Bank of America Is The Suck

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I always read about how Bank of America sucks this, and Bank of America sucks that, but never had experience the suck that is Bank of America first hand. I opened an account with them a year ago with my then-fiancée because they had a branch within walking distance of my house and because they have ATMs essentially everywhere. I looked past the Bank of America horror stories because, honestly, every company has its bad moments. Well, today I met a bad enough moment to make me can Bank of America and go with M&T Bank. (I opened up a personal and business account with them because a good friend of mine works in their new business development side)

No, they didn’t screw me out of $23049823049 in fees or otherwise hosed me by being unreasonable – they did something far worse because it wasn’t some technical glitch or some procedural hangup. They’re going to lose me as a customer because they were rude. When there are as many choices as there are in the world, you can’t even mess up like that. Sorry!

Today, I went to a Bank of America branch to make some check deposits. When I walked up to the counter with my checks, the first thing the teller asks me is if I had counted the amount. I responded “No” because I wanted them to double check my math, as they always do. The responded with a bit of a roll of her eye and then asked me if I filled out a deposit slip. Again I said no, deposit slips are useless anyway. When she counts them up, she’ll print out a slip that goes with the checks and the deposit slip is just a wasted branch on a tree we’d otherwise like to keep around. This is what has happened the other half dozen times I’ve gone in to deposit a bunch of checks (and didn’t want to you the mechanized paper-cut maker of an ATM they have), the teller simply adds them up for you and you’re on your way.

So she pulled out a deposit slip and told me to fill out my name and address on the slip (useless!). Then she put a calculator in my face and told me to add up the checks. All of this was pretty terse and borderline rude but I was content to let it go. As I added up the checks and showed her the calculator, she proceeds to read out the numbers really loudly over and over again. Is there no sense of privacy? I can understand her reading them back softly, but she was speaking more than normal indoor voice.

Okay fine, whatever, at this point the interaction hadn’t gone great but it was hardly worth closing an account over. Then she looks at my balance and tried to sell me on a certificate of deposit. I politely declined. She persisted by saying I was losing money by putting my money in a regular checking account. She’s right, but I still politely declined. Then she proceeded to start talking to the customer waiting behind me! No good bye, no thank you have a nice day, nothing.

That, Bank of America, was the proverbial straw. Keep that lousy $6 you got for giving me an interest rate of 1.0%, which is essentially paying an annual fee anyway, and keep your other worthless products. We’re outta here.

It’s amazing they didn’t make it out of the first round of the Consumerist 2007 Worst Company in America contest (Verizon was a formidable opponent), but you guys should lock up the first round in 2008 against a cupcake like Toys R Us.

Update: Some people have said that I’m being a baby, that I over-reacted, (one guy said he’d punch me) and I respect all of your opinions (maybe I am a baby, but there are plenty of banking options that are more polite) and thank you for sharing them. I actually wanted to touch on the topic of over-reaction. What’s “worse” of a reaction, closing my account or calling out that teller to their manager? If anything, asking to speak to the bank manager and telling them the teller was rude seems to be like a greater over-reaction than closing an account. Thoughts on that?

{ 101 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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101 Responses to “Bank of America Is The Suck”

  1. Llama Money says:

    Terrible experience, and it would tick me off as well. FWIW, I absolutely love my local BofA branch. Several of the tellers recognize me by sight, and are ALWAYS friendly, smiling, and talking to me. They go out of their way to help me if I need something… It’s like a small-town local bank, but with the convenience of being, well, a huge bank. If that makes any sense.

    Maybe talk to the branch manager before closing the account? One bad employee sure can mess things up… no reason for you to have to change banks if you’re otherwise happy with BofA.

  2. Re: money says:

    Here’s just a thought: maybe this particular teller is quitting soon.

    I very recently witnessed a rude salesperson at a computer store. A minute before that this salesgirl was saying to a co-worker that she’d be out of there in 10 days. She seemed pretty happy about that, too.

    So could be a case of your teller not caring for personal reasons. Again, just a thought.

    My sympathies in either case, pretty traumatic experience, would sour anyone’s mood and opinions of the place.

  3. Darin H says:

    You don’t fill out a deposit slip? Talk about rude! You know that they take the deposit slip, run it through the reader (much better than hand entering your account #) and keep that with the checks you deposit for double checking should there be a problem?

