Bank of America: Give Me My Money. Now.
This diary is about my interaction today with B of A. And it's about why my son cannot get my hands on $4,019 of his own money until after 5 pm on December 7. This diary is being written because, guess what, he needs the $$ before then. It's his, isn't it? Well, maybe not. Not until after 5 pm on 12/7.
Join me in the drive through.
The story is extremely simple.
I sold some stock on which I am the trustee for my son so he could make a trip to Asia. As a result of the sale (which by the way took more than 5 business days to end up in a bank check) I received a check in the mail for $4,119. The check written to me and him was a bank check written on a New York bank and the check represents the sale of stock we owned. Put another way, the check is good unless I'm a forger (I'm not) or the issuing bank fails before the week is over. Nobody expects the latter.
I took the check to my local BofA, in Chatham, New York, to deposit it in a checking account belonging to my son. I got there before 3 pm. I made the deposit. Funny thing. I got a note with the receipt that said in substance that I was a complete sucker: only $100 of the check was available now, the rest, $4,019 would be available after 5 pm on December 7, 2009. December 7? That's a full week away and then some.
Folks, they are holding the money for a week for no legitimate reason at all. The check is good. They could confirm it with a simple phone call. I did not forge the check. But my son cannot have his money for a full week.
This might seem to be a small, even a trivial insult. If it were only I and my son who had the problem. But when you spread this practice over thousands and thousands of deposits, deposits that are good, deposits that get money to the bank long before they release the funds to the depositor, you're talking a profitable practice for the bank and a loss for the consumer. How big a profit? How big a loss? I have no real idea. All I know is that the check is good and we're not allowed to have money that belongs to us.
I told my son about this mess. He called BofA. Many levels of customer service, supervisors, bosses, bosses of bosses. No luck. They are not going to release his money. It's their Policy. Why? Evidently because we cannot make them release it. They don't have to, they say, and guess what, they won't release it. Period.
After his illuminating call with "Customer Service," and panicking that he could not make his trip without the dough, he went to a branch in NYC near where he lives. Said the "customer service" person to whom he spoke, pardon the paraphrase, "That's a backroom problem. I can only deal with front room issues." This could be the segue to a joke, but alas, it isn't. No help from "customer service."
When they've got you, they think they've got you. You're powerless to do anything to get them to take their paws off your money and turn it over to you. It's your money, right? Well...
I realize that this problem will be concluded on 12/7 at 5 pm with the release of the funds. I can get him some money so he can make his trip and then get the rest of the cash to him. That's not the real problem.
The real problem is that we, he and I, and you as well as consumers are continuously being victimized by BofA and many of its global competitors.
When they scream that they need to be bailed out, that they need tax money to keep them afloat, that they're too big to fail, that they're illiquid, that they have issues, we taxpayers grovel and write the check. A mighty big check. We save their butt every time. We keep them from failing.
And in their gratitude for our keeping them afloat, what do they do? They continue policies designed solely to gouge us and to garner profits to which they are simply not entitled, profits they will keep and not share with us, profits they make in many ways and in particular by holding our funds and preventing us from having them.
We have to be gigantic suckers to put up with
I could tell you to complain about this abuse and the rest of it by calling them, but if you don't want to be on hold for half an hour, I don't recommend it.
If I could, I'd write a song about how much they suck, but I'm not that talented.
The best I can do, and I concede it is very, very little, is let the smoke curl out of my ears and write this diary.