Another Reason Why I Hate Bank of America

I’m so glad Ana from DebtFree Revolution brought this scheme to her readers’ attention. I felt so outraged about this rate jacking that I want to pass this on to people that could possibly be affected.

Business Week released an article about the rate hike. Even Bank of America’s spokesperson had no reasonable explanation.

Bank of America had sent out a letter to its customers notifying them that their rates would increase. In fine print there was an opt-out clause requiring them to send a letter to Bank of America. Interestingly, calling the bank is not an option. If they did not do this then their old balances and new balances would increase.

The shady part of this hike was how Bank of America was calculating it. Business Week explains it:

What’s striking is how arbitrary the Bank of America rate increases appear, credit industry experts say… JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) announced ahead of Levin’s hearing that they would stop the practice of raising card rates based solely on FICO scores.

But Bank of America appears to be taking an even more aggressive stance because, beyond credit scores, it is using internal criteria that aren’t available to consumers. That makes the reason for the rate increase even more opaque.

I’m glad we didn’t get a credit card from Bank of America. What can you do? Here’s some things I thought:

  • If you have a card with them and a balance on it, please opt-out of this rate hike. They make it difficult, but spare yourself a larger headache.
  • Try to pay the debt off as soon as possible. You may want to use your income tax return if you got one.
  • See if you can transfer the balance to a card with a lower rate, preferably one with 0%.
  • Try to pay the debt off as soon as possible.
  • If your Bank of America card is one of your oldest cards, don’t cancel it, as it could lower your FICO score. Just don’t carry a balance on it.

I understand banks are a business. What I don’t get is when they try to increase revenue by hurting their customers. That’s so short-sighted.

If you’re looking for a different bank, try ING Direct or a local credit union. I use both and I’m satisfied.

10 Responses to Another Reason Why I Hate Bank of America

  1. On Friday, June 20, 2008, I walked into the Parkland Branch Bank of America to make several deposits, cash a check and get my payroll out. The check that I was trying to cash was from a vendor who’d made the check out to my mother, who is a signer on my business account. She came into the back to sign the check and to show her identification.

    The check was over the teller’s limit so she asked the Assistant Branch Manager, Song Degarmo, to assist her. She was asked to verify the check.

    All I did was ask them to verify the check. The funds were good. The Assistant Branch Manager, Song Degarmo, explains to me that Bank of America no longer verifies funds over the phone. I ask to speak with the branch manager because I have been a customer of Bank of America for many years and they have always called to verify funds in situations such as this.

    When the Branch Manager, Linda Morley, storms out her office with my check in her hand, she states, “It is obvious that we will not be able to provide you with the level of customer service that you would like. Your account is not entitled to any special treatment. I am closing your accounts.” And with that she storms over to the main doors, opens the doors and turns back to say, “Please Leave!”

    Mind you, we are in the middle of the lobby and there are still customers all around. I still have yet to say anything to her. Quite frankly, I was confused on what prompted her to approach me in such a manner, and I was hugely embarrassed by her antics.

    The Assistant Branch Manager, Song Degarmo, places her hand on my shoulder and pushed me towards the door. I stopped at the door, turned to the Linda Morley and ask, “Can you please explain to me what is going on? Why are you closing my account?” I was not hostile. I did NOT yell at her.

    She says, “I don’t have to explain anything to you! I have the right to close an account for any reason. Please Leave. If you don’t leave I will call the police!”

    I was almost in tears at this point. My mother was still there. It appeared as though Ms Morley was unreasonably hostile towards her, but that had nothing to do with me or my accounts. I said, “You have not even spoken to me and I am the primary signer on this account. I deserve an explanation as to why you are closing my account. I am not being hostile. I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

    “It is obvious that you are unaware as to how much we have bent over backwards to assist you. The bank is closed. Please leave.”

    “I have been in line since 5:20. The bank closed before I got to the teller window. Are you saying to me that I am not entitled to the same customer service as everyone else simply because the bank closed while I was in line?”

    “That is not what I said! You are putting words in my mouth!”

    Again, Song Degarmo attempted to push me out the door. By this time, one of the other bankers was standing behind them as if she was going to forcibly remove me.

    And so we left. I called the customer service number to find out why this happened. What did I do wrong? Why did she treat me like that? They said that the branch manager can shut down an account for any reason and that what she did cannot be overridden by anyone.

    I have sat on the phone and poured my heart out to several customer service representatives, and spoken to supervisors of supervisors. The last one I spoke with, Tammy Wright said that she was sorry but the only thing she could offer me at this time was a sincere apology.

    I spent Friday night in the emergency room because I had an anxiety attack that was brought about by this entire situation.

  2. @ jmosley1901, I’m amazed that could happen! Try contacting The Consumerist. They have more resources and help you et some answers. I’m sorry.

