Monday, April 17, 2006

Banking Saga

Yeah, I thought I'd wait until this was over to post about it, but I'm afraid it will never be over.

Here's a little background fact you need to know.  Banks have special offices for customers that give them big piles of money.  I do not give my bank big piles of money, but ... back in 1992, I worked for a law firm that apparently gave a bank a big enough pile of money that the firm was entitled to bank in the special office.  And since I worked for the firm, I got an account through the special office too.

I quit the law firm in 1994.  I did not keep this secret from the bank.  Indeed, I started Direct Deposit with my new employer into the very same bank account.  But the bank didn't care, and they just kept me with the account in their special office.  It isn't like I gave them any extra WORK to do or anything.  I'm pretty much a low maintainance sort of bank client.

So, a month or so ago, I was running low on checks.  As per usual -- which is to say, as I've done it over the last decade -- I renewed my checks by calling the automated phone line and asking the automated voice to send me another box of checks.

The automated line kicked me to a live human being.  He was confused because none of my data was there.  Like, he didn't know what check number to start the new box with or anything.  Weird, but ok.

Shortly thereafter, I receive a box of checks.  They're not my normal style of check.  They're the bank's standard checks.  And they say my account is out of the Special Bank Branch in San Francisco.

This is odd.  My account has been out of the Special Bank Branch in Los Angeles since 1992.  I do not live anywhere near San Francisco.  (Well, except in the whole "same State" sort of sense.)  I call the automated line.  I ask to speak to a live human being.  I tell him what's up.  He agrees that this is odd.  He offers to reorder the checks for me.  With the right style and all.  And out of the office in Los Angeles.

Shortly thereafter, I receive a letter.  The letter tells me that it has come to the bank's attention that I amno longer affiliated with the law firm that entitled me to Special Bank privileges.  (It has "come to their attention"?  Geez, what do they do, review these accounts every dozen years whether they need it or not?)  So, I will no longer have my account at the Special Bank branch, and my account will be transferred to a branch in San Francisco -- please call this number if I have any problem with that.

Yeah, I have a problem with that.  I'm not in San Francisco.  Somewhere in the "kick me out of the Special Bank" process, someone decided to move me to the San Francisco Special Bank (the checks are now explained) before moving me out to the San Francisco regular bank.

.... and let me take a moment here to point out to you, as I pointed out to the poor soul on the wrong end of the "please call this number" number, that I'd thought they kicked me out of the Special Bank years ago.  Hell, when I was buying my condo, and they contacted my bank to verify my account, it came back with a Regular Bank office, not a Special Bank office.  In Los freakin' Angeles, I might add....

Around now the second box of checks arrive.  They're the right style (as if this matters) but still have me in San Francisco.

I call the nice lady who is supposed to handle the transition and tell her that it would be nice if I am transitioned to a branch in L.A.  She agrees that this would be nice, and promises me a nice regular LA branch office.  I also tell her that I've had the misfortune to attempt to reorder checks during this transition, and that I'd really like checks with that LA branch office printed on them.  In fact, my voice edges up into crazy-land when I mention this, because, by now I have completely run out of checks.  And, y'know, I have bills and stuff.

She's nice and apologetic and says that she'll reorder the checks at no charge to me, of course.  (Of course.  Charge me for them and I'm looking for a new bank.  Sheesh.)  And she'll put a rush on the order and send them to me 2-day express, no charge to me.  (Of course.)  But with printing and all, it can take up to 5 working days.  Fine, good, fine.

Five days pass.  No checks.

Five more days.  Still no checks.

I call her back.  I have now officially had more contact with Special Bank employees during this "transition" out of the Special Bank than I've had in the 12 years I've supposedly had an account there.

She checks on the order.  She expresses surprise, in that there's nothing there in the system about the order.  (This can't be a good sign.)  She promises to re-re-order the checks.  At no charge to me (of course).  And she'll overnight them.  At no charge to me.  (Of course.)  I am thanked for my (rapidly diminishing) patience.  She's not positive when the order will go in, so the checks will either come to my home on Saturday, or my office on Monday.

Hey, that's today.

The daily FedEx delivery arrives.  I'm checkless.

I call her back.  ("Hi!  It's [My name here]."  Silence.  "Your favorite former Special Bank client."  Silence again.  "Who had the misfortune to be reordering checks when this happened."  Recognition.  "Oh, hi!  Do you have the checks yet?")

No, I don't have the checks yet.  She checks the system.  Still nothing.  She gets on the horn to the check people.  (Now?  We're just about to put in my fifth order for checks and now is the first time they pick up the telephone?)  She's actually on the phone with them for a good long time, and ultimately calls me back to say (are you ready?) that the check people said they can't change the branch designation on the checks, and they'll just have the same branch designation they've always had.

I offer to fax her copies from the two boxes of checks I've received in which my branch designation has magically moved 600 miles to the north.  You know, as evidence that they're damn well capable of changing the branch designation.

She says she'll talk with the check people some more and get back to me.

More time passes.  She is, again, on the phone with them for a very long time.  She callsback.  She thanks me for calling this to their attention as this problem has never occurred before and they certainly have to look out for it in future Special Bank/Regular Bank transitions.  (Oh wow.  I'm ground-breaking.)  She says that she spoke with someone at the check company who seems to think they are, in fact, capable of changing the branch designation on my checks.  New checks to arrive with an LA branch on them by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.  At no charge to me. 

(Of course.)


yakima127 said...

Oh, my...amazingly inept is all I can think of saying...makes ya wonder how they can possibly be competent enough to handle such an important thing as MONEY when they are incapable of getting your checks to you as promised...this isn't BOA, is it?  Sounds more like Wells Fargo...hope you get the CORRECT checks...Jae

memes121 said...

You sure you're not me? Cause you sound like my life.

mumugrrl said...

My work office recently moved to the other side of the river, so I thought I'd change bank branches to one closer to my work and house.  When I asked them to do that at the bank, they just looked at me and said, "Oh you don't need to do that, they are all your home branches."   So evidently, at my bank, we are all just one big happy family.  But they still don't call me when my checks have arrived at my branch.  Wherever that is.  I feel your pain.

hewasolddog299 said...

And you don't maintain a second checking account with an entirely different bank because?

helmswondermom said...

Two words:  Online banking.