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Navy Federal Credit Union / overcharged

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Navy federal paid some checks my son had inadvertently bounced just before he lost his job, and as expected, charged a $25 fee. Instead of letting him make payment arrangements to bring his account back into good standing, though, they continued to run the checks through their system (Less than 10) and over the course of two months ended up charging over $1200 in overdraft fees.

He is in the military reserve and did receive pay from drill weekends and doing honor guard for veteran funerals, so he had some money coming in even though he had lost his job. Nfcu took every cent he paid into that account, though, and used it to pay overdraft fees as they continued to add more fees every week!

When they had drained his account of every cent, they then proceeded without notice to drain my accounts, because I was a joint owner with him. They took over $600 from my accounts, leaving us financially insolvent and having to borrow money to pay our rent that month.

They also tried to take money from another child's account because I was a joint owner on his account. They took a few hundred dollars out, transferred that money without any notice, to pay for their bogus overdraft fees, until I wrote to the board of directors again and informed our congressman. Then they returned the money, again with no notice - - very sneaky.

I spoke to a customer service manager who said that was too bad about our accounts being drained but there was nothing he could do, and I should have read the fine print that a joint owner's accounts can be drained. Well, it is in their disclosure statement, but I have talked to several other people with accounts at nfcu who said that was never done to them, even to the man whose wife overdrew their joint account by a few thousand dollars - - they never touched his private account to cover her overdrafts! So, it seems to be a very subjective process whose accounts they raid.

They do not give notice, either, they just begin transferring money, and they do not even specific what account it is going to - - the accounts only show the notations 'transfer to other' or 'transfer from other', so it took me a few days to catch on to the sneaky behavior.

I faxed letters to the company president, who ignored every one of them. I wrote letters to the board of directors, not one of whom contacted us to assist. Not one!

At that point I had to contact our congressman, and suddenly - - after nearly three months of having our accounts drained, my son was told that he could close his account and the bank would then stop adding fees. I do not know why they did not tell him that before they had taken over a thousand dollars from him. One rep said it would take 30 days to close the account.

But when we received another letter adding more overdraft fees for the same items, we called again and that rep closed the account within 24 hours.

I wrote and demanded the return of all but the initial fees, but was ignored yet again. The only correspondence we ever received were a few letters from someone named j. S. Cooper on stationery without an address, advising that he or she had been directed to respond to my letters, and he or she considered the matter closed.

The next issue involves a small loan (A few thousand dollars, he paid 3/4 of the cost in cash) my son took out to purchase a new vehicle. He applied online at nfcu, and they granted him the loan. They sent him a check to sign and turn over to cleo bay honda. At no time did any rep from nfcu or cleo bay tell him that the vehicle would be used for collateral, and we never received one piece of paperwork for him to sign off on regarding the loan or using the vehicle as collateral. That made sense because being military, they knew they would get their money one way or another, and the loan was relatively small.

However, since nfcu was taking every cent he made to pay for bogus overdraft charges, he could not make payments on the vehicle loan after he lost his job. He explained this to nfcu and the loan reps, but nfcu said it wasn't their problem, and the reps said they didn't care and continued with their threats.

We received calls several times a week, even after telling them to stop, and those calls were always threatening. The reps were always belligerent, and would tell my son they were going to repossess his vehicle, and they would end up shouting so loud I could hear them across the room. One time his brother picked up a call, and without even verifying who was on the phone, the rep began shouting and threatening his brother, and discussing personal financial matters. She did not even verify the identity of the person to whom she was talking!

We notified our congressman of these calls and wrote the board again, and the calls stopped within a week or so. However, next we heard from the saleswoman at cleo bay honda, killeen, texas who sent an email to my son. She said in her email that she 'heard' he was behind on his loan payments, scolded him, then told her to return the title to her! No other explanation, so of course, I replied to her email asking who she was talking to, advising her she was breaking privacy laws by discussing financial information without my son's permission, and asked why she wanted the title back.

This made no sense since honda was paid in full, and the loan was from nfcu to my son. However, sue ramirez never had the courtesy to reply to my email. I then contacted the dealership manager, brian hoenig, to let him know what was happening. Even though I did it by forwarding sue's email to my son, and my son gave him written permission, he refused to discuss anything with me.

It is apparent though that nfcu called cleo bay honda and discussed my son's personal financial information with sue and their finance department and told her to get the title back so they could repossess the vehicle.

We have now received a copy of a petition from the texas dept. Of transportation advising my son that cleo bay honda is suing the state to have the title rescinded and changed! According to the letter from the tx dot attorney, he was receiving a copy because he has an 'interest' in the vehicle - - I should say so, with $16, 000 paid into it!

