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Bank on Americans

By Linwood in Culture
Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 07:12:01 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

This story is real. It is a story about a banking issue that really turned into a eye-opening experience about big business in America.

So, you have seen the commercials for Altovis(tm)? Itís supposedly to help with fatigue during your busy work week. Well, I'm a U.S. Marine, and my job wears me out on a daily basis, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it. They give you a free trial; you just pay S&H and it all seems easy enough. Well, I fell for the trap. I paid the $5, and was sent a small packet which I tried out. It didn't really do anything for me, so I trashed them. And so the adventure begins.

Not thinking anything about it, a few weeks went by and I checked my bank account. I saw that $70 had been taken from my account from a "ASKENZYTE.COM". Not having a clue what this is, I go to the site and find itís the parent company of Altovis. Now I guess I could have called the company, but instead I called Bank of America and told them I wish to challenge this false $70! The lady asked if I had contacted the company about the issue, to which I said "No, I did not want to talk to them at all". Everything seemed okay; she said they would mail me out some paperwork, and I just had to fill it out and return it. No problem. She said that if the company sends anything, send it back immediately.

Few days down the road, sure enough I get a package from Altovis and sent it right back on its merry way.

Here's a small side story. I had a company charge over $300 to my previous bank account (Navy Federal). I went into the bank when I got off work that day and told them something was up. Well, in around 10 minutes I was leaving Navy Federal, and the lady there had my problem solved. I had my money back in my account in a day. So with this "Warm Fuzzy Feeling" I got from Navy Federal, I figured the Huge Bank of America would do the same. We have all seen the "We are here to Help you!", "If your account ever gets charged fraudulently we will have your money back within 24 hours!" commercials. I figured wrong.

As a Marine, things come up. Work gets overwhelming on occasions with duties and such, so I let a bit of time go by, still checking my account on occasion, with no results.

So today I call up, expecting some odd hangup in the process. Yes, there was a hangup. I never called Bank of America, or so I was told.

Lady: there was never anything entered for your account, and because you waited past 60 days, there is nothing that would be done.

Me: of course its more than 60 days now, that is why I called back when it originally happened.

[enter small tug-of-war back and forth here]

What fun! So I tell her the Navy Federal story I mentioned above and how quickly they responded and fixed my issue. She went on to tell me that Navy Federal basically "covered" the $300+ from my account until they contacted the company on their end and got it back. Sort of like a "good will loan" per se. Commenting back, I say "fine, Bank of America is a much larger bank, with much more money; why doesn't Bank of America do the same to help me the customer?".

Lady: Well sir, Bank of America is a publicly traded company, and if we did something like that ...

Me: [cut in] Okay, what youíre saying is, Bank of America is so big it doesn't want to help its customers any more just its stockholders?

Lady: [pauses]

Me: Awesome, well let me know how that goes, because I'm getting my money out of your bank and going back to Navy Fed. [click]

And thusly, ended my escapade. Mad, yes, disappointed? Much more so. I couldn't believe that was the excuse given for bad customer service. I hope that this message gets posted on K5. I hope this message is read by many, many BoA customers, and I hope this message makes BoA, and other "Publicly Traded" companies wake up and know that they can't just please the wealthy stock holders, they have to please us. The common man, The Average Americans.

I'm an E-3 in the Marines, which makes around $1600 a month. $70.00 is a lot of money to me. I realize the error I made by trusting that they would fix my problem without me hounding them. But if anything is learned from my bad experience, it's to never buy B$ off of T.V. and never use Bank of America.

I for one do not welcome our evil overlords.


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Bank on Americans | 118 comments (88 topical, 30 editorial, 1 hidden)
oh yeah? (2.63 / 11) (#2)
by smart guy on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 06:32:44 PM EST

well, i got a prepaid mastercard from Walgreens and put $100 on it so i could buy a few fle^Hashlights. 3 months later (last month) i checked my "balance" on their website - it was negative. in the red about $15. i called them to find out what the fuck was going on and they didn't help me, but they were nice enough to charge me a fee for the call.

apparently you have to send them a letter via snail mail to cancel your account, or they'll keep charging you a $5 "service fee" every month. i'm glad i didn't cut my card up and forget about it (like the walgreens bitch said i could).

"K5 will never go back to fully open membership. Sorry, that's just the way it is, and I'm not willing to debate this issue." -Rusty

This sounds really handy-- (none / 1) (#56)
by vegetablespork on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 07:22:35 PM EST

could be good for obtaining a card in an assumed name.

[ Parent ]
Customer service (3.00 / 10) (#13)
by Tyler Durden on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 09:05:11 PM EST

I can't speak to the good ole days, because ever since I've been a wage earning adult, customer service has sucked ass.  There are certainly some companies out there that will take care of you.  Unfortunately, too many are just concerned with their own bottom line.

One would think that the bottom line would be affected by crapping all over your customers.  But that's not quite true.  People will take a lot of abuse before they finally have enough and go somewhere else.  All you have to do is keep customer service just bad enough that most people don't leave.  Then you advertise to get new suc^H^H^Hcustomers and raise fees to further screw over the ones you still have.  Furthermore, the bottom line will not even take a hit until 1 or 2 more fiscal quarters have passed, by which time the management will have taken enough money from the company coffers and have jumped out of the penthouse with their golden parachuttes on.

The moral of this story is don't fix it if it ain't broke.  

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie

It is true. (3.00 / 6) (#42)
by gr3y on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 10:38:07 PM EST

I have a very simple policy: unless a company or business is offering me a vital good or service which I cannot otherwise obtain (sewer and water fall into this category), they only get one mistake. My next vehicle won't be a Ford, it won't be bought from Hall, and I'll never again contact the local heating contractor to inspect my furnace. They have plenty of competition, and I have a very long memory.

I just canceled my newspaper subscription because the paper has no control over their marketing department. Their marketing department told me that the subscription price I was buying into was not a limited time offer, but it was a three-month trial subscription at a substantially reduced rate. A woman named Navarez blatantly lied to me on the phone when I asked her when it would expire.

So I defected to not receiving a paper at all.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

When you do this (none / 1) (#73)
by ZorbaTHut on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 07:28:43 PM EST

make sure they know why.

I got semi-ripped-off by a rental car agency the same way (*calls on phone* "Do you have any extra fees for 22-year-old males?" "Nope!" *goes to agency* "And that'll be an extra 110% because you're a 22-year-old-male") (and it's Dollar, for anyone that's curious) and ended up writing an email to their complaints, saying basically "I was lied to on the phone, I'll never use your service again or recommend you to my friends, this is a terrible way to treat customers and you've just lost one." Within a day I had a response asking me for the details of my car rental - location, reservation number, etc. It remains to be seen if they'll do anything about it, but at least someone is potentially aware This Is A Problem.

Same thing happened with my moving company - they screwed up paperwork on the order of half a dozen times and then told me that despite promising my stuff would be here on the 15th, it will actually be here on the 1st of next month. I raised holy hell and, as it stands right now, they're waiting for the guy to get into office (he'll be in on Sunday) who can authorize them hiring a truck to make a special delivery to me on Monday, at their cost. :P

Which isn't to say that I'll use them again, because it depends on the final result - but I'll tell my friends "they screwed up, but at least they fixed things also".

Squeaky wheel gets the grease - if you're not getting enough grease, you're not squeaking loud enough. :)

[ Parent ]

No. (none / 0) (#97)
by vectro on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 07:14:07 AM EST

I don't care if they know why. I don't care because I'm not going to be their customer anymore -- if they want to fix the problem, that's their issue.

Customer service in the US is of low quality because consumers simply don't demand good service. They continue to patronize substandard companies, and when problems occur them complain but don't act.

I demand quality, and it's as simple as that. If a company doesn't satisfy my expectations, I won't do business with them. It's not my responsibility to help them fix the problem, and certainly not worth going out of the way for.

