Bank horror

This all began Monday night: My bank allowed three fraudulent debits to go through my checking account, for a total of nearly $500.00. I call them to alert them to this, and they say it will take “five business days” for their Research department to find out what the debits were. I was furious, and told them so, but nobody tried to do anything to speed up the process.Though one fellow finally says he will call me when he finds out what they transactions were. I’ve heard nothing from him so far.

So I go into my branch Tuesday, where I need to close out the account that people are stealing from. The account guy is horrified that they told me it would take so long to clear it up, and says he can fix it in “a couple of days.” So I close out the old account, open a new account, saying before I do this, “This won’t screw up my direct deposit on Friday, will it?” Two different people say it will be “no problem.” More on that later.

So a few hours later, the guy who promised me he could fix it in “a couple of days” says I actually will have to wait until I get my bank statement, then sign an affidavit of forgery. This will take more than two weeks. I yell at him for a while, and he sniffs, “You obviously don’t want me to help you” and transfers me to his boss. Who talks about how they have “procedures” and this sort of thing “usually” takes about two weeks, and they can’t credit my account until they have the hard copies from Sacramento, etc., etc. So now the bank, having processed three fraudulent debits to my account, is doing absolutely nothing to help, and are instead telling me all about what they can’t do.

Remember the new account? Well, I closed out my old checking account, but the savings account was still active. So I go to use my ATM card to withdraw money from the perfectly fine savings account. And the ATM promptly and irrecoverably ate my card, since its “primary account” was closed. So I call to let the bank know my card was eaten, and check again on whether the direct deposit will be OK. The guy on the phone says all looks fine to him.

Fast forward to today, when I call early in the morning to check on my direct deposit. It’s not there. So I call the laughably named “Customer Service” department and ask what is going on. I am told that the money has to be transferred by hand from the old, closed account to the new account, but that will be (doom-laden words) “No problem.”

Of course it was a problem. As soon as my branch opens I call them, and, after they look into it, they find that they can’t actually transfer the money into my new account until Monday, but if they reopen the old account, they can put it in right away. So I say, “Yes, reopen the old account,” since I don’t relish the idea of leaving my sparse little check in limbo until then. So the person at the branch promises to do so. So I keep checking the old account on their computer service, and the money isn’t there. So I call back. The person I talked to is “with a customer.” So I call the Customer Service department, and am told the old account is still showing as closed. So the Customer Service woman calls my branch, and says that even as we speak the branch woman is depositing the money into my new account. So I call back the branch woman. “No,” she says, “the money has been deposited into your old account.” “So why isn’t it there?” I ask. “It won’t be posted until after midnight,” she says. “Tomorrow,” I say. “Well, if you want to look at it that way,” she says. “And if it isn’t, I won’t be able to do anything about it until Monday?” “Right.” Things got a wee bit ugly after that, but the end result is that I’m still missing the original $500.00, my pathetic paycheck is in limbo, and I am incredibly, unbelievably frustrated.

Thanks for listening, if you have. Now tell me bank horror stories and make me feel better.


Well I feel better, anyway :slight_smile:


What state do you live in, Catrandom? This might be a warning to those of the Teeming Millions who live and bank in your state.

I’m in Southern California, dougie_monty. As soon as this mess gets straightened out (she said with unrealistic optimism) I will be writing to the management of the bank and whatever regulatory agencies are appropriate, and maybe a politician or two.


You might also want to consider changing banks.

“I think it would be a great idea” Mohandas Ghandi’s answer when asked what he thought of Western civilization

But if you change banks, keep the old/new account at the old bank for a time, with a minimal balance. Employers are notoriously slow at doing changeovers of direct deposit instructions.

The could be dropping your pay off at the old bank for up to a month before it starts showing up at the new one.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

You live in Cali.? This has got to be good 'ol B of A.

Oh, I’ll be changing banks as soon as this mess is over with, which could, of course, be weeks yet. I can’t do anything until they give me my $500.00 back, the weasels.

It’s not B.of A., Absynthetic. It’s the bank I changed to after B.of A. screwed up my account. I foolishly figured no one could be worse :frowning: It’s the one that used to have billboards everywhere advertising its fabulous customer service.

Thanks for the warning, Manhattan – I’ll either keep the old account or switch back to “live” checks for a while 'til the dust settles.


Oh, I have B of A. This year is my 25th year with them & I was eagerly awaiting some special bonus for my loyalty. Well, suffice to say, nothing happened in that area. Not even special checks.

ON the other hand, they do have online free banking at their web site & I think to sign up for that cause youc an keep track of everying happening with your account 24 hours a day.

