January 12, 2007

Advice if your checks ever get stolen: don't tell your bank

I just had one of the most frustrating phone conversations with Wells Fargo I have had in a long time. 

It's not the first time, and over the past months, Wells Fargo has managed to irritate me on so many little details that I was slowly beginning to consider closing my account with them.  The only thing that held me back is the annoyance that comes with such a decision, since I already have quite a few automatic deposits and withdrawals on my checking account.  I'm not afraid of transferring them to a new account, but I am concerned that I might forget to transfer one, which could result in defaulting on certain payments and some bad consequences for my credit history.  So I tolerated their lame online banking site, tiresome phone support and the various fees that they slap me with for no reason now and then.

Not any more.

It started innocently:  I ordered new checks two weeks ago, and a few days later, I noticed a box in my mailbox as I was heading out in the morning.  I made a mental note that my checks had arrived and left, but when I came back at night, the box was no longer there.  I looked in the various places that I might have put it, but it didn't turn up, so at this point, I decided that the safest course of action would be to call Wells Fargo, cancel these checks and order new ones.  And of course, to monitor my account for any unexpected activity until the checks get canceled.

After dialing their number, punching in my account information (hint:  keep saying "banker" until the automated system transfers you to a real human) and then repeating this info to the representative, I explain my problem to the person.

"I can certainly help you with that.  How many checks did you say there were in the box?"

"I didn't say, and to be honest, I don't know".

"But would you say more than six?"

Uh?  Does it really matter?  Fine, I'll humor them.

"Well, there were probably a few checkbooks in that package, as you probably already know, so yes, I'd say there were most likely more than six checks.  Why?"

"Well, we can't cancel more than six checks".

"Excuse me?"

"We can't cancel more than six checks, sir".

Of course you can, I think, although I can definitely picture this guy using an application that was written on a mainframe twenty years ago.  Right now, he must be staring at a monochrome monitor showing six text fields and having to justify this to a slowly but increasingly aggravated customer over the phone that this is meant for their own protection.

"Are you serious?  When I ordered the checks, you asked me what numbers I wanted, so you know exactly the range of these checks, can't you just cancel the whole range?"

"No, sir".

Long silence as I'm shaking my head in disbelief and contemplating my next step.

"So what are my options?"

"Your best bet is to close your account and open a new one".

"Are you serious?"

"Yes, sir"

"Look, closing my checking account is a big deal.  I have been a customer for eight years, and I won't do that unless you can give me a very good reason".

"I'm sorry, sir, that's the only option.  It's for your protection".

"No, the best option for my protection and my comfort is for you to cancel the range of checks you just sent me".

"We can't do that, sir"

I take a deep breath.  I'm that close to raising my voice, something that I rarely ever do, but reason takes over and I calm down.

"Fine. I'll just reorder new checks".

I figure that if the checks have indeed been stolen and someone starts issuing them, I can always dispute them on the basis that they won't have my signature.  How naive of me...

"Very well, sir, but before we do that, I need to bring my supervisor in".

"Really?  Why?"

"Because she needs to confirm with you that you are waiving protection against fraudulent checks, sir".

"What?!?"

"If you don't mind holding, sir, I'll call her right now".

Pause.  I'm on hold again.  I'm beginning to tap my fingers nervously on my desk, because these last words certainly left me with a very uncomfortable feeling.  I have no intention of waiving anything, and I hope this supervisor has a good explanation for what's going on.

"Hello sir, my name is April and I'm the supervisor.  Do I understand correctly that you are waiving your protection against your stolen checks?"

"Hello April, and no, I'm not waiving anything.  I just called to notify you that checks might have been stolen, and it's not my problem if your system can't cancel more than six checks at a time.  Why would I suddenly waive a protection against fraudulent checks that's always been in effect ever since checks were created?"

"Sir, by calling us, you admit that you know your checks are stolen, so if you refuse to close your account per our advice, you are now liable for any check issued"

"Are you saying that I would still be covered if I hadn't called you?"

I'll spare you the five minutes of circular arguments that followed this question, during which she carefully avoided the question.  I'm not one to let go, though, so I kept repeating my question, and she finally admitted:

"Yes, I understand where you are coming from, sir, but that's the way it is"

"You do understand how ridiculous this sounds?  You are basically telling me that next time my checks get stolen, I'll get better protection if I don't call you".

"I'm sorry, sir", she said, carefully avoiding the question again.

"Let me ask you a different question:  if Wells Fargo cashes a check that doesn't bear my signature, how can I be liable for it?"

"You wouldn't, sir, but since you called us to notify us that your checks were stolen..."

I interrupt her, since I know exactly where this is headed again.

"Hold on.  Are you saying that Wells Fargo doesn't check for signatures at all?"

This is a trick question, because everybody knows that banks and financial institutions never check for signatures, which makes some kind of perverted sense.  Sure enough, she dodges the issue again and she comes back to blaming me for calling them in the first place.  I decide to change tactics and see if this gets me anywhere.

"To be honest with you, should Wells Fargo ever clear a check that doesn't bear my signature, I would go to court to protect my rights".

"You wouldn't be suing Wells Fargo in this case, sir, but the vendor".

"What?!?"

"Wells Fargo is only an intermediary, we just move money around.  The person you'd have to sue is the vendor who accepted the check, or the person who issued the fraudulent check".

I don't even know where to start with this one, but it's pretty clear to me that I'm no longer the only one in this conversation trying to protect my butt.

"I understand that you will never admit this, especially since we are most likely on record, but I just want to emphasize how ridiculous I think this conversation and the whole situation is".

"So, should we put your account on hold, sir?"

"Wait, are you saying there is a middle ground?  Could I disable checks for my account for a little while and then restore them in the near future?"

"Mmmh... no, sir, if we put your account on hold, it will eventually be closed"

I can't say I didn't see this coming.

"How about this idea then, is it possible to just refuse to cash any checks on this account for a period of time without leading to the closure of this account?"

"No, sir. Are you willing to close your account and open a new one, sir?"

"At this point, I'm very much willing to close my account, but I won't be opening a new one with Wells Fargo".

I politely thanked her, hang up, fumed for a little while at my desk and promptly opened an account with Bank of America.  At the moment, I'm making a list of all the actions I need to take to make sure I transfer all my accounting to the new account, and I'm hoping I won't forget any.

Good bye, Wells Fargo, I won't miss you.

 

Posted by cedric at January 12, 2007 01:15 PM
Comments

So, how does B of A handle this situation? (I'm sure ou asked...)

Posted by: Ed at January 12, 2007 01:22 PM

No offense, but a lot of your posts lately aren't about Java, programming languages and software development at all, and contain more than a hint of bitterness. And I used to look forward to your posts..

Posted by: charles at January 12, 2007 02:12 PM

I would seriously look elsewhere before Bank of America. They're the worst bank I've ever had to deal with.

Posted by: Pete at January 12, 2007 02:14 PM

+1 against BofA. Cedric, don't do that to yourself, not BofA.

Posted by: Francois at January 12, 2007 02:50 PM

You should talk/email to David Lazarus at the SF Chronicle. He often reports on this kind of customer service abuse, and sometime get the bank to be more accommodating...

dlazarus@sfchronicle.com

Posted by: Julien at January 12, 2007 03:03 PM

We've had problems too but haven't switched because of the hassle. We had a branch of Wells Fargo at one of the grocery stores mess up a big deposit. We called to see what happened to it and they put some kind of trace on it that night. This was Friday night. That Saturday we went to our main branch to try and resolve this but they said they couldn't do squat because we called to trace our missing money.
We ended up getting it resolved and the Safeway branch was nicer and more accomodating. The main branch basically told us to get lost.
I really don't think they give a damn about their customers.

Posted by: Greg Ostravich at January 12, 2007 03:04 PM

My wife is in a sock-of-the-month knitting club, run by a yarn company. When they started processing tens of thousands of dollars of club fees for this year, the transactions were flagged by the bank. The bank managers then had a meeting and decided that this many people couldn't possibly be interested in a sock club and that it was front for laundering money. They froze the account, causing everyone's payments to be rejected. Needless to say, they're with a new bank now.

I've always had good luck with credit unions.

Posted by: Phil at January 12, 2007 03:16 PM

Ok Cedric, don't get me wrong I'm not trying to blame the victim here. But there is a better, easier and more relaxing way to handle these things. The key is not to argue but, instead, to ask them how they are going to solve your problem. If they say they can't then ask to speak to their supervisor. Repeat until satisfied or you take your business elsewhere.

So, for example, in this case:
Cedric: "My problem is that someone stole my cheques and I need you to protect me from someone using those cheques."
Rep: "You will have to close your account"
Cedric: "That won't work for me because I have all these auto withdrawals, etc. If I have to close my account then I will move it to another bank. You need to find some other way to help me"
Rep: "There is no other way"
Cedric: "Can I speak to your supervisor then please?"

This puts the onus on them to deal with their silly little rules. You don't even have to hear about them. And, if they don't help you, then it's goodbye!

Posted by: Charlie at January 12, 2007 03:45 PM

I'd say the real problem is using checks in the first place.

I ordered checks for the first time in 4 or 5 years a couple of months ago.

It would have taken longer to run through my last set of checks, but this day care thing has shot that. Otherwise, 99% of my transactions for bills and other recurring transactions are paid using an online banking application via ACH channels. Heck I only get my quarterly water and cell phone bills via paper anymore.

Posted by: Mike Cornell at January 12, 2007 04:26 PM

Go to a credit union! They are much nicer than WF.
There are many horror stories about WF.

Posted by: Martin Stein at January 12, 2007 04:36 PM

Nightmare.

Another +1 against BofA, though. I've dealt with them both. As bad as WF is, BofA is even worse.

Posted by: pcal at January 12, 2007 04:51 PM

BofA? Bad move. Commerce Bank would be my top rec but on this coast, I'd say USAA. They don't have a branches in CA but their customer service is the best and who needs people anyway. Re: checks - don't write them. You should have used bill pay. If the check issued via bill pay gets lost or stolen or arrives late, it's the bank's responsibility.

Posted by: Ken Brown at January 12, 2007 05:04 PM

I closed my account with BofA after they made a couple of arithmetic errors, neither in my favor. Avoid, avoid.

Posted by: Larry Hosken at January 12, 2007 05:34 PM

I can just imagine how upset you would have been once you found out it would cost ~$20 a check to cancel those checks. Even more upset to find out the cancellation lasts a mere 6 months. Guess what. That's banking. Those institutions exist to make money. It costs money to cancel checks. I can't believe that you won't take a little responsibility here and help them help you.

Posted by: Eric at January 12, 2007 05:42 PM

Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire! Bank of America is the worst choice you could make.

Posted by: stu at January 12, 2007 06:06 PM

BofA are the worst. I started with them ..switched to Wells Fargo (too much fees)...and finally ended up with "Washington Mutual". Good Customer service.

Posted by: at January 12, 2007 06:21 PM

why dont you just do what they tell you to do. its in your best interest if someone stole your checks they know your routing number, account number, name, address, phone number, and probably DL# if you put that on there.

working for a credit bureau and listening to people on the phones with horror stores about identity theft. you should do what it takes, no matter the hassle, on protecting your identity.

stop being an idiot already and close your account and go open one up at some crummy credit union. :P

Posted by: Chad at January 12, 2007 06:29 PM

why dont you just do what they tell you to do. its in your best interest if someone stole your checks they know your routing number, account number, name, address, phone number, and probably DL# if you put that on there.

working for a credit bureau and listening to people on the phones with horror stores about identity theft. you should do what it takes, no matter the hassle, on protecting your identity.

stop being an idiot already and close your account and go open one up at some crummy credit union. :P

Posted by: Chad at January 12, 2007 06:30 PM

I completely love BofA I have had nothing but good service with them. Everyone hates some brand of bank or some brand of cell phone, it happens.

Posted by: Jessica at January 12, 2007 06:31 PM

I completely love BofA I have had nothing but good service with them. Everyone hates some brand of bank or some brand of cell phone, it happens.

Posted by: Jessica at January 12, 2007 06:31 PM

I completely love BofA I have had nothing but good service with them. Everyone hates some brand of bank or some brand of cell phone, it happens.

Posted by: Jessica at January 12, 2007 06:32 PM

I rather agree with the bank. Best to close the account and open a new one. That's what i did when i had a checkbook stolen a few years ago.

Posted by: Florian at January 12, 2007 06:33 PM

I have been screwed by WF - it took 2 years to overcome the fact that I couldnt call an 800 # since out of the country. Never use that bank. Stick with the samll local ones if you can.

Posted by: seth at January 12, 2007 06:34 PM

i would go with chase bank if i were you.

Posted by: kevin at January 12, 2007 06:39 PM

I'm a personal banker at Bank of America, and I am proud to say you would never run into this horrible situation with our company. Your checks could be cancelled, a new set of check reordered with different check numbers, and your account personally monitored for suspicious activity, and you'll also be glad to know, that BofA does do signature verification. To keep from missing anything, start using the online banking with free bill pay instead of having direct drafts come from your account, so you can monitor the activity more easily and keep track of what's actually going on. One final suggestion, make it a point to go into you local banking center and establish a relationship with one the personal bankers, so if anything ever comes up you can have a "go to guy."

