Automatic Bill Payment foul up

I have an automatic bill payment system with direct deposit of my paycheck. I get paid once a month at the end of the month and have my bills set up to be paid on dates ranging from the 2nd through 5th of the month. This month, due to unexpected expenses my balance became unusually low. So what did the bank do? It advanced all my payment dates and then stuck me with NSF fees. They said they are allowed to do this and automatically do it when the funds get low, to pay off the most important charges first. Are they allowed to arbitrarily change the date they pay out my bills?

I don’t know, but since they did it they probably are allowed. That said, you are also allowed to cancel your automatic bill payment and/or your account with them.

I don’t see what motive your bank would have (other than the NSF fees) to do this. I have yanked my cash out of banks for a lot less.

Wow! I think you need to call them back and keep elevating this. I make all my payments on Quicken/online, the same day as payday. That’d piss me off big-time.

What bank?

Don’t know which bank you use… Hubby works in computer banking so this is from him.

If a bill payment is scheduled to be paid on Day 1 and that day falls on a Saturday (or other non business day), the bank will pay on Friday, Day 30, rather than Monday, Day 3.

If payment scheduled for certain day, the bank should pay it that day first thing. Bills are paid out before deposits are added in, at most large banks. Bill is set to pay Saturday, Day 1 - you are paid Friday, Day 30 and make the deposit at lunch. Since the payments are made before deposit (early in the business day), you might get an NSF by that afternoon.

Rip-off? Yeah, but banks get around it by using the “check kiting” rule. (Writing a check when you don’t have the money in the account to cover, betting that the banks will be slow in processing and you will deposit fast.)

If the bank did differently than this, Hubby suggests you find another bank.

The bank was Suntrust. And it wasn’t a slight shift due to a weekend. They paid an August 2nd bill on July 20. They claimed they did this because the funds in the account were running low and they were trying to save my credit rating. However, the funds were less than the payment so it generated the NSF charge. It doesn’t make sense to me.

This is very, very, very odd. I cannot figure out a motive for accelerating payment of a bill based on your low balance.
Can you explain their rationale, at least as they were trying to explain it to you?
I’d also be EXTREMELY interested in the terms of your billpay agreement with them. If you could post that, I’d be most interested.

Get this in writing!! You will want to see this outlined in the bank’s disclosure agreement. And you want this from a supervisor, preferably in person. And tell them you want your fees reversed - The bank’s good intentions were not made at your EXPLICIT directions. Unless it is spelled out in the disclosure agreement, they were not authorized to do this.

Don’t threaten legal action until you do this. It’s alway better to work with them, so they don’t “lawyer” up and make things really difficult.

Good Luck!

I hate banks.

This isn’t some looney-ism (at least I don’t think so :wink: )

I’ve dealt with banks. I was employed by one for 2 years. I have to deal with clients that are banks.

I hate banks.

All clients want our service with all the bells and whistles for a very low price. That’s pretty normal. However, Banks (without exception from my experience) are extremely difficult clients. They carry out negotiations very aggressively and many times unethically. They will agree to terms but you must always, ALWAYS get them in writing. Many times they will renege.

Again, many clients do this but banks take it to extreme. They will order the least expensive service then ‘creep it up’, many times bypassing the account and project managers and going directly to the people doing the work. The old ‘by the way can you quickly do this…’ sort of thing. They will agree to a project change notice but then refuse to pay. They agree verbally but are slow signing. Since the project is usually rush rush rush, many times it pushes ahead. When far along, the bank goes ‘we need to look at that PCN (project change notice) cost again…’

I hate banks.

They will bully project managers who wish to please them in order to ‘creep it up’ for stuff they were offered but didn’t want to pay for.

They constantly threaten to take business elsewhere. They try to prey on a businesses tendency to ‘get in the door’ and offer the bank a good deal so they can get a regular customer. Banks prey on this and leave when the business no longer wishes to have them as a no-profit (or even loss) client. They have zero loyalty.

Without exception, IME, bank contacts I have dealt with for my company are negative or borderline abusive, never pleased people that pick on anything then try to hit you up for refunds or money back. It’s like screwing you over is always top-of-mind.

The consistency in which banks behave as clients is amazing. It really is like they all have the same playbook.

The company I work for has only had to sue 3 clients over the last several years – all 3 banks.

I hate banks.

Everything they do is to screw you over. I’m convinced the only reason the bank did this to the OP is to get $$$ out of him for NSF.

I am well known at my company for my bank-hatred. Yet the salespeople keep bringing them in. All at low, zero or even negative profit of course :(.

Ok, I vented now. I think it relates very much to the OP to know banks are like this.

I also provide services to banks.
It is my experience that the institutions under-train, underpay and unvervalue their employees. As a result, the people you talk to in the branch
A) frequently don’t know what they’re doing
B) may not care if they satisfy you
C) were probably working somewhere else last month and will probably be working somewhere else in a year.

When negotiating with banks, recognize that line of fire cashiers can almost never “bend the rules” or fix serious problems.
Customer service reps, meaning the people who are above “cashier” but below branch manager, can SOMETIMES straighten out serious problems, but will frequently be unable to handle irregularities.
The branch manager, in fact, IMHO, can handle 80% of weird situations that you and the bank get into. In the other 20% he will in fact have to invoke either the central “Operations Center” staff, compliance officers, senior management or corporate counsel.
If things get too hairy, don’t be afraid to encourage your banker to escalate to corporate HQ. A lot of times that’s the only way things will get straightened out.
If you’d like a banker’s opinion, and none post on here within the next day or so, has active discussion forums. They may be able to counsel you as to whether or not your bank is behaving in an unlawful fashion, or whether there’s some strange rule that legitimizes what you perceive as inexplicable behavior on SunTrust’s part.

Financial institutions, in general, are slimy, back-stabbing, thieves. I have been stung more than once by the small print on page 17-a, addendum 4, paragraph 23. Financial institutions change rates, fees, and business procedures EVERY morning. I worked for a boss that worked his whole career in financial institutions, and on a whim he would change the rates, fees and business procedures of OUR business. I tried to tell him we aren’t a bank, we can’t get away with this crap. After several lawsuits, I think he finally started to get the picture.

Maybe I am missing something here, but you are saying that the bank made an advance payment for a bill 15 DAYS EARLY!? And then they had the nerve to charge you a bounced check fee? That is completely and totally outrageous. “Trying to save your credit rating,” does NOT constitute an excuse, and what it sounds like to me is that they were trying to collect a bounced check fee, not save your credit rating. Raise hell on this one, don’t let them do this to you.

Contact each of the payees who were slated to receive funds. Call, then write with details of the situation. Make sure you do not now have NSF notations on your accounts with them.

BS. Some of my utilities and all of my other creditors report bounced payments to the credit bureaus. So, in order to “preserve” your good credit rating the bank created a situation that may possibly harm it? You also now have a history in the bank’s system as a potential risk.

Obtain a copy of your bank’s Retail Deposit Accounts brochure. Somewhere in it will be the bank’s rules and methods of dealing with automatic payments. Create a paper trail now. This means copies of everything you receive from the bank, printouts of your account from online and records of every telephone contact with the bank (names, what was said, etc.), as well as any communication with the affected payees.

Good luck with this mess.