In the meantime, nfcu seems to be doing their best to cause my son as much grief as possible, because - - four months after his semester ended, my son received a letter from the va saying he owed them over $200 for benefits to which he was not entitled! The letter was unsigned and did not specify which benefits, or give any information other than he owed them and what they would do if he did not pay.

Another issue we had with nfcu is that they appear to be retaliating by causing problems with my bank account. I lost my credit card and ordered a new one through their site. I received and activated it, but spent most of a week trying to use it. It was declined every time, when I had several hundred dollars in my account. The reps kept telling me there was no problem with it. Finally, after trying to make a purchase after another paycheck had been deposited and having the card declined again, I called a rep who did not have her head up her backside. She told me that someone had changed the data in the personal information fields, including part of my name and address. Someone had also linked the card to my son's account instead of mine - - had to be deliberate since our last names are different.

Another incident involved a trip from texas to the east coast for a military graduation for another child. I used my card across five states, and made charges from a few dollars for lunches to over $100 for hotel accommodations. A few days after I returned home, it was the third time I had used my card, it was declined!

When I called customer service, the rep told me that the security department had 'closed' the card because they believed there were unauthorized charges. The problem with that was that the charges they were questioning - - four out of the several dozen we made on the trip we had just completed - - were for amounts ranging from $3 to approximately $25 - - all for insignificant charges like lunch, one itune song, etc.

Even though charges had been made for months from texas (Me) and my son (Georgia) , the security department never questioned those. Nor did they question any of the charges made on our trip in louisiana, mississippi, or alabama - - only those five small charges from texas and georgia.

I sent another letter to the directors - - again, no response at all.

So, we have been in touch with our congressman because nfcu's banking practices are sneaky, underhanded, and if a lot of what they are doing is legal - - it has to be marginally so! They are unresponsive, and they are vindictive.

Their website alone should tell you this, because I had to hire a researcher to go into special databases to find out their physical address, phone, fax, and the names of their directors. I sent 12 letters out every single time, one in particular going to bill briscoe, vp, regulatory compliance and public policy - and we never received one response, not even from mr. Briscoe.

Ru
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Comments

  • Ma
      Apr 09, 2009

    Will you please provide the names/fax numbers of the BoDs and also, do you have executive management names/fax numbers? I am specifically looking for the CEO, VP of Public Affairs and VP of Customer Relations. Thanks very kindly!!

    +1 Votes
  • Pe
      Apr 16, 2009

    This seems a little strange because NFCU only adds one overdraft fee per item paid.

    0 Votes
  • Ca
      May 20, 2009

    In this story, I would have to ask what was causing the fees to continue to be added. If it was the person that the bad checks were "inadvertently" written to (find that weird because "less than 10 checks" written when there is not enough money in the account is not "inadvertent" it is kiting), then NFCU will re-present the however many times the poor merchant that got the bad check tries to run it through. Do you realize that each time the check is returned, the person that took your son's check on good faith is being charged a fee as well?
    Also, with regards to taking money from other accounts "without notice." What would you have done if you had been told "we will take money out Tuesday." You would have left all the money there so that NFCU could get these fees back, right? Come on. You were told when you opened the account if you decided to read the paperwork that came with it.
    As for the CAR being held as collateral on a CAR loan. How do you NOT catch that. Did you not notice where you listed the VIN# on the check when it was signed? or notice that you did not get the title (or got the calls from NFCU asking for the title) or that there was a lien holder listed on the title? Also, you say he applied online. If you would like to check it out for yourself (though I know you will not) the VERY first page asks you what kind of loan you want and if you say ANY kind of auto loan it REQUIRES you to choose collateral of New Auto, Used Auto or Late Model Used. Does this not indicate it is held as collateral? If that is not clue enough, the part that he has to check kinda clues one in.
    "When obtaining a collateral loan with Navy Federal, it is a requirement to have Navy Federal recorded as the lien holder within 90 days from the date on the promissory note.

    Failure to comply with this request can result in the loan being converted to a signature loan with a higher interest rate and/or Navy Federal recording the title with Navy Federal as the lien holder. Any fees that are imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicle on Navy Federal in the process of recording the title the proper state will be debited from your savings account..
    I have read the above disclosure?

    I know as his father you would like to believe he is the victim and that NFCU is this big monster picking on him, but honestly, no one at NFCU wrote the checks for him and no one did the online application for him.

    Thanks for reading.

