Imagine my horror when I woke up one morning and logged on to online banking to find my checking account overdrawn by a couple hundred dollars and money pulled from a second account to cover it. This happened to me a few weeks ago. In addition to having to run around like a chicken with its’ head cut off cancelling bill payments and other automatic debits, I feel the whole situation was handled poorly by Bank of America.
The first thing I did was call the bank to cancel the card which is a pain in the ass because I stutter but online live chat couldn’t help me. Why have online help if they cannot do anything? After cancelling the card, the rep setup a new one to be mailed out and I was transferred to the fraud department.
Now, the fraud department goes through a script of stupid questions; Did you give a friend of family permission to use your card?, etc, etc. This was annoying but I’m sure they ask everyone these questions. There were 3 charges one for ~$230 to a Bed Bath and Beyond in NJ, ~$90 to a gift shop in Vancouver, and another ~$90 to another gift shop in Oregon. I told the guy I’ve never been to Canada and if you look at my account history I’ve never made any POS (Point of Sale) transactions on the west coast. As for Bed Bath and Beyond, I wouldn’t spend $230 on sheets if I were banging a model. At least that got a chuckle out of the otherwise stiff fraud dude on the line.
The way my accounts are setup is I have two checking accounts. Each with separate debit cards but they’re linked for overdraft protection. If write a check or do a debit card transaction that puts me in the red it will automatically transfer from the other account to cover it. The secondary account usually only has enough money in it to cover automatic payments; Household bills, car insurance, Netflix, etc. plus $20-$30 to keep the account active. This debit card stays at home in my checkbook as I never use it in person.
My primary account and the one that the thieves got a hold of is the card I use for every day stuff like grocery shopping, gas, etc. It’s possible that it could have gotten skimmed but I haven’t used it any place out of the ordinary. Rather than racking my brain trying to figure out how it happened and probably never figuring it out, I’d much spend that time getting everything back into order.
The fraud guy was very calm and insistent that BoA would take care of everything for me and all my monies would be returned back to my account within 48 hours. I’m told they will mail me an affidavit to sign and return. Okay no biggie, 2 days without cash flow I can live with with that.
A couple of days later I log in and all my money is back minus a $10 charge for automatic overdraft protection. Not for nothing, I transfer money between my accounts all the time and it’s completely free. The bank dinging me for $10 because it was automated just smells bad to me, even more so when I didn’t cause the overdraft. I get with online customer service and they agree to refund the overdraft transfer charge.
All three charges have disappeared I’m thinking everything is cool. I push through a couple bill payments as things are getting back to normal. A week later, I log in to see my account overdrawn again and backup funding again pulled from the other account again along with another $10 charge. One of the ~$90 charges that disappeared is now back and completely processed.
Now, I’m ready to go to the nearest branch and punch a manager in the face. The fraud department assured me time and time again that they wouldn’t let any of the disputed transactions clear. Originally, they ran some BS about the charges pending and they couldn’t do anything until the charges actually cleared which was the 48 hour waiting period. When a charge is pending it deducts from your available balance. I don’t understand that, if you take money from my account to cover a debit card transaction you damn sure better be able to put it back right away when I dispute it. It just good customer service.
I flat out refuse to get on the phone with these lying asshats again. I get online with the chat and magically they were able to transfer me to the fraud department. This means they lied the first time that I could not contact the fraud department via chat. This agent goes through a whole spiel about being very sorry this happened, yadda, yadda, yadda. He tells me that the bank will credit me for the disputed transaction over night so the money is available to me while the disputed transaction works its’ way through the system.
Next day I wake up and money is back still minus the $10 automatic transfer charge. Back to chat to get the charge reversed. The rep agrees to reverse the charge and everything looks copacetic.
The next day I log in and my account balance is more than it should be. It turns out the merchant reversed the charge and it’s showing as a credit on my account. My account is still messed up because now I have the ~$90 temporary loan from the bank and I’m waiting for them to pull it whenever they get ready. I’m considering widthdrawing just to have some extra cash in my pocket but then my luck they’ll try to pull it and give me an overdraft charge in the process.
It’s just been a nightmare. The process should be streamlined. One phone call should take care of everything. Not this BS phone tag back and fourth. You never get the same agent on the phone so you have to go through the story all over again.
With all this drama I’m changing how I handle money. The debit card is so much more convenient than cash. If I lose my wallet, just cancel the card and get a new one. Try doing that with cash. The downside is with a debit card the bank has control of your money and as much as they advertise no hassle or 100% guarantee of no liability for fraudulent charges you still have to jump through hoops just to get access to YOUR money. My plan is to only use my debit card for ATMs and large purchases. Other than that I’ll keep at least $100 in my wallet for incidentals like gas, small shopping trips, etc. I figure the less I use it the less likely I am to get skimmed.