Angry with my bank policies... rant

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I logged onto my checking account this morning and was absolutely SHOCKED to see 5 overdraft charges at $28 a pop despite my account showing a positive four-figure balance and no indication of a charge against my account that would have depleted my balance (nor had I written any checks that would have caused me to be overdrawn).

    So in a panic I called the credit union to find out what was going on.

    Turns out that husband's first paycheck that I had to manually deposit last week is treated like any other depoist and the institution puts a 10-day hold on the check. It won't be released until 1/5. So even though I had money in the account, they put a hold on my account for the total amount of the check (which was more than my current balance). So anything that was submitted for payment on the account resulted in an overdraft being initiated because the hold essentially puts my account in the red, even though it's technically not. And the system says nothing about the hold on MY end. I just look at my account and it says I have money and all of it was available. But the guy on the other end of the phone said his screen said I had NO money available.

    And I have to know that it does NOT take 10 days for that payroll check to clear. It's a relatively local bank. It just means the credit union gets to hold my money hostage and have use of it -- I guess that's what they call "float" -- for probably more than half of that 10-day period.

    Meanwhile, stupid me gets dinged for well over $100 in overdraft charges.

    I am so incredibly angry and fit to be tied and husband thinks I should find another bank.

    But we get worldwide free ATM rebates (no limit) and free checking with no minimum balance (just have to have auto deposit). Don't know where I can find that kind of deal at another bank/credit union.

  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I have free checking, online bill pay for $7/month, email alerts when my account balance is below a dollar amount I set, etc, etc, etc.

    Floatingchecks is very old - out of date. The fact that your husband's payroll couldn't hit the bank via EFT is very old as well; doesn't take long to set up a new employee nor should it.

    Not only is the credit union setting on your money & charging you for it; husband's employer has that float until the check clears. What better time but at year end?

    Forgive my sarcasm - worked too long in the accounting industry & know all the fiscal year end & other antics that companies & banks pull.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    husband's employer IS getting him set up with autodeposit. There was a note on his pay stub that said they were waiting for confirmation from our financial institution (he got paid on the 24th for the week ending the 18th -- his first week there -- turned in the voided check on the 16th or 17th, so it was too late for the current check run, apparently). I deposited the check on the 29th since he didn't pick it up from work until the 28th (so the hold is actually less than 10 days, but still -- I feel like we are really getting the shaft here).

    I guess I'm going to start shopping around for a new institution -- I've been with this credit union since 1986 and we had our first mortgage with them (it's been sold several times since), but these days it's all about the bottom line, not about customer loyalty, track record, etc. So since they're compelled to mess with MY bottom line, I'm compelled to take it elsewhere.
  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You need to appeal the overdraft charges! We just went through this with easy child and her bank. She did make a mistake and thought she had more in her account that she did and realized it and asked us for some money. We immediately transferred money to her but she didn't realize it was too late to keep her from being hit with overdraft charges.

    Unfortunately, she didn't check back for the next week and continued to make small withdrawals. Over the course of that week, she had a total overdraft of $6.00 but they kept hitting her with overdraft fees for every one or two dollar expenditure on her debit card and by the time she checked her account, she had run up $500.00 in overdraft fees (and by the time all of the charges had cleared it hit $600)!


    We told her to go talk to the people at the bank which she did first thing the next morning. She called husband from the bank sobbing because the lady at the bank was telling her that it was her fault and she needed to pay the $500 immediately or they would ruin her credit. husband talked to the bank official and pointed out that they were charging an 8000% penalty on a total of $6.00 in overdrafts but the lady was intransigent.

    husband researched this on the Internet and found that many people said that they got the fees reduced when the went up the chain of command. So easy child wrote emails to the CEO of the bank (a huge corporate banking chain) and the VP in charge of customer service. Someone called her within an hour and told her that she was going to work on the problem and come to a resolution for easy child.

