Bank of America Incompetence

So I’ve been a customer of Bank of America since middle of High School. They were basically my first checking account and I’ve had it ever since. Lots of people like to bash Bank of America, saying that they’re customer service sucks, their fees are outrageous, they treat customers like crap, etc. You can read more of these stories on Consumerist.

I on the other hand have always semi-defended Bank of America since I’ve never really had problems with them. Then again, I haven’t really had to deal with customer service for any major issues. Bank of America was just convenient for me, especially in college. They basically had an ATM everywhere that I needed one and they were also one of the first to introduce free bill pay, which made life quite simple. Of course back in the day, you needed to have a minimum balance or monthly direct deposit to avoid service fees, but the PayPal trick of me depositing $1 each month worked wonders.

As I mentioned a few months ago, I had lost my Bank of America check card. I thought things were going to be fine, but almost 4 months later, a total of 9 different phone calls, 7 different requests to have the check card mailed to me, and I’m still without my check card.

The first few times, i was told I would receive my card within 2 weeks. Having not received my card in 2 weeks, I called back and basically repeated this process 5x, each time having the customer service rep cancel the card they “claimed” to have mailed out and issuing me a new one. They’ve always confirmed with me my address and I said that’s correct, I’ve been receiving spam from you guys with no problem, so I don’t think the address is problematic.

By my 6th request, I insisted that they send it to me with tracking and they told me they could use FedEx and it should arrive in 2-3 days. 3 days later, still no FedEx. I give them a call back and asked for the tracking number and the service rep tells me the card was sent out via regular mail. I wanted to scream, but I knew it wasn’t her fault. So I asked her to make a new request for FedEx. She said she could do that but by the time the FedEx package gets to me, the card shipped via regular mail would’ve arrived to me already. I mentioned that I don’t really see a card shipped via regular mail ever reaching me seeing how the last 5x, it never did arrive. She said okay, and made a new order to have my check card sent to me via FedEx.

I called back 2 days later and requested for the tracking number. Once again, the customer service rep says that card was shipped out via regular mail and there was no tracking number. I wanted to reach through the phone and strangle them. I basically asked why this was the case and my past 2 requests were both specifically requested for FedEx and both suddenly changed to regular mail. She says the previous service rep probably didn’t request for FedEx and I responded by saying that couldn’t be the case. At this point, my tone has reached to very annoyed and almost murderous. She felt that and asked if I wanted to speak with the supervisor. I said that would be good.

However, even with the supervisor, this got nowhere. She mentioned maybe the previous reps might’ve forgotten a field or the fact that the fires in California were causing delays. I said that doesn’t explain any of the requests I made back in August and September. She agreed, but said there wasn’t anything she could do. Their check card creation process was outsourced to someone else and the only thing she can do is submit a new request for me. She recommended that I wait till next Friday and I should receive my card by then. I replied that I can do that, but what if I don’t receive the check card? I call back and then what? What can they do then. She said only a new request can be made, there was nothing else that can be done. I asked her if she can specifically note on my account to use FedEx to ship the card and she said that wasn’t possible due to privacy reasons. The card creation “factory” was not able to see notes on my account besides the form that gets submitted to them.

For those that know me, you know it’s quite hard to annoy me or piss me off, but I was so pissed at this point, Ruchi (my co-worker that sits across from me) can hear me arguing with Bank of America even with my doors closed. For the next 10 minutes, it was basically me saying I can wait, but what can they do if I still don’t receive my card and her replying the only thing she can do is request a new card for me. After going nowhere, I thanked her for her time and hung up.

Today, I looked up the Executive Customer Service phone number for Bank of America (posted on Consumerist) and decided to give them a call. This service rep was very sympathetic to my situation and was shocked at how long this problem has gone on. She looked up my account and said that she’ll have to contact the center in California to inquire about this and asked if I would prefer to have her call me back or put me on hold. I said putting me on hold would be fine, but she requested my phone number just in case we got disconnected.

About 7 or 8 minutes later, she says this is taking awhile and asked if I wanted to still hold or she can call me back. I said I had no problem holding and she comments that I must be multi-tasking. We both laughed and she went back to talking with the CA center. Another 10 minutes or so pass and she comes back and she tells me that she spoke with the manager at the check card manufacturer and apparently all my previous requests were rejected due to the fact there was “\” (back slash) in my account info, hence no tracking number was ever provided. I wanted to ask why the process didn’t allow that to be noted so I wouldn’t have needed to go through all this trouble, but she’s been very nice so far, so I didn’t inquire further. She said my card will be overnighted to me, but since it was Friday afternoon already, the card will most likely be stamped on Monday and mailed to me on Tuesday. I thanked her for her time and once again she apologized for all the inconvenience.

What is silly is that the customer service was unable to contact directly with the outsourced check card manufacturer and that I had to go all the way up to Executive Customer Service to have this problem resolve only to find out that no card was ever sent to me due to some silly account info problem.

Hopefully I’ll be getting my card by next week. It’s been rather inconvenient not to have access to BofA’s ATMs, which meant I had to deposit all my rebate checks in the mean time in Wamu’s (Washington Mutual) ATMs, which were less convenient for me since I didn’t really pass by one on my way to work nor on my way home.