Posted by: Iona at January 12, 2007 06:41 PM

You would have been a COMPLETE IDIOT to just cancel your checks and get new ones. Wells Fargo was CORRECT, and you were wrong. The only god solution was to do exactly what they said. (And please tell me how having an account for 8 years made it so terible to get a new account,since you did that anyway.)

Suppose you canceled every check that was sent. How does that stop your account from being compromised. Pretty much any internet or phone sotre takes "payments by check" which requires just your account number, bank number, etc.

So, the bank tried to protect you, and now you are complaining about it in your DIAY like a 12 year old girl would write.R

And seriously...you have to be a complete idiot to have an insecure mailbox, know there are checks in it, and not take 2 seconds to GET THEM before you leave for work.

This is all your fault. And writing a little fairy diary doesn't make you look any better. At least 12 year old girls have the good sense to know that no one else CARES about their diary. You don't possess that same common sense.

Posted by: JK87 at January 12, 2007 06:42 PM

I'm a personal banker at Bank of America, and I am proud to say you would never run into this horrible situation with our company. Your checks could be cancelled, a new set of check reordered with different check numbers, and your account personally monitored for suspicious activity, and you'll also be glad to know, that BofA does do signature verification. To keep from missing anything, start using the online banking with free bill pay instead of having direct drafts come from your account, so you can monitor the activity more easily and keep track of what's actually going on. One final suggestion, make it a point to go into you local banking center and establish a relationship with one the personal bankers, so if anything ever comes up you can have a "go to guy."

Posted by: Iona at January 12, 2007 06:42 PM

Anywhere but BofA! I had an almost identical conversation with BofA before I ditched them! It was a different topic, but the same run-around, same terrible customer service, and the same lack of interest in keeping my business.

I'm at a credit union now and am very happy with it.

Posted by: dustin at January 12, 2007 06:44 PM

All it takes is one missing check and someone can order new ones and start using them. It doesn't matter if you "cancel the range of checks". Someone can take a single bill you're paying out of your mailbox and do this (happened to me). The bank MUST close the account and open a new one, it's the only safe thing to do.

Depending where they spend the check, you won't see the scanned image of the check in your history. Some places just have an electronic system (Wal-Mart).

Posted by: Person at January 12, 2007 06:44 PM

stay away from bank of america. they're much worse than WF - that's for sure.

Posted by: at January 12, 2007 06:44 PM

Anywhere but BofA! I had an almost identical conversation with BofA before I ditched them! It was a different topic, but the same run-around, same terrible customer service, and the same lack of interest in keeping my business.

I'm at a credit union now and am very happy with it.

Posted by: dustin at January 12, 2007 06:45 PM

You would have been a COMPLETE IDIOT to just cancel your checks and get new ones. Wells Fargo was CORRECT, and you were wrong. The only god solution was to do exactly what they said. (And please tell me how having an account for 8 years made it so terible to get a new account,since you did that anyway.)

Suppose you canceled every check that was sent. How does that stop your account from being compromised. Pretty much any internet or phone store takes "payments by check" which requires just your account number, bank number, etc.

So, the bank tried to protect you, and now you are complaining about it in your DIAY like a 12 year old girl would write.R

And seriously...you have to be a complete idiot to have an insecure mailbox, know there are checks in it, and not take 2 seconds to GET THEM before you leave for work.

This is all your fault. And writing a little fairy diary doesn't make you look any better. At least 12 year old girls have the good sense to know that no one else CARES about their diary. You don't possess that same common sense.

Posted by: JK87 at January 12, 2007 06:46 PM

Let me get this right... you saw the checks in the mail box, but your lazy a$$ decided that you didn't want to take the 60 seconds to stop and take them out. You let them sit all day -- do you have a lock on you mail box to keep others out ??

Now your checks are stolen ??? Gee, I wonder how that happened....????

Hmmmm.. lets call the bank and tell them to ignore those checks so somebody (who you let steal them) won't be able to use them, but dont' cancel your account... cause its too inconvient for you..

Just how is the bank responsible for this act of stupidity ????

Posted by: cpa at January 12, 2007 06:47 PM

Let me add to the list of people saying to avoid BofHUA like the plague (that it is)

Credit Unions are your best bet, since they are not for profit they are much less inclined to screw you over.

Posted by: Robert Aitchison at January 12, 2007 06:48 PM

Let me get this right... you saw the checks in the mail box, but your lazy a$$ decided that you didn't want to take the 60 seconds to stop and take them out. You let them sit all day -- do you have a lock on you mail box to keep others out ??

Now your checks are stolen ??? Gee, I wonder how that happened....????

Hmmmm.. lets call the bank and tell them to ignore those checks so somebody (who you let steal them) won't be able to use them, but dont' cancel your account... cause its too inconvient for you..

Just how is the bank responsible for this act of stupidity ????

Posted by: cpa at January 12, 2007 06:48 PM

Cedric buddy. There's no such thing as 'cancelling' a check. They just put the check numbers on a watchlist, but unfortunately banks still let through 'cancelled' checks all the time (it's a very loose mesh sifter). The other bugaboo is that 'cancelled' isn't perminant, it's only on watch for a few months. If the theif is clever they'll sit on your checks for 5 months and then start using them.

Unlike credit cards, if a fraudulent check is posted to your account it can take months, years or you may never get the money back depending on the circumstance.

So the call center staff didn't explain it well, but their advice is good. Cancel asap. That's your only safe bet for protection.

Posted by: Sanford at January 12, 2007 06:48 PM

Let me get this right... you saw the checks in the mail box, but your lazy a$$ decided that you didn't want to take the 60 seconds to stop and take them out. You let them sit all day -- do you have a lock on you mail box to keep others out ??

Now your checks are stolen ??? Gee, I wonder how that happened....????

Hmmmm.. lets call the bank and tell them to ignore those checks so somebody (who you let steal them) won't be able to use them, but dont' cancel your account... cause its too inconvient for you..

Just how is the bank responsible for this act of stupidity ????

Posted by: cpa at January 12, 2007 06:49 PM

What kind of idiot leave an entire box of checks in his mailbox until he gets home at night?

Posted by: ldk at January 12, 2007 06:50 PM

I'm mad at them too. They wouldn't accept by bags dollars either ... I told them that it didn't matter that they were in plastic bags from a colombian supermarket. I spent it all at walmart anyway.

Posted by: Alkemist69 at January 12, 2007 06:50 PM

I used to manage a Chase location and I dont know what Wells Fargo policies are, but that does sound suspect to me. We had an option to stop ANY range of checks. Losing checkbooks, stolen checkbooks is a part of banking. It is suggested to close and open a new account in case of future fraud, however it is up to the customer to decide and there is NO such thing as fraud waivers. Thats BS in my opinion. Fraud is fraud and it would be ballsy of the bank to assume deny a claim against it. Remember, banks are a business and sales is a part of the game. Its easy to inflate the number of new checking accounts by requiring every fraud or potential fraud victim to open a new one.

I have NEVER seen anyone have to file a claim with the VENDOR should a stolen check be used. It is filed through the BANK and fraud claims usually get resolved within a few business days if not 1 day. An affidavit must be signed and notorized and that is the only statement of record for the dispute. Regardless of whomever the culprit is, you will never know unless you file a police report and pursue it in that manner. The bank will provide provisional credit upon investigation and in most cases, the bank will NOT pursue any legal actions against anyone unless the fraud reaches a certain threshhold. It costs too much to investigate and prosecute to the bank.

In the end, I think what Wells Fargo told you is plain crap. As someone stated earlier, everyone has their own opinion about every company so there is no use in saying which is the better bank, but rather take it as a case by case basis.

Posted by: LJ at January 12, 2007 06:51 PM

I use Wells Fargo, I'm happy with it except for some stupid thing about over drafts, but hey, if I didn't spend money I don't have, I wont have a problem, so not a topic I will rant about.

Posted by: Demortes at January 12, 2007 06:52 PM

I used to manage a Chase location and I dont know what Wells Fargo policies are, but that does sound suspect to me. We had an option to stop ANY range of checks. Losing checkbooks, stolen checkbooks is a part of banking. It is suggested to close and open a new account in case of future fraud, however it is up to the customer to decide and there is NO such thing as fraud waivers. Thats BS in my opinion. Fraud is fraud and it would be ballsy of the bank to assume deny a claim against it. Remember, banks are a business and sales is a part of the game. Its easy to inflate the number of new checking accounts by requiring every fraud or potential fraud victim to open a new one.

I have NEVER seen anyone have to file a claim with the VENDOR should a stolen check be used. It is filed through the BANK and fraud claims usually get resolved within a few business days if not 1 day. An affidavit must be signed and notorized and that is the only statement of record for the dispute. Regardless of whomever the culprit is, you will never know unless you file a police report and pursue it in that manner. The bank will provide provisional credit upon investigation and in most cases, the bank will NOT pursue any legal actions against anyone unless the fraud reaches a certain threshhold. It costs too much to investigate and prosecute to the bank.

In the end, I think what Wells Fargo told you is plain crap. As someone stated earlier, everyone has their own opinion about every company so there is no use in saying which is the better bank, but rather take it as a case by case basis.

Posted by: LJ at January 12, 2007 06:52 PM

I hate to tell you this, but if you think that BofA is going to be any better than that, you're sadly mistaken. For that matter, if you think ANY bank is going to be better than that....

Seriously, consider a Credit Union. If you can't get a credit union a smaller bank might be in order. I personally use First Bank www.firstbanks.com. While there are always going to be things about banking institutions that aren't liked, at least the smaller ones and credit unions actually care about their customers, not just their bottom line.

Posted by: Paul Blankenship at January 12, 2007 06:52 PM

I hate to tell you this, but if you think that BofA is going to be any better than that, you're sadly mistaken. For that matter, if you think ANY bank is going to be better than that....

Seriously, consider a Credit Union. If you can't get a credit union a smaller bank might be in order. I personally use First Bank www.firstbanks.com. While there are always going to be things about banking institutions that aren't liked, at least the smaller ones and credit unions actually care about their customers, not just their bottom line.

Posted by: Paul Blankenship at January 12, 2007 06:52 PM

I suggest you go to a credit union...I've been with my CU since 1992 and i'm still happy. Sorry, but I don't think B of A is any better than Wells Fargo!
I know of someone who works for WF, I'll make sure to ask her about the stupid policy you were told.

Posted by: BebE at January 12, 2007 06:57 PM

I suggest you go to a credit union...I've been with my CU since 1992 and i'm still happy. Sorry, but I don't think B of A is any better than Wells Fargo!
I know of someone who works for WF, I'll make sure to ask her about the stupid policy you were told.

Posted by: BebE at January 12, 2007 06:58 PM

I'm a computer programmer at a bank and most decent checking systems have the ability to stop a range of check numbers. I can't believe Wells Fargo doesn't have this option.

However, if you really thought the checks were stolen I would have err'ed on the side of caution and closed the account. If you had info on the checks such as phone # or worse ssn, you really could be setting yourself up for major problems.

Posted by: monelunix at January 12, 2007 07:03 PM

I'm a computer programmer at a bank and most decent checking systems have the ability to stop a range of check numbers. I can't believe Wells Fargo doesn't have this option.

However, if you really thought the checks were stolen I would have err'ed on the side of caution and closed the account. If you had info on the checks such as phone # or worse ssn, you really could be setting yourself up for major problems.

Posted by: monelunix at January 12, 2007 07:03 PM

I'm a computer programmer at a bank and most decent checking systems have the ability to stop a range of check numbers. I can't believe Wells Fargo doesn't have this option?

However, if you really thought the checks were stolen I would have err'ed on the side of caution and closed the account. If you had info on the checks such as phone # or worse ssn you really could be setting yourself up for major problems.

Posted by: monelunix at January 12, 2007 07:04 PM

YOU SWITCHED TO BofA? You're a damn idiot. That bank is just as bad as Wells Fargo. You should have chosen a credit union or Washington Mutual.

You deserve the crap you're going to end up getting from Bank of America.

Posted by: J Aaron at January 12, 2007 07:09 PM

My ordeal.

I bounced a check to ABC Co., an online wallet type company.

After the first bounce, they sent me an e-mail stating that they will be submitting it every two weeks to my bank and please make the funds available ASAP.

I e-mailed ABC and asked them to not send it through every two weeks because I can't afford to pay. They never responded and kept putting it through.

"This is Terry, and how may I help you today?" said a cheery unisex voice.

"Hi, Terry, I bounced a check to ABC Co..
They keep submitting it to you for payment even though I told them there won't be money in it any time soon.'

"They haven't responded. As a result, every two weeks I get hit with the $30 NSF charge from you guys."
"How can I stop this from continuing,Terry"

"Well, I would suggest you contact ABC and see if you can make payment arrangements with them."

"As I said, I already tried that."
For a second I got nervous because I sounded a little short with her and the last thing I needed was an uncooperative service person.

I tried to get chummy, "You know how those online outfits are, I haven't heard anything from them after 5 attempts." Wink, wink

"I personally haven't had any trouble with ABC," she snipped-or at least I imagined a snip, especially since Terry somehow has a good relationship with the same exact company-out of a billion such companies-as I am now complaining about.

So much for wink, wink.

"Yeah, they are probably really busy around now." It was February-no holiday in sight.Crap.
"Can I put a stop payment on this particular check."
I swear I heard a long exhale, like she was talking to an unruly child,
"Unfortunately sir, since your account has a negative balance, we can't put a stop payment on an NSF check."

