Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't Get Me Started

I have a habit of sticking it to banks whenever possible. It's not only legal, it's at their own suggestion. It's a bit of a pain in the ass, but when they offer me $100 to open an account - well, I take their offer. It's free money! I open the account, stand on my head, and wait. When I qualify for their offer and they pay me, I have a nice steak dinner and move on. I got my iPod Touch this way, thank you very much.

But they - the banks - have the last laugh, I guess. What's really frustrating is I know I'm not the only one. I can't imagine what it's like for the poor guy who gets jacked around every day. And it happens, I have no doubt.

I had a $3 ATM fee the last time I used my card. This was the first, only, and last time I've used this debit card to extract cash and it was issued by the same bank that issued my Touch. Which is to say we don't have a long and mutually satisfying relationship. Those fees piss me off but at least the machine gave me notice and the opportunity to back out if I didn't agree to highway robbery. (Usually, in such circumstances I withdraw about a year's worth of cash to minimize the fee's effect on a percentage basis and make future withdrawals from beneath my mattress instead.) What really hacked me off is when I got my monthly statement there was an additional $2 for using an ATM not belonging to the issuing bank. What? $5 to get my own money from a non-interest bearing account? You should be paying me!

The bank, when I called them, disagreed and told me to have a nice day.

Okay, so $5 isn't so bad. Especially if you want to throw the Touch into the mix. But how's this one? A credit card company just took a very large sum of money from me by mistake. This was one of those deals where they offered me credit for a year for 0% interest if I would please roll over the balance of another card. I've done this before so sure, I love free money. When the year was up I got two more similar offers for another year. One from a different credit card company and one from the very same credit card company.

So I call my credit card company and say, why don't you just extend your current offer and we can both have a very nice day. Nope. We don't value your existing business. Only the business we have not yet attained. Fine, I said, I will have a very nice day with this other credit card company and so paid off the entire balance by rolling it to Other Credit Card Company.

After I paid off the balance - and confirmed said balance was paid - I changed the monthly payment plan on this card to Pay In Full which is my usual arrangement. I received in writing that my payment plan had changed and that my balance was zero. So the next due day how much do you think they took from my checking account? Zero? Nope, they took the entire balance again. How much was it? Mucho dinero is how much it was! Times two!

So now I have this massive credit on my credit card and my checking account is drained. Completely. If that's not crazy enough, I checked the balance the day it happened and called the credit card company right away. I was told the electronic blips were all in place to make the transaction as of midnight that night. Great! Just reverse the blips and we're good, right? It hasn't happened, right?

I can't remember what they told me but no, it wasn't that easy. They would get a supervisor on it right away - yada yada - and it would take two or three business days - yada yada - but as a special thank you they will give me extra miles on all future purchases. Are you kidding me? How about just giving me back my freaking money?!

Today is three business days later and guess what? No money. Called them back and said WTF? So, sorry it's really two or three days from today this will happen. Not two or three days from when they stole my money. Get this! They couldn't return money they stole until the stolen money cleared the bank! Now that it has, they can give it back.

Have a nice day.


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