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Bank Of America / questionable business practice

1 8351 NW Prairie View RoadKansas City, MO, United States Review updated:
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I believe Bank of America is manipulating "available balance" on deposit accounts as an unethical business practice to generate and collect fees. I had a direct deposit post on my account as a "pending" transaction on 3/28/2008, and also reflected the deposit amount in my "available balance" via their online banking. Thinking these funds were available, my wife and I made numerous purchases over the weekend. It was to our surprise to see that Bank of America charged a $175 in NSF fees stating we had overdrawn our account. Given the deposit was $2, 000+ greater than the transactions in question, the root of this issue is the status of "available balance". Per the information on their own web site, "available balance" can be a combination of both posted and pending transactions. As I found myself engaged in an email exchange with customer service trying to explain my concern, they pretty much ignored my position. They stated that the direct deposit didn't post until 3/31; hence, that's what caused the overdrafts. However, the direct deposit was reflected in the available balance on 3/28 as a pending transaction. It seems they took this opportunity to generate fees by manipulating the available balance, and then claiming the deposit didn't post until 3/31. I of course can't prove what happened because the pending transaction has now posted; hence, we find ourselves in a he said/she said scenario. They over course take no responsibility or consider the possibility of what I said. In other words, they say I'm lying. My point is that if the "available balance" didn't reflect the direct deposit on 3/28, my wife and I would have made our purchases on a different card to cover the purchases. Bank of America misleads us by manipulating the "available balance" between 3/28 and 3/31. My advice to anyone banking at Bank of America, "BE CAREFUL". You are nothing but a number with a bull’s eye on your back for a fee. It's no longer about the $175 in fees they charge, but a matter of principle in how they handle a customer complaint. Very non-human. My advice is to bank at a smaller community bank or credit union where they do treat you with respect and like a human. I'm in the process of re-financing my home and currently engaged with Churchill Mortgage. I thought I'd compare rates with Bank of America given I'm a long-time loyal customer, but the $175 fee negotiated them out of consideration. Terrible customer service and perspective. Has anyone else had this issue with Bank of America? I'm considering legal action to expose the unethical practice of manipulating "available balance".

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  • Ot
      10th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    Questionable business practices? More like unethical to me!!! Within the past month I've probably racked up at least $445.00 in overdraft fees and was able to reverse about $115.00. I guess the old fashioned way of balancing your checkbook no longer works. I thought transactions were recorded consecutively from the time of purchase, now they wait until the largest amount can post to overdraw your account and then subsequently charge for amounts that post afterwards. I've written to my congressman and suggest that you do the same and spread the word for others to do the same. It takes a few years but this is why credit card companies can no longer charge outrageous interest rates. If people do this the same will happen to the banking industry.

  • So
      13th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    Same scenario happened to me. i told my primary bank to pull funds from my B of A account, as i had a $2000 check in there that had posted on their internet site as part of my "available
    balance." Silly me! It was not part of my available balance at all! I called them, I went to the local B of A (they can never do anything, and always insist you call the number that makes you wait forever and then transfers you to "the right dept" forever, etc...) Long story short, I couldn't get a letter from B of A to explain what happened, so my primary bank withdrew my ability to access funds that weren't physically in my account yet. In other words, my primary bank is awesome (USAA Federal Savings)-- they DID allow me to access funds EVEN before checks clear-- but only until you screw up and the funds you claim are there to be accessed are actually NOT there. In B of A's case, they were NOT there, so it looked like *I* had boneheaded rather than B of A!

    Ok, second item:
    B of A offered a special $100 bonus if you opened an additional personal savings accnt, and another $20 if you opened an additional personal checking account. I thought that sounded like a good deal. Six months later, I was still asking the manager at my branch what happened to the bonus they offered. Eventually, my local bank gave it to me (after 8 months of friendly harrassment by Yours Truly)-- probably because I own a business nearby and because they were tired of my asking! I spent far more than $120 worth of my time when all was said and done, but I was too annoyed at their gall to quit!

