PNC Bank / customer service and policies
PNC - Dishonoring the elderly and recently departed.
If you are elderly, dump PNC. If your parents are elderly, urge them to do so. My 88 year old father (living independently near Pittsburgh with no family nearby) had the foresight to take me to a PNC branch in March 2011 and add me to his account. In June he broke his leg. The ambulance took him away and he never saw his home of 54 years again. The injury resulted in a series of surgeries, hospitalizations, and complications that ultimately led to his passing in Dec 2011. So in June, I suddenly had to get visibility on his (very limited) finances and pay his bills. PNC was terrible on several occasions. 1) After we signed the document that joined me to the account, we asked for a copy of it. “Sorry - Not our policy”. Huh? We had to argue with the staff for an hour to get a copy. The clerk had to make a call to ‘higher headquarters’ to get authorization. For over 50 years, including 25 in the Army, I have never suffered a refusal for a signed document. Important document - fine print with conditions, provisions, and obligations – our social security numbers, our signatures: and we don’t get a copy? Why? Is there an insidious agenda to allow them the ability to deny the document’s existence if it suits their needs? It was a chilling experience. My poor father felt so humiliated for dragging me into the mess. My visits with Dad were limited and time was precious. So, addition to the incomprehensible administrative issue, PNC robbed us of quality time together and cut short our enjoying a local park. 2) PNC says you can download 6 years of statements on-line for free. NOPE - Not true when this period includes time with another bank that PNC swallowed-up (National City – 2008). Dad (while in the hospital) had to buy monthly statements at $5 each to complete the six-year ‘look-back’ period for his Medicaid application. 3) Dad died in December and therefore not eligible to keep his Jan Social Security payment. I notified the SSA before Jan. Noting that SS checks are issued by the Treasury Department, and it can take several months for Treasury to ‘get the word’ from the SSA, I was advised to request that Dad’s bank send back the Jan 2012 and any future SS checks. I went to a PNC branch and told them what I needed to accomplish. It appears that I am the first person in history to make such a request. I patiently explained the situation. Finally it sank in. I thought there would be a standard and simple form to fill out. Wrong – I had to prepare a letter. After several iterations of the letter (written while at the branch – much to the annoyance of the bank employee), it appears I eventually provided sufficient detail, background, and intent to meet PNC’s exacting standards. I imagined “refuse SS check – recipient deceased” would have been adequate. Dang – I forgot to ask for a copy of the letter; that might have been interesting. 4) After Dad’s death, I continue to monitor the checking account on-line and make deposits as necessary to ensure his enduring obligations are paid through automatic deductions that he set-up (for house and auto insurance, and gas, water, and electric utilities). This will continue until I can coordinate the sale of his car and house. (By the way – I am the court appointed executor of Dad’s estate.) Three weeks ago, WITHOUT NOTICE the account disappeared from on-line visibility. Can you image this happening to a bereaved spouse? No notice – No message giving me any indication concerning what happened – No indication concerning how to get the situation fixed. Nothing in the mail or email. No phone call. POOF - GONE. Panic – wondering if bills with automatic deductions are going to bounce. I contacted an on-line consultant for a chat session – No value; he had no authority and passed-the-buck. Not much help from the 888 customer service number (with a client satisfaction representative) – That session was very unpleasant. The rep promised to send me a PIN within 3-5 days for me to reestablish access; the PIN has not arrived. So, if you are elderly, dump PNC while there is still time. It will be worth the time. Your bank should be the least of one’s worries during a time of loss. It should not be the greatest source of stress. PNC has dishonored my father. Dad fought the Japanese Empire. His son is losing the fight against Imperial PNC.
I hired an attorney to guide the process of probating Dad’s Will. Part of the process requires opening a checking account – A new one in the name of the decedent’s estate. I have not bothered to tell the estate attorney about the problems I’ve had with PNC, though he was aware that Dad and I have an account there. I presumed the attorney would establish the estate bank account with PNC. And get this – THERE IS A PNC BRANCH DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM HIS OFFICE! I will not attribute any comments he may have made about PNC, and I’ll let you draw your own conclusion concerning the following: He (an experienced, competent, and conscientious estate and probate attorney) SELECTED A DIFFERENT BANK! The PNC institution needs to go out of business. Unfortunately Dad has been used as a bill-payer for their glistening headquarters in the ‘burgh (and from which they can see the humble house in which Dad was born.) Arbitrary rules, poor customer service. They will play any trick conceivable. DUMP PNC while before it’s too late.
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