    To make a long story short, the bank ended up waiving all but the original four overdraft fees and easy child only had to pay $120 (which I would have kept fighting but easy child said that it was her fault that she hadn't been more careful . . that's why she's a easy child).

    I think you should point out that you have been a loyal customer of xxx number of years and if they want to keep you as a customer they might at least reduce the amount of overdraft fees.

    by the way, the new law that takes effect in February is supposed to stop banks from doing this sort of thing.

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
  5. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member


    I worked in banking for eight years. Granted it was in the 80s, but one of my jobs was to oversee the NSF activity (not fun) and it was horrible the way the NSF fees would snowball on people if they made a tiny mistake.

    I also remember that where I worked (You would probably remember the bank, it was a major one in So Cal for decades- it got bought out in the late 80s) they did not charge a fee due to a deposit being held for what used to be called "uncollected funds". However, I do know that NOW banks rely heavily on those fees to increase their profit margin.

    If you really want to try and get that hundred bucks back, call them (or go in) and ask for a manager or supervisor that has the power to reverse the fee. If you otherwise have a good history with them, you have a good chance of getting the money back. Be very firm and I would make them understand that it's going to cost them AT LEAST a hundred bucks in their time dealing with you if they hesitate.

    If you're like me, when I feel like I've been unfairly charged something, I'm like a pit bull. I got a free engine out of a car dealership after the one in my car ceased two months out of warranty. We had a PERFECT maintenance record and I used that to my advantage. Actually, I believe the dealership caused the engine to go, but I couldn't prove it and they let me know THAT. That General Manager thought he was going to roll right over me to the tune of six grand. Guess again, Pal. Finally, I calmly informed him that I was going to cost them six thousand one way or the other because I was going to build a website dedicated to their dealership called Ihatenthiscardealershipdotcom. Then, I was going to have it put in big letters on my back window and park in crowded public places. Then, I was going start a blog on the local news website to share my experience with them and encourage others to share too, then of course, there's my big blabber mouth that won't be able to keep quiet about it.Oh yes, indeedy, I may have to pay six grand to get the new engine, but they were going to pay that if not more in ridicule and lost business.

    The GM excused himself for about twenty minutes and when he came back he informed me that I would have a new engine courtesy of them.

    A very good business decision on their part.:smug:
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I guess I've been really lucky with my bank. It's a small town branch of a bigger bank but not one of the huge chains. They don't put a hold on checks deposited, even an out of state check from my daughter. If I had deposited that check and then somehow it wasn't good, I would have been held responsible for any checks that I had written against that money and the fees, but there was no hold on the money at all!

    I'd keep shopping around if they can't do better than that! Surely you can find a better deal!
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks Kathy & Dazed. I will send a certified letter appealing the charges and will advise them that they stand to lose our business if they don't act promptly. Meanwhile, I'm shopping online for another institution!
  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    We think alike! When husband and I built our first house, there were some major defects that I wanted corrected. The site supervisor and the onsite selling agent refused saying that I was being unreasonable. Now, were were talking a bathroom floor that was uneven and a front door that was not centered in the entry way which I felt was well within reason to want to have fixed.

    The television advertising at the time was all about the "quality" XXX homes so I put out a large sign in the front yard inviting people looking at the remaining lots to come in and view our "quality" XXX home.

    Within 15 minutes, the site supervisor and selling agent were at my door and told me that everything that I wanted fixed would be fixed. I told them that they had a week or the sign would be put back up.