I understand. You know what, I think I better just close this account until I get this straightened out, otherwise ABC will continue to submit my check and I will continue to get hit with the $30 charge.

"Uh, I'm sorry sir. I an unable to close your account at this time,"she said.

"Why"

"I am afraid I can't close it because you have a negative balance. If you can just pay off the negative balance, I'll go ahead and close it."
She wasn't even attempting to hide the sarcasm from the irony of her statement.

"Let me get this straight,'
"I keep getting hit with a 30 dollar NSF because ABC keeps putting my check through.
I can't stop payment because there is no payment to stop
I can't close the account because there is a negative balance. A balance that continues to grow because ABC continues to submit it and you continue to NSF it because you won't close it because there is a negative balance because.....well, see how this works.?

"Well sir, it you just pay the negative balance."
"Terry, here is my deal. I can't pay the negative balance now, so I won't be able to pay the even more negative balance in two weeks. I assume it will grow into the thousands if this keeps up which I am pretty sure I won't be able to pay.

"It just came to me that your bank is the sole beneficiary of these continuing NSF charges. ABC isn't getting anything, even if I pay, I'll have to pay you all of your money before ABC gets any, is all of this correct?"

"Sir, we are sorry for your financial difficulty and we certainly never intend to knowingly take advantage of a customers unfortunate circumstances, whatever those may be," she said with the sweetest, nicest voice I'd ever heard.

"So what should I do, Terry?" I thought I would throw this one out again.
"Well, if you'd like to close your account...."

Let me repeat. I am wrong and kinda scummy for bouncing the check in the first place.

I just thought it was funny that I wanted to stop the NSF marathon by closing the account but I couldn't because the NSFs made my hole too big.


Thank you

Posted by: JPTrick at January 12, 2007 07:10 PM

Anyone who sees a box of checks sticking out of his mailbox and doesn't bother to open the door and shove them indoors is a MORON. Stop crying like a bitch and take some responsibility for your own actions.

It's sickening how people like to blame their own idiocy on someone else when they could have totally avoided the situation in the first place.

Posted by: Fred Longoria at January 12, 2007 07:10 PM

Never Ever Ever open an account at a bank. If you at all can help it, open an account at a Credit Union.

Banks exist for one reason only, to make money for their share holders. They have virtually no incentive to make the customers happy, just so long as the customer isn't pissed off enough to leave. Banks will charge whatever they can and do as absolutely little as they can to keep you.

Avoid them at all costs.

Posted by: Stephen at January 12, 2007 07:12 PM

Wow, I was not aware that you cannot actually cancel a check. Is this really true? Theoretically it ought to be no problem to record the checks and their corresponding ID numbers, that have been issues for a given account. Any check with an 'on-watch' number would then be treated as invalid.

Similarly, using one of these checks to ask for new checks ought not to be allowed. Both of these measures though perhaps not completely sufficient seem like no-brainers to me.

Far from this guy being an idiot and the banks being in the right on this, it seems pretty blatantly obvious that the checking system - which is not well-understood by most people, needs some serious overhauling and revision.

The current approach may enable more transactions, but it is definitely not set up in the best interests of the direct participants in a transaction (e.g., customer & retailer). Rather it sounds like it ensures that the bank has the legal high ground, AND an absolute minimum of responsibility in the transaction for which they are serving as guarantor.

Seeing as they have managed to finagle the government into allowing them to practice fractional reserve lending, it seems like it might be reasonable to ask them to at least spend some small portion of the proceeds from this on better guaranteeing the savings and funds of their investors by adding a couple of these basic security measures which, again, I am unpleasantly surprised to hear do not already exist (I don't use checks so this doesn't directly affect me but still...)

Posted by: joe at January 12, 2007 07:14 PM

I'm glad your closing your acccount. Someone as stupid as you should be allowed to even have a bank account. Why would you leave your checks in your mail box? Furthermore, why would NOT close your account considering all it takes for anyone to rip you off is a laser printer and check paper from your local best buy.

Your a java programmer and your that stupid?

Posted by: J at January 12, 2007 07:17 PM

I noticed the post after mine my Mr. Longoria.

I see alot of these type of posts in the comment section of blogs.

His post and many,many like his are very angry, calling you a MORON and a bitch.

Everything you say is true about how he could have avoided the situation, but I think the point was Wells Fargos response.

I am getting off base here myself.

My question is:
Are you truly angry when you wrote that post or were you amused when you did it?

In general, I always wonder when I read nasty posts if the authors actually get riled up over what a strange posted.

I can understand rising tension in the course of a back and forth chat, forum or even comment,post,comment type situation but when the first comment following a post seems so irritated, I wonder what provokes it.

I certainly mean no offense, and am hoping for an honest response.
This is definitely not the place for my post or any response to my post but Im curious.

Posted by: JPTrick at January 12, 2007 07:18 PM

Go credit union, and never look back. Seriously, anybody who doesn't belong to one is throwing their money away.

Posted by: Some Guy at January 12, 2007 07:26 PM

People like you are the reason people like me are millionaires. You're smart enough to participate in the system, but stupid enough not to realize you're getting screwed.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: B.G. at January 12, 2007 07:27 PM

People like you are the reason people like me are millionaires. You're smart enough to participate in the system, but stupid enough not to realize you're getting screwed.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: B.G. at January 12, 2007 07:27 PM

What is this obsession with Cheques. To me getting them in the mail is archaic and stupid, in Australia we use Eftpos... it works great!

Posted by: Andrew Kneebone at January 12, 2007 07:29 PM

We never received a couple boxes of checks we'd ordered (several years ago). We belong to a credit union. The credit union simply issued us new checks starting with higher numbers and canceled the range of checks that were missing.

No big deal, and it took about 5 minutes on the phone with the credit union to do it.

Another good reason to join a credit union.

Posted by: John at January 12, 2007 07:29 PM

What a baby you are. Your mental age shows you are way less than whatever chrono-age you may be.

My simple and rude advice is to grow up. Shit happens in life. You don't get to make all the rules. You don't get to have things your way. This problem with checks & WF is a great example of how you like to whine - even to strangers. You think you are so smart and so correct. None of that matters.

Man-up dude. Cancel the account (as it appears you did), and get on with your life. Then put a star on your calendar the day you learned that logic, responsibility, and reason don't mix in the real world.

Posted by: Brian Parry at January 12, 2007 07:30 PM

it took 21 posts before someone said the first thing that popped into my mind when i read this: you are to blame for this whole situation because you didn't take your checks out of your mailbox. seeing them there didn't trigger a response to grab them? oh, and most banks will deliver checks to the bank and call you. don't EVER have them delivered to your home.

now that that's out of the way:
WF's policy is stupid. i agree with the BofA guy-disclaimer:i've had major problems with that bank--being able to cxl many checks shouldn't be a problem.
i haven't used BofA in a few years, so i hope they've fixed a few things.

good luck in the future man, and next time, cya. cover your assets. don't leave checks where baddies can find them. :)

Posted by: james at January 12, 2007 07:47 PM

Hey Charles: It's a pity that you're being forced to read this blog. I really feel for you, man. The fact that there are no other blogs for you to read and all, and the fact that they make you read this one, holding your eyes open with clockwork-orange clips and stuff.

Posted by: lordi at January 12, 2007 07:49 PM

Funny, I lost my checkbook this week and had to cancel a range of checks through BB&T. Was pretty painless, although there was a $32 charge involved. I'd much rather pay that then go through the trouble of closing/opening an account.

Posted by: Philip at January 12, 2007 07:51 PM

Funny, I lost my checkbook this week and had to cancel a range of checks through BB&T. Was pretty painless, although there was a $32 charge involved. I'd much rather pay that then go through the trouble of closing/opening an account.

Posted by: Philip at January 12, 2007 07:51 PM

I will have to agree with most of the posts here concerning banks in general, and in particular BofA. I have never heard a good word from anyone who has ever had to deal with their customer service and they are generally reguarded as one of the worst around. If only to chime in with the crowd, i would agree that checks should be avoided whenever possible and you should resort to a credit union if you really need them.

You did the right thing by closing your account, the risk of fraud from someone having your name, address, bank account number, and possibly much more damning info is HUGE. While it sounds like they did a terrible job of explaining the reasons for the risk, they were in essence correct.

You should have known better than to leave them laying around in the first place however, and now the entire internet (thanks digg!) has heard you admit in detail how much of an idiot you are when it comes to baking, financial responsability, and general common sense.

We all have to learn from someones mistakes.

Posted by: John at January 12, 2007 07:51 PM

You are actually considering Bank of America?

Before you do, take a look at this: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=7174

Needless to say, combined with my own prior negative experience with BOA, I'll never do business with them. I've been with a small, local bank (only three branches) for years now, and have been completely happy and satisfied. Barring that, I'd strongly suggest a credit union; all the convenience and utility of a bank, without the layers and layers of bureaucracy.

Posted by: Michael at January 12, 2007 07:58 PM

Damn. Have you considered a local credit union instead? Mine offers significantly better auto l0an rates than Wells Fargo did (my previous bank as well), online banking that is at least as good, and they even refund me any ATM fees that any other ATM charges me - so I can use the $5 service charge ATM at 7-11 and be reimbursed by my bank. Couldn't be happier with their local branches and phone support as well.

Posted by: Kris at January 12, 2007 07:58 PM

You are actually considering Bank of America?

Before you do, take a look at this: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=7174

Needless to say, combined with my own prior negative experience with BOA, I'll never do business with them. I've been with a small, local bank (only three branches) for years now, and have been completely happy and satisfied. Barring that, I'd strongly suggest a credit union; all the convenience and utility of a bank, without the layers and layers of bureaucracy.

Posted by: Michael at January 12, 2007 07:58 PM

Yeah, I bank with WaMu, they're very nice and friendly. They have practically no fees. Cool.
-Aaron

Posted by: Aaron Lynch at January 12, 2007 08:07 PM

So I skipped reading through this, but if this is your experience with Wells Fargo, I promise you wont have a better one at Bank of America.

Posted by: Dave at January 12, 2007 08:08 PM

I worked for 25 years at a major bank as a customer service supervisor. The info the rep gave you seems correct to me, however they did a lousy job explaining it to to you. First, you are responsible for activity on an account if you know checks were stolen, the only reason the call made a difference is you proved to them you knew the checks were stolen, however they could have proved that without the call because you just ordered the checks and would have to admit you do not have them in your possesion when you called to dispute the fraudulent charges. The reason the account had to be closed is that it is possible to use the routing number and checking account number without using the check numbers or physical check, making a stop payment useless in this case. This typically happens in mail fraud, so if banks know a thief has this information they will not assume the risk because it can simply be prevented by changing the account number. It was totally unreasonable of you to expect the bank to risk losing their money for your convenience when ultimately it was your fault the checks were stolen since you choose to save money by sending them regular mail to an unsecured mailbox rather then fedex.

Posted by: Rod at January 12, 2007 08:11 PM

I used to work for two separate and very large banks, one of which is the largest in the world. Let me tell you from first hand experience, ‘thrift’ banks such as Wells, BofA, WAMU, etc. make a significant portion of their revenue on fees. The first bank I worked for was of considerable size, about $70 billion in assets and where did the majority of their profit come from? Interest? Stamps in the ATM? NO, they made the majority of their money on fees, to the tune of over $1 million a day. Banks have several devious tactics for screwing you, including one of my all time favorites, that we called Order of Processing. What is Order of Processing you ask? Why, it means that we would process your checks in a batch for the day, in descending order to make sure your bigger (more important) checks clear first – and you thought banks didn’t care! Of course, when mixed with our total bullshit hold policies, after implementing this in the late eighties, fee revenue increased like ten fold! Banks are in the business of making money and everyone should bank at a credit union, any credit union. Under most charters, you own part of the credit union and their customer isn’t usually horrible. Plus, most credit unions participate in CO-OP networks that mean you can use any credit union like your own.

Posted by: Jason at January 12, 2007 08:11 PM

You think you're getting better with us, but we've got you in our little game too. BWAHAHA!! We win.

Posted by: Bank of America at January 12, 2007 08:13 PM

BoA is actually a step down in the world:

http://www.goodexperience.com/blog/archives/001053.php

Posted by: Shane at January 12, 2007 08:17 PM

I just print my own on my laser printer. Three at a time because that is how many fit on a sheet of 8.5 by 11.
* I scanned in the banks logo,
* downloaded an MICR font,
* got a sample cheque from my bank,
* copied the placement of everything to a "T" (not that it matters - I have written cheques on sheets of notepaper several times)
* whipped up a background (you can not invisibly erase a laser print - it rubs off the toner)
* and poof! I was done.

I have never had any problems with my cheques.

Posted by: Leo at January 12, 2007 08:19 PM

Banks are all the same, I switched from Washington Mutual to Bank of America to Wells Fargo. They're all fricken idiots but so far I'm happy with Wells Fargo.

Good luck

Posted by: Greg at January 12, 2007 08:20 PM

Wow, that was an interesting story, but I can't believe that in the end, you decided to switch to Bank of America. I've heard more nightmare stories from my friends about BoA than all other banks combined (Wells Fargo is at #2, btw). Why not find a credit union? There are many credit unions in which the only requirement for joining is living in the state in which the CU is located.