I used to bank with Wells Fargo (is it them?) chosen randomly because when I got to SF and saw the sign I said “Oh, hahaha! Like the song!” (RUBE!) I got sick of being fined for not having enough money in my accounts for their taste so I decide to close my account and move it to one of the ones advertising “totally free checking.” I go to the bank and there are about 20 available tellers – all of whom have a sign up saying “deposits only” and I’m forced to wait in the “customer service” (HA) line for almost a half hour because IT is staffed by ONE person. When I closed both my checking and savings and received my money I inquired about getting copies of my cancelled checks because they’d been going straight to microfiche or something. I was then informed that there would be a five dollar service charge – PER CHECK!!! I told them to cram it and after all that the woman had the nerve to ask “may we inquire why you were dissatisfied with your account?” UGH!


When you select your new financial institution, I suggest you explore the possibility of joining a local Credit Union. They tend to be less likely to charge onerous fees, and mine, at least, is extremely user-friendly. In the 20 years which I’ve belonged, I have never had a problem that wasn’t corrected quickly and amiably.

I belong to a credit union. I have never have any of the trouble people complain about. Yet when I mention credit unions, some people are totally against them. Why?

Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!

When we were living in Charlottesville, VA, a couple of years ago, we had a perfectly nice bank, Jefferson National. Unfortunately, they were bought out by Wachovia. Keep in mind that I was finishing school and knew that we would be moving in 3 months, so I thought that it wouldn’t be worth it to change banks. (HA!)

My first sign was that I got an overdraft notice. This confused me, as I keep good records. I took my deposit receipt in, and asked how I could be overdrawn when I had just deposited $2000. The teller didn’t know. She took the receipt to the branch manager. Much consultation, checking of computer monitors, shaking of heads. The branch manager came up to me, receipt in hand. “Can we keep this?” I told him no, but he could make a photocopy. He did, and when he returned my original, he offered to arrange a loan for $2000 “at a very attractive rate of interest” until this got straightened out. I declined. I also went to my accountant (we own our own business, so we use an accountant for taxes) and described the situation to him. He called the bank for me, and explained the concept of “fiduciary responsibility,” i.e., I have a receipt, finding the money is their problem.

I had all kinds of problems, which finally were traced to the fact that Wachovia’s computer system couldn’t read JN’s deposit slips. Their new ATM machines also couldn’t read JN’s cash cards, and even after we all got new ones, they were eaten constantly. My next door neighbor was a teller, and she told me they were instructed to tell everyone that they were the only one experiencing this probelm, whichever it was, which was a blatant lie. It was so bad that when Wachovia bounced one of my tax checks to the IRS, and the accountant called to work it out, as soon as they heard it was Wachovia they waived fees and penalties. (I was lucky, my accountant convinced Wachovia to pay all charges incurred by people receiving checks that were NSF because of bank error. Not everyone was that pushy, and some people had to pay big bucks.)

The climax was when I was getting them to reverse all the fees they charged me for NSF checks. (The #s here might not be exact, but the point is clear.) JN had charged $25 for NSF checks, and W decided to leave the fee structure in place, so that’s what I was charged. However, when the fees were reversed, I was credited $30. When I called them on this, I was told that at the same time they had bought JN they had also bought a smaller bank which had charged $30, and since their computer could only handle one fee structure, and that one had been entered first, that was the one that was in the system. However, I was told not to worry about it, as this was only a “computer fiction” and my account had actually been credited only the $25 I was entitled to. I asked them if this meant that I would never again be able to balance my account and my statement. After thinking about it, and discussing it with others, the clerk said yes, my account would always be off $5 for every check bounced in error. Thank God we moved the next week. I enjoyed closing that account.

By the way, I have had accounts in credit unions from time to time, and they have never been in any way a problem. I really recommend them if you are eligible.

Cat - Aside from being treated horribly, your bank is pulling a fast one. Banking regulations (Reg. D, if you want to sound impressive when you call them) give specific guidelines on forged checks. I am assuming these are paper debits as opposed to electronic debits. Per Reg. D, the bank has 10 days to investigate your claim. At that time they must “provisionally” credit your account for the amount of the claim. The bank then has an additional 20 days to continue the investigation. After the investigation time has elapsed, the money cannot be taken from your account. This assumes your cooperation in the investigation, else the time periods could be expanded.

Other stuff:
-Close the account and keep it closed. Work with your employer on the direct deposit issue. Checks returned non-sufficient funds (NSF) will get warrents sworn against you. Checks returned “Account Closed” or “Refer to Maker” are easier to explain as fraud when merchants call.

-File a police report, make many copies, and keep one with you at all times. Mail a letter of explanation and a copy of the police report to each merchant who contacts you. The copy you keep with you may save you a trip to jail if a cop stops you and realizes there is a bad check warrant outstanding.

-Close the savings account, too.

-Sounds like a real good time to change banks.

Good Luck!

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

Thanks for the credit union suggestion, WeimarDog – I’ve had about enough of banks, as you may imagine. (Oh, it’s not Wells Fargo, either.)

You make some excellent points, Dr. Jackson, and I’ll see how “Regulation D” goes over with the bank when I call them next. I have no doubt they’re breaking boatloads of regulations by stalling me, and it’s nice to have a place to start researching. Thanks.

