When was the last time your bank did good by you- admitted it made a mistake and fixed it? Mine did and my hat’s off to them.
Electronic Banking is a wonderful tool. It is an easy way to pay a bill without the hassle of sitting down writing a check, putting it in an envelop, writing the return address, licking a stamp and then going to a mailbox. Using a computer, one can simply designate when a bill is to be paid and the bank takes care of the rest. Of course, if the bank screws up paying the bill at the requested date, that can cause problems. And herein lies the story….
I’ve been doing online banking for several years without a problem. However, at the beginning of June I got an email notification that the bank made a boo-boo and did not send out the electronic payment to a credit card company on time. It just so happened that I scheduled the payment to be remitted a couple of days before it was due. However, with the delay by my bank, it was now received a couple of days past the due date. The email stated that the bank would make good if there were any late fees or interest charges from the credit card company.
I didn’t know at the time of the email notification that a credit card payment would be received late because I would not be getting the next statement for at least two or three more weeks. When the statement arrived, it showed that I had been charged a 15 dollar late fee in addition to a 55 cent interest charge. I’m not going to bring up that being charged for committing two fiduciary crimes seems like double jeopardy. Okay, I guess I just now did.
Anyway, I called the customer service phone line for electronic banking and connected with a hapless person who had trouble getting my account to show up on his screen. Finally, after putting me on hold a few minutes and being forced to listen to obnoxious music that was supposed to soothe the savage beast but didn’t, he came back on the line and informed me that “they” will send me a letter apologizing and that I can send it to my credit card company and they will rescind the fee.
That’s when I went into attack mode and told him “no deal. I want immediate reimbursement of what it cost me. I shouldn’t have to go plead with the credit card company.” He told me to hold a moment while he transferred me to a banking expert. I waited another minute or two and a lady’s voice said, “can I have your name?”
I replied, “you mean the guy who just transferred me to you didn’t tell you?” She then said, “I need for you to repeat it as this conversation is being recorded.” It was at that point that I questioned whether she was supposed to tell me that our conversation was being recorded before she asked for my name. Regardless, she agreed that I should get immediate satisfaction and promised that in 2 to 5 business days, my account would be credited properly for the two fees.
The conversation with the bank’s customer service rep happened on a Monday. On Tuesday, I got a call out of the blue- no, really- from my banker wanting to know how everything was going. I told her about the situation with the late electronic payment to a credit card company. She immediately said that she would check with her support staff to see if they had followed up and tried to correct the error. She promised to call me back shortly.
And she did. She said that the bank would send a letter to my credit card company apologizing and acknowledging that the late payment was their fault and not mine. She was very positive that the credit card company would rescind the fee and take the black mark off my record. And if they didn’t, the bank would provide restitution to me for my fee expense.
Being who I am- non-trusting and neurotic- on Friday I called the credit card company to see if the bank had contacted them to correct the situation and ask for the fee to be rescinded. The customer service rep for the credit card company said that a bank apology would not help. The payment was late and the fee warranted. She told me that the bank also had not contacted them in the past four days and that I should deal with my bank in getting them to pony up and to abandon the thought of a late charge write-off. Other than that, have a nice day.
I called my personal banker on Friday and told her what the credit card company had to say plus the fact that the bank had not even tried to contact them. She was surprised and told me that she would
find out what was going on and get back to me.
She called a bit later to state that they had decided to process putting the cost of the late fee and interest charge into my checking account and that I should get it in 2 to 5 business days. (Sounds familiar?) I am happy to state that on the following Monday my online bank statement showed that the bank did indeed keep its promise.
Now, do you want to hear how I won the battle with the food services department at the rehab place Ma is staying in order to make sure she gets her tomato soup?