Posted by: Raymond at January 12, 2007 08:21 PM

Wells Fargo is also prone to people making fraudulent checks and money laundering scams. Twice we've been sent "winner of some survey drawing" scams. Both times the checks were through Wells Fargo. The first time we deposited the check and waited for the funds to clear. The funds cleared through Wells Fargo! and a month later we received notice that we owed our bank 4,000 dollars. The second time we reported the "survey company" to the FBI. Everything seemed professional and legit. We're were wrong. And it would've never happened if Wells Fargo themselves cleared the funds to be deposited in our bank.

Posted by: Lary at January 12, 2007 08:27 PM

The original poster is a total dick ,I've work at two banks , and I can tell you it's either our war or the highway. Why , you ask? Because the rules are what you agreed to when you signed up the account.

The best part is , if you close and open an account
with the same back , it won't effect much as they have maintain you as a customer the whole time.

If he had been nice to them , they may have even waivered some charges , but nooo he had to rattle on about what HE thought the bank should do.

If the staff can't perform a task because the system won't let them , then what is the customer flapping their jaws going to do? Achieve world peace?

Yeah sure about the same time G W will grow his hair long , light up a fatty and declair it world groovey day!

Posted by: Grant at January 12, 2007 08:28 PM

I've used Bank of America for the past 11 years, when they were Barnett, then First Florida, then Bank of America and I have to say that their service has gotten progressively worse with each change.
As long as you've got over $5000 in each of your accounts they are great, but if you don't like to let money just sit then they don't do much for you.
They also have a charge for almost everything.
I'm about to open another business account and get a small ($10k) business lone(misspelled for the spam checker), I'll try BoA first, but if they don't satisfy me I'll take the business account to WaMu, I've heard a lot of good things about them lately and have been very pleased whenever I've cached(for the spam checker) a check with them.

Posted by: Jesse Curry at January 12, 2007 08:32 PM

I don't know what BofA's policy is these days, but your story is the same exact reason I closed my account with them. I would doubt these other commentors who claim to be employees from other banks. The truth is probably that ALL banks have this policy, so I would just accept the inevitable fact that we live in an f'd up world. BTW, have you seen the film Brazil?

Posted by: colman at January 12, 2007 08:35 PM

Not BofA man. They will SCREW you. Get a credit union or at least WAMU.

Posted by: John C at January 12, 2007 08:47 PM

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

So Keep reading all of these comments about how this is somehow his fault for leaving the checks in the mail.

If, instead, let's say he put them in his house and someone broke into his house and took them, which they are not supposed to do. Now, at the same time, people aren't supposed to go into your mailbox. A glass window doesn't stand much chance against a brick and neither does opening a mailbox against a hand.

IN both cases, the bank would of told him the same thing, regardless of whether or not it was his fault that the checks got "stolen".

So what does that tell you?

The very use of the word "stolen" qualifies that he was the victim of a crime. Even if a hot woman walks down the street with a "Rape Me" sign on the front, it's not her "fault" if she does indeed get raped. It's the fault of the person perpetrating the crime. It's tantamount to blaming a kid for a "Kick me" sign on his back.

And, no, I'm not an expert on banking and checking. But perhaps the details of implementation should be separated from the specifications of how it should work. Or revise the specifications all together.

As for the previous two commentator about "whining" if it offends you, then don't read it. If you don't like "whining" then don't whine back. I was considering opening a Wells Fargo account but this post, as well as other research, has convinced me to not do so. By your logic, we should just not mention any kind of wrong doing. If someone gets robbed or raped, keep it to themselves, right?

Posted by: asdfasdfasdfasdf at January 12, 2007 08:53 PM

I had my own hell with wells fargo last week. Here's a hint. They're nice people, but their systems are prehistoric crap.

Keep it simple. One account, one debit card, no automatic withdrawals, no credit card. One mortgage if you must. If you have two mortgages with them, it is well beyond their capability to handle.

Posted by: sdomenic at January 12, 2007 08:57 PM

I echo Kris and Raymond: go to a credit union.

I am a lawyer at a firm that has handled several cases against large banks (members of the big five) which simply do not check for signatures on any personal (as opposed to business) check of under a given denomination -- say $2000. The rules of which bank is liable in a typical check (the bank that issued the check, or the bank in which it is deposited) are governed both by the UCC and by private arrangements between them, but suffice it that you would be SHOCKED at the lack of basic due diligence. It is enormously common for checks to be honored when the endorsement signature does not match the payee, for example.

Anyway, for better service and lower fees, go to a credit union. You lose some ATM access, but the credit unions have their own widespread network. The signs advertising it just aren't as easy to see from the highway.

Posted by: matt at January 12, 2007 08:57 PM

You went from Wells Fargo to BofA?

You traded trash for garbage. Both companies suck and could give less than a damn about you unless you're a business.

Posted by: XStylus at January 12, 2007 08:58 PM

I echo Kris and Raymond: go to a credit union.

I am a lawyer at a firm that has handled several cases against large banks (members of the big five) which simply do not check for signatures on any personal (as opposed to business) check of under a given denomination -- say $2000. The rules of which bank is liable in a typical checking transaction that is botched(the bank that issued the check, or the bank in which it is deposited) are governed both by the UCC and by private arrangements between them, but suffice it that you would be SHOCKED at the lack of basic due diligence. It is enormously common for checks to be honored when the endorsement signature does not match the payee, for example.

Anyway, for better service and lower fees, go to a credit union. You lose some ATM access, but the credit unions have their own widespread network. The signs advertising it just aren't as easy to see from the highway.

Posted by: matt at January 12, 2007 08:59 PM

Side note - since any hold you put on a check lasts only 6 months I now write (or have printed on) every check I write VOID AFTER 3 MONTHS. That way, if I do have to put a hold on a check, it's void after the hold comes off and I don't have to keep remembering to rehold it forever. I've actually had someone (crooked contractor) keep a check I had put a hold on for more than the 6 months and then re-present it to the bank, and it went thru. Guess he'd been there before!

Posted by: JZK at January 12, 2007 09:02 PM

Bank of America isn't much better, if at all. Wells Fargo are some of the biggest scam artists and criminals on earth. Just do a google search about how they handle their home mortgages... they do what they can to steal your house from you too.

Posted by: bryan at January 12, 2007 09:06 PM

I had a similar (okay, completely different) situation where my account information was being used to withdraw money for a paper subscription that didn't ever get delivered. After getting 3 refunds from the paper by phone and telling them claiming they stopped the subscription, they were still taking it out every month.

The bank informed me that I had no way to stop the local paper from withdrawing money from my account, even by signing a notice at the bank stating they were not authorized.

I was told I had to close my account as well. Instead I found the name of the VP of sales for the newspaper, walked in and asked for him by name. Got a refund for everything they'd charged and a year's free subscription.

Posted by: CyberMage at January 12, 2007 09:10 PM

I worked in banking for 15 years. This sort of hold is quite easily accomplished. There are two types of stop payments: an individual stop payment used on a per-check basis, and a range hold. What you required, obviously, was a range hold. Wells Fargo must be an incompetent bunch of dumbasses not to be able to do that for you. The bank I worked for would have had all of this taken care of for you in a couple of minutes. One phone call and the range hold would be placed and your new checks would be ordered.

Posted by: John at January 12, 2007 09:13 PM

You moved from Wells Fargo (who I will admit is a bad bank) to Bank of America, which is one of the worst banks around!!

Example: 2 weeks before Christmas, I receive an email from BOA stating they have suspended my checking account because of fraudulent charges. I am to call the phone number in the email to reactivate my account.

Wary of spam, I log into my account online and discover that it was indeed from them. So I call the number sent to me, only to discover that I am not allowed to call that particular number from my area code.

This happen Saturday afternoon. I could not contact a single person from BOA at all that weekend.

Monday during my lunch break, I go into a local branch, to speak with someone about re-instating my account, and am told it will cost $50 to re-instate the account because it was suspended to due to fraudulent charges.

I then asked them to show me which charges were fraudulent, so they bring up a list of all the charges over the last month, and I am able to verify that I personally made all of the purchases on the list. I even handed her my debit card, the same one that was supposedly used to make the "fraud" charges.

So therefore, why should I have to pay $50 to re-instate an account that was wrongly suspended?

The woman wouldn't budge. For nearly 15 minutes I sat in her "office", trying to keep from having to pay them for suspending my account without my knowledge and without reason.

Finally I told her I wanted the branch manager to come into the office, so I could tell them what truly happened with this account.

"Well... I guess we can waive the fee this time," she says, and starts typing into the keyboard.

That should have been my clue that all was not well with my relationship with BOA.

2 Days after dealing with the "you have to pay $50" woman, BOA once again suspended my account for fraudulent purchases. This time I had made exactly one withdrawal from an ATM in the amount of $20 (so I could grab some lunch).

I got to fight with yet another person, this time a woman who barely spoke english who tells me that this time I have to pay $100 to re-instate my account. I don't even bother trying to explain anything. I demand to see the manager.

The manager is "busy" according to this non-english speaking woman, without even bothering to look away from her computer monitor. My response was simple:

"Well, I have all the time in the world. I will sit right here until the manager meets with me."

This gets her attention. She looked at me and smiled and said she was sure she could waive the fee this time.

"No," I replied. "You are going to mark that account to waive the fee EVERY time. This is twice in 4 days that you people have frozen my account, and tried to extort money from me to get it back. I will not pay it now, or ever."

She tells me she can't do that. So I tell her that's okay. The manager can do that! I will wait for the manager.

She smiles and starts tapping at her keyboard and tells me that it's all taken care of. I can use my account immediately.

This past Tuesday, the froze the account for the third time.

On Wednesday, I had it re-instated, by the branch manager, who tried to tell me that I would be better off closing my account and starting over, and that he would waive the fee for me this time.

I thank him for waiving the fee, then asked a few questions. "How many more times can I expect to have my account suspended?"

"I couldn't tell you that," he replied. "Suspension of accounts isn't done on a local level."

"I see. And how many people get their accounts suspended and don't bother to fight the $50 fee to have it re-instated?"

"That's privileged information," he replied.

"Okay, so why was I going to be charged $100 the second time my account was suspended?"

"Because you didn't pay it the first time."

"It was waived," I said. "That means I don't have to pay it."

He smiled at me. "In our bank, waived means delayed. We'll get it eventually."

I have opened a new checking account with HSBC. Once my direct deposit starts getting into that account, BOA is going to loose every account I have with them (checking, 3 savings accounts, my IRA, and credit card account).

BOA is the WORST!!

Posted by: B of A at January 12, 2007 09:14 PM

So many hostile, uncivil, illiterate people responding to this post. Have you nothing better to do?

Go drink a nice glass of wine and enjoy yourselves, because you're obviously not prepared for the Internet. :-)

Posted by: reeses at January 12, 2007 09:22 PM

You're not making sense.

If somebody has your account info, you need to close that account and get one with a new number.

If you don't, then whoever stole your checks can go to a new state and write checks on your account or even sign you up for electronic debit, etc.

Posted by: Vegas Vic at January 12, 2007 09:31 PM

Leaving the checks in the mail box? You got what you deserved. Having check sent to an unsecured mail box? You got what you deserved. Get a PO box or at least have your checks sent to your bank and pick them up there.

Wells Fargo is bad. B of A is worse. Life is too short to deal with a bad bank. You will be much happier using a top rated bank or credit union. Callahan & Associates rates credit unions. Find a good one and use it.

Also, authorizing automatic withdrawals from your checking account is a mistake. You need to research the law regarding automatic withdrawals. You are basically giving someone carte blanche access to your account, and while you can hope they don't take what they are not supposed to, they can and sometimes will. If you want to set up automatic payments, use a free credit card that gives you money back. Or at least set them up through online bill pay (which any descent financial institution offers for free).

AND - what do you need checks for anyway? Jump into the 21st century and use online bill pay. I write 2 check per year. One to the IRS and one to my state revenue department. Everything else is either done electronically or on checks written by my bank and sent for free.

Oh - and as bad as WF is, they were right about the need to close your account. Could you really afford at least $3K in stop payment fees to TRY to stop checks you know will be used fraudulently?

Posted by: Kim at January 12, 2007 09:35 PM

BofA will allow you to cancel a range of checks over the phone. You can cancel up to maybe 5 from the webpage.

Posted by: g at January 12, 2007 09:39 PM

I closed my wells account about 4 years ago and opened an account with union bank of california. They are great. Do your self a favor and check them out.

Posted by: anon at January 12, 2007 09:40 PM

my girlfriend once wrote a check to pay a bill for a credit card issued by a major us retailer. The check was clearly written for $72.50, but Bank of America debited her account for $7,250.00 - literally adding two zeros to the end of what the check was written for.

Bank of America took almost three weeks to credit her back the money to her checking account, leaving her account overdrawn all the while. They made it incredibly difficult to resolve, almost refusing to admit that it had even happened - and it was so clearly a blatant error on their (OCRs) part.

BTW, I believe that the procedure of closing a checking account when there is potential for fraud is common. Citibank did the same thing when I reported that someone had stolen checks.

