I got my mortgage through Bank of America in 2004. It’s a 30-year fixed rate 5.25% dream… of sorts. The dream ended when I tried to pay BOA more. Bank of America automatically withdraws my monthly payment from my bank account. I was paying a little extra on my principal every month. Business is good, so I decided to pay more. It’s generally a good idea to pay down huge debt as fast as you/I can. So I called Bank of America.
“I’d like to pay $100 extra to my principal every month. Can you start withdrawing more?”
“Sure! All set.”
Seemed like everything was fine. Then, a month later, I notice that it’d been over a month since BOA took any money from my account. I log into my BOA account and noticed a late fee. Not good. I call again.
(I should note that my VERY short summaries of these calls are not representative of the average 40 minutes each call lasted.)
“I called a month ago to try to pay you more and you stopped taking my money completely. Then you charged me a late fee.”
“We’ll remove that. Looks like you need to pay some money before we can start automatic deductions. We don’t deduct automatically unless you’re all paid up to date.”
“WTF?! Whatever. I’ll pay by phone, but I don’t want to be charged for paying by phone.”
“OK, we’ll waive the fee because of bank error. There you go. All paid up. Auto payments are all set.”
And you think that’d be it. Or maybe you’re smart and somehow know that BOA screwed it up. On a whim, I called back a couple of days later…
“Is everything set for autopayment?”
“No. You still owe $15.”
“Isn’t that how much you charge for a phone payment?!”
“That was supposed to be waived.”
“Oh, and you owe some more money too!”
You can imagine I’m starting to get pissed. I tell them to waive the $15 fee. I pay some more money via phone. I call back a couple of days later. Looks like I owe another $15 before they can start taking my money. It’s a sad broken record. (Strangely, I found an LP record on the road today when I was getting my mail. Surely a sign from the big cheese in the sky that I’m part of a cruel reality sitcom. What was the album? It’s “Chillers” – the joke sickens.)
From what I can tell, BOA would be in heaps of trouble even without the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Buying stressed investment banks? Pshaw. Bank of America was already screwed. TARP bailout money? An ineffective band-aid. BOA can’t even take money from its clients when they have direct access to their bank accounts. Idiots. I’m told I don’t need to call Bank of America again, and that if I do so, it’s because I want to. I don’t believe them. If I had a record player, I’d listen to this album. Surely its guidance would be more helpful than BOA phone support.
I’m Dan Dreifort. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.