    -2 Votes
  • Call Center -- sounds like you work for NFCU! Did you even READ the initial post???

    First, NFCU NEVER advised him there was a problem. He didn't realize there was one, not until he realized NFCU was charging excessive and unjustified fees and then taking every deposit he made to pay those fees, meaning that the account kept going negative. In no way was he "kiting" - nice try, blaming him for something he didn't do, sounds even more like you work for NFCU. Second, NFCU paid the checks, or the merchants would have contacted him for payment, which they never did. Thus, the fees that NFCU was loading onto the account were for its OWN benefit, no one else's. Had the merchants contacted him, he would have realized there was a problem, and it would have been dealt with immediately. For that matter, had NFCU even bothered to call or email him, this could have been cleared up fairly immediately -- but instead, they saw the opportunity to take every bit of money the kid made and deposited into the account without helping resolve the problem.

    As for the tiny print disclosure statement that says they will take your money if you are a joint holder on any account that goes overdrawn-- that is a very little-known and not widely practiced policy. I spoke with several Navy personnel who had accounts with the credit union for YEARS and did not know that! Bankers to whom I showed that policy said it was unethical, and personally, I have never dealt with or worked for any bank that played such dirty tricks. Furthermore, that policy is not applied uniformly -- it is discretionary, since 90% of the Navy people I spoke with were NOT charged when they or their spouses overdrew their accounts, some by significant amounts (over $1, 000). Hiding policies like that instead of being upfront and open about it causes a lot of trouble for people (check out other complaints!) that could be resolved if the credit union were responsive to problems and ETHICAL in its practices, which NFCU has shown it is not.

    The car was NOT collateral for the loan. He never signed the tiny, greyed out print on a small part of the BACK of the check. I had to go back and darken the copies we made several times to even see that wording. And we DID get the title, and that title was marked NO LIEN. Did you bother to read anything in the initial post??? The point is -- there was serious lack of oversight on the part of NFCU in failing to secure the proper paperwork with the appropriate signatures from him, as well as with their agent who did not making sure the check was properly endorsed before accepting it and having the title issued.

    Despite having behaved unethically and made several serious mistakes, neither NFCU nor its agent admitted it was at fault or tried to behave responsibly to resolve any of these problems. NFCU lied, violated privacy laws, took unjustified fees, altered his accounts, failed to respond to faxes, phone calls, and letters, withheld information that could have assisted in clearing up the problem and then gave inaccurate information. They even harassed other family members with accounts there by deliberately changing account information and changing charges from "paid" to "pending". They even refused to give information on closing the accounts until forced to, then closed accounts at their own discretion.

    Oh, and they also LIED about him purchasing payment protection when he did the online app for the loan and denied him coverage, even though he'd paid for it and met all their conditions for using that protection. They can't even get their stories straight -- the only ethical person with whom he had contact verified that he did purchase the protection and told him how to file for it, but everyone else he had to contact denied he had purchased the coverage, paid for it, or was entitled to use it. He was even given the "story" that it took three days to put it into effect, which didn't matter regarding the time requirements, but that person seemed to think that 3 day gap meant there was no coverage! And the only ethical person was apparently told to back off, since after the first two contacts with him, she never returned any other phone calls.

    I hope everyone who has problems with NFCU takes their problems as far as they need to in order to get justice, maybe then NFCU will stop their unethical behavior, stop lying, cheating, violating people's privacy, etc. and so on, ad nauseum.

    I encourage EVERYONE who has ANY problem with this credit union to document every single transaction, phone call, email, letter -- keep detailed accounts of every person and the conversation and the date and time -- then when the problem isn't resolved (which it won't be), contact the National Credit Union Administration, your political representatives, and any other government agency you can think of about the problem, and be prepared to hire a lawyer. Otherwise, this "business" will continue to work its unethical, nasty little tricks on its account holders.

    +2 Votes
  • Qu
      Jun 10, 2009

    JUST A FEW THINGS
    1.) please explain inadvertently bounced checks-if you write the check BEFORE the funds are in the account-even if you think they will be there-it IS called KITING and is illegal-the govn’t has even initiated a new Check 21 system to try to reduce/stop check KITING……
    “Check kiting is a form of fraud …. Some people have been known to use this method, called circular check kiting, when several checks on an overdrawn account may come due before a paycheck or other regular funds can be deposited.” www.wisegeek.com
    2.) “they continued to run the checks through their system” –THEY in this case is the merchant your son wrote the draft to-let me explain that when you write a check to a merchant YOU are guarantying payment and NFCU must submit those through each time they come in…it charges you and the merchant-remember back in the day having to pick up your check from collections agencies and paying them
    3.) “they then proceeded without notice to drain MY accounts, because I was a joint owner with him.” JOINT-that means you are equally responsible-don’t share finances with those you don’t plan to pull the slack for

