COMCAST and Verizon FIOS. Both are reputed to be cavalier about customer service.

A.
I should have been more clear - I really was asking specifically about banks - the vast majority of people have any number of banking options and credit union memberships are so open these days I just don't know why they repeatedly put up with the abuse from the bigger banks. Go to any financial forum and the threads are full of people b*tching about their bank and invariably it's a "big" bank. Yet they don't switch.

As for Verizon...I'm stuck with them too. At least for phone, internet and cell. I could switch to TimeWarner for the phone and internet, but I trust them even less than I do Verizon.
__________________
hguyw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 06:27 AM   #7
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,494
Quote:
Originally Posted by hguyw View Post
So finally, my question: Why do you think more people don't just take their business elsewhere when they're jerked around by big banks?
My best guess would be simple inertia. I've changed banks, doctors, and others because of bad experiences. I don't expect anyone to kiss my butt, but I do expect that they will do what they say they are going to do when they say they're going to do it.

If they don't then I'll spend my money someplace else.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 07:09 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,633
It sounds like M&T was pretty obnoxious for not forgiving the overcharge fees but I can't understand why you say they were shuffling your accounts around. Capitol One pulled from the wrong account, not M&T. That was why Cap One made you whole.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 07:32 AM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
hguyw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 106
They weren't shuffling my accounts around - M&T shuffled the transactions within my checking account to maximize the OD fees. I had made 7 small purchases from my M&T checking account earlier on the same day that CapOne pulled from that same account. There was more than enough money in there to cover the 7 transactions but not enough to also cover the CapOne payment. As soon as M&T (or their computers) spotted the overdrafting CapOne payment, they rearranged the 8 transactions so that CapOne got paid first (which overdrew the account). Then of course, the other seven bounced also. Voila! $214 in OD fees to M&T instead of just $18. If the 8 transactions had been paid in the order I made them, M&T would have just earned $18.

On a couple of occasions since this, M&T has called me with offers for HELOCS and such. Each time I say I will no longer be doing business with them. The gal asks why; I explain the whole thing including this predatory rearranging of transactions. Gal then spouts the standard BS on this: "Oh well, we assume a big transaction is very important - probably a car or house payment - so we pay it first." To which I respond..."Either I have overdraft "protection" or I don't. Overdraft protection is supposed to cover all overdrafts so it doesn't matter if some transactions look like they might be "more important" than the others."

This rearranging of transactions to maximize fees is not unique to M&T; all the big banks do it. I believe the new CC regulations (or some other banking bill) will at least allow customers to opt out of overdraft protections. As it stands now, "overdraft protection" is peddled as a "courtesy" when in fact they stick every customer with it specifically so they can do this predatory rearranging thing when/if the customer slips up.

Banking should not be a cat and mouse game.
__________________
hguyw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 07:33 AM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
hguyw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 106
BTW, whenever I'm contacted by M&T (as above), I make sure and tell the rep that I took my business to a credit union. I have been told that banks hate, hate, hate credit unions.
__________________
hguyw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 07:58 AM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by hguyw View Post
They weren't shuffling my accounts around - M&T shuffled the transactions within my checking account to maximize the OD fees. I had made 7 small purchases from my M&T checking account earlier on the same day that CapOne pulled from that same account. There was more than enough money in there to cover the 7 transactions but not enough to also cover the CapOne payment. As soon as M&T (or their computers) spotted the overdrafting CapOne payment, they rearranged the 8 transactions so that CapOne got paid first (which overdrew the account). Then of course, the other seven bounced also. Voila! $214 in OD fees to M&T instead of just $18. If the 8 transactions had been paid in the order I made them, M&T would have just earned $18.

On a couple of occasions since this, M&T has called me with offers for HELOCS and such. Each time I say I will no longer be doing business with them. The gal asks why; I explain the whole thing including this predatory rearranging of transactions. Gal then spouts the standard BS on this: "Oh well, we assume a big transaction is very important - probably a car or house payment - so we pay it first." To which I respond..."Either I have overdraft "protection" or I don't. Overdraft protection is supposed to cover all overdrafts so it doesn't matter if some transactions look like they might be "more important" than the others."

This rearranging of transactions to maximize fees is not unique to M&T; all the big banks do it. I believe the new CC regulations (or some other banking bill) will at least allow customers to opt out of overdraft protections. As it stands now, "overdraft protection" is peddled as a "courtesy" when in fact they stick every customer with it specifically so they can do this predatory rearranging thing when/if the customer slips up.

Banking should not be a cat and mouse game.
Isn't it also possible that they paid in the order the checks came in? Which isn't necessarily the order you wrote the checks. I question whether a human is involved at all in the ordering of payment of transactions.

Edit: I checked. I see many large banks process checks received on the same day by processing the larger checks first. Interesting. They do have to disclose their system, but I am sure that it is buried in all the disclosures people receive.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 08:17 AM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
hguyw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 106
Of the seven transactions, ranging from $5.43 - $74.76, only one was a check ($30). All the rest were electronic debit card (put through as credit, not debit) transactions and would show up on my account (online) as soon as I'd get home.

