Monday, November 05, 2012

The Bank and the Case of the Bounced Checks

Last month, a company gave me two checks that bounced. After depositing the first check, I didn't use that account for a while, and wrote no checks on that money - so all was good - even though the check was returned for insufficient funds. 

Three weeks later, I received the second check, and assuming (incorrectly) that this check couldn't possibly bounce, I paid four bills from that account. When that check bounced, I incurred $35 per each of the four checks I wrote, for a total of $140 charge.

I went to the bank and explained what happened, and made a deposit from another account to cover the service charges and reimburse the bank for the checks (which they had covered.) The company that issued the checks has reimbursed me for those charges, so it was fine, or so I thought.

Several days later I received my bank statement and found another service charge for $12. I had no idea what it was for - but I was told that it is a charge they levy because of the bad check I received, and not only did I get this one, but next month, there will be an additional $12 for the second bad check. 

The problem as I see it is greed. The two bad checks I received were written on an account with the same bank. Undoubtedly they are levying fines on the account of the person who wrote those checks - and also levying a service charge on me - simply because I was stupid enough to trust that the checks would be good. Am I being clear?  Let me repeat:  They are charging the account of the person who wrote the checks and also charging me, an innocent party, with an additional $24, after already charging me $140. I call that criminal, and yet, they can get away with it. 

Will I be that stupid ever again?    NO WAY. When I get a check in the future, I will ask the bank if it is good before I deposit it. In fact, I will cash it and then deposit the cash in my account. That way, they will not be able to hold me accountable if that check is bad. At least I think they won't - but who knows? Maybe that put that in their latest fine (read tiny) print too.

I wish we had a good alternative to a bank. They are getting on my nerves with all their new charges for this and that; items they never used to charge for - and certainly not to an innocent person  (such as I) who had no idea the checks would be bad. I told the bank representative that  they were making it very hard for me to keep that account, since I don't keep large amounts in it and their constant barrage of niggling charges are making it dwindle down to almost nothing. 

In the 30 years I have had an account with this bank (my business account) I was given a grand total of four bad checks; two of them within the last 30 days. Surely they see that I am not a threat to their daily income, so I am being unfairly punished. I am within an inch of closing that account, and some new idiocy next month will cause me to go over the line I drew in the sand. I'm sure they won't lose sleep over it, but if they are treating other long-term account holders like they are me - they ought to care - since losing a lot of us would make a deadly dent in their profit and loss statements. Do you hear me banks?


Granny Annie said...

All of the fees you were charged should be passed on to the ones who gave you the insufficient checks in the first place. Cashing and then depositing won't help you if you are cashing them at your own bank because they will still charge your associated account with them. You could go to the Payor's bank and cash the checks there which assures you the funds are yours without any further hassle. However their bank will probably charge you a fee for cashing a check with them if you are not their customer. I believe I have said more than one time, never go to a manager or a clerk to request fee refunds. Always ask for a corporate bank officer (VP or above) to resolve your complaint and I'm willing to bet your fees will be waived every time especially since you have been their valued customer a long time.

Star said...

You tell 'em ! I think you should be reimbursed those fees by he bank, as you have a longstanding , loyal customer. I would pursue it.

joared said...

Absolutely you should be reimbursed for those fees charged to you. Go up the chain of command with your complaint and don't stop 'til you receive satisfaction. That's nothing short of criminal on the part of the bank, especially since you're a long time customer!

Pat said...

In the old days one would have a stern chat with one's bank manager. Mine even took me to lunch a couple of times.
It's all so impersonal nowadays.

Grannymar said...

In days gone by the banks worked for us, Nowadays we are but a number and work for them! I wonder how many have gone back to keeping their money in the mattress?

NellJean said...

A sign of the times: the customer is not valued.

Some decades back, a bank in Atlanta made it quite clear in their advertising and in the way they treated customers that they were not interested in small individual accounts, just big corporate bundles of money.

Time passed, and that bank was back-tracking and courting any and all.

I hope we'll see that kind of service again, one day.