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My trip through debit card hell and back.

  • May 7, 2009
Rating:
-4
This review pertains only to a particular branch of Bank of America. 

This branch: http://locators.bankofamerica.com/locator/lo.http://www.lunch.com/bank_branch_locations/

For folks who use the branch located on 3016 Sepulveda, Manhattan Beach, beware. This review may lead you to arrange your affairs to another bank...or another branch, at least.

I'm pretty much your typical average day bank visitor.  I don't require much help, and I'm very familiar with the whole process of whatever it is I need to do.  Most of the time, I'm good with an ATM.  On most days, I only take one piece of candy from the basket. And unlike many other customers, I leave the pens where I find them.  Like I said, pretty low stress customer....except with this branch.

In mid February, I needed checks ordered along with a new debit card sent to me after I had my wallet stolen.  The teller let me know that the checks would be in my mailbox in about a week.  He also ordered me a new debit card. Two weeks passed, and nothing had arrived.  When my bank statements arrived before the checks or the debit card did, I went in to see what was going on.  The teller let me know to speak with a banker sitting at a desk.  She helped me out, by refunding my checks and ordering me another bank card.  She informed me that in the future, I could make the process faster and safer by sending all things to the actual branch, and I could simply pick things up as they came in.

By Easter, I still had no bank card.  I was offered a temporary debit card, but was told that if received a temp debit card, my actual debit card that was in the mail would be void.  I was suggested to simply continue to wait, since theoretically, my card would be in my mailbox any day.  A week later, I wanted (needed, is a better word) a temp card desperately, but was given the same DBTCRD 101 lecture about the actual card turning void if I requested a temp.  I was told to wait a few more days just in case, but I expressed that I felt I had waited long enough. I was told to wait until the end of the month to be sure no card was in the mail.

Last Friday, it was May 1, and no card was at my door.  Not only was it not in the mail, I had been deceived to believe that it actually was, and pushed out the door as a crazy customer who wouldn't stop asking for a debit card. I walked in again, courageous at heart, focused on getting a new card in the mail asap. I told the same teller who ordered it for me the first time that I needed a new one, and that I wanted it sent to the bank, and I wanted a temporary card to use while waiting.  You would think they know who I was by now right? Wrong.

I was informed that I was unable to send anything to the branch.  And more so, I was told they had no more temporary debit cards.  EXCUSE ME? I asked what there was to do. Solution? You guessed it. Wait a couple of days, maybe it'll turn up.

IMAGINE THIS.  Imagine that for nearly three months, you have no choice to walk into the bank to deposit your checks. You are forced to withdraw money each time you need it (before 6PM, mind you, because that's when the bank closes!), and on Saturdays, you best project how much money you'll need on Sunday because you'll have no way of getting any.  Also imagine having to take out a cashier's check each an every time for rent because the bank can't manage to get your checks delivered!

I'm sure I just have a bad case of luck with this branch.  But...after waiting this long can I get a debit card now? Please?!

BofA, I hope you're listening.

http://locators.bankofamerica.com/locator/lo.http://www.lunch.com/bank_branch_locations/

If you are reading this, show me some love...because I'm not that confident that my bank can at the moment. =(

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May 07, 2009
UPDATE: So, after posting this review out on my twitter, somebody named Matthew Taft from the office of the chairman and CEO's office of Bank of America called me to reassure me that my bank card would be at my door very soon. I didn't bother expressing my frustration. I said thank you, and am continuing to look for another bank...unless this card gets to my quicker than I think it will.
May 07, 2009
That's good, but my cynical side says he's running damage control and probably calling up that branch to find out who the (now former) teller could be. You should try credit unions. I don't know of any in your area, but check with your work pals and see who they use. Your deposits are insured $250,000 by the NCUA rather than the FDIC but it's still safe. 