    Everything was fixed within the next few days.


    by the way, I wanted to contact the local news station and Clark Howard, our local consumer advocate, about easy child's bank charges but she didn't want the world to know that she had overdrawn her account. I guess she just doesn't have her mama's pitbull tendencies. LOL

  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    "Finally, I calmly informed him that I was going to cost them six thousand one way or the other because I was going to build a website dedicated to their dealership called "Ihatenthiscardealership"

    This reminds me of a guy I saw years ago when I worked for a big city newspaper. This was before the 'lemon laws' were in affect ... this man had evidently bought a car that turned out to be a piece of junk and couldn't get satisfaction from the dealership. He pulled the car into a space right in front of the newspaper office and just stood there on the sidewalk waiting. He had put big signs on the sides of the car saying what a lemon this dealership had sold him, and he had taken about a dozen real lemons and threaded them down the radio antennea! Wasn't long before someone came out and talked to him and the next day he had his picture in the paper standing next to his 'lemon' - I think he got a new car from the dealership! So it does pay to complain!

    I had a go-round with the city government when all the trash from a city-owned parking lot next door was ending up in my yard - a HUGE mess. I practically begged them to have it cleaned up, nothing happened. I took pictures and spoke to the town aldermen at their meeting - nothing. Until ... I calmly informed them that I would be calling Channel Four in the morning so they could come and take pictures of the city's garbage in my yard - first thing the next morning they had a crew out working on it and when I came home that evening, every speck of garbage was gone! You have nothing to lose by complaining and going as far as you have to.
  10. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Kathy and Donna: Love it!

    It is amazing what the power of bad publicity can do.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My dad worked with a woman who was legendary around here for her consumer complaints. She wrote one letter to a Yugo dealer (remember those?) where she called herself the biggest loudmouth west of the Mississipi River. in my opinion she was right! Her son worked as a very popular deejay for many years. He had her gift of combining stubborn and humor and it worked for both of them.

    She ended up with a different make of little cheap car at the time because her brand new yugo stopped working after she drove it home from the lot. She drove it home, turned it off and got her grandkids to go for a ride. Went back out less than 30 minutes later and it did not run. She had it repaired, it was in the shop more than out for the next couple of months. Then it just didn't run and nothing worked to fix it. The dealer was refusing to honor the warranty, all sorts of things. She got a LOT of people aware of her problem, even had people who walked out on deals as she drove her other car around the lot with signs about her "Yugo that Don'tGo".

    I rarely take bad service into stride. I complain, usually verbally, often to someone at the top of the company. CEO's don't like complaint calls. husband had a problem with our mortgage payment 2 out of 3 months. I made HIM call the CEO's office. Not the customer service dept. Not the branch pres. The CEO of the huge bank. The fees were all waived, we are supposed to have 1 month with-o a payment where they will take the fees we already paid and apply them as the payment. I am riding him to call because they have not kept that promise. I will win. He will call or it will not go well for him.

    Or I will call. They REALLY jump when I call. One assistant vp already has asked that they NOT speak with-me because one lady cried when I kept challenging her. I was NOT mean or rude. SHE was. They "don't want to upset" me. Or so the letter of apology and message said. in my opinion it is because I was talking them out of fees they wanted to charge.

    The financial climate is too competitive to tolerate this. Other banks WILL make you a good deal. It is well worth the time to complain AND find out new offers.
  12. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    J -

    I have a no fee checking account, free online banking and NO hold on my deposits of any kind. I can even have a paper check sent to an individual via online banking and they don't even charge me postage. And I don't have a 4 figure balance in my account.

    You need to find a new bank. Another thing to check for is to make sure the bank posts deposits before debits. Some banks will post all the debits to your account and then your deposit to try to get those NSF fees.

    Speaking of car dealerships...a guy walked into a local dealership - one of the largest in the country - and proceeded to shout, "I WANT MY CAR BACK!" until they gave it to him. Turns out, when he traded in his car for the new one, the dealership never paid off the loan. I had that happen when I bought my Kia. The paperwork was "misplaced"...until I threatened to take them to court citing ORC. They overnighted the payment.
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I've got my letter drafted and will send it out certified Monday morning. What really, REALLY sticks in my craw is that they don't even NOTIFY you via e-mail (which would be a VERY easy flag to set up in their system) that a charge like this has been levied against your account. That smacks of dishonesty in my humble opinion. And I told them so in so many words. I cited my length of history with them and said I'd be closing the account if they don't reverse the fees.