    You told her that you didn’t add up the amount? Talk about rude x2! You could have just said “yes, but I want you to double check my work.”

    Seems like she wasn’t the only one with an attitude problem. I chalk this up to the correct point that the customer is NOT always right. Sure, she could have handled it better, same goes for you.

  4. Jeff says:

    Well, BofA’s fees and customer service may such, but they have an unrivaled physical presence here in SoCal. They are everywhere and so are their ATMs. Avoiding ATM fees and is a pretty big reason why people stick with BofA here.

  5. jim says:

    @Darin: So it’s rude not to fill out a deposit slip and not to provide the amount? That’s strange, I thought tellers were supposed to take deposits and count them. If I gave cash, she would’ve counted it regardless of whether or not I had already counted it.

    That’s okay though, Bank of America won’t have to deal with my rudeness any longer. 🙂

  6. dave L says:

    the question is, do you really get back at that teller by leaving bank of america?

  7. Darin H says:

    At least you have your smugness to accompany you on the way to M&T!

    Yes, not filling out a deposit slip is rude. It’s part of the banking transaction that is just about universally accepted. BTW, I bank with BofA (and have had a few problems with them, but then again that happens at every bank, they employ people and people aren’t perfect) and when I make a deposit, they don’t print out anything to go with my deposit – they print it on the back of my deposit slip (they do print out a receipt for me though).

    I bet she would have counted up the checks whether you said you did or not, just like cash. Do you agree or not with my statement “Yes, but I want you to double check my work” would have been a polite response instead of lying about counting the amount? That’s what really makes you a jerk in this instance. Like I said, she could have handled it better, but so could you.

  8. Jay says:

    What I look for in a land bank is easy access, the local banking products I might need & reasonable fees. Particularly with the new ATMs, there is no reason not to make routine deposits and withdrawals at the machines, and leave the tellers to deal with those things which really require another human’s brain. Complex banking products are typically not even handled by tellers.
    I have found BoA to have a very easy online interface, ATMs everywhere, easily accessible phone services, knowledgable staff, and yes, being a megabank is really handy if you travel at all.
    That’s all I expect.
    BTW, I recently witnessed a teller being harassed and terrorized by a wonky customer, and I can tell you that is not a job I would want!

  9. Eric says:

    Hey Jim,

    I don’t count my checks or fill out a deposit slip either. I actually EXPECT the teller to do it for me. That’s their job and that’s what they’re getting paid to do, not me.

    So although I would have given a piece of my mind to the branch manager right then and there if it were me, I’m glad you just got yourself out of there. Like you said, there are so many choices that you can go anywhere.

  10. jim says:

    @dave L: Nope, but Bank of America gets fewer deposits.

    @Darin: I agree, I could’ve said I counted and wanted her to double check. In actuality, I counted all but three checks because I picked those up downstairs and hadn’t added it up. I had a ballpark figure, because the other checks were less than $250 in total (lots of cents in there), so once she tallied it up I would be able to figure out if a check was missed or something.

    Darin, I’m sure you’re a model customer and one every business would love. I am not a model customer, that’s why I pay for things. Ultimately, it’s the teller’s job to deal with me and she’s paid to do so. I don’t feel entitled to anything special because I’m on this side of the counter but I do feel that courteousness isn’t out of the question.

    I would understand if I had done something abnormal, but I didn’t. I can also understand if I did things in a rude manner, I didn’t. I had no problem filling out the form, the problem came when she pushed the calculator in my face and then dismissed me after the transaction was over. If you read a little closer, you’d notice I was upset with that and not the fact that I had to add up some checks and put down some information.

    I understand that sometimes customers demand too much, I don’t think that was the case here.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Grow up! You should have filled out the deposit slip. It is sorta what you do when you go to the bank. If you are worried about the trees, consider that it is already preprinted and supplied to you when you open the account so those trees are long gone.

  12. Darin H says:

    I guess I didn’t get that sense from you reading it the first time. I agree that she should have handled it better (I promise to stop saying that, really 🙂 ) she might have just been having a bad day, unfortunately when you deal with people all day, everyday, there comes times where you just don’t put your best foot forward even though you should – reminds me of my bartending days… I’m certainly not a model customer, but I recognize that I’m not.

