Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bank of America is My Enemy

Okay, I know this post has nothing to do with food at all, but I've been extremely frustrated, so if anyone would listen to my story, I would appreciate it. I need to get this out there and out of my system :( Thanks!

Here's the story:

For 8 months now I have been disputing fraudulent charges for my Bank of America credit card, and they just keep denying and denying it.

Starting on 2/13, ATM withdrawals were made from my credit card account
for 300-500 dollars each time, about every other day, at ATMs in the
los angeles/inglewood area from what i can tell from the credit card bill. I did not know this was happening until about 2 weeks after, when I logged on to my account online to pay my bill. All the
withdrawals, plus additional charges the institute charges for
withdrawing money from outside ATMs, totaled to about $3500. I
immediately called Bank of America, and they put a hold on my account.
I also called the credit bureaus and flagged my account for identity theft.

At the same time, I noticed my Discover card was not working and when I called they said that they had put a hold on it because someone had tried calling to get a pin number but was not able to verify any information. Obviously Discover was a lot smarter. BofA just watched as someone withdrew 3000$ over 2 weeks and did not even think it was suspicious.

BofA originally reversed all the charges, but about a week later, the charges were put back on my account. They informed me that my claim is
being denied because:
1) They received a call from my phone number and the person was able
to verify my identity to get a pin.
2) The charges were ATM withdrawals which need a physical card to be done.

So they claimed that this was done by someone I know. Family or friend. I did have a roommate at Caltech at that point, but she and I had just met for a few months so unless the only identifying information they needed was something as unsecure as my birthday, my roommate would not know the information.

Additionally, I immediately called my phone company (Sprint) and asked
the Rep personally if such a call was made from my phone at that time or even the days surrounding it. She told me that no call was made to an 800 number from my phone in the 3-day range around what BofA claimed. I printed my phone bill and sent it to BofA, along with news articles about phone number mimicking.

To get them to reconsider they told me I need to file a police report.
They also claimed that the system they're using is able to detect phone mimicking/spoofing, so they are SURE that it really was my phone. I should not this phone call they kept referring to happened at 8-9 AM in the morning, when I was sleeping in my room. Unless someone
managed to get to my phone at 8, make a call, and return it without
waking me up at all and also without getting that call recorded by
Sprint, it could not have been my actual phone. (and do the same with my credit card every other day for 2 weeks)

I filed a police report to the Pasadena police. After 2 weeks they transferred it to the LAPD because the withdrawals happened in LA.
In the meantime I kept arguing with the Bank with no result. They just
kept referring to the 2 facts no matter what I say. They were adamant that their system was flawless.
I finally got to a supervisor, Margaret (Mimi) Picollelli. She said
that I should get a hold of a photo evidence and that if it really was
someone I don't know to call her again. She also asked me what the expiration date of the card that I still have was. I told her and she said, that the investigator has tracked the card that was used, and just based on my expiration date they can tell for certain that it was my very own card, not some fake card someone had made or anything like that. (I was of course not convinced at all)

I spoke to a detective at the LAPD. She had managed to get a
photo evidence from one of the Wells Fargo transaction. She said it
was a black male. I could not think of anyone around me fitting that
description that can come into my house, etc, so I called Mimi
Picolelli. She was now never there whenever I called. I left several
messages with the detective's name and number and that she has a photo
evidence. I left a message with a representative. Someone finally called me back and said that they are considering reopening the case and Mimi will call me in a day or two. That never happened.

Afterwards I kept getting calls from BofA card services, collection
agency, etc, to get me to make payment. I refused. They had also posted 5 damaging reports to my credit report. One time they called 3 days in a row during odd hours (8 AM, 6 PM), and everytime I told them that they had called me the day before, they said that it
was not recorded. The last straw was when the rep even dared to say to me that it could not have been fraud although it was clearly not her place to say anything.
I was upset and filed a BBB complaint.

In a few days I got a call from a lady from the Office of the Chairman regarding the BBB complaint. She said she will find out what's going on. The call from credit services stopped. But she called the next day and said the evidence that they had would all lead to just another
denial, but that she will contact the LAPD detective for the photo evidence and go from there.

--------
There was another inconsistency in this whole thing. At first someone from the bank claimed that there had been other phone calls made to my account from different numbers. I asked them for the numbers to track them down. I was not able to, some numbers were disconnected, etc. But later on the bank said that oh, some of those numbers were just transferred calls from other sections/places and they don't keep track of where the original call came from.

On one of the days a withdrawal was made, that same night I made a
purchase at Ralph's in Westwood of a bottle of wine (a birthday
present) using my card. So obviously I had my card with me ...
---------

I've been banking with BofA for 5 years now, but I am going to pull all of my money in the checking and savings account this week. And needless to say I will never get another credit card with them.

5 comments:

indra

Bank of America is sucks at handling complaints. I'm sorry that you found it hard way. How did it go Fi? any good progress?

Once I got hacked 7k from paypal and directly withdrew money from bofa.
Luckily I got all of my money back after a month long process. But customer service was a bitch.
ANyway... I still bank w/ them considering their accessibility.. but other than that.. better to put money to other saving at other bank.

Amy Alkon

Hey, I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through -- or have gone through. I've experienced something similar and I've found out a bunch of stuff. Is the customer service lady you talked to Nereida Claudius? Please get in touch with me. And check out the Bank of America stuff on my blog, advicegoddess dot com

Mr. White
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen

Bank of America is my enemy too. Their customer service reps aren't their to serve you. They're there to harass and bully, from my experience. After speaking to several levels of reps, I spoke to a customer service rep supervisor who cracked and went all ghetto on me and actually hung up on me; prior to that, she gave me a lecture on how I should take responsibility for THEIR errors( which has cost me money and dings in my credit). It was like trying to speak to a guest on Jerry Springer's show. Long story short, I sent several letters to my congressman and the congressional committee that deals with oversight of financial institutions, and CC'ed the letter to Kenneth Lewis himself. I'll be resending these letters until I receive a response.

Evan

Yes Bank of America is the WORST bank in America. They treat their customers as enemies. I had an account with them for less then a month and they closed my account, locked me out, and would not return my positive balance WITHOUT ANY EXPLANATION. They told me when I signed up for the account online and I clicked the checkbox "I Agree" that I agreed to let them close the account with no explanation. I didn't agree to let them keep my money! They told me they would send me a cashier's check for the positive balance in the account and then they "changed their minds" sending me only a letter that said, "As previously communicated, Bank of America will no longer be able to serve your banking needs. Please be advised that your account has been closed. As a result of information regarding one or more items deposited into the account, the account balance at the time of closure, will not be forwarded to you." When I called, there was, of course, nothing they can do.

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