If more people took this attitude, then quality as a whole would improve -- at least that's my perception. But I don't wait for others to change -- I get quality now. Why? Because I demand it, and because I only do business with companies that provide it.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Amazingly... (none / 0) (#106)
by gr3y on Tue Jul 20, 2004 at 11:00:23 PM EST

I was talking about this to a co-worker this very day, and said exactly the same thing.

I expect a level of quality, even in customer service. If a company cannot provide it, I defect immediately.

The reason I won't buy a Ford? I wrote Ford a letter reporting that the software they provide their dealerships, and which reports that I am due for my "XX0000 mile maintenance", serves no useful purpose for me. They mistook my letter for advice.

I requested that they report the actual maintenance that will be performed, the cost (guaranteed reasonable estimate +/- 10 percent), and a guarantee that if the scheduled maintenance is performed replacement costs will be prorated, at a negotiated rate, and cost of labor waved.

It wasn't advice. It was the cost of continuing to have me as a customer.

I don't want Ford to radically alter the way it does business. I only want Ford to modify its database lookup to include more data, such as the actual maintenance that will be performed in a scheduled maintenance. This is not unreasonable. An estimate is generally good for ninety days or so, and a dealer's work is warrantied.

Oh, but I did not expect to receive a postcard falsely reporting they attempted to "reach me" to discuss it, and providing a "800" number for me to call to request to speak to a CSR drone with absolutely no power to resolve or otherwise respond to my letter, other than apologizing to me profusely, which I cannot stand.

I'm amazed at the corporate arrogance and desire to hide behind a wall of minimum wage CSRs. So fuckem. My next vehicle will be a Honda. Probably an Element. It will be the easiest sale of the salesman's life because I already know exactly what I want.

Because Ford's attitude is pathetic and endemic of all American businesses.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

The danger... (none / 0) (#110)
by quesera on Wed Jul 21, 2004 at 11:00:06 AM EST

The danger with that approach is that sometimes you're wrong, and as a result of your switch to another vendor, you get a string of new substandard replacements and it doesn't all shake out for a number of transaction cycles..  For a furnace repair, it might be a couple winters.  For a car, it might be a decade.

And of course, a lot can happen in a decade.  "One strike you're out" makes you feel like you've taken action against an underperforming vendor, but often it just means that you trade laterally.

Specific to your complaint about Ford..  Yes, they could be more helpful, sure.  But all periodic maintenance descriptions are found in your owners manual.  It's different (but similar) for different cars.  Your owner's manual is exactly correct for your car, minus the high-failure-rate, easy-to-check components that get added over time.  Ford would have to update their databases constantly for all models to keep the information more relevant than the info they gave you when you bought the car.

Also, quotes:  Labor charges and even parts charges are different in different areas.  Dealership service departments set their own rates, except for warranty work.  Parts charges vary due to shipping costs, customer preference (what kind of tires do YOU want?), etc.  To give a quote, Ford would have to customize the database for every dealership, *and* keep it updated constantly.  If they just gave an estimate, that would be even worse.  (Can you imagine?)

So yeah, I hate getting bad service too, but in this case, I think you're being unreasonable.  In the other cases, I'm not sure your solution is anything more than a placebo.  

I think business relationships are a lot like personal relationships.  Yes, you'll get taken advantage of if you allow it, and yes there are times where you just have to pack your shit up and leave, but most of the time it's more worthwhile to make an honest effort to reach middle ground.  (Middle ground can never be reached with the first-level CSR drones, of course).  (Note that I'm not pretending that the way they treat you has an expectation of fairness -- it's absolutely institutionalized abuse.  But it's everywhere, so jumping to the next vendor doesn't solve it.)

Oh, and btw... A Honda Element??  Really??  Every time I see that car, I think was designed as a self-parody.  You know, like the t-shirts they sell at Urban Outfitters that say "Punk Rock!" on them?  Ugh.

[ Parent ]

Yea, I feel your pain. (3.00 / 4) (#14)
by tehblister on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 11:02:01 PM EST

I'm an E4 in the Army.  Low pay sucks ass.  The services on base are supposed to be cheaper to offset our difference in pay from the rest of the world, but the services on base suck ass.  

Cost of living allowance (COLA) also goes a long way, but I don't get it here stuck stateside.  I definately feel your pain.  I feel like an idiot having to explain to people how 100$ may not be a lot to someone who makes normal civilian wages, but to me, that represents literally 1/10th of my monthly income.  Bastards.

So once again, (1.88 / 9) (#23)
by Sesquipundalian on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 01:08:26 PM EST

You are willing to risk your life and murder foreigners for $1000 per month!?!?!

No seriously, I know circle jerk (a few comments down) thinks I'm nuts, but WTF?

You could make three times that money hauling city trash!

I ask you this as respectfully as possible; Why don't you quit the millitary and get a job that pays real money before you wind up getting shipped off someplace and killed? You only get to live once man, it's not worth it.

Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
Because... (2.88 / 9) (#25)
by Xptic on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 03:40:36 PM EST

...of the training that we receive.

     When I joined the Air Force, I was a high-school dropout.  Now, I'm about to earn a degree in IFSM.

     When I joined, I worked in a factory.  Now I have 10 years experience working on everything from Solaris to Windows; from 300 baud lines up to OC-192 trunks.

And because of the teamwork.  We cone in early and stay late if someone has some problem.  Just 2 weeks ago, I came in on sunday afternoon in order to train someone how to do hot-melt.  This weekend, I'm covering for someone so he can go to a party.  In exchange, my boss let me leave early the last 2 fridays.

Basicly, it's like any family.  90% of the time, you wonder why you got into it, but the other 10% makes you weep with joy.

[ Parent ]

Think about it, lots of reasons. (2.87 / 8) (#36)
by kitten on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 09:31:02 PM EST

Yes, he could probably make more money now hauling trash but that's a dead-end job for the most part.

Military service looks fucking fantastic on any resume or job application. It bumps you to the top of the list in many employers' eyes. The military provides training in all kinds of areas, useful training and degrees, that you wouldn't get hauling trash around or painting buildings or working in a factory or whatever.

Not to mention all the networking you can do from it. I've got lots of friends in the Marines and the Air Force, most of whom have landed excellent jobs through people they met in the service. Hell, even if nobody you know personally is in a position to offer you a job, many business owners were once in the service and feel a certain camraderie towards anyone else who is/was.

There's dozens of other little perks I can think of offhand. Get pulled over? When the cop asks for your license, give him your license and your military ID. Unless you just ran over a guy, he'll probably let you go. Watch what kind of discounts you get offered without even asking for being somewhere in uniform; a friend of mine recently out of boot got dinner at a nice restaurant for free when he was wearing his uniform. Another friend got a free pitcher of beer when we went to a bar, and I've witnessed a handful of other times where someone will offer to buy them a drink for no other reason than they appreciate the military. Healthcare, dental care, lower plane fares (or maybe get a lift at the nearest base), lower car insurance..

The pay isn't fantastic but there are lots of reasons to join other than the pay. And depending on where you live, the pay can be substantial. 1500 dollars won't let you live like a king in Atlanta, where I live, but you could easily get a nice one-bedroom, pay all your bills, and have enough left over for bullshitting around a few times a week without having to worry about it.

For the record I am not in the military nor have I ever been.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
That may work at home . . . (2.75 / 4) (#38)
by vegetablespork on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 10:24:40 PM EST

There's dozens of other little perks I can think of offhand. Get pulled over? When the cop asks for your license, give him your license and your military ID.

. . . but in military towns, the cops are as likely to resent you as to appreciate you. Of course, it will save some questions about your out of state license.

[ Parent ]

It's not that bad (none / 3) (#31)
by curien on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 06:36:30 PM EST

once you move off-base. I'm a brand-new E-5 (ok, ok... I sew on 1 Aug), and I make about $50k per year equiv civ pay before taxes (that is, if I were paying taxes on my BAH and BAS). I was fortunate enough to re-enlist with a 5.0 bonus multiplier, though. Without it, I'd be making closer to $40k anually. That's not taking into account the medical care (which, frankly, isn't that great unless you're really sick).