    And the letter is going to their COO (that's another annoying issue -- can't find out who their officers are on the website... had to go to LinkedIn to track someone down, and even then, I'm not sure if this is the right person to contact... and so maybe I'll cc the president as well.)
  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'd be sure and let them you that they will lose a customer if you have to pay the fees, and then follow through. Banks are really not wanting to lose customers these days.

    You might consider switching to the bank that one of your employers writes their payroll checks from. We already banked where my husband's employer banks and the bank will immediately deposit the payroll check into my account if I request it.
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh you can be sure I spelled out very clearly that if they do not reverse all the fees related to this hold I will take my financial business elsewhere.

    I'll have to check into whether the bank the employer uses is convenient for us, but that is a good idea. Had I known this would happen, I would have cashed the check at their bank in the first place!
  16. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    J- the cu might have put an illegal hold on the check. I was a bank manager for 20+ years. The days of the 10 day hold went out with the dinosaurs, unless the payroll check was over $5K, then see that comment below. The holidays might have complicated matters for you. Take a look- here's something you can quote:

    Payroll Checks and Bank Holds

    It is legal for your bank to put holds on your payroll checks but only for a limited time.

    The First $100

    Banks are required to make available the first $100 of your payroll check by the next business day after your deposit. Banks can define a business day as they see fit, however, so it is possible to deposit your check on Friday and not have that first $100 available until the following Tuesday.

    The Rest of Your Payroll Check

    By the second business day, your bank must release the rest of your paycheck. So if the first $100 became available Tuesday morning, the rest--up to $5,000--must be available by Wednesday morning.

    Payroll Checks Exceeding $5,000

    If your payroll check totals more than $5,000, your bank has an additional 10 days after your initial deposit to make available any amount over $5,000.

    Avoiding Holds on Payroll Checks

    Many banks allow customers to cash their paycheck first and then deposit the cash into their account. This gets around the hold time and makes the funds available immediately.

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
  17. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Suz, is that for all states? My bank will do the first step with the first $100, but they hold it until the third day. I have direct deposit now, so it's not a big deal, but when I get checks from other people, they hold it for three days, I think.

    I like D&C's way....I had a problem with a car dealership before the internet evolved. They refused to give me deposit money back after I took a calculator out at home and realized they beat me out of a lot of money by pulling some things on paper. I threatened to picket the place, but my dad had done the roof on the place, so my HUGE father walked in, pushed the sales manager (literally) and walked up to the owner and threatened that if he didn't give my money back he would have a demolition crew show up the next day and destroy the roof. My dad is pretty intimidating. Needless to say I had a check in my hand that day......which I think the bank put a 10 day hold on at the time (this happened in 1989)
  18. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Here's another link:

    It's my guess that the cu has a disclosure somewhere that will say that they can hold the check for 10 days but gcvmom needs to ask them where it is.

    When I used to approve checks I looked at the client first---how long a member/client, banking history, other deposit accounts or loan history, etc. With gcvmom doing her banking there for almost 25 years it's inconceivable to me that they would put a hold on that check.

  19. ML

    ML Guest

    I'm so glad you wrote that letter and hope they're smart enough to reverse the charges.
  20. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks for the info, Suz.

    The check was under $5,000 and they told me they did release the first $100, but from the time I deposited the check to the first day an overdraft was charged I had several online bill payments come through that brought my balance down to the level of the check amount and then it dipped below (thus the charges).

    The New Year holiday weekend plus the fact that it was deposited in a cu partner ATM and not an actual cu ATM (they no longer have branches in my area) were likely factors in the delay -- the actual number of business days is probably only four or five, but it ends up being eight because of all the other circumstances.

    Hopefully my appeal letter will convince them that reversing the $150 or more in charges (haven't checked today) is worth keeping my business. And if not, then I am probably better served by a local bank anyway. I just am sick that this happened because of a technicality.