Posted by: isaac at January 12, 2007 09:43 PM

I worked for WaMu for a year and a half as a teller and honestly we would have said the same thing if you had come in with that problem. It is just the bes thing to do in that situation. Also getting mad at the person you are talking to is useless because even if the policy sucks there is NOTHING they can do. Honestly they can't. If there were something they could have done so you wouldn't have got angry they would have but they honestly couldn't.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Oj at January 12, 2007 09:44 PM

they always close you account this blog was pointless

Posted by: matt at January 12, 2007 10:27 PM

I had a similar event happen to me, not too long ago, with Bank of America, I lost the check book, and was afraid of someone writing bogus check on the account. Except this is where all similarities end. As soon as I realized that the check book was missing, I quickly called them and told them my situation. They were incredibly helpful. Yes, they did recommend closing the account as well. Initially, I had them void all of the remaining checks, which was over 100+, in preparation to closing the account. Later when the checkbook turned up, they quickly reversed this voiding with out any fuss. I was very happy and very pleased.

Posted by: Robert Smith at January 12, 2007 10:31 PM

What a shi*ty bank!

Posted by: Anonymoose at January 12, 2007 10:32 PM

I had an account that maintained my checking balance to a certain amount. If the balance went below, it would 'sweep in' money from saving account. A couple of years ago, someone in Wells Fargo turned this feature off without telling me. I wasn't informed. So I kept writing check. My savings account had sufficient amount so I didn't have any concern. But because money was not swept in, checking account dried out. Then they paid the bills from my credit card and slapped a huge finance charge. After a lot of struggle finally I got those charges reversed, but the fact that someone changed my account feature creeps me out.

Posted by: Terry at January 12, 2007 10:39 PM

Dont think you are the first to have issues with them and their security! A debit card issued through was stolen, it bares the master card logo, so I assume we have the same protection as a master card would (180 to cancel payments) WRONG! You get three days! THREE DAYS! I am not good with finances or keeping track of things, after going to use my debit card after a day or two, its not in my wallet, so I assume I left it at home, nope! I look around some, and after not finding it, I assume I should cancel it, yada yada..... I check with them on purchases made, and there were some large ones that they didnt call to verify (I now use a paypal debit card, and when its not normal, phone call, email, text and anything else you request!) Anyway, I request that to be fraud and have the card canceled and have another sent. Well, they could cancel the card, but the lady I spoke with didnt think they could send a new one till it was expired. Oh well. Now, there was the issue of fraud. NOPE! "Sorry sir, you need to call within three days of the card being stolen, and report suspicious activity within three days of that."

Now, back in the day, I wouldnt have known of suspicious activity for at least 1 week if you didnt call, because of the mail, and all of that, now, they dont even monitor your account, AND you have a very short time to cancel charges! Now, I know I should have called earlier, but I just assumed I left it at home, but I called as soon as I was sure it wasnt at home!

Now, I bank with Chase and I love it! Rewards on my debit card (hello Florida trip once a year, because of miles on my house payment!) Free checking with direct deposit is nice, especially since most people use or could use direct deposit.
Just a thought to those looking for a bank, chase good, wells fargo bad!

Posted by: Josh at January 12, 2007 10:55 PM

okay, you're an idiot
there is a lot of information given on a cheque to leave your account open. this is one of the biggest problems with cheques, thats why debit is so much better... there is no visible information about your account information or any personal information given on the card that can easily be changed or used unlawfully.
just think of a debit card as paypal... a middle man to provide a buffer between the vendor and your bank account making it more difficult to commit fraud. better security, less hassle, widely accepted...cheques are practically dead, unless you manage to get post dated cheques, but that requires going to a bank and are considered the same as paper money.

the fact that you WANTED to leave your account open after such a thing just makes me think of just how much of an idiot you are.

next time, look up what the problems are with wanting to keep an account open after sensitive information has been leaked.

Posted by: a at January 12, 2007 11:05 PM

Get a credit union...much better than your average Wells Fargo or Bank of America.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2007 11:43 PM

thats rediculous, i've worked for 2 seperate banks, and there are several ways to handle that situation without closing an account. either WF has a rediculous policy or the people you spoke to didn't know a thing about what they were doing.

Posted by: erin at January 13, 2007 12:29 AM

I had horrible experiences with Wells Fargo as well. After being a customer for over 10 years, they suddenly became real asses as far as customer service goes. Not sure what happened. I closed my account and switched banks 3 years ago.

Posted by: Max at January 13, 2007 12:30 AM

that sucks, but i went through so many problems with Washington Mutual that i evetually left and went to Bank of America as well... so far so good!

Posted by: eric at January 13, 2007 12:56 AM

I have only used a check once in my life. There are far more efficient ways of paying for products.

Outdated banking system.

they're slow to use and if lost then people do as they please.

Posted by: rafaleaz at January 13, 2007 01:01 AM

I don't get it in my head why a high-tech country would still have their people send money around in paper form.

Whenever I have to send money to the US, it travels in bytes over the atlantic to bank A, is printed on a check, sent to someone who then carries it to bank B who scan it back in. WTF?

And "We can't do that" gives me a nervous itching.

Posted by: Matthias at January 13, 2007 01:02 AM

BofA (Bank of America) is the crappiest bank ever.

In 1994, mid september, B of A in california was scheduled to ELIMINATE a universally critical tool of all banks for many decades.. the COUNTER CHECK.

I read the advance posted notice and decided to have fun and make a mockery of BofA. Bank of America has one bank in San Francisco lacking an ATM. My plan was to go to this bank near Ocean Avenue and attempt to cancel my checking account without possessing any checkbook the day after counter checks were no longer existant.

I just wanted to cancel my account.

Bank of America did not know how. Traditionally, they created a counter check for the balance in the checking account and then closed the account and gave you the money, or asked you to write a check.

I said I had no more checks. They said they could Federal Express checks to me. I declined.

I knew my rights. I can cancel an account.

They REFUSED! For many HOURS tehy had no idea how to cancel the account! I put up a very nice loud scene in the bank. " WHY CAN'T YOU CLOSE MY ACCOUNT? Give me my money! blah blah blah, This is ridiculous, its been over two hours so far!"

After hours of me giving them a hard time and many franctic phone calls, they finally found out how to use their computers and documents to close a checking account for a customer.

My mission was fullfilled. But the BEST PART... They had a form handed to me after giving me my money to fill in for me to tell BofA WHY I was leaving their bank.

I filled in "Because you have no counter checks and it took nearly three hours to merely cancel a checking account."

The Manager also asked me why I wanted to leave and after I told him the same reason... HE AGREED and said that it was an idiotic new rule and that he did not think the bank would be able to function long without counter checks.

Guess what?! Because of me and others... after a couple months BofA resumed using counter checks to allow people to close checking accounts and draw out money.

Hilarious!

But the other real reason I left was because BofA reversed their position on giving 25,000 dollars per year to religious groups that ban atheists. Originally they stopped, but christians protested, so BofA resumed donating money to clubs that ban atheist kids from joining or participating. BofA officially is a christian-supporting bank.

Posted by: bank victim at January 13, 2007 01:02 AM

BofA (Bank of America) is the crappiest bank ever.

In 1994, mid september, B of A in california was scheduled to ELIMINATE a universally critical tool of all banks for many decades.. the COUNTER CHECK.

I read the advance posted notice and decided to have fun and make a mockery of BofA. Bank of America has one bank in San Francisco lacking an ATM. My plan was to go to this bank near Ocean Avenue and attempt to cancel my checking account without possessing any checkbook the day after counter checks were no longer existant.

I just wanted to cancel my account.

Bank of America did not know how. Traditionally, they created a counter check for the balance in the checking account and then closed the account and gave you the money, or asked you to write a check.

I said I had no more checks. They said they could Federal Express checks to me. I declined.

I knew my rights. I can cancel an account.

They REFUSED! For many HOURS tehy had no idea how to cancel the account! I put up a very nice loud scene in the bank. 'WHY CAN'T YOU CLOSE MY ACCOUNT? Give me my money! blah blah blah, This is ridiculous, its been over two hours so far!'

After hours of me giving them a hard time and many franctic phone calls, they finally found out how to use their computers and documents to close a checking account for a customer.

My mission was fullfilled. But the BEST PART... They had a survey form handed to me after giving me my money to fill in for me to inform BofA WHY I was leaving their bank.

I wrote down 'Because you have no counter checks and it took nearly three hours to merely cancel a checking account.'

The Manager also asked me why I wanted to leave and after I told him the same reason... HE AGREED and said that it was an idiotic new rule and that he did not think the bank would be able to function long without counter checks.

Guess what?! Because of me and others... after a couple months BofA resumed using counter checks to allow people to close checking accounts and draw out money.

Posted by: bankvictim at January 13, 2007 01:06 AM

You should have taken the box of checks when you first saw them, since it doesnt sound like it was a locked box.

It's all your fault.

Posted by: a guy at January 13, 2007 02:06 AM

Good luck wit Bank of America. There just as bad.

Posted by: vega at January 13, 2007 03:14 AM

Are you really that stupid? Close the account, dumbass!

Posted by: You're an idiot at January 13, 2007 03:43 AM

I can't believe what you're saying. Here in Brasil, any bank would let me do it from my computer on their online banking systems, instead of having to call a representative. The only situtation I'd have to call would be if I were away from any computer. And in that situation, I can't imagine such a thing of not being able to cancel a range of check.
In 2001 I had my checks stolen, and all I had to do was to enter on Itau's banking, inform the range and, presto! my cheks were cancelled, and my bank even informed all major credit protection agencies on the same time.
Frankly, I am shocked to learn that you had such problems in a far more advanced country.

Posted by: Marcos Eliziário Santos at January 13, 2007 04:19 AM

I hope you win the lottery and call the suopervisor saying you are going to put all your money in another bank

Posted by: Peter at January 13, 2007 04:25 AM

I highly recommend not using B of A. I have been a member of a credit union for the majority of my life and for convince sake, there are no credit union branches in my new home, I signed up with B of A. The rates are horrible, the customer service reprehensible, charges numerous, and they continuously solicit you for new accounts, unnecessary l0ans, and credit cards. Try and find a small local bank or join a credit union of whom you meet the requirements. Cheers!

Posted by: Chris Clarke at January 13, 2007 06:16 AM

Don't know if this was posted above, but I have BofA and lost a box of checks. They were able to cancel the whole range of checks.

Posted by: Joe at January 13, 2007 06:29 AM

Solutions:

1. open a new account
2. open a new account
3. open a new account

And 4, stop whining about this. It's embarrassing. Open a new account. You lost your checks. So open a new account. Put the keyboard down, and open a new account. Move on.

Posted by: Scott at January 13, 2007 07:12 AM

Good for you. I dumped WF about 6 months ago, after an infuriating customer service debacle. It was worth it. If they want my money, they need to provide adequate service. No service, they don't see my money. I suggest everyone follow your example. It's the only way these Bozos will change.

Posted by: Brennan at January 13, 2007 07:16 AM

You're doing yourself a huge disservice by opening an account at BofA.

I've had personal experience and despise the way they treat their customers.

I would strongly recommend not using them.

Posted by: Reagan at January 13, 2007 07:39 AM

You were foolish to not grab your mail when you saw it there. You were foolish to want to keep the account open, given that someone else had your bank routing/account info. WF tried to save your ass, despite your ignorance of the reality of your situation. There may or may not be good reasons to be upset with WF customer service, but this is not one of them.

Posted by: me at January 13, 2007 08:19 AM

I work for WFB and those people you spoke to on the phone are idiots. All they had to do was reorder the checks and mark them as "never received" on the system.

By the way B of A will put holds on paychecks. Good luck with that.

Posted by: an at January 13, 2007 08:24 AM

My girlfriend was in Ireland and when she came back she was in the process of closing her account. She zerowed it out and before the account was close a two cent tax from Ireland came hit the account triggering a $25 and put her on check systems. After hours on the phone they refused to remover her from the check systems. I was already pissed because WF had offered me overdraft protection and it turned out to be a credit card. So I went to my local WF to close my account and the person helping me transposed numbers on the final withdraw slip and it triggered an overdraft and put me on checksystems. After hours on the phone and proof that the error was committed by one of their associates I got nothing. I went to the local branch and threatened to yell until they helped me.

Posted by: Brad at January 13, 2007 08:28 AM

Sorry - I had to comment again. Specifically in response to last night's (at 11:05) comment from "A", but also in response to all of the other false information that has been posted. While, I feel that all of the name calling and such are inappropriate, this is a free country. However, I am really bothered by all of the suggestions that are being backed up by opinions presented as fact.

The reality is, while debit cards may be slightly safer than checks, the additional safety is negligible. Neither can compare to credit cards for not only the legal protections offered but also the fact that if fraud is committed or errors are made, it is just on paper - not your actual money that is missing.

Check out the facts. Got to http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer.htm or Clark Howard is pretty knowledgeable and he has lots of info at clarkhoward.com.

Posted by: Kim at January 13, 2007 08:35 AM

I've had fraudulent charges on my account when my university leaked my info to the public one semester and BoA was nothing but perfect through all of it. I wouldn't hesitate to open an account through them. They got my money back and even mailed me updates on certain procedures that were taking a little longer than usual. I was even given a temporary atm card until my new visa logoed card arrived. Their online banking is great and I've never had an issue with it.

Posted by: brandini at January 13, 2007 08:37 AM

Sorry - I had to comment again. Specifically in response to last night's (at 11:05) comment from "A", but also in response to all of the other false information that has been posted. While, I feel that all of the name calling and such are inappropriate, this is a free country. However, I am really bothered by all of the suggestions that are being backed up by opinions presented as fact.

