a trip down memory lane

I was cleaning out some files on my computer at work today, and I stumbled across this letter I wrote to my old bank after I had been mugged and the morons at the bank made my bank account inaccessible for weeks.

I completely forgot I wrote this:

I am writing to you today to show my complete disguist with American Bank. I dont think I have ever dealt with a more inept and disregardful bank, and I thought BankBoston was bad.

on 4/23 I was robbed at gunpoint, among the things stolen from me was my wallet, with my American Bank check card, and my bag, of which among other things, had my check book in it. As soon as I was done reporting the event to the police, I immediately started calling three credit card companies I had credit cards from in my wallet, along with American Bank. All of the companies promptly assigned me a new card number and promptly sent out a new card, however, American Bank, being the most important of the bunch since they are basically the receipient of my biweekly paycheck, neglected to mail me a new card. I didnt realize this until 4/28, when it occured to me that the person on the phone never explicity said “we will send you out a new card” even though to me, that seems like a extremely obvious thing. All the credit card companies assumed I still wanted to be a customer of theirs. This was the first example of how little American Bank cares about its customers. To make matters worse, when I called customer service on 4/28, and the representative confirmed my suspicions and said “yes, it doesnt look like the person you talked to sent out a new card” she then said “I put the order in, your should have your new card in 2 weeks, and we will charge your account $5 for the new card”. I also asked if their was any way they could tell me what the new card number would be, because I now had 3 bills that where overdue since the only way I could pay for them was with a credit card, but “they arn’t allowed to give that information over the phone”. Not like it matters or anything, its just my credit. So now after already waiting a week, I have to wait another 2 for my card? my paycheck was direct deposited into my now useless account on 4/24. I don’t know how everyone else in the world operates, but I know I for one use my paycheck for bills, and necessities, all of which mean nothing to American Bank, this was especially obvious after the next thing that was said. I asked her if there was any way that could be rushed, especially since its not like I lost my card. I was held up at gun point. That alone was an extremely uncomfortable and inconveinant event. I didn’t expect to get it even worse from a bank I had been doing business with for 2 years. She told me it could be rushed, but it would cost me $70. What kind of scam is that? you hold my hard earned money hostage in exchage for $70? if I ran a bank, I would do everything I could to give my customers the most pleasant banking experience possible. It seems like a good philosphy, but apparantly not for American Bank. I am not asking for sympathy, its not the banks fault I was held up, but it seems like something could be done to rush printing a printing a piece of plastic and shoving in a next day envelope, especially since I already have to pay $5 for a item probably printed for pennies. Yet another example of American Bank trying to profit from my misfortune. But wait, there’s more.

5/3 comes along, and to my surpise, my brand new shiny American Bank check card comes in the mail. Finally I can use my own money again without having to write checks out to my friends and family in exchange for cash. The little sticker on the card said to activate the card, I just had to go to the ATM and type in my PIN and the card would then be activated for purchases and such. Sounds easy enough. One would think. I go to one of the local ATM’s, and to my suprise and dismay, my PIN, which I had been using for quite some time, all of a sudden didn’t work any more, and to make matters worse, the ATM then confiscated my card. I had the card for a good hour, dangling in front of my face, like it was some kind of joke. Of course given the fact it was the weekend, I had no way of finding out what was wrong until monday.

So monday rolls around, now 13 days since I had been robbed, and I get on the phone with customer service at American Bank, which by the way, was the third time I have had to call since the card was stolen. The representative explained to me that a new PIN had been assigned to me, and it should have arrived in the mail. This bringing us to yet another example of American Banks disregard for their customers. No one ever told me they where assigning me a new card, which to me seems like a very important piece of information. The cookie cutter letter that came with the new card never explained that either. I know how fast US mail takes these days, a standard letter doesn’t take more than 3 days to get anywhere in the continental US. I should have gotten that new PIN days before the card, and regardless of when the PIN arrived, the representative, or better yet, the letter with the new card itself should have explained that I would need to use a new PIN. To add to th hell that is the banking experience with American Bank, the representative then told me I had two options. 1) they could “resend” me the PIN number letter. or 2) I could send them a request in writing telling them what I wanted my new PIN to be. Neither of those options seemed reasonable to me. She claimed they assigned me a new PIN because they had no way of knowing what my old one was, since that is locked up or something. If that was true, then how could they send me a new confirmation letter? seems like a record of the PIN is somewhere. The real icing on the cake is that now, after 13 days of waiting, even if I was to get this elusive new PIN I never asked for, the bank that ran the ATM that confiscated my card doesnt collect anything from that ATM until friday, and unless I catch them before they ship any cards in the machine to their head office, my card will be sent back to American Bank.

I find it completely unreasonable for me to have to pay $70 for the bank I have dealt with for 2 years to care enough to rush sending me the main means of interacting with my own money. I find it completely unreasonable for American Bank to have changed my PIN with out my knowledge or consent, and then to top it of never even tell me when the new card arrived, and I find it even more unreasonable for me to have to call twice for them to send me out a new card. Which to me seems like a VERY obvious thing.

Never in my life have I had such a horrible experience with any company, let alone my own bank, and I think I would rather be held at gunpoint again thain spend another day dealing with your poor excuse of a bank. I am so aggravated and amazed by the atrocity of a bank American Bank is, I think I will instead bank with a sock hidden under my bed. At least then I can easily have access to my own money.

In case it isnt obvious yet. I would like to close my account, there are an abundance of other banks that know how to show they care for their customers. Here is a list of other companies that know how to run a bank. http://www.bankrate.com/brm/rate/chk_ratehome_new.asp?web=brm&online_checking=on&interest=1&sort=10&online_flag=&type=3 maybe you should take some advice from them.

Also, on a last note, if you can get one of the reces monkeys that work at your bank to stop flinging feces, you might want to tell them if they are going to keep lowering the APR of your “high yield” checking accounts, they should update the alternate text of the image on your homepage, because it still says 2.00% instead of your rapidly dropping 1.75% current rate.
Here is an example:
if (ad == 1) {
url = “/personal/deposit/checking.asp”;
alt = “American e-Checking – 2.00% APY!”;
banner = “/images/body_images/main_area/message5_03-30-01.gif”;
width = “370″;
height = “270″;

Thank you for making my life all the more miserable,
Michael Devlin

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