but i have a good reason for this one. three words: bank of america…
bank of america recently tried to bring mbna credit cards onto the bofa platform. i say “tried” because in the case of my accounts, it was a miserable failure.
yesterday i logged on to online banking to check my balances. i usually log on everyday because, as you all know, i’m paranoid. this time when i logged on, i noticed my mbna credit card showed up in the account list. fine, not a big deal, even though i haven’t used that card in years because of the rip-off rates.
but then i clicked on the bill pay tab…and the problems began.
i guess mbna had their own bill pay platform because, somehow, that’s what showed up instead of my regular bofa bill pay screen. all of my payees were gone. all of my scheduled payments were gone. the only option i had was to use my mbna credit card to pay bills instead of using my bofa checking account.
not freaking out just yet, i stared at the screen for a few minutes. i decided to send an email to customer service since i’ve had pretty good luck doing that in the past. they promise a 12-hour response time. so i sent the email, logged out, and then logged back in just on a lark.
lo and behold, my bofa bill pay stuff was back! i checked my payees and scheduled payments and everything looked fine. so i figured it was just a temporary glitch and decided not to worry.
today i logged in again, and — you guessed it — my bofa bill pay stuff was gone again. i have a payment scheduled to go out today and no way to check on it. i never got a response to my email yesterday so i decided to call.
first time i called, the system transferred me to a rep and in the process hung up on me. second time i called, i got stuck in automated menu hell and hung up. third time i called a different number, hit 0 immediately, and got connected to someone pretty quickly.
i explained the problem to him and he said he needed to transfer me to an online banking specialist. fine. i got transferred and explained the problem again. this guy put me on hold for a few minutes. when he came back he said that this was a “known issue” and there was no ETA on getting it fixed.
ok, first of all, WHAT? this is the country’s biggest consumer bank and there’s no ETA on fixing a service millions of people use daily? a service i’ve used daily for the last five years? a service on which i depend and which can trash my good credit if bills go late or unpaid? i can’t even access my e-bills to see what i owe for some payments. i guess this is what i get for going all electronic, huh?
second of all, what the hell happens when it’s fixed? are all of my payees gone? do i have to reenter them? what about my scheduled payments?
the rep said that scheduled payments will not go out until the system is fixed and that i should go directly to the merchant site to pay bills.
i have a few issues with that. 1) what if it’s too late to pay directly from the merchant’s site? for example, my student loan bill is supposed to be sent today. what merchant in the world is going to let me pay a bill from their site at this late of a date and not charge me an arm and a leg for an expedited payment? 2) what about merchants that don’t have websites? i have a property tax payment due on october 31. i can’t exactly go to the county website and pay the bill when they don’t offer that functionality. so now that means i’m going to have to drive to the county offices to drop off a payment. is bofa going to reimburse me mileage that i wouldn’t have to drive if their damn site worked? 3) how do i know if bofa really won’t send the payment? what if i go to the merchant’s website/office and pay the bill and then bofa also sends the payment? then i’m out double what i’ve budgeted for this month.
the rep said that he was really sorry for the inconvenience. in fact, he repeated that over and over, but he never said anything of any real value. just basically: “yeah, yeah, we’re sorry, now can we get off the phone so i can say the same things to the next customer?”
i mean, i know i’m not a very valuable customer by the bank’s definition. i don’t keep huge balances in my checking or savings accounts (why should i when the interest rate is less than 1%?). but i do have multiple accounts, including a mortgage that is larger than i care to think about. when i worked at bofa, all we talked about was how to get customers to open multiple accounts so we could expand and emphasize the relationship. well, i have multiple accounts and i do use many of the bank’s services and i’ve been a loyal customer for five years. i use bill pay, i use e-statements, i use e-bills, i use keep the change, i use alerts, etc. etc. etc. i never use tellers, i never call the 1-800 number, i do everything online. so even if i don’t make much money for the bank, i don’t cost them much money either.
and this is their answer to a problem that will potentially cause me to switch banks? “we’re sorry for the inconvenience, we hope to have it fixed soon, we can’t do anything about your scheduled payments.”
sorry, ken lewis, that’s not good enough. fix the problem, and fix it quickly, and fix it so that i don’t miss any payments.
or i’ll switch by the end of this week.
simple as that.