It's not great, but it's certainly not too bad, especially if you're single. I can live off of just one of my semi-monthly paychecks; the other is gravy. Oh, and I don't know about the Army, but the AF will reimburse you for 100% of the tuition cost of any college class.

All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

Currently on google (none / 3) (#16)
by richarj on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 03:30:22 AM EST

If you search for Altovis the last item on the first page is Word Soup: Altovis Scam. Maybe you should do some consumer research before you buy things. It alwalys helps. Also never trust big banks they will just rip you off bigtime. I have all my money in a Building Society which serves the people who have money in the Society not some exterior stock holder.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
Banks are full of crooks, and hire crooks (2.66 / 6) (#20)
by haplopeart on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 09:23:28 AM EST

Switch to a Credit Union if you can.  They are a much better place to keep your money, and because you are effectively an owner when you put your money with them, they care about you a lot more...

I belong to DCU, Digital Federal Credit Union, which was originally founded by employees of Digital Equipment Corp.  They have branched out now and offer memebership to most everyone...
Bill "Haplo Peart" Dunn
Administrator Epithna.com

I feel your pain. (none / 3) (#22)
by RareHeintz on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 11:44:57 AM EST

Bank of America sucked when I had them in California, and Ill be closing my Fleet account now that they've merged. You're absolutely correct - they don't care in the least about doing right by their customers.
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
Here's what you do (3.00 / 16) (#28)
by curien on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 06:25:05 PM EST

I'm an E-5 in the AF.

You complain about this to your chain of command and your First Sergeant (or whatever you Jugheads call him -- the guy in charge of enlisted issues for your unit). Take it as high as possible. I don't know about where you are, but my commanders all have "open door policies"; most people don't take advantage of them, but they're there. Use the chain first, but if it doesn't pan out, take advantage of it. You want to get BofA put on "the list".

You know that list of places in your area that you're not allowed to go too? The one that has a couple of gay bars, a skinhead hangout, and some racist churches? You know how it also has a few car dealerships or otherwise innocent-seeming businesses on it? Well, those businesses are there because they dicked around young enlisted folk, and someone's supervisor or Shirt was on the ball enough to do something about it. Now, they don't get any military business.

I'm sure that if you start the ball rolling on that process, you'll do much more good than an article on K5 ever could. Along the way, you might want to send BofA an e-mail describing your situation and what you're doing about it. Who knows... you might get the 70 bucks back.

I guarantee you that I'll be informing my Shirt about this.

All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher

Chain of Command (3.00 / 6) (#50)
by Xptic on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 04:33:20 AM EST

I'm also an E-5, although my experience with the Chain of Command over 10 years gives me a different view...

First, the First Shirt.  This guy, although helpful in many situations, is primarily in place to keep you in line.  Sure, if your mom dies or your house id broken into, he's the first one who will help.  However, his concers with you and an outside agency are mainly that you are not ripping them off.

Second, Open Door policy.  Sure, my CC has the same policy.  But, as soon as you go in, the question is "Does your flight CC know about this?"  Agian, the CC has too much going on to worry about you in a lover's spat with a third party.

Third, the Black List.  This is ONLY going to be places where Airmen/Soldiers have access to drugs.  Sometimes a place will be added for blatant ripping off of military people, but not usually.  Here's a test:  Open your wallet and take out your GTC.  What is at the top in big bold letters?  That's right, BoA.  What are the odds they will be blacklisted?

Plain and simple:  This guy got scammed.  Getting scammed for $70 isn't so bad.  Most junior enlisted lose that much in a bar on Friday.  Expensive lesson, but one he will take to his grave.  How many other people have lost thousands learning the same lesson?  Hell, he got off cheap.  He will go to a Credit Union now and be happy for the rest of his days.  BoA will continue to get money from our travel system.  Exzyte will continue to dupe people in their pyramid scheme.  In the end, enough people will be duped that the company will go bankrupt.

[ Parent ]

Not my experience (2.75 / 4) (#51)
by curien on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 09:34:02 AM EST

  • All I can say is either you've had some shitty shirts, or I've had great ones.
  • Yes, the CC's first question will be if you used your chain of command. Do that first, and if that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, use the open door. It doesn't hurt if your CC knows you. My group commander knows me by name, and he comes and speaks to me (and most everyone else) on a regular basis. When I bring an important issue to his attention, it's usually dealt with within the week.
  • You're wrong about the black lists. There's a guy in my office who was scammed by a local car dealership for like a 20% APR car loan. The shirt and JA got him out of the loan, and the dealership's now on the black list.
I agree though -- $70 is a cheap way to learn this particular lesson.

All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]
-1, Diary... (2.00 / 15) (#29)
by gordonjcp on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 06:29:36 PM EST

... but it's a good diary. This is well worthy of being posted as a diary, but it just isn't an article. It's kind of hard to define what makes a diary a diary and an article an article, but it's like the saying about pornography, "I know it when I see it".

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.

You Dumbass... (1.50 / 8) (#32)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 07:01:09 PM EST

You could have probably gotten it for free over at the Naval Hospital off Brewster at the dispensory (in the pharmacy, across from the checkin desk). Hell, you could have probably got it at dental over in French Creek.

This bitch doesn't know what she's talking about. Navy Fed is publically traded too. It's a "credit union". Every $5 you deposit in your sharecheck or share savings account is a...*gasp*...SHARE in NFCU.

Honestly dude...why ever you left NFCU to begin with is beyond me. They have better rates, better programs, and more flexible terms than "banks", and they hae more ATMs than BoA. Of course, Marine Fed has more than both combined.

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
man ... it just isn't a good day for you ... (none / 2) (#37)
by pyramid termite on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 09:43:57 PM EST

... unless you can prove your superiority over another human being, is it? ... was there really any other point to your posting this?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]

Yes... (none / 2) (#58)
by thelizman on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 11:16:01 PM EST

...in my heart of hearts I am desirous to piss you off. It's a bad day if I don't piss of some mind-numbed liberal twit. Yesterday, apparently, it was you.

Kindly go play with your lenin logs now.

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
just think ... (none / 1) (#60)
by pyramid termite on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 02:04:13 AM EST

... you could be learning things, sharing your feelings with people and opening yourself up to new ideas on the internet ... instead you choose to berate people and piss them off

you failed this time ... it just makes me sad ...

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]

in addition.... (none / 3) (#43)
by /dev/trash on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 10:46:56 PM EST

Are there actually ANY banks that aren't publically traded.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
thelizman has another... (none / 0) (#72)
by grouse on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 07:03:41 PM EST

"argumentation is not a word, idiot" moment.

A credit union is not "publically traded." In fact, one of the requirements of a credit union is that membership (i.e. ability to purchase shares) must only be open to certain classes of people spelled out in detail by the credit union (12 USC 1759). They are inherently non-public.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

Pay Attention Boy (none / 0) (#79)
by thelizman on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 10:24:55 AM EST

Credit Unions are not privately held institutions. Ergo, they are public. Membership in a credit union means you have access to their financial services, but Credit Unions also sell stocks and securities to non-members to finance debt. I know this is way above your feeble mind to comprehend, but since I belong to two credit unions I have to break it to you the only way I know how.

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#80)
by grouse on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 11:08:02 AM EST

credit unions are not public institutions. Federal credit unions do not and cannot sell their stock to non-members as you say. There is no federal credit union that allows any member of the public to become a member—indeed, that is legally prohibited.

You are either ignorant or lying. Please let me know which one at your leisure.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

Go Back to 1999 (none / 0) (#81)
by thelizman on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 11:47:32 AM EST

...when congressed passed banking reforms which allowed Credit Unions to sell stocks and securities to non members. Credit Unions which elect to do so - such as Navy Fed (the topic of discussion) are considered publically held when x amount of their debt receipts are held by non-members. I could refer you to the July issue of HomePort (the newsletter of Navy Fed) wherein they discussed their public status, and made the distinction between a privately held institution, and a private membership institution which has publically held assetts.