The reality is, while debit cards may be slightly safer than checks, the additional safety is negligible. Neither can compare to credit cards for not only the legal protections offered but also the fact that if fraud is committed or errors are made, it is just on paper - not your actual money that is missing.

Check out the facts. Got to http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer.htm or Clark Howard is pretty knowledgeable and he has lots of info at clarkhoward.com.

Posted by: Kim at January 13, 2007 08:37 AM

Hope you signed up with BofA using one of those promotional links that gets you a $100 account-opening bonus.

I've had BofA for the past six years or so and have been quite happy with them -- they're easily the best big bank I've ever used. I'm kind of surprised to see all the messages saying they suck. Maybe I'm just special.

Posted by: Jerry Kindall at January 13, 2007 09:36 AM


they say a fool and his money are soon parted. and you some like a complete idiot

Posted by: mark at January 13, 2007 09:42 AM

Amazing how you know everyword of the conversation. Did you tape record it?

And Wells Fargo sucks - one time they sent me a new ATM card and included the PIN number and a copy of my bank statement in the letter.
It never made it out of their mail room. Guy took it all and was withdrawing the max out everyday until $14,000 had been taken out. (I know all this because of the investigation that took place after the event. The WF guy that stole the envelope got fired, the bank manager that stuffed it all into one envelope did not.)

Posted by: Thelma at January 13, 2007 09:43 AM

I had the same problem years ago....I wasnt brave or energized enough to cancel and move. I did eventually open an offshore account with HSBC - but im still stuck to Ol Wells Fargo...and they still suck.

Posted by: tbanker at January 13, 2007 09:45 AM

Yet another vote to stay away from B of A. They really are terrible. Find yourself a small local bank or credit union. They'll treat you much better.

Posted by: Austin, TX at January 13, 2007 09:54 AM

WF's mistake was that they didn't just get to the point. They should've said whoever stole your checks can turn right around and commit fraud even if the checks were canceled. They have your account #, name, address, etc. It is in your best interest to just close the account. THE END.

Posted by: S3ns3 at January 13, 2007 09:56 AM

Another vote for credit unions here. I've never had a bank account and have always wondered why people who have the option of using a credit union go with a bank. You hear nothing but horror stories about banks.

Posted by: Rusty at January 13, 2007 10:09 AM

You should post this story to http://www.wellsfargosucks.com/, lots of folks (including myself) have been so burned by Wells Fargo it's amazing they're still in business.

Posted by: chrisnsf at January 13, 2007 11:04 AM

Wells Fargo sucks so bad!! (i used to bank there)

I'd suggest a Credit Union.

Posted by: matt at January 13, 2007 11:13 AM

Wells Fargo sucks so bad!! (i used to bank there)

I'd suggest a Credit Union.

Posted by: matt at January 13, 2007 11:14 AM

You need to look into a good credit union, best interest rates, lowest/no fees, to be honest, your bank is just following policy, that's just the way it is done. it would be nice if they were more flexible but thats life. but CU's you must try..

Posted by: Nate at January 13, 2007 11:17 AM

Credit Union's aren't in the business of screwing their customers since they are owned by their customers. I don't understand why anyone "banks" at a bank these days.

Posted by: Craig at January 13, 2007 11:32 AM

why does it matter that they close your account and open a new one. I'd trust your current bank to transfer all of your automated payments, etc. It seems the best way to safeguard your money. The only thing you would have to change is your direct deposit. Quit being a whiny baby and deal with the fact that when things get stolen, your life doesn't just automatically get back where it was before. Be happy noone hurt you to steal them, or even stole from inside your home. Our society has become a bunch of spineless greedy morons who expect everyone to service their every request. Get over it. Sh@! happens. Seriously, why not complain that the police haven't found the thieves. I mean, that's their JOB, they SOLVE CRIMES! Of course not, you'd rather take your frustration out on a nameless person on the other side of a phone conversation. You think anyone you talked to made those rules? You think the people who made them with your convenience in mind. You were put in the akward situation by thieves, not by bank employees. They're doing the best they can to help you.

Posted by: matt at January 13, 2007 11:33 AM

You are quite possibly the biggest moron I have ever read about.

Even if you cancel your checks it still has your address, checking account number, and routing number. There are limitless places on the web that I could use to purchase anything I want with that information alone.

Good luck with life.

Posted by: JC at January 13, 2007 11:45 AM

have yoou ever considered opening an account with an online bank such as ING or Emigrant Direct? I personally have a savings account with the former that earns almost 5% interested, and recently opened a checking account that bears 3% interest with them as well. Free ATM access, great customer service, fdic insured, higher rates than all the national banks, and you can order checks online to be sent directly to whoever you're paying.

I personally still have a Wells & BofA checking account, but only for deposit purposes before transfering to the online savings account. Best of luck, I know how frustrating cust. serv. reps. can be.

Posted by: joey at January 13, 2007 11:51 AM

Wow. You're you are a clueless idiot. The bank was doing their best to protect you but instead of letting them you want to argue with them because it inconveniences you and when they tell you that by not closing it you're waiving protection... you get pissed? What the hell is wrong with you?

Posted by: Shadus at January 13, 2007 11:58 AM

Look you ignorant donkey, it doesn't matter if they cancel every check in the book or not. Do you have a computer? A printer? Well guess what, so do I. All I need is that pretty number on the bottom of your check and I can print another million of them. Cancel yourdamn account and stop crying.

Posted by: WebmasterX at January 13, 2007 12:39 PM

I can't beleive the rubbish service some of you people put up with. Down here in NZ we think our banking system is a rort but it sounds like the US is even worse. While I admit they generally don't check signatures unless a complaint is made at least if you stop a cheque that cheque number is STOPPED and will not be processed on the account. There have been many comments about the bank trying to protect this guy as his cheque account number could be used for fraudulent purposes but all you smart alecks should bear in mind that had he lost less than 6 cheques the bank would have cancelled them and let him leave his account number the same. I LOVED the comment above from the moron who "works at two banks" of "its our way or the highway" that is such a poor attitude it is unbeleivable. I figured that being in the banking indsutry (espcially being in TWO banks") might mean you understand how a bank works and how it fits in to an economy. Obviously you don't so here is a real basic run down of the Bank/Customer/Profit relationship: No depositing customers = no funds to lend/invest = no profit. Unless like this guy you put your foot down over rubbish service and go else where it's not going to get any better. I just changed banks over a recent bout of poor service and it resulted in one of the managers calling me to see if they could convince me to stay and finally asking if I would mind if he use the case as part of thier customer serivce training.

Posted by: leslie at January 13, 2007 12:39 PM

"Of course you can, I think, although I can definitely picture this guy using an application that was written on a mainframe twenty years ago. Right now, he must be staring at a monochrome monitor showing six text fields and having to justify this to a slowly but increasingly aggravated customer over the phone that this is meant for their own protection."

So much arrogance but yet so little common sense when it comes to leaving a package containing your entire identity on the porch all day.
I actually feel for the WF representative who has to deal with people like you all day, people who think they know everything and are the smartest thing that ever came to Earth.
Show some respect and grow up my friend!

Posted by: Jake H. at January 13, 2007 12:50 PM

I see that you are a Java Programmer or a related stuff.
The hidden point you also made here was that cos Wells Fargo runs a Mainframe Program, they were not able to cancel the entire set of checks?
LOL, I can only laugh at your incomplete knowledge on Programming languages. OR that SUN is paying bloggers like you with this smartly crafted message where teo purposes are getting served.

Anyways, all the points you mentioned are incorrect, ONE, Wells uses JAVA to do all its retail and wholesale programming and that in my opinion could have been one of the reason why it coulnt cancel all your checks. NOW, i am not saying that JAVA is not able to handle all that amount of checks but data handling and manipulation is still dont better by Mainframe Programs.

I am not going to comment on your irresponsible habits cos you sound like you were out there to experiment on what would happen when you deiberately lose your checks and then want to blame Mainframe PRograms for not helping you out.

I can just laugh at Stupid JAVA programmers who are threatened by Mainframe Programmers.

PS: I work for a fortune 500 Investment corp as a .NET programmer. I respect all languages and all softwares cos I believe that all langauage can do everything. If you are a good programmer you will not crib at other programming language. Cos you wont have to defend yours.

Posted by: IT mod at January 13, 2007 01:35 PM

I've been a BofA customer for over 10 years. The advice I would give you is, run away. BofA is just as bad as Wells Fargo. I finally got pissed at them for nickel-and-diming me to death with banking fees. I keep a little bit of money still in my BofA accounts, but I transfered almost everything to USAA. So far, they have been excellent.

Posted by: Jeff at January 13, 2007 02:08 PM

Heck, it's 2007! Who still uses checks anyway?!?

Posted by: Kiuze at January 13, 2007 02:32 PM

"Obviously you don't so here is a real basic run down of the Bank/Customer/Profit relationship: No depositing customers = no funds to lend/invest = no profit.~had he lost less than 6 cheques the bank would have cancelled them and let him leave his account number the same." Posted by: leslie at January 13, 2007 12:39 PM"

I love when people pose as experts then prove they have no idea what they are talking about. Money deposited in banks are reinvested, not lent. Funds for lending come from the Federal Reserve, which makes it new money, never before entered into the money supply. That is why when the fed wants to reduce the money supply they raise interest rates to decrease the demand for lending which slows the increase of the amount of money in cirulation and when they want to increase the money supply they lower interest rates, creating more new lending and more money in circulation. In addition, all major banks will recommend you close your account if you have just one stolen check, not more then 6 as you suggest. The threat is someone having your account information to commit mail fraud, how many checks were stolen is irrelevant.

Posted by: Rod at January 13, 2007 02:46 PM

Directed here via reddit, so not sure if you're in San Francisco, but if you are, seriously consider dropping the big banks and go for Patelco (I think the best in SF) or another credit union. I ditched Washington Mutual after months of run around with them and was told to avoid the BofA by many because of the issue of nickle-and-diming, crappy service, etc.

Posted by: flamk at January 13, 2007 02:58 PM

Do U really think you'll get better service from another big bank?

Posted by: Mick at January 13, 2007 02:58 PM

Don't got with BOA! HSBC would be the one I would check out.

Posted by: Benjamin Meyer at January 13, 2007 04:39 PM

Yeah, BoA sucks too. I just switched all of my accounts to etrade. I then have a small checking account with a local bank that I use to easily transfer funds in and out. I'd recommend at least checking etrade out.

Posted by: Aaron at January 13, 2007 04:42 PM

Another example of how, just because they have a blog, they feel they're qualified to soap-box on any topic. Being competent enough to blog used to mean you probably were the smartest person in most rooms you found yourself in.

Not anymore.

Thinking I was tuning in to a classic customer-service snafu due to layers of bureaucracy and red tape, it boils down to someone NOT UNDERSTANDING BANKING.

The cheque cancellation mechanism is to cancel cheques you have already issued.

You lost an unknown number of cheques, so basically ALL FUTURE CHEQUING ON THE ACCOUNT IS SUSPECT.

The other alternative is that our blogger is smarter than the systems analysts of Wells Fargo.

Welcome to not being the smartest person in the room anymore jackass.

Posted by: RR at January 13, 2007 04:47 PM

Dude, reviewing the blog comments on this article shows lots and lots of duplicated comments. Something seems to be wrong with your automation. Even if the problem is idiot users who might be double clicking submit, the software should I believe be smart enough to not accept a duplicate entry.

Posted by: CasualObserver at January 13, 2007 04:47 PM

Another example of how, just because they have a blog, they feel they're qualified to soap-box on any topic. Being competent enough to blog used to mean you probably were the smartest person in most rooms you found yourself in.

Not anymore.

Thinking I was tuning in to a classic customer-service snafu due to layers of bureaucracy and red tape, it boils down to someone NOT UNDERSTANDING BANKING.

The cheque cancellation mechanism is to cancel cheques you have already issued.

You lost an unknown number of cheques, so basically ALL FUTURE CHEQUING ON THE ACCOUNT IS SUSPECT.

The other alternative is that our blogger is smarter than the systems analysts of Wells Fargo.

Welcome to not being the smartest person in the room anymore jackass.

Posted by: rr at January 13, 2007 04:48 PM

So you call up the bank and ask them to cancel that range of checks. and they do it.

Your thief then creates a few checks using your account number and a higher or different range of numbers.

Now what?

Posted by: dantsea at January 13, 2007 04:54 PM

I've never had that sort of an issue with a bank, but in response to all of the "NOT BoA" posts, I want to stand up and say that I have never had any issues with BoA.

My parents have had to change accounts several times due to check fraud, but every time BoA did whatever they could to facilitate the transfer. I not only frequently lose bank cards but have done so while living overseas. They have never been rude to me, even when I have ordered a new card a few weeks after having ordered another replacement card.

Their website is fairly easy to negotiate, as is their phone service. The operators on said phone service are very helpful AND they will provide you with special help numbers if you are planning on going overseas.

Yes, all banks eventually have problems (7 dollars to withdraw because of the host bank and my bank's charges while in Germany are quite annoying) but BoA has seemed to be rather friendly and helpful for a large bank. I hope your stay with them goes well.

Posted by: Juliet at January 13, 2007 05:05 PM

I've never had that sort of an issue with a bank, but in response to all of the "NOT BoA" posts, I want to stand up and say that I have never had any issues with BoA.