Edit: I doubt very much that a human is involved in all this, other than bank execs whose job is to plot ever more devious ways of maximizing fees and the computer programmers that enable them.
__________________
hguyw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 09:00 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,251
I agree that it is MAJOR BS about paying the big one first.... because THEY PAID THEM ALL!!!


Now, if they paid the big one first because it was 'important' and then bounced all the rest their statement might hold water...

but even then, I would rather them pay all the small ones and bounce the big one... that way I only have to handle ONE bounced item...


Why do we not move from banks One is I used to work for one... and I did not have problems until I stopped working for them... I then went to Cap One to bank and found out it was about 10 years behind in ATMs (my current bank puts a copy of the check on the ATM slip for you!!)... Cap One also blocks you from getting money out of your account overseas... which my wife found out when she was over there.... but Chase did not...

I have thought about moving to a small bank or CU, but even they have their problems about not being able to offer decent services.... because they don't have the systems..



Edit to add.... but I would move if I got screwed like you did with the OD fees... no way would I stay with a bank that did that to me....
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 09:13 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,705
I made an extreme error - about $750 - which caused bounced checks over two days. Entirely my fault, I tried to clear this up over the phone. Person was nice, but I had to go to local branch of PNC. Turns out the online help was not really done in the correct way, and checks were still bouncing.

In the local branch, wife and I were were treated very nice, wrote a check to cover the amount (lol) and then the fees were credited back to my account. A month later my statement did not show a refund of all fees, so I went back in. Again, things were set straight, and I ended up with no fees.

So I haven't changed banks. I'd like to get rid of Comcast and Verizon, though.
__________________
target2019 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 07:33 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Isn't it also possible that they paid in the order the checks came in? Which isn't necessarily the order you wrote the checks. I question whether a human is involved at all in the ordering of payment of transactions.

Edit: I checked. I see many large banks process checks received on the same day by processing the larger checks first. Interesting. They do have to disclose their system, but I am sure that it is buried in all the disclosures people receive.
There was some embarrassing testimony in Congress when various banks admitted that did just that. IIRC, the bank execs all claimed ignorance of the practice and promised to look into it. I would have like to hear one exec say,"you bet we do we are in the business of making money the more the better, and overdraft fees are big source of our income, and Congressman if we didn't make money how would you stay in office or get a sweet heart deal on mortgage."

One of the many reason I am Schwab fan is that in my 28 years as being a customer they have charged me precious few fees periods, no fees that were unjustified and have waived and eliminated many fees over the years. I have seen them give similar good service to my mom and brother-in-law. Why people put up with the expensive fee happy banks is beyond me. If Schwab took cash deposits and cashed Saving bonds. I won't need any other bank, but unfortunately, I am stuck with Bank of Hawaii, which after paying $25+ in inactivity fees I finally figured out how to get a free checking account.

The bank analysts I've read have pointed out how sticky customers (i.e high retention rates) are to banks despite the lousy service. This is why they had such consistent earning and dividend payers. Of course, the industry got greedy and stupid and lost trillions. (I think greed came first)
__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2009, 07:38 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,872
Quote:
Originally Posted by hguyw View Post
BTW, whenever I'm contacted by M&T (as above), I make sure and tell the rep that I took my business to a credit union. I have been told that banks hate, hate, hate credit unions.
I think a CU is like George Bailey's Building and Loan - the customers are members, who "own" the institution - which probably makes the banks feel like Mr. Potter!

I only use a bank for the rare service that my 2 CU's don't offer, e.g. medallion signature guarantee.

Amethyst
__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success to be able to spend your life in your own way. Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
hguyw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 106
Well speak of the devil!
__________________
hguyw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2010, 09:43 AM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 229
I hate banks and am glad to hear that banks hate CUs. I've been a member of a CU for almost 30 years. On the rare occasion that I bounced a check (my fault), I called and apologized to the CU and they forgave the bounced-check charge! Also I've never paid a checking fee or any kind of fee. Checks used to be free, but they started charging for them about 10 years ago.
__________________
Glo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2010, 12:46 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
growing_older's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,608
I have moved my business from one bank to another after some bad practices bothered me, but it is not something I would do often. I have reasons for being with the bank I'm at, usually including favorable rates and policies. Plus I also have a bunch of linked accounts, including some for kids, multiple savings and checking accounts and sometimes loans, CDs, linked brokerage accounts, etc. Certainly banks know this and it contributes to the "sticky" nature of the relationship. On the other hand, if there is an issue significant enough to get me to move, the bank also knows I'll be moving everything not just the one account, so they should be motivated somewhat to provide good customer service.
__________________

__________________
growing_older is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fido's Customer Service - Going Downhill? gindie FIRE and Money 16 04-03-2008 08:17 PM
Customer Service Moemg Other topics 60 01-08-2008 03:46 PM
customer service? ladelfina Other topics 4 07-26-2006 01:35 PM
Customer service # Arif Other topics 1 06-16-2006 03:26 PM
Bad Customer Service Rant? SteveL Other topics 11 09-03-2005 12:34 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:45 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.