    Third item:
    This is great. Did you know that your B of A business (!) account will not allow you to WIRE FUNDS without the following: A special wiring form, filled out in advance, which takes 7 business days to process, and which must be obtained FROM YOUR OPENING BRANCH? In other words, let's say you are abroad and you find out your business at home needs funds quickly. You call to wire funds from your "trusty" B of A account. Ha! First you will spend about two hours of time calling long distance, because they must put you on hold for twenty minutes at a time after they say, "Oh, this dept. doesn t handle that. Let me connect you." About 5 times!! Then you reach someone who's SURE you can wire funds, and makes you wait while she talks with various people, and then puts you on the line so you can listen to the manager of your opening branch tell you what I listed previously: That you must COME INTO the bank (they cannot mail OR fax this form!). You have to fill out the form, hand it in live, and then wait 7 business days. THEN you have the privilege of being permitted to wire funds. (The manager hung up before we were done talking because she was apparently bored with the conversation, and thought these rules she was listing should have been obvious (??).) And do they tell you this when you open your new business account! Of course not! They wait until you're IN an emergency, NEED the money, and CANNOT GET IT to where it's supposed to be to tell you their bizarre requirements!!

    Fourth Item (the last; i could go on, but I'm sure you have your own exciting stories to share!):
    I go to B of A to exchange my DM for dollars. They exchange my cash and I leave with my $500. Seven weeks later, my account suddenly shows a $497 deficit. HUH? I call and get sent around the world again. Someone says they'll call me back when they find someone who knows what this is. They don't. I get more notices. They all contain threats to call OR ELSE I'll be reported to the credit bureau, my account will be closed, etc. I call again. No luck. No one knows what this is from. Finally, 3 weeks after the first letter, I reach someone who goes to the trouble to find out a few things that *I* have to piece together to realize that this is the money I received for my currency exchange a couple months earlier! After a lot more waiting and discussion and being shifted around, it becomes clear that the problem is that B of A doesn t TAKE DM for currency exchange (even though they did), so they decided to simply deduct the USD they gave me directly from my account! So I say, "Ok, so if you want me to pay the USD, I guess you're planning to return my DM to me--?" Oh, no! They don't have that cash anymore! But they still want to deduct the USD from account! Meaning they want to take $1000 from me in total, and I am simply out $1000! So my account sits waiting for the credit bureau to hear about my negative balance, while I sit wondering whether to pay $1000 just to save my credit report the bad mark!
    What a great bank! With this kind of service, who needs identity theft? Your own bank can rip you off perfectly fine! (If it's Bank of America, that is!!)

  • Do
      30th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I am writing this note to make you aware of the unfair business practices that Bank of America is engaging in.
    In the past, banks have charged an overdraft fee for posted items that took your checking account into a negative balance. This practice is fairly standard, and while the fees are high at $35 dollars an item, it is a known charge that each person can avoid with due diligence and careful accounting.
    However, Bank of America has taken overdraft fees to a new level. Now Bank of America charges an Overdraft Fee if the "Pending Balance", goes into a negative, even though the actual account balance is still positive. Even though the bank has not yet "PAID" the item. In other words, the pending item has not posted to the account, so the account balance is still positive, but the pending balance is negative, so Bank of America charges a $35 dollar overdraft fee.
    My example would be a pending watch repair charge that took my pending balance on Monday, 04/27, to a negative balance, but because of the watch company's merchant services, the item did not post to the account until 04/29. At no time did my actual balance drop below zero, but because my pending balance on Monday, 04/27, dropped below zero, Bank of America charged my account a $35 overdraft fee.
    Bank of America changed their overdraft fee policies back in March of 2008, but I never heard of any change. I do not usually run my checking account in a way that this overdraft event would even be a consideration, but this one in a thousand event occurred with the watch repair.
    I think the banking system in general and Bank of America in particular should not be preying on the unemployed this way, trying to generate a fee on something that has not even been paid yet. This type of fee generation is wrong, just wrong, and congress should do something about it.

  • Ju
      26th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Don - the same thing just happened to me 2 days ago! They are STILL doing business this way. Of course, I can get nowhere with them at all - I go in and get told I have to call the 800 number, then when I call I get bounced around before getting a voicemail (which of course I never did get a call back from). I have two words...CREDIT UNION!!! Bank of America SUCKS!

    BTW...no, I do not routinely use overdraft...I've used it one other time in 5 years, and was totally at fault and had no trouble paying the fee. I do however have a problem when they manipulate things to make extra money off me!

  • Pa
      16th of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    Don, they have done this to me for the last time. I don't see how they can charge an overdraft fee for an item that has been authorized but is still processing and not cleared. They got me for $140.00 because of this. If the money is still in Bank of America's possession IE. my bank account, how can they charge me $35.00 for an overdraft that has not been drafted???
    Do they have a license to steal from people? I'm contacting my congressman.

  • Ri
      16th of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    Yep - B of A has a license to steal, they stole the stimulas money, your money, my money and will continue to do it. Write to the CEO explaining why you closed (you should) your account. IF they get enough of these letters - it'll make them change their policies.

