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 If you have an account with Merrill Lynch or one of its subsidiaries, I advise you to move them elsewhere before the acquisition by Bank of America becomes official.  BofA uses the same sort of lying and delay tactics health insurance companies do in attempts to keep you from getting your own money from them.
 In a period of two weeks I have been lied to no fewer than three times by tellers and customer service people at their 1-800 line regarding how to close a money market account.  I have wasted time, money, and gas.  If you already have high blood pressure, don't attempt to do something similar unless you have tranquilizers available.

 The account was originally set up with MBNA, which was taken over by BofA a couple of years ago.  I should have closed the account at the time, but my life was complicated by other issues, so it was low on my priority list.  BofA never sent me new checks for the account, making it more difficult to make withdrawals without going to a branch.
 Two weeks ago I decided to finally close the account.  Went to a branch, where the teller and manager told me they couldn't close the account from there because they didn't have access to current interest calculations (Lie #1.)  They told me I'd have to contact the customer service number.
 So I drive home, call the 1-800 line.  That person says the teller was incorrect, they should have been able to close the account at the branch.  Further they tell me they can not close the account either (Lie #2), that I'll have to send a letter to their office in Florida. (Lie #3)
 The next day, Thursday, I go to another branch to withdraw a large amount, leaving only the minimum to (hopefully) prevent any fees charged on the account.  That day I also mail (certified mail) a letter to the Florida address requesting the account be closed.
 The following Monday, the Florida office receives the letter (per the certified receipt.)
 One week passes, check for the balance in the account still not received.
 This morning, two weeks after I first tried to close the account at a branch, I call customer service to find out when I might expect a check.  Person tells me that 1) yes, customer services could have closed the account when I called previously, they just couldn't close it with the higher balance.  Ie. the first person I talked to never informed me the reason they weren't authorized to close the account was because of the amount in the account at the time, and that all I'd have to do is decrease it to some balance where they were authorized to do so.  2) they don't know the status of processing my request at the Florida office,and sending the letter basically did nothing. 3) It will take another 3-5 "business days" for me to get my money.  
 To recap: First I was told the branch couldn't close the account, then I was told they could.  Then I was told customer service couldn't close the account, then I was told they could.  Then I was told to send a letter, then I was told sending a letter did nothing.
 I've wasted 1)several hours of my time dealing with this in person and on the phone, 2)gas to drive to a branch twice, 3) $5.32 in postage to mail a letter that most likely ended up in limbo or someone's round file.  
 By the time I receive a check it will have been nearly three weeks from when I first tried to close the account.  BofA lied, delayed, and obfuscated every step of the way to prevent me from getting my own money.
 Now I'll soon have to start the process all over again, because I have  another account with a subsidiary bank of Merrill Lynch.  When I opened that account several years ago I did so because it was a regional bank, not one of the giants that treat their customers like POS.  Then a couple of years ago it merged with ML.  And with the demise of ML, it will fall by the wayside.
 Deja vu all over again.

Originally posted to FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:53 AM PDT.

Poll

How much does BofA suck?

70%29 votes
9%4 votes
0%0 votes
12%5 votes
7%3 votes

| 41 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips for finding banks that respect customers (12+ / 0-)

    and don't lie to them.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:54:22 AM PDT

  •  It's not one corporation; (11+ / 0-)
    it's the system.

    "The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels." Al Gore, 7/17/08

    by TomP on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:54:30 AM PDT

  •  We dumped B of A as our bank (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scoopster, texasmom

    Several years back because we felt they weren't giving us good service (We're now with Key Bank) and I definitely will have to think about moving my ML account...

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:55:52 AM PDT

  •  All banks suck. But I am a 15-year BofA customer, (6+ / 0-)

    and my experience has been positive.

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    by ticket punch on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:57:33 AM PDT

    •  same here ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RandomActsOfReason

      I've been with them for years and never had a problem.

