Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bank of America uses immoral practices to squeeze money out of the customer

Our world is now quite accustomed to fine print. Every company has to cover its back by countless clauses of legalese. Sometimes, though, companies can use the fact that no one reads fine print to literally take advantage of people. Such is the case with Bank of America's debit card policy.

Last week, I messed up and bounced a check. Ooops. No one is perfect with their finances. So I was in the negative. I didn't know that I was in the negative, however. Contrary to Bank of America's assumption, I don't check my account balance on a daily basis. Even though I am enrolled in the online banking, I received no email about the overdraft. The next day, I went to the Post Office and bought a stamped envelope on my debit card for 54¢. Bank of America charged the card even though I didn't have any money. The next day I did the exact thing. A total of $1.08. Then they charged me a fee of $35 for each day. Their policy with debit cards is that Bank of America assumes you are in an emergency and will charge the sum of money, and then ding you with a $35 overdraft fee. Am I the only one that thinks this default policy is ridiculous? When I don't have any money in my bank account, my assumption is that my debit card will be declined. I'm in an emergency far less frequently than not and if I was in an emergency, I'd want to call up the Bank to allow for an exception. The fine print, though, finds ways to jack the customer and give the giant bank corporation more profits. Should Bank of America really assume that spending one dollar was worth $70 to me? Pleading with the stone-cold representative and her supervisor did me no good, so I am now resorting to my only other forum to spread the word about this crappy policy.

The representative offered to change my account settings so that my card will be declined when there are no funds and I accepted. Why can't this be the case by default? It should be. Do any other banks engage in this shady practice?