Bank Of America / faked an advance loan I never took out
My father died suddenly while I was traveling so I changed direction and went to his home. We needed clothing and such for his services and I did not have access to a computer so I decided to make an extra $3000.00 payment just to be sure we had plenty of room on our Alaska Airlines Bank of America Visa card. I did not yet owe a payment and I was not close to my limit. I am just cautious and know about all of the various ways credit card companies trap consumers into pirate interest rates and fees. In fact, I don't pay my bill each month by the due date, but by the earlier closing date so they cannot trick me into paying interest.
Apparently, when I made an automatic payment via their phone service, I input my routing number incorrectly. However, BOA gave me the message that the payment was made and gave me a confirmation number.
When I returned home a week later, exhausted and grieving, I discovered the $3000.00 payment hadn't processed. I called the company and they told me that the routing number was input incorrectly so I made the payment right there on the phone since I'd tried to earlier anyway. This payment was more than I owed for the billing period and almost three weeks before it was due.
Three weeks later when I looked at my account online I discovered a $3000.00 cash advance loan at almost 30% interest! I never asked for a cash advance, I never needed a cash advance, and altogether I had paid $6000.00 when I owed less than $5000.00 for that month! And I had paid it early!
I emailed customer service and they emailed me back telling me I had requested the loan. I corrected them and told them no, I had merely input the wrong digit into the phone when trying to make payment, no actual money went back and forth, and I made the payment a week later well in advance of when it was due and for at least $1500 more than I owed for that billing period. They wrote back telling me that they "could not" remove the cash advance or change anything. Mind you, I never actually got the $3000.00 because it was all just a numbers on paper game. They had debited my account the initial $3000.00 phone payment and then credited it, taken it back, the very same day. They claimed to have loaned me $3000.00, but did not actually give it to me to keep. I asked them that since, on paper, they my the payment back the same day they gave it to me, why didn't I have an extra $3000.00?
We went back and forth for days, they denied my request, then they stalled. My husband called them and lost his temper because the customer service person was rude and he kept excusing what was happening because we "had requested the cash advance." After my husband lost his temper, the customer service rep told him they would remove the cash advance and return the interest they had charged us. It was not removed and we were not reimbursed. Instead, both my paper bills and my online bills ceased! Someone changed my online billing status to stop my receiving them and I did not receive any in the mail!
I contacted them by email again since the phone calls had proved worthless and asked why they had not followed through on what customer service told us they would do for us. I received an email telling me that they were "reviewing" the issue and then I never heard from them again.
Because we use our card for almost everything in order to earn miles, there are charges on it almost daily. Instead of applying the $6000.00 in payments to what I owed that month, BOA applied it to new charges in the next billing period so that almost none of the $3000.00 "cash advance" was being paid. For the next three months our payments continued to be applied to new billing periods even when I sent in enough to pay the entire amount owed for each month plus the "cash advance." Thus, the cash advance was not going down by much each month.
Finally, we wrote to our Senator and included copies of everything. He wrote to them and forwarded our complaint to the comptroller's office. As soon as they got a letter from the Senator, a customer service rep called me, apologized profusely, returned our interest. removed the cash advance from our record, and refunded our yearly fee for that year. Although we have been reliable customers for many years, they weren't satisfied with the merchant fees they get every time we use our card; they wanted to force us into paying high interest. If our Senator had not written to them for an explanation, they would have continued cheating us.
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