I can accept that your information is out of date. I can't accept how you continue to be willfully ignorant.

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Is that so? (none / 0) (#83)
by grouse on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 12:27:49 PM EST

In that case, I suppose it would be trivial for you to identify said 1999 law that allows credit unions to sell their own stock to non-members, thereby making them publicly traded?

Also, if you could identify the stock exchange or trading system Navy Federal Credit Union (or any other federal credit union) is traded on, that would be a big help. Also any of the SEC reports that publicly traded companies are required to submit.

Finally, please identify where the Board of Directors of Navy FCU (or any other FCU) are chosen at all by these non-member stockholders you have proposed and therefore owe their loyalty to them rather than to their members.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

I'd Rather... (none / 1) (#103)
by thelizman on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 10:27:04 PM EST

...see you live out your years in ignorance. I'll need an underclass of morons like you to mow my lawn.

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Financial Market Modernization Act of 1999 (none / 1) (#113)
by trav on Thu Jul 22, 2004 at 01:09:57 PM EST

That'd be my guess.

[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#90)
by sully on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 10:38:03 PM EST

Marine Federal doesn't just have more ATMs - they have a branch on almost every corner in town. I just don't get it. Seriously, though, I've used both Marine and NFCU and can say I've had no problems whatsoever with Navy Fed, but lots of snafus with Marine, lost address changes, overdraft fees, etc. Now I bank with Fleet, and am beginning to think that Navy Federal might be the bestest bank ever.

[ Parent ]
So what (1.16 / 6) (#45)
by JayGarner on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 11:28:57 PM EST

I won the International Lottery, endorsed by the Mr. Bill Gates, President of US software.

I make about the same amount per month, (none / 3) (#47)
by Kasreyn on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 01:48:17 AM EST

and I bank with BoA as well. Wasn't wholly my choice, since I have a joint account with someone else.

Thanks for the tip. I'll keep it in mind.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Big Business (none / 3) (#49)
by ljj on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 03:12:55 AM EST

That is why Big Business is evil. There is no point in arguing with the Lady on the phone. There is no accountability. They rely on people being too lazy to change banks. They make you believe you taking your business away won't hurt them.


an dthey said military was stupid *g* (none / 2) (#53)
by dimaq on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 10:44:18 AM EST

What you should have done: (3.00 / 8) (#54)
by adimovk5 on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 10:47:02 AM EST

There is a difference between your two adventures in banking.

Story number 1 at Navy Federal Credit Union

"I went into the bank when I got off work that day and told them something was up. Well, in around 10 minutes I was leaving Navy Federal, and the lady there had my problem solved. I had my money back in my account in a day. "
Story number 2 at Bank of America
".....I called Bank of America and told them I wish to challenge this false $70! The lady asked if I had contacted the company about the issue, to which I said "No, I did not want to talk to them at all". Everything seemed okay; she said they would mail me out some paperwork....."
In the first incident, you went directly to the bank and were taken care of by a human being. The problem was solved immediately. Action was taken in one day. In the second incident you did not walk into a bank. Instead you chose to handle matters by phone. YOu did nothing when the paperwork promised didn't show up soon.

When handling financial problems, document everything you do. Purchase a notebook specifically for the problem. Document the day and time of all events, the names and phone numbers of contacts, and information that may be important later.

(If you would had been able to name the time and name of the person you had talked to, you would have been able to get the to accept the fact that you had notified them of the proble within the 60 day window.)
You should follow up in writing to the appropriate customer department. You should use registered mail to start the process. Then you have proof that the company has received your original complaint. Customer service will call you or notify you in writing that they are working on your problem. The same letter should be sent to the business you are having a problem with. Continue the letter writing until the problem is corrected. Work your way up the chain. At some point, they will satisfy your claim just to get you to stop, as long as you are being polite and reasonable.

In the future, don't use your checking account. Use a debit card or credit card. If your credit rating is poor, you can get a deposit backed card. Credit cards have protections built into the system and you are more apt to get relief if you use them. Also ask any business that offers you free or cheap prices if there are any other obligations for accepting their merchandise.

Phone only can be good (none / 1) (#57)
by Coryoth on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 09:34:49 PM EST

I bank with a phone and internet only bank in New Zealand.  They have no branches, just access to them by phone and internet.  I have occasionally had issues, and had 0 problems getting them quickly and efficiently solved via phone (and once simply via email).

How good was the service?  I once had an issue corrected while I was in the US for Christmas.  I sent an email on December 24th and had an email confirming that the issue had been resolved in December 26th.

It helps that whenever you phone the bank the person you are talking to is the equivalent of a branch manager, and can make whatever changes are necessary themselves on the spot.


[ Parent ]

I'm leaving Bank of America soon (none / 1) (#61)
by therippa on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 02:12:56 AM EST

I've been a BofA customer for over four years. You're right, they could give a shit about the customer. I'm curious as to how much of your money they have to be holding onto at any given time to care about you. My girlfriend's dad is a VP over at BofA. He was talking about the merger, making it sound like it was a good thing. I brought up that they kept a fleet exec just so he could layoff 12,000 people and then have him leave with a 23 million dollar bonus. He didn't like to hear that. There have been a couple occasion when I've gotten screwed. One was just a few weeks ago when I moved. I was waiting for a check to clear, but had to spend a lot of money that weekend on supplies for the new place, deposit, etc. I checked my online statement throughout the weekend to make sure I didn't overdraft (the visa is tied to my checking account). In the event I did, I had setup overdraft protection a few weeks earlier, but they never actually set it up...they say they have no record of anything. Monday I had over five hundred dollars. Tuesday, after everything was processed, I was negative one hundred. So I deposit two hundred and fifty in cash, thinking it will bring me back over zero. The next day I check and I now have negative fifty. They charged me one hundred and sixty-five in nsf fees! So, instead of processing transactions by date, they process by amount descending. Therefore, the two fifty I deposited (bringing total to one fifty) is brought back to the red by the nsf fee, then they charge for items that were listed over the weekend , but then disappeared Tuesday so they could nick me for more fees, and that brings another round of one hundred in nsf fees. I called customer support and asked the lady wtf was going on. Why was the web page telling me I had a couple hundred bucks left? Why did they process in order of amount and not date (woulda saved my one hundred on fees)? Why did they hold those items that shoulda been processed Tuesday for Wednesday and hit me with fees again? And to make it even worse, when I used their online address change service for my accounts they didn't update the address on my Visa, so bill payments I had automated and updated with my new address failed because they were still using my old one. And it's the third time that has happened. E*Trade bank has better interest rates, they refund the fees non-etrade ATM's charge you, their online service has some of the cool features that things like Quicken or MS Money have. I'm going to be taking my business to them soon.

Sorry about the run-on paragraph, fp on Kuro5hin (none / 1) (#62)
by therippa on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 02:18:20 AM EST

[ Parent ]
I'm confused... (none / 1) (#63)
by Arvedui on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 07:35:05 AM EST

This story actually made it to Section with a net score of 27? I thought stories needed a net of 80 to survive. Is there somewhere that explains Scoop's voting/scoring/posting calculations in a bit more detail? The FAQ doesn't seem to be much help in this.

This is a really fucking cool story... (2.88 / 18) (#64)
by ixian on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 07:48:11 AM EST

...not so much because of the facts -- they are typical. There's always somebody getting screwed by these scams, or else they would go out of business, so to speak. No, this story is cool because of its characters.

I mean, look at it this way. Our protagonist in this story is a Marine. He is a soldier. He is defending our country (at least for some k5'ers its "our country") against The Terrorists(tm). During this time of war (and although some say we are not at war anymore, I think so long at there are US soldiers getting killed, and admittedly killing other people, US is at war... And besides, US has other wars going on -- War on Terror, War on Drugs... ) ... where was I? Oh yes -- At this time of war, this guy is a hero. Really. He is the last remaining good/noble/respectable thing in our times. And besides, whether you are pro war or against war, you gotta support the troops!

