July 7, 2010

Customer Service is Dead or Why we all hate the bank

Let me start this tale by stating outright my son was at fault, at least in the outset. No, actually I am sort of at fault. OB (oldest Boy) called and said he was not getting as many hours at the restaurant where he works and could we deposit some money. The kid has to eat. I put a small amount of cash into his former National City now PNC BANK account (PNC took over National City last week). I did not know he switched long ago to another bank because there are no branches of said PNC BANK in his college town. He said this was no problem, he could use his debit for that account. He took out some money. National City did not charge for using another bank's ATM. PNC does -- policy change! And yes, I am sure in some of the fine print of the terms and conditions booklet they sent him it stated this change. I am equally sure he tossed the book in the trash as soon as he got it, just like 70% of the account holders of the new PNC.

My oldest boy is a college student. Like most of his generation he conducts every consumer transaction with his debit card. Because of the ATM fees and his own incompetence he overdrew the account by $10.53. PNC charged him $72 in overdraft fees. I do not have an issue with this. There were two charges of $5+ each that overdrew the account. He should have paid attention.

OB checked his balance on the computer because he knew it was low. He did not realize some charges go through as a credit (gas) and take a day or two to appear. He called and said he had overdrawn the account and could I cover it. Lecture etc. on how to keep a register and responsibility blah blah followed (cue adult whah wahah from Charley Brown).

I put more in the account, thinking he had overdrawn the account $5 and there would be a $36 fee, again leaving some money to buy groceries and gas. He used around $16 of additional charges -- $1.04 at Burger King, $4 at the convenience store, etc. Not knowing another charge hit his account as he did not account for the other $5 that had not gone through. He was hit the other (legitimate) $36.

PNC Charged him another $144 in charges. Those charges over drew his account, and since he had used it some more -- again the amount spent was less than $17.00, another $108.00 in charges have accrued. Keep in mind the bank continued to let him use the card.

PNC has a different policy on charges too. The bank does not accrue the charges on an NSF until 3:00 the next day. If you overdraw your account today, the charges are not applied until tomorrow afternoon. This is not a grace period in case you discover your error. No, as soon as you go negative you will be charged, but the fees will not be added until the next afternoon.

OB got caught in this time lapse twice. He discovered he was overdrawn, money was deposited, but no charges were accrued yet so he used the card again, causing more charges. Basically he was charged $252 in charges because of NSF fees.

To shorten and already too long tale, the wife went to talk to the bank yesterday. She was told pretty much too bad, the new policies went into effect last week and he should have read the booklet they sent him. The banker agreed the charges were all incurred because of bank fees. She did not have the authority to waive any fees, that is made at "corporate". In any case my wife was told they would not waive more than 2 fees. Oh, and since his account is now overdrawn four days, additional fees will be charged. Since there is not funds to cover that charge another NSF will accrue.

By next Monday, OB will have been charged over $300 in fees for overdrawing his account $27.00. PNC sure has a nice racket going. Way to welcome your new customers.

BTW, that account can sit overdrawn until hell freezes over. I paid the over draft and the two NSFs. I will not pay fees accrued because of fees.


Galt-in-Da-Box said...

Thanx 4 the heads-up: They just opened here, and I was going to do some recon...Strike that.
Now that bank(er)s have been almost completely assimilated into the government-corporate collective there is no right or wrong, just so and not so many things the bankers "don't know" about.

To the political class - the Papists That Be who borrow without any intent to repay and their Khazar enablers - right and wrong are in the eye of the beholder: If it benefits them first, foremost and above all, it's right. If it doesn't, it's wrong.

Hope this clarifies things for you.

Rita said...

I spent 30 years in the banking industry and found that normally you could talk your way out of some NSF fees if you didn't go in there and cuss up a storm.

BUT. Last year, the check that was to be deposited to our NCB account slipped beside my husband's car seat and we got hit with several fees. He went in, talked nicely but NCB also would only refund a few of the fees.

And now we are experiencing the PNC conversion fiasco. We read all of their stupid dozens of letters and even with my 30 years experience I had no clue what the h@!! they talking about.

We've had two hour long visits and two phone calls and we STILL don't have all of our accounts on one online banking site.

PNC's "corporate" policies are going to do them in, mark my words.

Cappy said...

PNC completely f-d up a reorder for checks. Now in it's third month, I've opened an account at another bank and my accounts will soon be leaving PNC.

What can one expect from Pittsburgh.

Cappy said...

PNC completely f-d up a reorder for checks. Now in it's third month, I've opened an account at another bank and my accounts will soon be leaving PNC.

What can one expect from Pittsburgh.

Ed Bonderenka said...

A financial lesson I taught my kids early: Here's your credit union account.

Anonymous said...

Rita my wife worked in the banking industry for a decade. I have spent my whole career in sales and customer service. We were very nice about it, but PNC did not care. All of the local people are gone.

I have never dealt with a company that made it so clear they did not care about our business.


Rita said...

HB: I wasn't trying to imply that your wife wasn't polite, I was trying to make clear that it used to be up to the local people, so when we would have customers that were nasty, they hardly ever refunded the money even when they had the authority to do so.

Now, especially with PNC, your "local" banker has no authority, all must be approved through their antiquated corporate process.

It's apparent that the executives at PNC are so ingrained into their corporate mindset that most of NCB's customers are going to be more than irritated.

If it wasn't such a pain to do, I would be switching banks. One more screw-up and I won't care if it's a pain or not.

Joe said...

I did not take your comment that way, Rita. I was agreeing with you. We thought we presented a fair, "we made a mistake" argument. We thought showing that you are charging feees because of fees made no sense.

To me it is as if a cop clocked you speeding as he passed you going the other way. When he turned around to give chase he clocked you again, before you knew he was there. Would we expect two tickets?

Dan O. said...

Debit card? ATM? Online banking? What are these things you all speak of?

Technology not always what it's cracked up to be. Good old U.S. of A cash. You can Western Union cash for less than banks charge for ATM fees. Well, maybe not but, no NSF charges due to transaction delays to worry about.

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