Usury and Plunder (or Bank of America Must Die)

A few months ago, Ann Minch posted the following Youtube video:

I felt her pain while chortling with glee. A year or so ago, Bank of America ended up with my mortgage – one of those last minute shuffles before the Great Credit Crisis of 2008 became public knowledge.

The change in my mortgage company didn’t concern me. I’ve had a Bank of America credit card for years with nary a problem.

But then, BUT THEN, there was The Incident this summer.

My card was declined at the Bob Evans. I called the number on the back of the card thoughtfully provided for just such situations, punched in my account number, and spoke to a woman in Customer Service who was very nice and assured me this wasn’t a problem – a sort of “these things happen” smiling voice on the other end of the phone. After we sorted things out it shook out that I had shorted my last payment by $2.  I offered to pay it then and there, but their billing process wouldn’t allow me to just pay the $2, I would have had to pay the $2 plus my next payment which I hadn’t gotten a bill for yet.  Ms.-Smiling-Voice-These-Things-Happen told me the $2 would be tacked onto my next bill and all was well in Credit Card Land. I was amazed, confused, and flabbergasted just enough not to ask if it wasn’t a big deal why was my card declined.

I get the new bill – they want my regular payment plus the $2 plus a $39 late fee. I’m a wee bit annoyed. Again, I call the number on the back of the card, punch in my account number, and am immediately routed to the Collections Department (not Customer Service) where Attila-the-Credit-Hun informed me that since I was late on a payment, I was charged a late fee. I told Mr.-Jerkdom-of-the-First-Order that I had made my payment in a timely manner as I had all my other payments for years and years including my mortgage payment and that accidentally shorting a payment by $2 didn’t seem to warrant a $39 late fee. Mr.-Hun-the-Jerk-of-First-Order disagreed.

TWO DOLLARS. TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two dollars was enough to throw me to the wolves in the Collections Department. But the story doesn’t end there. Oh no.

Several days later, I get a letter. Due to the “delinquency” on my account, they were slashing my credit line and shooting my interest rate into outer space.

I called Attila.

Attila-the-Asshole is not a reasonable human being.

In my best Scarlett O’Hara, I announced to a red sky at night that I would pay that damn card off, refinance my mortgage, and badmouth Bank of America every chance I got.  As God is my Witness, I’ll never be usuried or plundered again.

Unfortunately, it’s taking a long time to pay that card off and given the Sucky Credit Crisis, I anticipate refinancing isn’t going to be the cakewalk it was the last time, so I’ve just been stewing in my juices and occasionally glaring at the Huntington branch of Bank of America when I drive by.

I haven’t used that card for anything. I will move into the Huntington City Mission and turn tricks in 41/2 alley before I’ll use that card.

I’m thinkin’ Attila must have gotten laid, because a couple of days ago, I’m paying bills and I notice my credit line has been restored and my interest rate is back in the stratosphere (higher than it had been, but significantly lower than Attila’s spleen venting of a few months ago).

So, I’m a little less willing to turn tricks to avoid the card than I was last week, but I still don’t intend on using it. I don’t piss off easy, but when I do it can be for life. (I’ve been boycotting Dole for 25 years and I can’t remember why.)

We have a perfectly wonderful local bank where I’ve had my checking account for 25 years. They’re solvent, were solvent, and didn’t need a dime of bailout money. Why I got hooked into Chase, Citi, Bank of America and all manner of Too-Big-To-Fails is beyond my ken right now. All I know is that as soon as I can, the locals are getting all my business – mortgage, credit, retirement accounts, and any future lottery winnings.

I was too afraid of trashing my credit score to join Ann Minch in her boycott – my finances are precarious and I didn’t need something else to worry about. But I admire her. I can’t remember the exact quote, but it’s something like “a satisfied customer will tell three people, a dissatisfied customer will tell 9.”  Ann Minch went beyond that.  She not only told thousands and thousands, she stood up to their bullying and won.

Bank of America must die – hopefully at least 7 people will read this (I’ve already told two).

3 Comments

Filed under November 2009

3 responses to “Usury and Plunder (or Bank of America Must Die)

  1. HMOKeefe

    For what banks are charging in interest on your credit card, you might as well go to a loan shark. BoAs practices are insidious and just as new banking laws to regulate this kind of credit card usuary are put in place, the banks increase finance charges and reduce credit limits. First we bail them out then they turn around and stab us in the back.

  2. I’ve been net surfing – apparently BOA has hatched a new plan that they’re testing on some customers that involves more fees for folks who (a) carry large balances or (b) don’t ever carry a balance. Bloggers here and there are recommending folks call and complain loudly if they’re subjected to to new fees.

  3. A couple years ago BoA got hold of one of our mortgages and were total dickheads.
    We refinanced locally and cancelled two charge accounts with them.
    There are plenty of institutions that WANT the business of reliable customers. People need to shop around for banking services.

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