  3. The reason that I joined BofA is because I live in both CA and PA and need a “national banking institution”. I was in PA attempting to handle the CA account… this should be seamless since this is a “national bank”… umm no. I was told that the things I needed to take care of for the account opened in CA could only be done in CA or on line. PA could not help with the CA account in my “national bank”. Turns out, another CA customer was in PA on vacation and needed to change her pin for her ATM card…. they couldn’t help her. I promptly closed my PA account and while I am in CA…. I will close this one as well.

  4. Sorry this is long…
    I really hate BofA. Thank goodness I’m not a customer, but I handle the accounts for my mom, who has Alzheimers. They are HORRIBLE to work with. Mom has been a customer for over 35 years (they used to have decent customer service) and has multiple accounts with them. I would glance briefly through her accounts at the beginning of her illness and everything looked okay. It was only later that I realized she was being charge a $20 service fee even though she shouldn’t have been based on the fact she had several linked accounts totalling a large amount of money.

    When I called to get an explanation (I have POA on her accounts), I was told she would be refunded for 3 months worth but to get the rest (going back 18 months) I would need to call the customer service number. Well, of course they’re only available Mon-Fri, during the time I’m at work. I have the type of job where you can’t use a phone throughout the day, so I had a lot of trouble getting them. I finally took a day off and called and after being cut off and being on hold, was told I needed to go into a bank in person!

    I did this and what happens? I’m told that they cannot go back that far to refund money. I was lucky to get the three months refunded. And that’s why they send statements so that we can catch these mistakes sooner. The teller was extremely smug and snotty.

    So not only would they NOT refund something that was totally THEIR mistake, I also got a little lecture about not being careful enough to catch THEIR mistakes.

    There have been many other problems with them too; among them a refusal to let me opt out of Mom’s CD because now it’s in trust and I’m listed as a successor trustee instead of co-trustee (her other bank has me as co-, not sure how BoA screwed up, but I know it’s their fault). So now she’s renewed at this little pathetic amount, when I could have changed it to a much better rate (or better yet, taken it out and put it in ING).

    They are UNHELPFUL and give WRONG information. And feel no embarrassment over their FU*K-ups. I truly despise them. I will never have an account with them, never.

  5. @ Shannon: I had some problem with BofA when I went to visit my family in a different state. What’s the point of getting a national bank that can’t keep its own accounts straight. I had a friend working financial IT tell me that BofA doesn’t have one IT sustem, it’s a collection of all the ones they have bought out. With all the money they get from fee, you’d think they’ll fix their system.

    @ Katherine, I’m so sorry how BofA is treating your mother. I can’t even imagine what was going through the minds of the employees you spoke to. I hope you can maybe at least get some money transfered out into a bank with better service.

  6. Now I can see why there are thousands upon thousands of sites that HATE Bank of America!
    I can not believe this? We have 3 credit card accounts with them, I pay them on time monthly,
    with rather high limits due to a terrible accident my husband had. All of a sudden, they decided to raise my interest rates from 7.9% to 23.0% on 2 of the 3 cards? Both with $8500.00 balances? I have called and spoken with supervisors for 3 MONTHS, and get no place. Other than when I asked them how they could do this to me when I pay my bills on time, their remark was “BECAUSE WE CAN” I can not believe this? Somethings got to be done with Bank of America! I understand why so many people HATE them! Then, this supervisor Blair stated “Well, you can close all your credit cards with us and the other 3 companies you have and go to a Non Profit debt consolidation company and we’ll lower all 3 of your rates down.” I could not believe this. They’re forcing people who can pay their credit cards at the rates they’re at to triple their payments and put them in a horrible position. My husband almost died 14 months ago, I’m paying everything, and now I get to add another $412.00 a MONTH for Bank of America just because “THEY CAN?” Somethings got to be done with them. I want to pay my bills. This is WRONG, and what can we do? NOTHING! No matter who we speak with, we can do NOTHING! A young man Andrew was kind, and said “I’m so sorry, you didn’t deserve this, and I can’t do anything about it any longer, they’ve locked ,me out of the system or I would have left this alone knowing your situation.” IF WE’RE PAYING OUR DAMN BILLS ON TIME TO BANK OF AMERICA AND ALL THE OTHER DEBTS, LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE BANK OF AMERICA!!! Don’t make it worse on people “JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN!” BANK OF AMERICA IS PATHETIC! I’m in ONE good position as a Finance Manager for a large Automotive Dealership, and you can bet, it’s already cost these jackasses over $250,000.00 this month alone from our 2 stores, and I will NEVER send Bank of America another auto loan as long as I’m a Finance Director in the Automotive Industry! I wish all of you the best with them. If ANYONE has any advise of who I can go to for help to lower these back to 7.9% where they were, please let me know. Thank you and Happy Holidays.

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