    •  Lucky you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scoopster

      But I've been a teller for BofA, I've seen it from the inside.  That was even before they got as big and bad as they are now.  Which is why I swore years ago I'd never have an account with them if I could help it.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:05:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hate them (4+ / 0-)

        pure and simple.  I sent them a payoff for a credit card account when I refinanced my mortgage.  They lost the check for 7500 dollars.  We had proof they recieved it from Fed Ex. It was lost for two months, they charged me huge late fees and interest, meanwhile, they had put the check into my lawyers account by accident.  I'm still fighting them 2 years later about not paying the interest and fees for those two months as well as being reimbursed for the two months interest...They're simply vultures.  I'll take a charge off before I EVER pay them.

        ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

        by Kristina40 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:09:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've been with BoA since 2004 (0+ / 0-)

      And I've yet to have any major problem with them.  They even reversed two late payment charges on my credit card that, in truth, I really should have had to pay.  And I like the tellers at the branch I go to, dammit!

      Yes, all banks have problems.  It's pretty much a matter of luck as to who gets hit with a bad experience and who doesn't.

      That being said, if there were an alternative to BoA that was as convenient for me and could offer the same services and was reliable, I'd probably switch.

      I finally put in a signature!

      by Boris Godunov on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:11:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scoopster, FoundingFatherDAR

      After BoA took over my bank, and I went through the painful account closing process described in this diary, I switched my account to a local bank that is privately owned. They have been great. In addition to giving good service, they also contribute to local community projects and charities.

      I agree with the diarist. Flee, flee from BoA.

      I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

      by lesliet on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:12:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  All banks don't suck.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ticket punch, FoundingFatherDAR

      I've been with two banks in my life - New Haven Savings Bank of CT (now NewAlliance Bank) and Citizens Bank of RI (owned by Royal Bank of Scotland).  I've never had a problem with either - and even when I've had account issues with Citizens (i.e. overdrawn balance fees because of debit/credit charges that pinged my account in the wrong order) they were resolved immediately, calmly, and usually with the $30+ fees being reversed.

    •  I've been with B of A... (0+ / 0-)

      since they acquired Bank South way back in the late 1990s.  I've never had a problem.  I even got my fixed-rate mortgage with them.

  •  This market doesn't need anecdotes, IMHO (6+ / 0-)

    People are too edgy to objectively process one-off, personal, "I had a bad experience" stories.

    Nothing exacerbates a crisis more than people running in packs in the wrong direction.

    John McCain: Getting Terrorists off America's Lawn since 1880

    by pat208 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:58:11 AM PDT

    •  I didn't tell people to put $ in their mattress, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, Cassandra Waites

      only to take it to a different financial institution.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:01:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because of your anecdotal experience (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pat208

        Using this site for a personal vendetta is not only inappropriate, it is futile.

        There are plenty of consumer complaint sites to post this on.

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:05:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hmm, lots of "anecdotal" stories posted here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nokkonwud

          about personal problems with things like the health care system.  I don't see people complaining when those stories are posted, and some of those diaries  make the Rec List.

          My Karma just ran over your Dogma

          by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:08:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Anecdotal stories become data (0+ / 0-)

            one or two stories is anecdotal. 15, 20, 500, 10,000 become data from which we can make conclusions of significance. It is worth hearing these stories for that reason alone.

            As a researcher, it's the anecdotal stories that often send me on a serious new project.

            All that said, the advice to avoid panic is well-taken. Be informed, but don't panic (I tell myself after my second night of no sleep and the decision to do a new household budget).

            The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

            by Edubabbler on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:26:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wasn't panicking, I was frustrated (as heck.) (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassandra Waites

              My decision to move money from BofA had nothing to do with the current shaky state of some financial institutions, such as WAMU, and everything to do with BofA customer nonservice.
               Again, I'm not suggesting a run on (all) banks, merely that people might want to look at how certain banks treat their customers, and decide for themselves which bank(s) is more in line with the way they want/need to do business.

              My Karma just ran over your Dogma

              by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:43:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  millions of furry little financial lemmings. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pat208
  •  BoA may suck (5+ / 0-)

    but they're in the catbird seat right now.

    Their Charlotte neighbor is reeling, the NY Boys are crying.  Small and midsized banks are either failing or getting knuckled under by the FDIC.

    They might come out of this really being THE Bank of America.

    Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it's going Democratic.

    by Anarchofascist on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:00:30 AM PDT

  •  This is a good time for all to review investments (3+ / 0-)
    such as 401k's, IRA's and other investments. It might be a good time to consult with a fee-for service certified financial advisor (one not receiving commissions from companies to sell their financial products to their clients).  It is not a time to panic, but a time to review your investments.  

    IMHO, to blindly trust financial advisors who are paid on commissions, without doing a fact-check to make sure their advised investments are as beneficial for you as they are for them is a costly mistake.  

  •  I was a 23 year B of A customer when I closed my (3+ / 0-)

    accounts last year.  I should say finally closed my accounts last year.  I should have closed them earlier but I kept forgiving horrendous errors.

    I felt a tremendous sense of relief once I had closed my final account and received my funds.

  •  I have had the same problem with ML. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:06:21 AM PDT

    •  I don't have a ML brokerage account, (0+ / 0-)
      so I can't comment on that, but I've never had a problem with their subisdiary bank.  The people there always treat me respectfully.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:21:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They lost a big piece of my IRA (0+ / 0-)

        They had a class action against them but it did nothing that I know of.  When I tried to get what was left of my money I had to go to the State Corporation Comission.

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 10:32:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They are the worst (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scoopster, FoundingFatherDAR

    I have never had a positive experience with BofA. I cancelled my MBNA VISA once they bought them out. After that they charged my $39 for a late fee for a $75 annual fee for a card I had cancelled. And I was told they would continue to charge me $39 a month and interest until I paid it. It was like being blackmailed, and since I was no longer a customer they had no incentive to cut me some slack.

    I don't know if I'm in any better shape now..my checking, savings, VISA and mortgage are all with WaMu.

  •  I admit their policies leave me frustrated at ... (0+ / 0-)

    times, but you have to admit, thankfully they were responsible in their lending practices over the years where they are not on the verge of collapsing.

  •  BofA sucks for many reasons... (3+ / 0-)

    I WAS an employee of BofA, or more correctly an employee of Fleet Bank which BofA bought in 2003.

    They did the usual merger stuff - lay off hundreds of employees throughout New England.  This was after they promised Senators Schumer and Clinton they would not significantly reduce the employee presence in upstate NY which is economically depressed.  (They also lied about keeping jobs in Boston until MA blackmailed them into moving more high level people back to the old Fleet headquarters.)

    Additionally, to "focus on core operations" they outsourced their network department to Electronic Data Systems.  Employees that were not laid off took a hit in the 401K savings (a 75% reduction), and wages remain depressed.  (One 4% raise in 4 year of working for EDS...)  EDS is now sold to HP, so here's another round of layoffs and another change to the 401K/pension plan, making it difficult to save for retirement.

    It gave me some schadenfreude when BofA lost $8 billion on the subprime mess - guess concentrating on "core business" didn't help!

    But "anecdotes" aside, this is what Obama is talking about - companies merge and people get laid off.  They often get new jobs that pay less than the old ones.  The ones that remain employed get bled to death by stagnant wages -- but where can they go with so many people out of work?   They can't save as well for retirement, which means older people working past retirement age, driving down wages for everyone because there are too many people chasing the same jobs.

    The local economy suffers because with wage stagnation people cut back on home improvement, car repair, etc. etc.  (This is a HUGE reason why Americans run up so much debt -- wages aren't keeping pace with expenses.)

    Now we have BofA with ML - more layoffs, which means New York state is going to come after ME to get taxes to pay for services since the financial sector is so badly hit - Wall Street accounts for 20% of NYS revenues.   We also have an institution that is "too big to fail" and may get bailed out by the government in the future.

    This is why Obama is running folks.  The fundamentals of our economy are not sound -- wage growth has stagnated for decades.   American workers are getting poorer and poorer and it bodes ill for the economy as a whole.

    Republicans love America - they just hate half the people living in it. - Jon Stewart

    by HylasBrook on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:32:29 AM PDT

    •  BTDT. I've been a victim of two mergers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      texasmom

      in a slightly different industry.  Lied to both times by either the acquiring company and/or the original employer.  You have my sympathies.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:38:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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