So now our hero, exhausted from his job of defending our country, and our children (can't forget the children) from The Terrorists(tm), attempts to alleviate his exhaustion with some promising remedy, only to find to his disappointment that he is dealing with a scammer. I mean, we all fucking hate scammers. It's not enough that they lie through their teeth to cheat us our of our money, they also bombard us with extremely annoying advertisements on TV, on the Internet, in newspapers, etc. I mean, scammers are the fucking scum of the Earth, probably even worse than The Terrorists(tm), because they terrorists are at least motivated by something other than money... maybe...

With me so far? Again, we have a HERO, and the HERO gets screwed by a SCAMMER. So what does our hero do? He asks his bank for help. And it's not just any bank -- it's the Bank of the fucking America!!! Now, of course it's just a name. It is no more an official bank of the United States than Bank One is the number one bank (whatever that means), or than CitiBank is the bank of any particular city, or of only cities, or than Burger King is the king of burgers. It's just a friggin' name. Oh, but what does that name symbolize! It is a bank located in America. A bank where americans work. Where business is done in the American Way. And it's certainly governed by U.S. laws. Now, I'll be honest here and admit that saying that the Bank of America represents America itself would be stretching this too far, but it does represent a face of american business.

Moving on. You see, there is more to BofA than just that. It is a bank. It is loaded with money. It is extremely, extremely, filthy fucking rich beyond your wildest imagination. And it is not just any form of business. It is a corporation. It is that form of business which creates an impersonal shell around itself composed of mindless drones who work with a single goal in their mind -- maximization of profits for the shareholders. I mean, if you think about it, the only difference between corporations and scammers, discussed above, is that the corporations at least attempt to achieve that same goal through honest, lawful means... at least sometimes...

Now, to summarize all this so far. We have a HERO, who gets gets screwed by a SCAMMER, who asks a RICH AND POWERFUL CORPORATION, to which the hero entrusted his hard-earned money (of which he has little), for help, and the corporation TURNS ITS BACK ON HIM! The CORPORATION ENDS UP HELPING the lying, cheating, disgusting evil SCAMMER! By now, if you've read all this from top to bottom, right now there should be a tear rolling down your cheek. I mean, really, all of my sarcasm aside, this shit just ain't right.

Again, my point is that this story is just plain cool. Not because of the story itself -- a lot of people get screwed by scammers -- but because of who the actors are. A soldier (a noble hero), gets screwed by a scammer (an evil lier), and a rich corporation (a personification of american business), sides with the scammer. I think this story has great PR value. Assuming this story is real (and I believed that is is), this is truly the kinda shit I'd like to see on 9 o'clock news.

P.S. Linwood -- please do not be offended by my sarcasm. I actually do sympathize with you. You were cheated out of your money, and I agree with you 100% that it's fucked up and not right. I was just trying to make a slightly different point.

not bad (none / 0) (#69)
by IlIlIIllIIlllIII on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 03:14:40 PM EST

not bad at all.

[ Parent ]
Thank you [nt] (none / 0) (#71)
by ixian on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 04:26:11 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Wow (none / 0) (#82)
by sophacles on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 12:26:43 PM EST

I wish I could do that.

No, really.  I am in awe.

[ Parent ]

You should have tried: (none / 2) (#66)
by actmodern on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 11:37:54 AM EST

"I want to close my account over the phone. Please mail me the rest of my balance." I've had that work with Bank of America.

LilDebbie challenge: produce the water sports scene from bable or stfu. It does not exist.
Do something about it (none / 2) (#67)
by howardjp on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 11:38:51 AM EST

There are a handful of places you can take your complaint. Bank of America NA's primary regulator is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, part of the Department of the Treasury. Bank of America Corp.'s regulator (as a bank holding company) is the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. You can also call your state's Attorney General or your state's bank regulator (varies from state to state). Any of them may or may not be able to help you, but if none of them do, your last resort is the Better Business Bureau. They won't be able to do anything, but they will send harassing letters for you. And there's some satisfaction in that. Of course, you could also sue in small claims court. They violated the terms of their contract with you. Nail them for it. Since it's more than $20, demand a jury. ;)

Why? (none / 0) (#88)
by QuantumG on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 08:33:24 PM EST


Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Read the fine print! (2.20 / 5) (#68)
by bytesize on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 02:48:33 PM EST

Can't say I blame you for being upset with a BIG bank. I've had my share of negative experiences with a few too.

But, in this instance, I think you should be looking a little closer at your own actions and expectations. I, too, saw the ad for Altovis and also figured it wouldn't hurt to try it. I went to their website and clicked on the free trial link. Realizing that nothing is ever "free", I was careful to read everything very carefully.

It became immediately obvious that their program was opt-out only. It's clearly stated that if you don't contact them to say "no more", they'll automatically send more product and charge your CC for the same. I left the site immediately.

This is not an unusual business practice. Nor can it be considered a scam. Banks can only do so much. It's the responsibility of the consumer to be fully aware of the details of any contractual transaction they enter into.

This whole thing could have easily been avoided had you simply read the conditions of the offer and followed through as instructed.

Bank of America tried to defraud me... (3.00 / 5) (#70)
by hansel on Sat Jul 17, 2004 at 03:26:56 PM EST

I had a BoA credit card.  I'd paid off all of my credit cards, carrying no debt on any of them, but I still check them every month through their websites.  So the day after a $70 charge appeared, I called and disputed the transaction.  It was for some travel deal.

A month later I check my account again, and the charge is still there, so I call again.  This time I find out that the charge is from a Bank Of America special offer having to do with travel deals if I sign up with some kind of account insurance.

I get these calls now and then, and never, ever accept what's being offered, so I could say categorically that I hadn't consented to any BoA special offer.  I didn't even remember being called in the last few months.  I explain this to the customer service rep, and she says that something has been filed with their special offers business unit to cancel the charge and the service.

I think this was one of two things: more plausibly, a BoA employee calling with these special offers has a quota (or even works on pure commission), and someone decided to play the odds, mark me as accepting the offer without having called me, hoping that the charge would get lost in regular credit traffic and not even noticed; less plausibly, BoA itself engages in this practice on a limited basis to bump up its numbers.

What better service to sell than one that someone doesn't realize they have, and so never uses?

Either way, it was an attempt at fraud.  The question is really whether or not it's systematic at BoA, and how official it is.  Maybe they just know it happens, and don't do anything about it because it's deniable, and it helps the bottom line.

Regardless, I cancelled the card.

Overcharging (3.00 / 4) (#74)
by Blarney on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 04:24:08 AM EST

If a company overcharges a million customers and 900,000 of them catch it, they've still got the money from the 100,000 who didn't.

Now if you or me tried that stuff, we'd be charged with felony theft. Might get some jail time, might well lose various licenses necessary to conduct our business as a result of the felony conviction - but we are subject to law, so that's how it works.

It seems that, increasingly, big companies are immune to law. No prosecutor wants to try to disband a company that manages billions or trillions of dollars, that provides employment for thousands - why, an attempt to take BOA apart might cause a real serious recession! So the fact is that our government - representative of ourselves - is too weak to touch these companies. It is weak, despite all the Ashcroft hype about how the government should be more powerful, despite all the libertarian rhetoric about how the government is an all-powerful scourge, it's really slowly dying.

[ Parent ]

Immune to the law? (none / 0) (#102)
by rpresser on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 03:44:18 PM EST

Law is a figment of the imagination. Another one of the opiates of the people, like religion and television and the Internet.

In environments without governments, "law" equals "the wishes of the largest group of badasses who can beat you up." Presumably you will not argue with this.

In small environments with governments, like constitutional monarchies with populations under a hundred million or so, or the USA before 1850, "law" equals "the wishes of the government, voted on by mostly intelligent representatives of the people."  But the government is still "the largest group of badasses who can beat you up."