Clearly that teller was assuming your card was sent; probably had calls like yours before and did not bother to check her records.  Lazy banking.
May 08, 2009
Thanks for the tip, Scotman! I'm doing some research, and probably will actually make the move!
May 11, 2009
Yes! And they have direct deposit for your paycheck and will give you discounts if you do that. Also, the fees are lower than bank's fees. They are member supported rather than profit motivated which makes a difference.
 
May 07, 2009
Great review on a bad bank. Minus Four is generous!  Wells Fargo is worse.  And banks were a major cause of our current financial crisis. Why continue to support them? Frack 'em (as my Battlestar Galactica friends would say) and get a Credit Union. I bank with Patelco CU. And thanks to fed rules you only need to be in their given area and not necessarily a member of a special group, though it may depend on your CU. Their rates for savings and loans are better, they give Visa and Mastercards, auto loans, checks and a debit card. I've renewed mine and been a member for 10 years with NO problems. Example: I had my checks stolen too; gave them the police report, they gave me a ten minute interview, a form to fill out, got my checks within a week and a temporary debit card right there, no waiting. Pal, you should go to the Branch Manager or better yet, close your account. You clearly are not important enough! Three thumbs up.
 
May 07, 2009
Like Dan said, I was going to suggest that you switch to a credit union- they never pull that stuff!
 
May 07, 2009
WOW...this came right on time because I was seriously considering switching banks but, thanks to your awesome review I won't be doing that EVER! I'm SO SORRY you had to endure such a nightmare.
 
May 07, 2009
Brutal story...you could consider ditching B of A and going with a smaller bank that is more focused on customer service...
 
May 07, 2009
I had bad experience with that branch too, not as bad as yours though. I was charged for free checks when I opened my checking account with them because the first set was sent out to the wrong address, due to their mistakes, so they had to send out another box. But because this was my "2nd box" they charged me for it. I asked for a refund 2x and both times they said they credited my account back, I'll let you guess whether I got that credit or not. I feel you man, bofa, or at least that branch, sux
 
May 07, 2009
Let consumerist.com know about your situation. They're pretty good about getting attention from certain companies. Email tips@consumerist.com
May 07, 2009
just twittered this story out. maybe somebody from up above will hear my plea.
 
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More Bank of America reviews
review by . December 19, 2008
I need to carry cash with me at all times. Some people have gotten used to using debit cards to pay for everything, but because I'm a fan of all things random, I always carry at least a few bucks in my wallet. Because of my spontaneous consumption habits, I think Bank of America is the best bank out there. They have ATMs almost everywhere you can imagine. There was even one just before going up the Space Needle in Seattle that gave out denominations of $10 bills! Now that's something I haven't seen …
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Angelo Ignacio ()
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I'm a Filipino-American living life as a post undergrad making a start here in beautiful Los Angeles. I love the weather and diversity here and enjoy everything this city has to offer. I'm excited to … more
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Wiki

Bank of America is the largest bank in the United States by assets and the second largest by deposits and market capitalization and is a member of the Federal Deposits Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Bank of America was founded as Bank of Italy in 1904 in San Francisco by Italian immigrant Amadeo Giannini. The bank was founded originally to cater to immigrants; however, the bank gained success after it was able to move its deposits to safe ground after the massive 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

In 1929, Bank of Italy merged with Orra E. Monnette's Bank of America, based in Los Angeles. The merger resulted in the adoption of the name Bank of America for the entire company. After 1956, the bank began spreading beyond California as BankAmerica and was eventually acquired by NationsBank Corporation in 1998. After the acquisition, the company was renamed Bank of America and moved its headquarters to Charlotte, NC.

Since 2001, the company has focused on purchasing or acquiring smaller banks. In 2008, during the financial mortgage crisis, Bank of America acquired Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. Today, the bank is known for its relative stability, investment in "green" ventures, and its new environmentally-friendly skyscraper in Manhattan, NY. In addition, it is popular among consumers for having many ATMs, although it has also come under fire for various hidden fees and overdraft charges. 
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