My parents have had to change accounts several times due to check fraud, but every time BoA did whatever they could to facilitate the transfer. I not only frequently lose bank cards but have done so while living overseas. They have never been rude to me, even when I have ordered a new card a few weeks after having ordered another replacement card.

Their website is fairly easy to negotiate, as is their phone service. The operators on said phone service are very helpful AND they will provide you with special help numbers if you are planning on going overseas.

Yes, all banks eventually have problems (7 dollars to withdraw because of the host bank and my bank's charges while in Germany are quite annoying) but BoA has seemed to be rather friendly and helpful for a large bank. I hope your stay with them goes well.

Posted by: Juliet at January 13, 2007 05:06 PM

I recently changed from a crappy credit union to Bank of America. Six months in so far and BoA has been great. Best bank I've used in my 38 years.
Fairfax, VA

Posted by: Johnny at January 13, 2007 05:19 PM

DO YOURSELF AND BIG FAVOR AND STAY AWAY FROM BOFA

They are even worse than Wells Fargo.

-Chris

Posted by: Chris at January 13, 2007 05:38 PM

bank of america sucks. and credit unions probably wont cover your butt, try washington mutral. they're nicer and so far I have yet to have a problem with them. goodluck, I would have reacted the same way.

Posted by: serena at January 13, 2007 05:49 PM

bank of america sucks. and credit unions probably wont cover your butt, try washington mutral. they're nicer and so far I have yet to have a problem with them. goodluck, I would have reacted the same way.

Posted by: serena at January 13, 2007 05:49 PM

Hey Cedric, as I read the long parade of rude responses to your post I found myself wondering why this post had so many responses than normal. Then it occurred to me that I should check to see if this was posted on Digg. Sure enough, a link on Digg has led to a long series of worthless posts by the dumbest dregs of society capable of finding the power button on a PC. Please Cedric, let's have more posts on Java programming and try to stay out of Digg.

Posted by: JackFrost at January 13, 2007 06:46 PM

Another post to warn you against Bank of America! Go with a smaller bank or a credit union if you can!!!

Posted by: Derek at January 13, 2007 07:00 PM

I'm sure a lot of people have said this, but about the ONLY bank with customer service worse than Wells Fargo is Bank of America, I could write for hours, but I simply say TRUST ME, you're better off with Washington Mutual, or a credit union or small company. The huge corps simply will run you in the ground, I've closed multiple wells/and BofA accounts due to the horrible way I was treated, billed and manipulated, don't go that route.
adam

Posted by: Adam at January 13, 2007 08:10 PM

You NEED to cancel your account. Even if you cancel your checks (as WF should have explained to you), with your account number and routing number at the bottom of the checks, the person who stole them can use that info to purchase things electronically.

Posted by: Kathy at January 13, 2007 08:48 PM

You NEED to cancel your account. Even if you cancel your checks (as WF should have explained to you), with your account number and routing number at the bottom of the checks, the person who stole them can use that info to purchase things electronically.

Posted by: Kathy at January 13, 2007 08:48 PM

You went to BofA?! Man what a laugh! HA HA. Is America so far gone that there are no other banks anymore? (Then at least go to a credit union somewhere.) Out of the fring pan into the fire.

Posted by: Rand at January 13, 2007 09:00 PM

I will never use BofA because, in 1989, they managed to issue me and another fellow the same *account number* when we opened accounts. He put in his initial deposit, I put in mine, and we both noticed we had extra money in "our" account. When I tried to withdraw, I found I had less than expected, and they eventually untangled it.

With WF, I had trouble closing an account for reasons I won't go into. It took all day, and I travelled around to various WF offices. When I finally did it, fuming, the customer service rep said "I'm sure you'll have a better experience wherever you end up banking that's not WellsFargo." She was right.

Posted by: brianb at January 13, 2007 09:01 PM

You went to BofA?! Man what a laugh! HA HA. Is America so far gone that there are no other banks anymore? (Then at least go to a credit union somewhere.) Out of the fring pan into the fire.

Posted by: Rand at January 13, 2007 09:01 PM

Seriously, Wells Fargo's only option is to close the account? But that affects your credit, right? So just the act of having your checks stolen has affected your credit and all WF is out for is the pay and benefits of two script readers on their helpline.

If they can cancel six they should be able to cancel an entire range - they know the range, of course they do. The order is in their system.

Another option you could have went with is to have contacted the CEO's office. Just ask for the phone number for the President/CEO and call them. It's surprising why more people do not - because there is nothing worse for a CEO than to have HIS customers call him because they are THAT unhappy.

Believe it or not, most these days have their own customer service reps dedicated to helping out customer complaints and they will do whatever they can to make the customer happy. (Though honestly, I doubt B of A is that interested... I'm just saying.)

Good luck man, that sucks. It's bizarre that anyone on here can't support you on this, because if Wells could have canceled six for you, they could have canceled 600.

Posted by: keith.d at January 13, 2007 09:32 PM

Seriously, Wells Fargo's only option is to close the account? But that affects your credit, right? So just the act of having your checks stolen has affected your credit and all WF is out for is the pay and benefits of two script readers on their helpline.

If they can cancel six they should be able to cancel an entire range - they know the range, of course they do. The order is in their system.

Another option you could have went with is to have contacted the CEO's office. Just ask for the phone number for the President/CEO and call them. It's surprising why more people do not - because there is nothing worse for a CEO than to have HIS customers call him because they are THAT unhappy.

Believe it or not, most these days have their own customer service reps dedicated to helping out customer complaints and they will do whatever they can to make the customer happy. (Though honestly, I doubt B of A is that interested... I'm just saying.)

Good luck man, that sucks. It's bizarre that anyone on here can't support you on this, because if Wells could have canceled six for you, they could have canceled 600.

Posted by: keith.d at January 13, 2007 09:33 PM

OMG, BofA is a thousand times worse than WF! Here's my story...

I'm on a friend's BofA account in case something happens to her. After my mom died, my dad put me on his BofA account for the same reason. I had to supply my address (for some unknown reason) but ok.

A couple of weeks later, both my dad's and my friend's statements started coming to my house (3 states away!). And it took literally weeks to get them to fix it. I talked to 3-4 people, none of whom could seem to understand that the main account holder had not changed and there was no reason to change the mailing address for either account.

I've had a few minor problems with WF, but once you finally get a person, they seem to get the problem and know what to do to fix it.

Avoid BofA at all costs!!

Posted by: King at January 13, 2007 09:41 PM

Rod : "Money deposited in banks are reinvested, not lent." A lot of money invested in banks is lent out again (maybe it works differntly in the US). By lending the money out it goes back in to circulation and is used again thus increasing the money in the economy without printing more. Central Govt controls the rates by setting the amount of money banks can have lent out at any one time compared with thier invested funds. This is all high school economics stuff, then again I guess from your derisive comments you must be some kind of "expert".

"In addition, all major banks will recommend you close your account if you have just one stolen check, not more then 6 as you suggest." In this case I guess we are not talking about a "major" bank. In this guys telephone call he was told if it was less than 6 they could cancel them, more than 6 then it was time to close the account. They make it sound like some poor shmuck sits there each night comparing the days cheques to some massive list. Try reading the original post.

Posted by: leslie at January 13, 2007 09:45 PM

"You lost an unknown number of cheques, so basically ALL FUTURE CHEQUING ON THE ACCOUNT IS SUSPECT." -rr. The number of cheques missing should not have been unknown. The bank issued the cheque books, the bank should have some idea which numbers have been stolen. To me the problem is that his bank has put some absurd nonsensical threshold points. All this talk about "now people can use your account number to buy stuff online" should stop using cheques altogther. Everytime you pay by cheque it passes through many hands before it has finished processing. Based on what you think any one of these people now has full and unfettered access to your accounts. Who knows why the thief stole the package, they may have assumed it was a delivery and already dumped the cheques in a rubbish bin, I'd be moer worried about the person behind the counter taking a photocopy than some random thief.

Posted by: leslie at January 13, 2007 09:52 PM

My S&L (remember them?) was eaten up by 12 banks in the 80's and 90's and I ended up with Norwest eating Wells Fargo and keeping the name for the brand. I must admit that WF, because of my account history, has waived fees and charges every time I ask. Their service to me has been excellent. I do not know about canceling checks, but I was told that stop payments only last for a set number of months. After that, crafty crooks can submit checks that have been supposedly stopped but after the stop has lapsed. This is why closure for a large number of checks seems warranted. Also, Wells Fargo is a huge corporate sponsor for the gay and lesbian community. They please me on many levels. Sorry you chose to leave your checks exposed.

Posted by: chandler in hollywood at January 13, 2007 10:10 PM

i agree with most posters here concerning BofA, it's a terrible bank. 6months ago, i tried to get a creditcard that only uses balance in my checking account so i won't overspend and get into debt. long story short, i opened a checking account with $6000 and filled out a bunch of applications. i was approved and assured that the card would arrive in 2 weeks. after one month and half, i received nothing and called the branch up, was only to be told that they would "handle" it and had my issue resolved. two weeks later, i received a bunch blank applications that asked me to reapply the card?! feeling frustrated, i filled them out and sent them back. 2 months later, nothing!! i called again and was told they would "get back to me", which they never did. it's infuriating, and i swear if i will never bank with BofA if i have a choice.

Posted by: Steve at January 13, 2007 10:33 PM

i agree with most posters here concerning BofA, it's a terrible bank. 6months ago, i tried to get a creditcard that only uses balance in my checking account so i won't overspend and get into debt. long story short, i opened a checking account with $6000 and filled out a bunch of applications. i was approved and assured that the card would arrive in 2 weeks. after one month and half, i received nothing and called the branch up, was only to be told that they would "handle" it and had my issue resolved. two weeks later, i received a bunch blank applications that asked me to reapply the card?! feeling frustrated, i filled them out and sent them back. 2 months later, nothing!! i called again and was told they would "get back to me", which they never did. it's infuriating, and i swear if i will never bank with BofA if i have a choice.

Posted by: Steve at January 13, 2007 10:34 PM

Hah! I had a similar thing with Wells Fargo. I ordered checks when I opened my account with them and they never arrived. Of course after a month or so I became a little concerned and got the same line you did. I finally wound up just creating a new account and closing the old one. It's not as big a deal as you make it out to be. You're not going to "forget" one if you check your recent statements.

The funny thing is that about 4 months later I finally did receive my old checks for my old account. I don't know whether to blame Wells Fargo for this, or the post office, or the check printing vendor.

But - yes they should support cancelling a range of checks. I was actually pretty surprised that they didn't.

Posted by: imcnaney at January 14, 2007 12:36 AM

"What kind of idiot leave an entire box of checks in his mailbox until he gets home at night?"

Ahem. You're an idiot.

Posted by: Eddie at January 14, 2007 04:17 AM

I use a small locally owned bank. There are no stupid policies because the account holders will not stand for them. The interest rates are good and they call me by name when I walk in the door. Globalization will be the end of us all. Bank local, shop local, refuse to buy anything not made in the US.

Posted by: catwings at January 14, 2007 05:30 AM

Hi,

I'm about to develop web site where everyone may manage his/her home accounting (incomes, expenses, debts, bank accounts). Would you like to use it?

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew at January 14, 2007 07:43 AM

Good Lord, sounds like some conversations I've had with my bank! Incredible!

Posted by: Sassy at January 14, 2007 10:03 AM

Let me get this straight: the customer rep. explained to you that to protect your account you needed to close it, (which, of course, is now compromised by crooks who can print *any* check number on any computer-generated check using your account number), and you took the rep's advice, and closed the account, and now you are complaining? Of course, you opened the account at another bank, but closing that account was the only way to protect you, and Wells Fargo made sure you knew it. The people you were talking to are not investigators, so they don't have all the background on why the rules are the way they are. They do know the rules and they applied them. My recommendation: Every month that you do not have fraud on your new account (at the new bank) send Wells Fargo $20 for helping you avoid the huge pain in the ass it would have been for you to chase fraud around on your old account. Actually, $40 a month would not be too much. For the next year. At least.

Also, someone above said it would cost $20 a check to report them as stolen. This is wrong. There are charges if you want to stop payment on a check that you issued. Not for checks that are stolen.

Posted by: Brooklynegg at January 14, 2007 12:09 PM

that's a long conversation to quote verbatim. were you recording the conversation ahead of time? and why?

Posted by: Me at January 14, 2007 02:02 PM

I wouldn't switch to BofA. I've had several problems throughout the years with them. One of your posters above wrote they do signature verification-they must not on my accts. I have proof. I've used Washington Mutual as well but they also leave quite a bit to be desired. I recommend a credit union or small local bank as well!

Posted by: Chris at January 14, 2007 04:48 PM

It seems most are suggesting a credit union. They don't solve everything and are still not a non-profit. They're just like banks now except they don't pay taxes.

Anyways a few points. 1st. Always cancel your account if you have lost/stolen checks. If your banker doesn't recommended it, get a new banker(I waive the first check order and help switch over automatic withdrawals/deposits)

2nd. It is YOUR responsibility to manage your own banking. The teller's job is to take your deposit and do your withdrawal. The customer service reps job is to put you in the correct account and make sure you know what's available to you. They also help you to get through situations such as this. Their job is not to pick up your checks from your mail box when you're lazy. It is not their job to balance your statement nor is it their job to monitor your account and call you when that check you wrote before you had the money comes through.