  13. Wow! I had no idea that people didn’t fill out deposit slips. So you can just grab a bunch of checks and/or cash, put it in a paper bag and drop it in front of the teller and say, “Here, wench, count and deposit.”? I had no clue.

    I normally go through a drive-in window for deposits and have never even thought about not filling out everything and having it ready to go. I usually use a teller to satisfy my irrational craving to know it got in before the 2:00pm cut off. Other than that ATMs work great for me.

    I’m also kinda surprised you would need a bank teller to double check you. They would anyway, of course, at the time of the deposit and then again when the close out at the end of the day. I once had a teller add $1,000 to my deposit by mistake. I didn’t really notice until later when I looked at the receipt. However, the bank sure noticed at the end of the day because when I checked online, the correct amount was posted.

    Bu that was a regional bank (BB&T) not the gargantuan B of A.

  14. fred@opc says:

    So maybe this is unfair, but I left BOA because they charged me $30.00 to put a stop payment on a $20.00 check. When I asked them why their web site didn’t inform me of the charge, they said it was listed in the T&Cs they had provided me on paper). (You know — technology can’t provide that up-to-the-minute information for customers).

    I politely asked for my $30.00 back and told them they could “un-stop” the payment if necessary. They wouldn’t. So I close ALL my accounts with them.

    BOA lost big – I had just moved money out of my MM to pay for a house down payment (that’s why that fee was incurred – I failed to meet a minimum to get free stop payment orders). Since then, I’ve kept my emergency fund in a money market at another bank (well over $10K), and I dropped BOA’s VISA card that I regularly charged most of my expenses on. (And that card was CRAP in terms of benefits). With my experience analyzing banks in my MBA prog., I figure this move has cost BOA thousands.

  15. pidgeon92 says:

    I wouldn’t ever think to not fill out a deposit slip. That’s what kinda helps them figure out who I am, and I count on the bank to post this so I can verify later if there is a problem with the deposit. How lazy have we gotten? Why would you try to make someones’s job more difficult? I don’t get it.

  16. jim says:

    It’s interesting that everyone is focusing on the fact that I didn’t fill out a deposit slip. Ultimately, the bank needs to verify the amount I deposit right? And they cannot trust the amount that I put on the deposit slip anyway because if they did, anyone could lie and put anything they wanted on the slip. So, if the value of the deposit slip is zero, what’s the point of making someone go through with filling out a slip.

    I also think that you are all missing the point, I had no problem with filling out the slip. It was the indignation with which she put the calculator in my face and told me to calculate it (which wasn’t that bad, if that’s all that happened) and then dismissed me after I didn’t want to open up a CD.

    It’s okay if you look down on me for not filling out a deposit slip, I’m sure that gave the teller full right to be indignant. (let’s ignore the fact that every other teller had no problem with me not having a deposit slip)

    @Darin: I understand that people have bad days and I didn’t demand a branch manager or anything like that; I’m content bringing my business elsewhere and letting BoA suffer the minor consequences. There’s no need for me to make her life more difficult because it’s honestly not that important to me, her, or anyone else.

  17. Adam says:

    I do find it funny that everyone is focusing on deposit slips. I wanna harp on it too. 🙂

    My credit union doesn’t have deposit slips. 0, none.
    You walk up to the teller.
    You tell them your account number.
    You hand over signed checks.
    They ask which particular account it goes into (checking, savings, bribes and payouts, etc…) and whether I’d like any cash back. It’s seriously easy.

    Granted, it’s even easier to deposit the checks into the ATM, but I go in to have some kind of human contact with the tellers.

    I’d probably get annoyed for the up sell.

    On the other hand, having worked customer service for far too long, everyone and every company has it’s bad experiences.

    I noticed after awhile that I became very harsh with bad customer service experiences. I would overreact to really small things and blow one experience completely out of proportion.

    Jim, I hate to break it to you, but you overreacted. This was a minor incident. If it made you angry a talk with her supervisor was in order. Then you would’ve had the opportunity to see how the branch manager handled the situation.

    If the same bad service keeps happening then you walk away.

    Perhaps this wasn’t the first time you’ve had bad service. If that’s the case, I apologize. The post sounds like it’s your first time walking into the bank and learning their rules and policies for doing things.

