Apparently we’ve all been getting screwed by banks lately. Fees upon fees upon fees. From “free” accounts turning into a “fee” accounts. Mainly consumers are upset with debit card usage fees from $3.00 to $7.50 per month for what seems like no reason at all. But there is a reason. It’s called the Durbin Amendment, a piece of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that limited the fees banks could charge on debit card transactions. We’ve had our own mishap with the “bank” that’s supposed to be stellar lately so here it is.
Generally, we keep the blogs and all non-advertising on the PC side, not straying to step on toes or offend anyone even in the slightest way – except when we feel like we’ve been slighted. A topic we’re all familiar with is the expectation of service when the service is stated to be provided. You order something at a restaurant, an appetizer for example, you then have a reasonable expectation that the food will be there both before the entrees arrive and that the appetizer will be what you ordered. You purchase a subscription to a newspaper to be delivered, you then have a reasonable expectation that the paperboy will deliver it the mornings it should arrive. You go to the bank with a problem and they state point-blank they will fix an issue the next business day, you then have a reasonable expectation that the next business day wasn’t in fine print somewhere to actually imply two weeks and one business day before your problem is solved. Undeniably, service is key when reasonable expectations have been created by an exchange or request between consumer and client.
I’d like to share a recent experience that I feel like most people would have either left the company they chose to do business with, escalated the claim to the next level or manager or safeguarded themselves from potential harm by outright saying, “No”. I got a call on TurkReno’s Anniversary from an employee of a client was going through some hard times. I prefer not to see anyone, client or friend, suffer when there’s an event that could change their environment. Nevertheless, I loan this client some money and I do so by cashier’s check. I make a logical mistake in doing so, not by loaning money, but by not realizing that a cashier’s check would accomplish less than what I had anticipated it would. You see, I was under the presumption that using a cashier’s check would allow me to see who endorsed the instrument once it had been cashed – much like a check would be added as a digital image on most modern bank accounts. For example, I decide to pay rent. I can see the check and who endorsed or stamped the check, and if anyone were to have signed below the original endorsement, passing the check along to another party. I later found out that seeing the endorsement was not possible and defeated the original purpose of a cashier’s check altogether. A personal or corporate check would have been just as effective in creating a “paper trail” and I could have copied it and had the signature notarized on it as well if I was to go to that extreme.
I have to decide due to an unforeseen injury to a pet that the pet must go to the veterinary clinic. I told the client that I was sorry, that I couldn’t move forward with the loan and that I had events happen that demanded my fiduciary responsibilities. I had not heard from the client, so I contact Regions Bank with the information that they needed to find out if the check had been cashed. They told me on multiple occasions before I returned to the branch to invalidate the check that they could tell the status of the check and if it had been cashed. I spoke to a total of seven employees of Regions Bank, from the Branch “Team Lead”, to the original person who opened my account, to several different representatives for 1-800-REGIONS. Each of them assured me that the check had yet to be cashed because the network they were checking, the “teller network”, was able to track the status of a check, especially if was a check issued by the bank and if had been cashed at a Regions Bank. I sign a document that invalidates the check and the representative reassures me that I’ll have the money back in my account on the following business day because time after time the Regions Bank representatives check and show the check as continuing to be an “outstanding” item (not yet cashed). This was the second wrong presumption: It’s safe to trust the bank at face value…or trust the bank at all.
A weekend passes. It’s the next business day. I’ve yet to hear from the representative at Regions as to what’s happening, so I decide that I should stop by since I was given the expectation that the next business day the funds would be placed back into my account. Yet again, I was also under the expectation that because the cashier’s check had been stopped and, more importantly, was told that the check was still “outstanding” that I would surely be taken care of. I arrive to find that the same Regions Bank representative that assisted me in stopping the check had yet to do her procedure for the day. All she could me tell was that the stop payment on the check was still there and our money was going to be deposited soon. I explained to her that as a business owner that she created an expectation of service to both call me and rectify this issue by today. Immediately there was action that they took on their side. She called around, found out that the check had in fact been cashed and that it had been done on that Friday hours before I even arrived at the bank. Doublespeak.
Bottom line, the whole illusion of the “teller network” was a false one. It wasted our time and really, really got us mad. The fees that banks have imposed lately have lots of other people mad, too. But there’s hope in sight. Regions Bank announced that Tuesday it will refund all fees charged for Debit card usage as did Wells-Fargo and Suntrust banks. But, is that small amount of money enough for you to not switch to a credit union? You decide.