Friday, November 09, 2007

And Then. . .

My bank cancelled my debit card the other day. There I was, in a quilt store, paying for a few additions to my fabric stash. The clerk frowned and looked at me over the top of her reading glasses.

"It didn't go through. Your card has been reported lost or stolen."

"That can't be. Run it again," I suggested naively.

10 minutes and two phone calls to my bank later, I was told my card had been suspended for "misuse" and my account marked for fraud. The person I was referred to in the Fraud Department told me I had deposited an empty envelope in an ATM, which I knew I had not. God knows I can be absent minded, but I specifically remembered putting the check from my British publisher in that ATM because it didn't fit the deposit envelope. I folded the flap up and over it, sealed it carefully, and wondered if that check size is standard in England.

Panic ensued. Where could the check have gone? It was the middle of the night in England, so I couldn't call and have the publisher stop payment on it. My mind reeled as I made my way to the branch where I'd made the deposit.

It took a few tellings of my story, but I ended up in the Branch Manager's office. She explained that they had the check. It was never lost. She sent it to their Collections Department because it was written by an British company, in British pounds she claimed, and she had to "protect you and the bank."

I'm pretty sure it was marked USD, and it was the third check I've deposited from that company. All at the same branch. All through the same ATM. AND I have had that bank account for 29 years. TWENTY-NINE YEARS and they couldn't give me the benefit of the doubt? Or a phone call? But truly, I was so relieved it wasn't lost that I simply thanked her for her help and left after she had called to remove the fraud marker and order a new debit card. She "graciously" waived the fee for the new card and paid for it to be overnighted.

The check will have to make its way through the collections system, which may take as long as six weeks. They can hold my money up to SIX WEEKS before they have to credit it to my account.


The new card arrived yesterday, as scheduled. When I tried to activate it, the system told me my PIN number was invalid. I called the Customer Service number printed on the back of the card, only to hit dead ends over and over because my PIN number did not match the new card number. I was ready to sharpen my teeth on someone's neck bones by the time I got through to a human who explained that my PIN had been reset for the new card and the preset number would be mailed to me separately. By snail mail. Within 10 days.


I need cash to get through the PINless days, so I drove to the bank and went in to the teller's window. The teller gamely tried to help me sort out the mess. In looking through my account records, he noticed that my "account type" was obsolete and I was being charged service charges and fees that could be avoided if I changed to an updated type. He clicked his mouse a couple of times to fix it and mentioned this would save $15 every month and as much as $25 in certain situations.

This is how they reward long-time customers? By charging them up the wazoo for things that are now offered free? Seriously--no one thought to tell me about the high price of being obsolete?

And, typing this just now, I realized they replaced my card that racked up frequent flier miles with a standard one that doesn't do anything besides give me access to my money. Damn! I'm going to have to go back there today.


I am not feeling kindly toward ATMs, computerized phone systems, or banks at the moment.

Even my little dog is sick of this whole mess. I woke in the night to the sound of her retching. In. My. Bed.


mamatulip said...

Oh my GAWD, Jerri. I feel for you. Some of the nastiest snafus I've been involved in have also involved banks.

This story made my head hurt a bit.

riversgrace said...

Time to bite some serious neck bones! Full permission from this direction.

Her hear roar....

Suzy said...

Time to stick the cash underneath the mattress....


Amber said...

Umm, WTF indeed!! Jeez, that would have made me such a bitch! That is really so craptastic.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

"Seriously--no one thought to tell me about the high price of being obsolete?"

How mad will you be if I tell you this whole thing made me laugh? And by the end I was LOL with In. My. Bed.

I'm with Suzy - mattress time!

kario said...

I often wonder whether a case could be made for charging the bank for the time it took us to run around day after day and make phone call after phone call to solve a problem they either created or perpetuated.

So frustrating!

Deb said...

Poor. Puppy! Poor. You!

Time for a new bank.