Sunday, September 09, 2007

What the Banks Don't Want You to Know

I was little shocked while opening bills the other day. One of my accounts had a service charge. It is the loan on my townhouse. I have had this particular loan for well over 16 years. I've had the money withdrawn directly from my checking since that time. So what was the service fee for???

I called... got India and got frustrated. I finally understood the person on the other end. She explained the service charge was a late fee.

"Late fee? I have direct debit...how can that be late?" I asked.

"Because you pay on the 10th."

"Right but it's not late til the 15th... It says so on my statement."

"But we charge a service charge on any direct debit after the 8th."

????? I ask for a manager. And get an American.

I ask how can this be. Luckily, this had just gone into effect so I haven't been paying this money for nothing for months on end.

He offered to move my payment up a few days. I refused. Not when I can walk into the bank right around the corner and pay until the 15th. You guys are just taking money for nothing.

After he refunded my money and we hung up, I started thinking about this. They are refusing money that is processed by a computer direct into their bank... money they've been receiving in this manner for years on end... all to have a human being process a check and have the funds arrive days later?? This didn't really make sense.... Until I talked to the best friend's sister.

Kath is a Realtor and very savvy. She too was recently confused to find her new mortgage charged her a service fee to use direct debit at all...no matter the date. But the fact of the matter is, if you pay by check, chances are you will be late at least once or twice over the life of the loan. And the late fee is steep. So by adding a surcharge to direct debits, the bank is trying to force you to be late and make them more money.

It reminds me of a gag Rick Dees used to run on his morning talk show here. Pretending to be Sean Connery, Rick would interview himself as Sean. Eventually, he would get "Sean" to say he had to get to Citibank. Only, with the Scottish brogue, it came out "Shitty Bank."

Shitty Bank indeed!

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8 comments:

Ordinary Janet said...

oh, wow. Good thing you spotted that! They're always coming up with ways to wring more money out of us.

CreekHiker said...

Janet, I mailed the COO and head of marketing a copy of this blog! Maybe it will shame them into doing the right thing... but I doubt it!

Annie said...

Now I understand what was going on with my payment. Thanks for this information. I too complained and got the refund but it is irritating, isn't it, when they change rules in mid-stream and don't even bother to warn you. Of course if they warned us that would defeat their purpose.

CreekHiker said...

Annie,
It really makes me mad to have to constantly fight to keep MY money.

Jackie said...

I'm going to have to start checking our statements - we pay for everything with direct debit. I can't believe what they won't come up with!

Velvet Sacks said...

You're good at this kind of thing, Holly. I have a tendency to roll over and accept something like this rather than invest the energy it takes to make things right, but now that I have you as a role model, I'm gonna try to develop a backbone.

CreekHiker said...

Jackie, you have to watch everything all the time... Some one or some company is always trying to rip off hardworking people!

Velvet, One of my greatest downfalls is that I get very vocal when I see injustice. It's amazing what happens when you write a few letters.

Deva said...

People should read this.