Now that we have a large environment, where there is easily a million dollars in the economy for every man, woman and child in the country, "law" equals "the wishes of whoever can buy their way."  Beating you up physically is still under the hood; it's just that the badasses control the beaters with money instead of their own fists.

Nothing changes. "Law" is an illusion designed to make you think life is fair. Life isn't fair, never was fair, never will be fair, and wouldn't work if it was fair.
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Nah. (none / 0) (#107)
by vectro on Wed Jul 21, 2004 at 03:53:31 AM EST

Singapore is a tiny country, and is not really democratic in any useful way. IMHO the government does a reasonable job of managing things, but not as a consequence of popular vote.

Cambodia is a smallish country, where government is available for easy purchase, despite ostensibly free elections.

China is quite a large country, both in population and land area. It's government is unabashedly undemocratic.

India is also a large country, but its government tends to follow free elections, with the law being quite populist.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

BOA is evil (3.00 / 5) (#75)
by Blarney on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 04:37:01 AM EST

I would never do business with Bank of America, as they have demonstrated a consistent willingness to break laws and treat people badly just to make a few extra nickels. As they're a really huge corporation, perhaps necessary to the national economy, the government can't touch them for their crimes. Therefore, it seems to me to be a moral imperative for customers to take their business elsewhere.

A couple things about BOA that haven't been mentioned here - they've been cited for charging people without bank accounts $5 to cash payroll checks drawn on BOA! Now this is wrong on many levels. Wrong because a paycheck drawn on BOA is a promissary note, a contract that BOA and the employer have agreed to which states that the employer will leave $X with BOA, who will give it to the bearer of the note upon demand - they have to give up the money, that's the deal, putting obstacles in the way is just breaking the agreement! If BOA wants a fee, let them take it from the writer of the check should he agree, but by no means have they the right to take $5 from the amount that they are obligated to "Pay to the order to" the named recipient. Wrong because it tends to target the poor who don't have bank accounts, stealing $5 from a poor man is even worse than stealing from someone who can afford to lose it. It's finally wrong because most States have laws against this practice, and BOA habitually violates them. But the government can't touch them- they're a big corporation, nothing can be done. So it's up to us not to use them.

Other BOA nastiness - they've been known to work employees off the clock, in violation of many State and Federal laws, as well as common sense notions of employment agreements where employees are paid for the work they do. The most egregious example was, I shit you know, their "Adopt-An-ATM" program where employees were encouraged to agree to sign up to keep a particular ATM clean, at risk of disciplinary action should that ATM be left dirty, with the understanding that layoffs were ongoing and that nonparticipation might be seen as a lack of enthusiasm for the job. That's enough of a reason not to use them - if you're like most people, you depend upon wage income to live, and shouldn't support people who cheat their employees.

Drawees charging fees (none / 0) (#114)
by jasomill on Thu Jul 22, 2004 at 05:38:45 PM EST

A couple things about BOA that haven't been mentioned here - they've been cited for charging people without bank accounts $5 to cash payroll checks drawn on BOA! Now this is wrong on many levels. Wrong because a paycheck drawn on BOA is a promissary note, a contract that BOA and the employer have agreed to which states that the employer will leave $X with BOA, who will give it to the bearer of the note upon demand - they have to give up the money, that's the deal, putting obstacles in the way is just breaking the agreement! If BOA wants a fee, let them take it from the writer of the check should he agree, but by no means have they the right to take $5 from the amount that they are obligated to "Pay to the order to" the named recipient. Wrong because it tends to target the poor who don't have bank accounts, stealing $5 from a poor man is even worse than stealing from someone who can afford to lose it. It's finally wrong because most States have laws against this practice, and BOA habitually violates them. But the government can't touch them- they're a big corporation, nothing can be done. So it's up to us not to use them.

This is interesting, because the same thing happened to me at another bank and I was curious. I had a friend ask a business law professor about it, and he figured it was probably legal. Of course the law pertaining to negotiable instruments is the UCC, which is state law, so it could vary from state to state; the professor was in Colorado.

I'd be interested to learn more about the citations, as it seems wrong (to me) for the reasons you've described. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if some state courts allow "nominal fees" (e.g., $5) for such things, especially if the law is silent or ambiguous (IANL, but it's certainly possible).

Oh, and a check is not a note, it's a draft. "An instrument is a "note" if it is a promise and is a "draft" if it is an order." (UCC 3-104e) A check isn't a promise, it's an order for a third party (the bank) to pay (which they are then legally obliged to do).


[ Parent ]
I'm a little confused (2.75 / 4) (#76)
by my fake account on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 05:08:50 AM EST

At what point did you give them your bank account information? Why would you give you bank acount info to someone to whom you owe $5?

There was this one time (1.00 / 11) (#77)
by Melissa Rent5 Parakeet Cynic on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 06:12:01 AM EST

I was jumped by a bunch of ninjas.  Well, they might have been Mujadideen, who can tell?  Anyway, they were trying to sell me life insurance or some virgins or something, but I didn't much like the way they were talking, so I whipped out my Genuine Licensed Rambo: First Blood Part 2 Knife and waved it in front of their little pussy faces, and they made like the Palestinian Authority and split.

Now that I think about it, they might have been Mormons.  Who can tell?

This account has been disabled. You are invited to check the comment history (including the parent comments) and draw your own Ko5clusions as to why.

USA banking (none / 3) (#78)
by chbm on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 09:21:00 AM EST

is stuck on the stone age. Film at 11.

If random people can take money out of your account without proper authorization what do you expect ?

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --

This is why I choose small banks. (none / 2) (#84)
by sophacles on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 12:40:30 PM EST

I use a small, local bank for my needs.  The rates are slightly less competative than a large bank, but they offset that by not having minimum balances and such.  The major advantage however is that I personally know several of the people who work there, up to and including one of the big shot VPs.  This wasn't intentional, it's just that because it's local, these people come into my life in other ways.

Also, since the bank is small, my business with them represents a larger relative portion of thier overall business, so I get better service.  They are always willing to work with me about disputes or changing services.  I have never left there feeling cheated or even unsatisfied.  Compared to my last bank, where I was never satisfied, and who started charging a fee to talk to a teller, it is heaven.

The only inconvenience is the lack of free ATMs.  This really isn't that big of a deal tho, since just about all businesses accept Visa these days.

I did that too. (none / 0) (#96)
by vectro on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 06:56:35 AM EST

On three different occasions, even. My banking experience seems to be plauged with the following pattern:
  1. Set up account with small, high-quality bank offering good service and reasonable yields.
  2. Enjoy account for 1-2 years.
  3. Big monolithic bank purchases small, good bank.
  4. Service goes to hell.
  5. Repeat as desired.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
It's a shame really (none / 0) (#98)
by sophacles on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 10:38:56 AM EST

All these bank mergers turn good banks into screw the customers for a dollar machines.

[ Parent ]
I don't know but I been told... (1.00 / 6) (#85)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 01:43:47 PM EST

 I've often wondered what kind of an idiot falls for these type deals. Not surprisingly the US marines, best of the best, nothn but a fuckn foolish idiot.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
You. Are. An. Idiot. (none / 1) (#100)
by Zeriel on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 01:22:31 PM EST

I've been lurking Kuroshin for years, and when I finally decided to make an account, new account creation had been disabled.

Fortunately, it's now reopened, so I can tell you after all this time of watching you that you are absolutely the goddamn stupidest fuck to ever figure out how to log online and post.  Seriously.

Wow, that felt good.

[ Parent ]

Hey (none / 0) (#105)
by ShiftyStoner on Tue Jul 20, 2004 at 03:47:18 PM EST

 At least I don't fall for stupid crap like this then come whining around about it. At least i can give an explanation when I call somone an idiot or stupid. You've been watching me for all this time wanting to tell me off and the best you could come up with is calling me a stupid idiot. Go back to lurking in the shadows dumbfuck.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry (none / 0) (#109)
by Zeriel on Wed Jul 21, 2004 at 10:37:51 AM EST

I'd have responded with more specific concerns I have with your prose stylings and intelligence, except that 99% of the stuff you write is literally incomprehensible.  Do you just pick random words out of a hat or something?