    4.) “They do not give notice, either, they just begin transferring money, and they do not even specific what account it is going to -- the accounts only show the notations 'Transfer to Other' or 'Transfer from Other', so it took me a few days to catch on to the sneaky behavior.” SNEAKY? Who wrote checks when funds weren’t available in the account? We only took what was owed in your agreement for your account that you will pay $25 for each item that is returned-PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY

    5.)“I faxed letters … I had to contact our congressman…I wrote and demanded…” Why do people feel that if they complain and throw temper tantrums that they will get there way, parents please quit giving in to your kids every whim-trust me it follows them through life.
    6.)”The next issue involves a small loan (a few thousand dollars, he paid 3/4 of the cost in cash) my son took out to purchase a new vehicle. He applied online at NFCU, and they granted him the loan. They sent him a check to sign and turn over to Cleo Bay Honda. At NO time did any rep from NFCU or Cleo Bay tell him that the vehicle would be used for collateral, and we never received one piece of paperwork for him to sign off on regarding the loan or using the vehicle as collateral. That made sense because being military, they knew they would get their money one way or another, and the loan was relatively small.” –Seriously? He got a vehicle loan in which, if he didn’t read the online app when he applied, he did receive the loan draft-which has the vehicle info on it and he must have signed over to the dealer (if not they wont accept it-kind of like a check) the paperwork comes with the check when you receive it so saying you didn’t receive the paperwork is well…BULL. So again PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY…

    7.)” bogus overdraft charges”-This would imply he didn’t write the checks? If not then he needs to fill out a police report and a fraud claim, but we know he did and messed up. We all do at one point in life, here’s the kicker-adults take responsibility fix their own mistakes and learn from them.

    -1 Votes
  • Pe
      Jun 10, 2009

    A lot of companies that house credit cards will have a fraud protection system that will automatically block a credit card when it sees unusual transactions. You mentioned the ITunes charge. Well if it was just one charge as you say then that is probably what caused the block because itunes charges are usually small in amount...usually 99cents and most "fraudsters" that obtain credit cards will run a "test" charge for some crazy amount less than a dollar and if it goes through they will wait and then put some OBSCENE amount through for thousands of dollars or hundreds of dollars. So it may not have even been that you were travelling. To me it just seems more convienent t o have my card blocked and then to verify the charges then to have some fraudster max out my card and then have to wait for an invesitgation to complete and all that be be able to get my money back.

    -1 Votes
  • Nf
      Feb 16, 2010

    I use Navy Federal in Hawaii because I refuse to use a Japanese bank. I still have a mainland bank for my military direct deposits but i use the Navy Federal account for my daughters school payment and for cashing check. I have had to two car loans with them and a small loan. The first car i had a loan with was traded in to buy a new one and paid off, it took SIX months for the dealership to get the title. The dealership kept calling us and my husband had to walk into Navy Federal 3 times to get it straightened out they still sent the title to our address!!! Everyone we talked to at Navy Federal told us a different way to take care of the situation we finally realise we had to deal with the bank supervisors to get anything done correctly. Second car loan we paid off directly it took 6 weeks to get the title in the mail. No letter attached, no instructions from Navy Federal on what we do with the tile or what actions they did to the DMV in California speed up 1 year later we took out a small loan with Navy Federal and used the car for collateral paid it off got the title in the mail with no instructions on how to take off them as a Lienholder so basically they are still on there, they have been on there since I paid off the car loan and they didnt take any actions with the titles DMV even though it is in the Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) system. So I'm annoyed and I'm starting the process of switching the title to a different state so I can sell the vehicle. I never had a problem with Car Loans before!!
    I'm so glad I never fully switched over to Navy Federal as my main bank from all the stories I read here and my experiences this is the worst unprofessional bank I've ever dealt with. They seem to hire new people all the time that don't know what they are doing and it's very frustrating. I realise know that most people that work for them are newly trained and don't now much so they have a attitude to cover the fact they suck at their job.

    Do I feel the lower interest rates are worth, no because that only applied for when I was a new member but now they think they have me and don't offer as good of a interest rate anymore.
    I'm canceling my membership as soon as I leave Hawaii!

    0 Votes
  • Di
      Dec 03, 2012

    I just had a very similar experience and I've been a member since 1965.

    0 Votes

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