Suck it up and learn how to be a productive member of society that doesn't drain the mental energy of everyone around them

Posted by: Jc at January 14, 2007 10:38 PM

STAY AWAY FROM BoA!!!

Posted by: elvisaintdead at January 15, 2007 08:11 AM

BOA is pretty bad. I've been with US Bank for 9 years and they haven't screwed me over....yet.

Posted by: Tim at January 15, 2007 10:21 AM

Wow. So because this thief has the account number and routing number from the checks, the whole account is compromised? That's just ridiculous - think of all the people he would have GIVEN them to.

Hard to imagine such a system would last more than ten minutes.

Posted by: matthew at January 15, 2007 10:45 AM

Am I correct in thinking that all you need in the USA to compromise someones bank account is a cheque? That sounds like an awful system... You write a cheque for $50 to someone and then they can magically produce more cheques and write a cheque for $1000?

Definately sounds like a very primative banking system to me

Posted by: ... at January 15, 2007 04:08 PM

(From an innocent bystander reading your blog from Europe)

Okay, this makes it clear: There's something really rotten in US banking system. You can use someones account if you know the account number and name? It's like WTF, like I could sign on to any public server by knowing a persons name and a date of birth. That goes against everything security professionals have taught about security.

What should be done: Have proper wire transfers, one-time passwords, have 3-way negotiated transfers for money (you, seller, bank) where you use bank website to pay and the bank notices the seller that the amount is transferred from your account to sellers account.

I think the cheques haven't been widely used since 80's in Europe. The local bank is really suspicious whenever google sends me cheques I have to c-ash (stupid antispam check thinks the word is questionable) and warns me of those cheque frauds that sometimes are pulled off. Thank god Google started to do wire transfering. For some reason, whenever I have to order items from the US it's a pain in the behind. Last time the US company wanted a photograph of my credit card to proof that it's not just a stolen number. Definitely something that is disallowed by the CC company...

Lighter side: Finnish banks are equally stupid. Some years ago I broke up with my girlfriend. We shared a bank account in addition to our personal bank accounts. She walks into the bank and tells that she wants to leave that account to me, so she'll remove her name from the account. The lady in the bank hesitated, and said that to alter the ownership of the account there should be both of us there to sign the papers. After small argument and the strong argument "Why can I close the account if I want but I can't leave the bank account to my ex-bf?" she finally got it.

Same stupidity exists with this anti money laundry laws, you have to fill some paperwork if you do deposits / withdraws that are not in par with your bank history. Yes, you can close the account and get the money immediately with no questions asked. And you can open an account for free, too.

Posted by: Jykke at January 15, 2007 04:39 PM

Funny, I am in the process of closing Wells for a CU.
I cancled a credit card to get a new one, and they automaticaly moved over the vendors I wanted canceled.

Posted by: Vic at January 15, 2007 05:34 PM

Just because you are a Google engineer doesn't make you smart. You are arrogant, and in fact, the bank gave you the best piece of advice to cancel your account.

It's in your best interest to cancel your account and get a new account number, dummy. Just because they steal a particular range of checks doesn't mean that those are the only checks that can be forged.

A check doesn't even have to be on an "official" bank-issued check it could be printed out by a computer.

So even if check # 100-500 were cancelled, they could issue checks from 700 or 900 or whatever number they wanted. And then YOU would have to deal with the headache.

Grow up.

Posted by: Jerry Y at January 15, 2007 06:09 PM

About all the victim-blaming going on here: It is the right of any reasonable person to expect that other people will be law-abiding. We have a further right to expect that a signature means something to a bank. That's part of what 'being law-abiding' means. And we have a right to expect that our rights will not be abrogated simply by the act of informing the bank that a crime has been committed.

Posted by: Kly at January 15, 2007 07:37 PM

This happened to me once with BofA and they actually did cancel an entire book of checks without charging me anything.

That said, I am unhappy with BofA for several reasons--mainly that their interest rates are crap--but I've never had any problems with their customer service.

Posted by: Alex at January 15, 2007 10:33 PM

Close the account. Hold on checks only last for 6 months.

Posted by: at January 15, 2007 10:37 PM

That story doesnt make sense, from Wells Fargo own website:

"There is no fee for placing stop payments on lost or stolen blank checks."

I've had enough luck with wells fargo as far as cancelling fees I was not aware of. It was for bill pay, it is free as long as you have a certain balance, but I did not read the small print. I used bill pay a few time without a fee, then my balance went under the required amount, so I got charged a fee the next month, then I stop using bill pay but the fee where still there every month. I sent an email, (via their website) asking them to disable my bill pay and void at least the fee for the month i didnt use the service. They did so, and they even refunded the fee for the month I used bill pay...

So pretty good.

And I think they are pretty paranoid about security, they called quite a few time when I had unusual expenses, to verify it was not fraud. Thats reassuring.


Posted by: NoMakeSense at January 16, 2007 01:32 AM

Bank of America charges you $6 to cazh* a check if you don't have an account with them. It would cost less to go to one of those usurious check cazhing counters that you see in poor neighborhoods.

*(misspelled to appease the spam filter gods)

Posted by: Collette at January 16, 2007 06:29 AM

Ya'll really don't know the real problem do you??
It's not the bank that even knows this stuff, Bank of America and Washington Mutual are the only two banks I havn't seen at West Telemarketing. Yes I used to work there as Earthlink Tech Support until they shipped everything to India. So the problems you have when you call your bank isn't with the bank, West's policy is to get the caller off the line as fast as possible, whether the problem is solved or not! And if the process takes longer than 1 min 30 secs, you don't do it, no matter what the client (bank) says. Another thing, West doesn't do background checks so you have no idea who is looking at your banking info. I no longer work there I was fired for "whistle blowing", I am now permantly banned from ever working at any West Call Center again. By the way I bank at WaMu now, a friend of my works there and the only time they outsourced was when they were moving the bulk of they're call center to a new location. I think I'm going to stick with them.

Posted by: Dale C at January 16, 2007 06:34 AM

"I'd say USAA"

Um..don't you have to be a member of the military or a first or second generation immediate descendant of a member of the military to use USAA?

But, yeah, if you can use them, go with USAA. A+ customer service (although my last car insurance claim sucked - the other guy's agent was more helpful than the women I spoke with from USAA), no-cost online bill pay, and 10 free ATM transactions anywhere.

Posted by: shifuimam at January 16, 2007 06:57 AM

That was dumb. Closing your checking account to open a new one is a big deal? Why?

Your money is protected by the validity of the account number- not the signature, or stopping a 'range' of checks. I never heard of anyone trying that before.

You could have opened a second account, transfered the funds from the first to the second, and closed the first, all within the same phone call. I'll bet you might have done that if they offered it first before stating they could only cancel 6 checks at a time.

I get the idea from your blog that you are more interested in dwelling in conflict than accepting a reasonable resolution. This is evident not only by what happened, but also by the narrative transcript you provided to tell your story. You are looking for people to take your side.

Observe, acknowledge, and move on.

Posted by: John at January 16, 2007 08:51 AM

Wells Fargo was right, the correct move is to cancel the account.

A few years back I had 8 checks forged on my BofA account. The person got my account number somewhere and printed their own checks. As long as the forger has your account number they can create their own checks.

Closing the old account and opening a new account took a few minutes. The biggest problem was the wait for a new ATM card and changing the account numbers on PayPal and/or other financial institutions that link to the account. I also had to tell BofA what checks I had written on the old account so they could allow those to clear.

Posted by: Norm at January 16, 2007 09:32 AM

I've had checking accounts since I was 18, and now at 54, I'm feeling disappointed that I've never experienced such frustration. Oh wait, maybe because I DID close my account when checks went missing, and didn't make a big deal out of it. BofA is a big, impersonal bank, so what else is new? Cancel the effin' account and either open a new one there or move to another bank. Sheesh.

With all the problems that can occur in banking, being a d*khead about things seems to be the wrong way to handle it.

Posted by: Taz at January 16, 2007 10:04 AM

My God what a mess you created. Why not just close the account; what is the big deal? You made this issue, you created pain for yourself, and now your are complaining about it. Shut up and open a new account like you were advised to do. If someone has your checks, you getting new ones does not protect you at all. Dip shit, do you expect Wells Fargo to take the fall from someone drawing on your account since you were too lazy to get the box out of your mailbox when you had the chance to? Idiots like you cause bank fees to rise and rates to fall.

Posted by: Sam at January 16, 2007 11:29 AM

My God what a mess you created. Why not just close the account; what is the big deal? You made this issue, you created pain for yourself, and now your are complaining about it. Shut up and open a new account like you were advised to do. If someone has your checks, you getting new ones does not protect you at all. Dip shit, do you expect Wells Fargo to take the fall from someone drawing on your account since you were too lazy to get the box out of your mailbox when you had the chance to? Idiots like you cause bank fees to rise and rates to fall.

Posted by: Sam at January 16, 2007 11:29 AM

TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO MENTION THE MAILBOX --
TO ALLLL THE PEOPLE THAT MENTION IDENTITY THEFT::

Here is another bank pain in the butt that can put you at risk!!!!!

WIRE TRANSFERS...

Every bank offers this as a "service".

To receive one the sender needs your name (on the account), address, the location of the branch where you openned the account, your acct number and a special routing number for wire transfers.. I realized that the only thing missing was the ACTUAL routing number on my checks. If the sender SIMPLY OBTAINED MY ROUTING NUMBER, he/she could auto debit my acct, write echecks, etc.... BoA confirmed this to be true. I then discovered that the ROUTING # on your check is based on the state where you openned the account and ANYONE can call BoA and get that info over the phone.. ANYONE! I'm going to assume that all you have to say is, "I'm trying to do 'x' and I need the routing number for 'state'."

So -- what good is offering a service that puts your acct at risk???

I asked the BoA rep and her supervisor why the bank would offer such a service if it put their customer accts at risk.. The response -- thats the only way we can do it...

Wow.

Even Paypal is better at such things...
Sigh...

Posted by: mr stimulation at January 16, 2007 12:30 PM

I completely understand where you are coming from. My bank is just as bad about not wanting to help or fix their own mistakes. But I feel like it is a bigger hassle to change banks than it is to fix the problem. I've been saying I'm gonna switch for 2 years and ain't done it yet.

Posted by: shauna at January 16, 2007 02:28 PM

I also had Wells Fargo and they gave me ass, so I switched to Safe Credit Union and I like it more!

Posted by: alx at January 17, 2007 02:04 AM

I bank at a credit union. I do use checks for some things. I lost a pad of checks while on a trip. I called my credit union, and they simply asked for a starting and ending check number. No list of individual checks, just the range. They also offered and I accepted placing a security password on the account, which I'd have to provide when talking to customer service.

Oh, and no charge for the stop request either.

Posted by: Paul at January 17, 2007 10:59 AM

Banking systems are still in the 20th century. It is amazing that banks have not updated their systems to enable canceling a range of checks.

If enough people switch banks when things like this happen, maybe they will.

Unfortunately, the author is going to find that BoA tends to nickel and dime their customers to death. He has effectively jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Bank of America is the worst banking institution in this country.

However, switching banks WAS a good idea, if only to induce banks to improve their services.

Posted by: Alicia C Simpson at January 17, 2007 10:21 PM

I have accounts with Citibank, Bank of America, Capital One, and Wells Fargo, all together for the last decade. I've had good and bad experiences with them. After a decade, I honestly can say that Citibank is by far the best. Wells Fargo, based on my experince alone, is by far the worse in terms of customer service in all areas of banking. I only have one account left in Wells Fargo to move, a mortgage account. I would be so happy to give the business to another bank. Someday, I'll get around to moving it without costing me much:)

Posted by: ShelleyMarie at January 18, 2007 10:33 AM

Bad move. If anything, B of A is worse than WF.

You're better off going with a small bank that actually gives a shiznit about your bizniss.

Posted by: BIg Al at January 18, 2007 10:28 PM

I would have just hung up the phone.

Posted by: MA at January 23, 2007 06:14 AM

Thank you for not just lying down and taking it. What is required in order to get companies to change idiotic policies is to 1.) Not use their services anymore. How many banks are there in the world? 1,000,006? They are easier to replace than Indian service reps. 2) Tell everyone you know. The old saying in journalism is "Never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel." The 21st century version is "Never pick a fight with someone who buys their ones and zeroes by the the GB!" If enough people stop tolerating nonsense like this and spread the word around then idiotic policies, and, by extension, idiotic companies would begin to disappear.

Posted by: Gary at January 24, 2007 06:57 AM

I say you should find some of your old unused checks and use them to buy stuff and you really won't be paying for them because your account is on hold.

Posted by: tom at January 24, 2007 03:01 PM

Original poster is a total fuccking moron. His checks are stolen and account number is compromised. Thus the crook has eveything he needs: name, address, routing number, and account number.

Check numbers? Fuccking useless to prevent fraud. There was only one solution: cancelling the account. Frankly, I wish the bank had sent you some more checks, and laughed right in your stupid face after your account was drained with some easy Western Union transfer (a ten-year-old could pull it off). Even better: crook places order for higher-number check, then robs this idiot's account. God I wished that had happened.

And if I were the branch manager, I would have bitchslapped you right the fucck out of the branch and told you to never set foot inside again.

Original posting fuccktard needs to learn something about banking and fraud. Watch "Catch Me If You Can" for an imbecile primer, dopeshiit.

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