[ Parent ]
A few tips good for Marines and 99% of population (none / 3) (#87)
by elpapa on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 06:28:32 PM EST

A few tips I hope you'll find useful : don't trust ME, trust logic and compare with YOUR experience.Only in a second moment compare your experience with others experience.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------

Some people didn't notice that banks are in the financial business. They need a quick easy refresher:

THINGS YOU OUTTA KNOW - before we go to tips ( skip if you feel you are really retarded )

  1. Cash Flow Rule for people : if today you have less money then yesterday , it's not good. Really.
  2. Cash Flow Rule for business : if at 31 December 2004 you have less money or less credit
(or more debit) then 31 December 2003 you company is going to be fucked much sooner then a lot later. It's not good. Really.

a. Banks are businesses, therefore they follow Cash Flow Rule for business.
b. Banks are masters with money because they literally ARE the financial market (money market)
c. Banks were invented to -distribute risk- not to store money. Coffers/Safes stored money
already too well and there was no need for a big central coffer, expecially a private one.

Just a few more things, then'll we go to tips you frenetic lot. Go ahead feel offended.

Things can go awfully wrong. Investment Banks distribute risk by taking money from MANY (millions) of people at a time
and then give that money to other businesses asking them for more money in return (it's called "interest").

Example : Investment Bank YUMMY gives(=lends) Joe's Company $10000.

  1.  Joe's Company FAILS miserabily (like thousand of other companies).
  2.  What does YUMMY bank do ? Tries to recover  some money but manages to recover only $5000
  3.  YUMMY takes $1000 out of commission for recovering money, therefore the FINAL recovery is $4000.
  4.  YUMMY gave $10000, recovered $4000 --> $6000 were LOST. Yeah shit happens, welcome to business.
  5.  Who pays the $6000 ?
  6.  YOU too! But not only YOU, all the people who gave money to the bank take part of the loss.
  7.  So if 1000 people gave money to YUMMY, $6000/1000 = $6 lost per person. You lost $6.
Now if you were the only investor, you would have lost $6000 ! Bad isn't it ? But thankfully 1000 other investors were with you, so your loss is only $6.Even if flip burgers at McDonald your loss
is minimal.

Who profited from the FAILURE of Joe Company ? Lawyers primarily, but probably also the Bank as the Bank retained some commission money ! Yeah profit from failure, nice eh !!? Now not every bank retains commissions, but they can if they specify that in the contract.

Remember Cash Flow Rule ? Bank must get some more money and you see above just ONE way they do that.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------

Now, not ALL the banks are in the business of taking big risks. Other are in the business of providing you SERVICES like an account. Of course they charge you for the service and while your money remains in their coffers they usually
buy very low-risk State bonds to obtain MORE profit out of the money. Very Low risk, but STILL risk.


THINGS TO DO AND NOT DO WHEN SIGNING A CONTRACT ( online on the web or at bank office)

  1. Banks are not your friend ! Banks are trying to make a profit out of me ! REPEAT, Banks are trying to make a profit out of me !
  2. Repeat point 1. Fix it in your memory. Banks are trying to make a profit out of me.
  3. Don't SIGN ANY CONTRACT you don't completely understand. do NOT for Jebus' shake (and of your wallet)
  4. Read the piece of paper bank gives you to sign ACCURATELY. DEMAND for more time to read it, analyze it, read it again with friends and relatives. Don't be afraid to ask questions, even question you think are stupid.
  5. ASK questions BEFORE you sign ! Ask for each line of the contract to be explained to you. THEN ask to somebody else, don't trust the bank as if bank was a human friend.
  6. If the bank employee/representative refuses to let you have
  7. a copy of the piece of paper you will sign BEFORE you sign and AFTER you signed it
  8. looks like he/she is going to die if you don't sign immediately, the poor fellow
  9. he/she is in a hurry/have to go to lunch/his wife is delivering a baby/her friends are going shopping
  10. or tells you're going to miss a great opportunity if you don't sign NOW !!!!!!
  11. in other words pressures you to sign IN ANY WAY, even the MOST GENTLE and humane possible
  12. DON'T GET MAD AT HIM/HER. Its his/her job to pressure you and the good ones know more tricks then you'll ever know.
That's the reason why many banks pay them, surely not only for shuffling cards left and right.

Just say "I want time to read it, all the time I want because I AM the customer and you want my money. I'll sign it IF AND WHEN I will want to sign it"

If the bank employee further pressures you, leave and refuse to sign.

7. Don't believe any hype of the kind "smart people signed this contract and made lot of money ! " or "this is a zero risk investment " or "this is a very low risk investment AND you're going to make good money out of it". These are all half truths and lies 99% of the times. There's even political hype now ..."sign that and we'll donate to Marines ! " yeeeahhh suuuuure and I'm the Lord Jebus Krist resurrected.


  1. Read every word of it, expecially the fine print.
  2. Check for words or phrases that "sound odd" (there's probably an ambiguity hidden in them). Ask friend help in understanding them. For fun you could ask the bank employee too, but if he/she is good he'll make them look like you're stealing money from them and you will believe that, no matter how smart you think you are.
  3. Check for COSTS. How much does it cost to cash a check ? How much does it cost to have checks ? How much does it cost to have an account open ? Devils in details and banks know that well (that's how they scam money out of you).
  4. Check for TIMES. HOw long does the account last ? Exactly when will the contract conditions change ? How can they change?
  5. If you're really a smartass you'll also check State and Federal laws on bank business (but I'm asking a little too much)
WHO TO ASK FOR MORE HELP: Consumers association, friendly lawyers expecially ambulance chasers but don't trust them too much, friends who worked in banks (they're all mad at banks so they'll help you..unless they want you to sign some contract)good accounting students, friendly MBA in Economy expecially if specialized on accounting, students and teachers of math expecially financial math with complex formulas.

Or... (none / 1) (#91)
by ShadowNode on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 12:51:34 AM EST

You could just join a credit union and not have to worry so much about all that bullshit.

[ Parent ]
Good God (none / 0) (#93)
by Professional Student on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 01:25:58 AM EST

As soon as you called it a Cash Flow rule, I tuned out.

[ Parent ]
Altovis (none / 2) (#89)
by Joe9999 on Sun Jul 18, 2004 at 09:01:56 PM EST

Minus the inactive herbal cruft there to make it look like something more, is basically just a caffeine pill - about the same amount you'd get from a single cup of coffe. If one isn't getting any effect from it, there's a good possibility that the tollerance is due to a pre-existing addiction, which itself might be the cause of the constant lethargy. Try giving up anything with caffeine in it and the tirdness might go away as well after a week to a month.

L-Glutamine (none / 0) (#94)
by Nuff on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 01:43:03 AM EST

You might also want to try taking l-glutamine before you go to sleep. I take a spoonful of that stuff and it helps me a lot, it boosts your Growth Hormon production at night and you get better rest and recovery. It helps me cut down my sleep from around 9-10 hours to 6-7. Most of all I feel a lot better and more alert after the shorter sleep with l-glutamine then the longer sleep without it. It works for me like magic.

I think you might need larger doeses of it then me since I only go to gym and my workouts don't last longer then an hour. But it helps me a lot in my recovery next morning.

Also do what the poster above said. Cut all of the cafein from your diet. Softdrinks, coffee etc...