  • Mi
      29th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    i thought i was just making accouting mistake. i started take a computer picture of my account online every evening and notice the nex morning everything was reagrranged from highest ammount to low even thought I made the low purchase before the highest one. They would then say that my account was negative even thought i had an approved balance of over $2000 dollars from direct deposit but the check I wrote would be returned on that sameday. Today it would show cleared at 3am and then returned at 10am the sameday. they would charge me 2 fees for that check and the monies in the available balance.

  • Sa
      19th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    my parents were scammed out of over $5200. in nsf fees because they allowed checks to be continually presented even though there were not
    sufficient funds due, to scammers and overseas lottery scammers pulling
    money out of their account continually till we found out about this -
    they never contacted anyone or froze the account till a family member
    could be contacted. We then presented our case to their fraud department, took us 3 months to compile all the info on the fraud and scams and they conveniently LOST ALL OF IT. So we have now submitted letter to the Dept. of Justice State of Oregon for their practices and removed all family member accounts from any B of A Bank. They live on SS income only. The police dept. says the bank is required to stop this, but they CHOSE not to
    do anything in favor of racking up charges and abscounding with their Social Security monies. They should be ashamed of themselves on several counts, but they don't care. $5200 dollars - that's elder abuse!

  • Bo
      12th of Mar, 2013
    0 Votes

    Banking of america is stealing money in the most disgusting ways. The are manipulating available balance information in order to convince customers that they have money available. Then when they see a large deposit come through they will adjust the order of the transactions and then claim that you never had an available balance to begin with.

    They have told me that I must go off of the available balance and not the posted balance. Today they said I must go off of the posted balance and be aware that during 12am-7am that the available balance is incorrect. If its incorrect then why even show an available balance.

    here is an example of how they make the scam work:
    Available Balance $325
    processing debit $50.00 balance $325
    processing debit $50.00 balance $375
    deposit (processing) $400 balance $425

    then after 7am they will change the order
    Available Balance: $ $230
    Deposit: $400
    NSF FEE - $35
    NSF FEE - $35
    Debit - $50.00
    Debit - $50.00
    previous balance - 25

    The problem is that if the deposit funds were not available, then they should have never been listed in available balance info.
    It is my belief that bank of america is doing this in order to create confusion and obfuscate their actions, as they can post whatever numbers they like and then change it without anyone being able to prove a claim that they did infact provide available funds from the deposit in question.

    We can all fix this by taking screen shots daily of our bank account sessions that show the daily available balance and expose the game that bank of america is playing. I have gone as far to incorporate a session based recording setup that will record my entire login and keeps a loop of the last 24 hrs of info. Now when they try this again I will have proof and I will be filing a case against BofA for malicious and deceptive practices. I encourage everyone to do the same and lets make this another class action law suit against them.

    Bank of america has been sued twice in the last 2-3 years for deceptive practices, both of which were class action lawsuits involving thousands of customers that they cheated out of money in order to grow their margins.

  • Ni
      12th of Nov, 2013
    0 Votes

    While I think BOFA does a lot of unethical things this is actually very simple. When a company makes a DD, most commonly payroll deposits, they will set a date which it clears. I found that similarly my fellow co workers with other banks won't see these pending credits until they clear. BOFA however shows you that someone has scheduled a DD but it has not actually hit your account yet. You're not able to spend those funds until it clears the account, based on the date the sender requests. Lots of companies schedule payments days in advance, but don't intend for you to get the funds until you actual payday. Never think you can spend funds that are showing as pending, it's that simple. It sucks you had this happen, but if it was your first time they will usually credit you for the honest mistake.

  • Va
      3rd of Jun, 2016
    0 Votes
    Bank Of America - Where to go when BofA does you wrong!
    United States

    There are two sites that consumers can visit to do more than vent about Bank of America. http://www.bbb.org/ is a Better Business Bureau site. Readers might be interested to know that this bank, even though it has dozens of "Bash" sites, has a satisfactory rating with the BBB, in fact the headquarters in my state has not had a complaint in 36 months. I think more people need to cut and paste that link and report them for all their short comings, maybe then they would be held accountable. Another site where you can research laws governing the BofA and report any suspected fraud on their behalf is http://www.occ.treas.gov/ this is a great tool for consumers. Hope this helps you because it sure helps us.

  • Cd
      3rd of Jun, 2016
    0 Votes

    When transferring a credit card balance to a line of credit. B of A played around with the transfer until it was time for a payment then mailed a check to my home instead of transferring balance in-house; I think this was an attempt to run up fees!

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