March 29, 2006

There's no customer service like... well, actually, there's just no customer service.

As you might recall, I recently wrote to Bank of America to seek relief from their own ineptitude. Yesterday, I got two (coincidentally corresponding?) responses: One from a person who claims to be a bank customer service supervisor, who left a ďThank You For SmokingĒ-worthy comment in the original post; and a mailed letter from the bank.

I suppose I shouldn't have expected much, but I did. I figured that maybe the BOA people I was reaching on the phone were at a disadvantage: I had put them on the spot, and they didnít know how to resolve my problem without keeping me on hold for hours. With a letter, I figured, someone would have the time to actually figure out the problem and then get back to me.

Instead, someone had the time to pull up a form letter, make a few minor adjustments and then send it to this increasingly dissatisfied customer. The full letter, with my thoughts inserted in italics, is here:

Dear Bank of America Customer: [This is an excellent way to start off. It feels personal, as if the bank truly cares about me, the individual. Iím a real person with a name, not just some Bank of America Custo... oh, wait.]

Thank you for contacting Resolution Services & Support. Your comments and observations are important to us in our efforts to deliver high quality customer service.

The goal of the bank is to provide professional, responsible and courteous service to all customers, and I regret that this was not the case for you. [Yes, well, thatís true. This is a good start.] We are constantly working towards improving service to our customers, and we welcome your input. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience and frustration we may have caused. [Hey now! Are you acknowledging wrongdoing? Telling me, the customer, that Iím right? Dear lord, we may have a breakthrough here. Iím starting to feel all warm and fuzzy. This letter reaches out to me, lovingly and longingly, and Iím rea--]

The monthly maintenance fee you received was a result of not meeting the minimum balance requirements. [Oh. Oh no. It's started again. This is exactly what all the customer service people said on the phone. Come back to me, BOA! Whoever wrote that last paragraph, come back to me!] In order to avoid a fee a minimum of $25,000.00 is required between your savings and checking accounts. [How quickly things change. Ten seconds ago, it was your fault; now itís mine. Listen, assholes: I have the freakiní money. This is exactly the issue we go through every month. It's why I wrote you in the first place.] We have enclosed our Personal Schedule of Fees for your review. [This may be the one genuine sentence in the entire letter. Itís short and factual; they did indeed include the schedule.] Please be advised that the Certificate of Deposits cannot be linked to the Advantage relationship due to the fact that they were open in a different state. [And hereís what I said in my original letter: If a bank named after the entire country canít reconcile items opened in two different states, I must seriously question what else you canít do.]

We have waived the monthly maintenance fee until 10/07/06. [Old news, buddy. Youíve also locked me in to the account I donít want until 10/07/06. Thanks for that.]

We value your business and want to provide the best service. Please call 1800-432-1000 toll free and speak with any Customer Service and Support associate if we may be of additional assistance.

Olga Hurtando [Oh, how Iíd love to put a Hurtando on this bank. I may have to settle for an Account Cancellationando, though.]
Bank of America

Posted by Jason Feifer at March 29, 2006 08:15 AM


Bank of America stinks. But not as much as the other banks I've tried out here.

I miss Wells Fargo, my old California bank. They were GREAT.

Posted by Anna at March 29, 2006 10:28 AM

Seriously, stop complaining and switch banks. There are 7,499 other banks in america. When something sucks you stop buying it. This is how capitalism works. What are you a commi?

Posted by adam at March 29, 2006 09:53 PM

The reason people do not change banks is because it's easier to stay with your current bank instead of changing.

Changing banks is a hassle.

I have problems with Bank of America too.

Here they are:

1. No more Fleet Cash.

When Bank of America took over from Fleet/Shawmut/Nank Boston/Bank of NE/It's been so long ago I forget the name Bank, BOA changed the ATMs and removed the FLEET CASH option. With that option you were able to key in your PIN # on an ATM and then press FLEET CASH. Money would pop out and you'd get your card back and a receipt. Pretty sweet. Then BOA came on and did away with that option. Now it takes a gagillion key strokes to get money out of the ATM. What is ironic is that at the time of hte change, a VP of BOA was on TV telling us that they has testing labs working to help make your ATM transaction faster. IF I was grading the BOA ATM testing labs I'd give them an F. Total failure.

2. No more postage stamps available on ATMs.

3. Confusing statements.

Please! Can someone who sued to work at Fleet help redesign the bank Statements.

4. Online banking.

Hello. I am always using the same computer to access online banking. I know it's a Macintosh, but can't you just remember my Login ID?

5. Safety image.

Instead of making me choose one of your clipart photos as my onine security image, how about alloing me to upload one that means something to me?

Posted by Steve Garfield at March 30, 2006 11:22 AM

Yes, switch banks as soon as humanly possible. Did you see the story in the Globe about the fee increases? Or the discussion group of people complaining about BofA.. up to 13 pages now of bitching?

Posted by amy at March 30, 2006 01:18 PM

I'd been a customer since the BayBank days, but when Bank of America took over, I finally said enough's enough and moved my accounts to Wainwright. I've been there a year and a half, and I love it. Sure, their online banking/bill pay isn't as glossy as Fleet's/BOA's was, but it gets the job done and it's free. The tellers and customer service reps talk to me like I'm an intelligent human being. And it's on the SUM network, so I have even more ATM options than I did with El Suppositoro.

Believe me, you'll feel so great when the BOA wonk tries to convince you to please, please stay. That alone was worth it!

Posted by Editrix at April 4, 2006 06:56 PM