[ Parent ]

The secret to getting things done (none / 1) (#92)
by Wateshay on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 12:57:39 AM EST

I learned this one from my dad. It's not pretty, but I assure you that it does work:

  1. Get indignant. When the "helpful" customer service rep on the other end refuses to be helpful, get as indignant about the situation as you can. Don't yell, swear or be abusive, but be very firm about everything. Demand that you get taken care of. Remember, though, the first level rep probably can't actually solve your problem.
  2. Nine times out of ten, the rep will tell you to stop yelling, swearing, or being abusive towards them. When this happens, deny having done any of those things (which you can do honestly, because you followed my advice above). At this point, ask to speak to a supervisor. You will likely be told that there is no supervisor available. This is a lie, don't believe them. Continue to insist on speaking to a supervisor until you are given one. If they continue to tell you there is none, keep pressuring them with things like, "so, you are there all by yourself?"
  3. When you do finally get to speak to a supervisor, get indignant again. This time, though, calm down quickly. Then, explain how you realize that problem isn't their fault, and you apologize for giving them a hard time. The goal here is to get them on your side. Once you've won them over, you can generally get your problem solved. If they can't solve it, they'll usually put you through to the person who can.

Another thing to remember, get names, and once you have them, use them frequently when talking to people. People are generally much more willing to help and/or intimidated if they aren't able to think of you as seeing them as someone nameless and faceless.

Often you will have to mix up the above steps a bit to get what you want, but with a little practice, you can be very effective.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."

Not always the case (none / 0) (#99)
by scruffyMark on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 12:50:35 PM EST

I've worked in a call centre where that really was true - there was no supervisor to talk to.

However, you'd never know that to call the place. If a customer wanted to speak to a supervisor, we'd just get someone else to be our 'supervisor' for a few minutes. If you called a few times at night when there was hardly anyone there, and spoke to a supervisor each time, you'd probably get the same person in both roles...

Incidentally - often the supervisors are the real hard-asses. At another call centre I worked at (Jeez, this is embarassing), I was way more generous than any of the supervisors.

Partly it was because I felt the company really did screw over their customers, but partly the supervisors just didn't give any ground, specifically so that supervisor-complainers would learn it wasn't worth their while. They were there to solve problems that were technically difficult, not to placate customers who felt they'd been hard done by.

Unless you're talking to a real moron, you'll often get a lot more done for you being nice to the first person you talk to, than getting mad and insisting on talking to a supervisor.

[ Parent ]

Clarification (none / 0) (#111)
by Wateshay on Wed Jul 21, 2004 at 02:09:55 PM EST

I guess I should clarify one thing here. I agree that it's always better to start out being nice. The trick I showed above is not a very good "first approach". However, when being nice doesn't get you anywhere, either because the person you're talking to can't help you or won't help you, the tactics I mentioned above do work more often than not, at least in my own personal experience.

I am glad to hear that you truly cared about the customers you were serving in your own call center experiences, though. That kind of attitude is sadly lacking way too often. It sounds like you were working in a tech support call center, though, which I would guess is probably a lot different than a customer service call center, which is where I've had to apply the above techniques. I would never get upset with a poor tech support person who was just trying to do their job by going through the script they're required to use, or anything like that.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."

[ Parent ]
Lovely (none / 1) (#95)
by limekiller on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 03:07:41 AM EST

Oh shit.  I ordered that product too.  Only difference is I never actually got anything, and this was about 10 days ago...  Grr.

Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals--The Parent (none / 1) (#101)
by TireBiter on Mon Jul 19, 2004 at 03:31:51 PM EST

The original poster has two issues as I see it:

B of A - A common example of commercial banking (others have covered this issue in plenty of detail) The best advice is: join a Credit Union! (Believe it or not, they compete with commercial banks AND treat their members well!)


Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals (BPN) [also Lifekey Healthcare]- Flashy purveyer of non-FDA drugs with a penchant for scamming the unsuspecting.

The tactic used most often by BPN is to immediately charge you for your 30-day "free trial" samples and then immediately ship you the next two months worth for a $70 charge on your card. This WILL continue until you cancel with them. The BBB sends them bags of complaints every month which they mostly ignore. [Important: the BBB is a service which is funded by its members (BPN, etc.) they won't shut them down!]

BPN admits publically that they will never take back product once it is shipped, however they WILL ship you another set for "free." So now, you have paid $70 for 120 days of their product.

BPN also admits that you MUST take the product for 90 days to achieve the reported change in your body, essentially making the "free" sample invalid.

BPN (http://www.berkeleypremiumnutraceuticals.com)is owned by a family. The owner and his wife have the key positions in the company and they have other relatives who are part of the operation. They are located in Ohio, so the Ohio Attarney General would be responsible for public legal action.

For personal legal action, there is at least one class action suit being brought against this organization:


You can become a member of this class action by completing their online form.

By the way, the products ingredients are posted on their websites -- mostly they seem to be herbal remedys, both Western and Oriental. For example, Dromias, their sleep enhancing product seems similar to products that you can get in most health food stores:

Supplement Facts

-Magnesium (as magnesium oxide) 50 mg 12
-Valerian standardized extract (root) 200 mg *
-Wild jujube standardized extract (seed) 75mg *
* Daily value (DV) not established.

Other ingredients: guar gum, dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, calcium carbonate, vegetable stearin, vanillin, stearic acid, magnesium stearate, silica, citrus pectin and sugar coat ingredients (to be determined).

I know that valerian is a common sedative ingredient in many herbal relaxation and sleep compounds (as is melatonin) and the jujube is a Chinese herbal with similar results.

BUT, you can get Valerian and Melatonin compound by a number of companies for about $10 compared to their $35 for the same 30-day supply...

(Personally, I find that the Valerian and Melatonin compound available on the open market will pretty much ensure 6-8 hours of sleep for me whenever I take it.)

At least ... (none / 1) (#104)
by duncan bayne on Tue Jul 20, 2004 at 12:25:49 AM EST

... your crap banks aren't funded by the Government through compulsory taxation.

Proposal (none / 0) (#112)
by wji on Wed Jul 21, 2004 at 07:58:05 PM EST

Whoever was running all those "Zombie Celebrity" dupe accounts should make a "Zombie Libertarian", who will post to every story a comment along the lines of "This bad thing happened because of government regulation / This good thing happened because of lack of government regulation / Yeah, but it would have been worse if government had gotten involved". Thus, the majority of k5 libertarians, who spend all their time posting dumbass one liners without even trying to lay out a logical argument, can simply take the time off to smoke pot, sink foreign aid ships on the high seas, write hilariously incoherent manifestos, or whatever it is those guys do with their off time.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
That wasn't my point ... (none / 0) (#115)
by duncan bayne on Thu Jul 22, 2004 at 11:32:05 PM EST

My point was that, unlike New Zealanders, you are free to cease funding bad banks by withdrawing your custom.  We have a bank funded by compulsory taxation, from which we cannot withdraw our support.

[ Parent ]
Okay, I'll bite. (none / 0) (#116)
by wji on Fri Jul 23, 2004 at 12:46:29 PM EST

It's transparently obvious that banks couldn't exist without government protection -- and of course government protection is funded by compulsory taxation. This is without even mentioning all the extra subsidies banks and big corporations in general get through the state a thousand different ways. So exactly how free is anyone to cease funding bad banks?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Some more than others ... (none / 0) (#117)
by duncan bayne on Sat Jul 24, 2004 at 03:29:27 AM EST

... but you're right, not *totally* free unless living in a country under a Libertarian Government, where business are free to succeed or fail on their own merit.

That said, your ability (in the US) to not fund bad banks seems to be an order of magnitude greater than here in N.Z.

[ Parent ]

Then who do you use? (none / 1) (#108)
by nlscb on Wed Jul 21, 2004 at 09:31:49 AM EST

For some people, credit unions or small local banks are not an option. Of the big national banks, which ones are the least obnoxious? Sure, they may have some service fees, but at least they are up front about it kinda places.

I doubt that it is these guys.

Would foreign competition help?

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

military money (none / 1) (#118)
by rockkid on Sat Jul 24, 2004 at 10:50:36 PM EST

So if you're an E3, it must suck for a long time making next to nada?

I guess if I join the airforce, I won't have any real money til I'm out and using my training for a better job..
<<<<I am the cure and the sickness.>>>>>

Bank on Americans | 118 comments (88 topical, 30 editorial, 1 hidden)
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