Fortunately, I didn’t bounce any checks out of this and have no automatic debits on this account, so it’s one step less ghastly than it could have been. I now have new checks and a new ATM card on my new account, which I won’t be using. My money is scattered all over the place while I try to sort this out :frowning: But I’ll close out the bad account for good now and get live checks from my employer for a while until the dust settles. Gad, when I think how much longer this could go on …

Thanks, all, and Punkyova, that’s a story right up there with mine own (worse, even!)

Oh, if anyone’s keeping score ;), after a half dozen phone calls and 24 hours late, I got my paycheck in the old account.

Catrandom the frustrated

Every time I see this thread on the topic listing, my eyes read its subject line as Blank horror. I guess that would be the facial expression caused by the sentence, “I’m sorry, we’ve lost your money.”

I’ve had recent horror stories with Chevy Chase Bank here in the DC area.

I joined on to their free checking offer. I just had to use ATMs for deposits and have direct deposit.

But twice in the last year, they’ve lost my wife’s paycheck. The first time I found out in time. But this last time screwed me royally.
[li]Monday: We had just returned from vacation. The only check that hadn’t cleared was the one I’d written to the hotel, and our balance was just enough to cover it. We needed groceries, so I wrote a check for them, knowing the next day was my wife’s payday.[/li][li]Tuesday I deposited her check. They normally credit her paychecks for the full amount on the next business day.[/li][li]Wednesday and Thursday I didn’t check our account since only two checks were outstanding.[/li][li]Friday I check to see that my direct deposit has gone through. But also, there’s an NSF fee of $28 against the check I’d written to the hotel.[/li]
The grocery check had cleared on Wednesday; the hotel check on Thursday. But lo and behold, there was no record of my deposit on Tuesday.

I call and complain, give them all the info, even fax them a copy of the ATM receipt.

It took them until the next Tuesday to figure it out. They credit my account for the NSF. But the story’s not over yet.

[li]Three weeks later (on a Friday), Telecheck sends me a letter saying I owe them $25 for handling the bounced hotel check. (The hotel only tried processing the check once before calling in Telecheck.) They could’ve (and should’ve) taken out the fee along with the funds from my account. However, they only took out the amount of the check. I firgure I’d hit Chevy Chase Bank up for the extra $25 on Monday.[/li]
That evening I stop by the store to pick up some things before going over to our friends’ house. The check-out clerk has a problem with the check, though. The store uses Telecheck, and my checking in on a blacklist now. sigh So I get some cash from the ATM and take my groceries.

[li]The next week, CC does credit me $25 to pay for the Telecheck fee. To expidite matters (so I thought), I transferred it to my other checking account with a Visa Checkcard assigned to it. I call Telecheck and tell them to take the fee out of this Visa. OK no prob, they say.[/li]
[li]Two weeks later, Telecheck calls and says we need to work out a payment for the fee. I tell them that I’d supplied my Visa info two weeks before, and the guy says, oops, there’s that info.[/li]
[li]Three more weeks later, the $25 is still sitting in my Visa checkcard account. I call Telecheck, and they say the fee has been paid. Hmmm…[/li]
[li]Two more weeks, I get my monthly statement on the original checking account. Telecheck decided to get the funds from that account like they should’ve in the first place![/li]
Needless to say, I cancelled my “free” checking status and went back to $4/month, where I can at least make sure that some human has seen my deposit.

(I would leave CCB, but they’re the most convenient bank around. Tons of branches, and they have ATMs in all the stores of two major grocery chains in the area.

I also bank with Chevy Chase in the DC area. I signed up for the “free checking” as well. Every month they charge me the $4, and every month I call them to have the amount credited. They do, and promise that it won’t happen again. As I said, this happens every month. Luckily, I can look at it as a kind of game, unlike some of the other horror stories mentioned.

When I was banking with Wells Fargo out west, I had one of their credit cards for ‘overdraft protection.’ When I moved, I cancelled the card (which I had never used). To this day, I get a monthly statement showing that I have a zero balance and a closed account (and a payment stub for my $0 check, I guess). I call and ask them why on earth do I get a monthly statement if my account is closed? Closed = leave me alone! Again, I treat the situation as a game: how many different ways can the cutomer service rep try to convince me that next month will be different?

Today’s Adventure in Customer Service: “It takes five to 13 business days to get copies of checks to the customer.” This would be the sixth or seventh different story I’ve gotten on how long it takes, and heaven only knows what they’ll put me through once (if) I finally get the paperwork.

I will be filing a police report once I have the documentation of the fraud. If I could file criminal charges against the damn bank, I would. Perhaps a nice lawsuit?


I’ve often found that the threat of a lawsuit will get agencies to move a little faster. Tell them that if you have any finacial or credit backlash’s from this event, they will be speaking to your lawyer. Usually works for me…it at least gets their attention…Good Luck

P.S. I also use a credit union, and have never had a problem.

I haven’t lost my mind, I have a tape backup around somewhere.