This year I was in need of a Georgia account for the direct deposit of my social security check and on Feb 4th 2009, I went to their branch at 1439 Roswell Road, Marietta 30062 and spent 20 minutes with Renee Ballew, Senior Personal Banker and opened a checking account with an initial $100 cash deposit and a Money Market with an initial Zero balance which I was going to transfer funds into.
I then went to the Franklin Road Social Security Office and after 2 1/2 hours wait I spent 6 minutes with an employee changing my direct deposit Social Security check to Bank of America.
On Feb 9th I recieved a 5 paragraph letter dated Feb 6th which said in part: "We regret to inform you that the Bank of America has elected to close your account(s) in accordance with the provisions of our Deposit Agreement. . ."
I phoned their customer service number and got a run around with the call center employee saying the same thing but NOT telling me why such a decision was made. I asked for a supervisor but got none.
I then went to the www.consumerist.com web site and got the information from one of their consumer articles on who to contact in the Executive Customer Relations Office and I phoned them at 704 368 5687 and spoke to a Ms. K. Lewis who had to look into it and phone me back.
She phoned back some minutes later and only gave the same non-information that I had both in the letter and from the earlier customer service. She would not provide any information as to 'why' the account was closed, only that it was their right to do so and they did.
I asked about the return of my $100 and was told it would be mailed back to me. I later went to the Social Security Office and after a 2 hour wait I had my direct deposit changed back to the original bank account.
I received a monthly statement from BofA showing that my account was closed with a $0 balance and showing an "Account Closing Transaction on 2/6/09 deducting the $100.
When the check did not show up by Friday 2/27/08 I phoned Bank of America and was transferred three times customer service, to Fraud and finally ID Theft. The latter number was the only one where I have ever had any decent cooperation.
I spoke at length with Ms. Jaye Paulk who was off the line several times speaking with other departments. She was able to tell me that if I went to the Roswell Road branch and saw a Jackie Vassalo and showed her my identification that Ms. Vassalo would then email the 'Compliance' Department so that the funds could be released.
Ms. Paulk was to email Ms. Vassalo the information that I would be there on March 2nd to show her my identification etc.
On March 2nd at 12:30 PM I presented myself at the Roswell Road branch and found Ms. Vassalo and told her I was there to present my ID to her per the email to her of the prior Friday.
Ms. Vassalo said she was unaware of any email and unfamiliar with the purpose of my visit. I again referenced the prior email and she went to the podium and checked her email account and told me she found no such email. I provided my SSN and copy of my statement and she looked at my account and confirmed that the account was in fact closed, something I was already aware of.
She told me several times that she only handled 'quick things' and had other things to do. I asked her to phone the 866 231-5147 number which Ms. Paulk had given me in case there were any questions or problems. Ms. Vassalo was not interested. I left with nothing accomplished.
When I got home I phoned the 866 number and spoke for some time with Ms Paulk who told me that she had in fact sent the email Friday and even read it to me on the phone. I told her that while I did appreciate her attempt to assist me, she being the only B of A employee that was in any way of help, that I was entirely finished with the nonsense which I had gotten from B of A and would be putting in a complaint and posting on various consumer web sites about my negative experience and their repeated failure to return my opening deposit.
I also suggested that Ms. Paulk phone Ms. Vassalo to confirm that I had been there earlier in the day asking about providing my documentation and that she might also wish to inquire as to whether Mr. Vassalo had the incoming email.
I told Ms. Paulk that since I was going to make several complaints about the matter that it would be to her benefit to notate the account that she had in fact sent the email arranging for me to show up on March 2nd to see Ms. Vassalo.
Clearly Ms. Paulk did what she could to resolve the matter, unfortunately the rest of Bank of America seems to have their collective heads up their rear ends.
For the moment I am out the initial deposit of $100. Legally this is called 'conversion' when someone or some firm takes something that does not belong to them and keeps it for themselves.
Documents regarding this matter are found below. I have not bothered to delete account numbers etc. as the accounts are all closed and of no value.
This complaint can also be found on: http://ripoffreport.com/reports/0/430/ripoff0430003.htm
Before my little B of A problem I had assumed that they were just another bank that screwed up now and then, however, in the past few days I have been online looking at an almot unbelieveable number of complaints and complaint sites about Bank of America. If you are my age and wanted to read ALL the B of A complaints I'm sure you would be dead before you even got a good start. Here are just a couple:
Update - as of 3/4/09 11:37 a.m. EST
Recap: Yesterday I created this blog site and also posted on the above Rip Off Report then I mass emailed 15 executives at B of A my complaint and cited both the blog site and consumer site as having the information.
Update: This morning I received a phone call from Ms. Lea Fouther of B of A and the matter was discussed at legnth. She felt the matter had not been well handled and I early in the call, expressed my opinion that even if B of A would be interested in opening an account for me that I would not care to deal with them and I was only interested in obtaining my initial $100 opening deposit back.
Ms. Fouther is arranging to send me the funds back and she was entirely helpful in the matter as was Ms. Paulk at ID Theft. Ms. Fouther has left her phone number with me should I at some time in the future decide to deal with their firm again.
I am leaving this blog site up just in case it will be of benefit to others. In looking at various consumer complaint sites I have found some really incredible posts about customers who have had much worse problems with Bank of America than I had.