  18. Cap says:

    Not to bring up the deposit slip issue again, but yeah Jim not filling one out is not that big of a deal. There are many times where I forgot to fill one out at BoA. Sometimes the teller fills one out for me, sometimes they politely ask me to fill one out. BoA does need the deposits as they’re a requirement in processing.. when the checks go into the proof departments, they run a debit/credit check against the stated deposited amount and the amounts on checks deposited.

    My credit union, as w/ Adam, never required me to use any deposit slip, but that’s most likely because they don’t process enough volume to warrant sending batches to off-branch departments.

    I suppose this teller was having bad enough of a day that she automatically categorized Jim as a bad customer from the onset. Reading the checks amount aloud and dismissing him at the end of the required sales pitch was just plain rude.

    I’m not sure if I would have closed my account over this, but then I’m not sure if I’d approach the branch manager/supervisor over this too. I agree that giving her grief thru supervisor isn’t worth it.

    Although… most likely, I’d have confronted her there and then if it had rubbed me bad enough.

  19. saladdin says:

    I would have typed on the calculator for a few minutes and said something like “Yep. $384783274382.89 exactly.”

    I have Regions Bank. No need for a slip either. They always count the money and give a seperate receipt then the deposit slip also.
    Sometimes if I have a large check and want to keep some of it I just say “Give me $40 and deposit the rest.” Never a problem.

    The “lack of privacy” would have gotten me. I would have asked for her boss.


  20. Bill says:

    If you would never judge a family by one member, why would you judge a company by one employee?

    You even mentioned it yourself that you’ve been many other times, and they will do all the work for you – as you find it difficult to do things as they’ve asked.

    Guess the law never applies to some people, and when someone calls you on it, you run off crying.

    I think if I was the teller, and you kept coming in with your checks not counted, no deposit slip, etc – I’d have punched you in the face – then laughed.

  21. Don says:

    I have to agree with Bill. You’re kind of being a cry baby about the whole deal. I would never have even thought that they’d cater to somebody being lazy enough to not even bother filling out a slip.

    Stop being lazy and a cry baby.

  22. Scott says:

    I usually always get good service at the branch near my old work and old home (not a real big fan of the one near my new work because it’s always super crowded), but I also ran into a teller last weekend at my old home branch that I found to be subpar of their standards. I had to go inside the bank to make a withdrawal because I needed it in very certain denominations to fund some cash boxes at a charity event we were running so I took out several 10’s, 5’s, and 1’s. She rang up the withdrawal and then pulled out the cash. As required, she started counting it as she handed it over to me. She counted the 10’s, then the 5’s, and then said the 1’s were new but there were X there and then handed me everything and acted like our transaction was over and she was waiting for the next customer (there was no next customer that early on Saturday morning however). I did a double take. I don’t care if the bills are brand new or that they’re just $1, you’re supposed to count them – for your sake as much as mine! Not to mention if they are new they are more likely to stick together (the reason she didn’t want to waste the 5 seconds of her life counting them) and cause errors. I couldn’t believe it. I did count them myself on my way out the door to make sure there were no errors. There weren’t any so unlike Jim, I’ll still be sticking with them… for now.

  23. Zook says:

    Leave BoA all you want….but for M&T Bank? What do they have that’s better? Or is it just the teller problem you just had?

    I am sure they will have a few goof ball tellers at M&T that will ruin your day in a few months and then where? This would never end…

    If you jumped ship every time you had a bad experience at a bank, restaurant, etc. etc. etc., there wouldn’t be anywhere to eat or have your money deposited…

    Personally, I wouldn’t let a stupid a** teller ruin your years(?) of experience with BoA. I would have gone straight to the manager and expressed my woes. I would have also sent a letter to the regional manager and to corporate as well…

  24. Slava says:

    I can say one thing… I do banking with BoA and have no idea what deposit slip is.
    For the past 4 or 5 years i never had to step into the branch for anything. For all deposits and withdrawals i use their ATM. I just don’t have time to go there during their business hours. And all other transactions are done online.
    As for the service… Well this was just one particular rude employee. There is at least one in every single company.
    But I understand why you went to another bank. your friend is working there and he will be a back up for anything bad happened there.
    I think I would do the same. Because it does makes you feel better if you know someone in the bank who could presumably to much more to rectify any issue.

  25. TT says:

    Jim when you come in without even a completed deposit slip, YOU are setting the tone of the transaction, and it aint a good one. You need to grow up.

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