Compass bank offers free ATM use with some checking accounts. On their web page (www.bbvacompass.com) they describe the free ATM as
A. They don't charge to use other banks' ATMs.
B. They refund charges that other banks' ATMs charge you.
C. They refund international service fees charged by foreign banks when using foreign banks' ATM machines.
All one needs to do is bring in the original ATM transaction receipts to the bank and they will send it in to their rebate department. On the web page, it tells you to send the receipts directly to the rebate department. But, in practice, I was told just to bring them to my banking center. And that method did work for two trips to Mexico and Thailand in the past. But on a trip that I recently took to Thailand, it was like pulling teeth from an angry tiger to get my refunds.
My ten ATM transactions occurred in Thailand. I withdrew a total of $1,447 with 10 ATM transactions during the dates of June 25, 2009 through July 18, 2009. The ATM machines in Thailand all charge $150 Thai Baht, which was about $5.00 per transaction.
First, they gave me $14.47 for the refund of the 1% international service fee on
$1,447 of transactions. And they also gave me about $11 more for a total of $25.
Well, I had previously estimated my refund when I turned in the receipts as a total of $66 as shown by this message I sent in their internal messaging system:
Hi, I was given two credits on August 3:
08/03/2009 CREDIT FOR SURCHARGE 10.75
08/03/2009 CREDIT FOR SURCHARGE 14.47
The credit for $14.47 appears to be for the 1% international service fee refund.
The credit for $10.75 is too little. I had ten transactions that each incurred a fee of 150 Thai Baht. That is approximately a $5.00 fee for each transaction that results in a sub-total of $50 for ATM charges in addition to the $14.47 isf charge.
So, I complained vigorously over their internal email system of their online banking. And miraculously, they deposited another $25 with no explanation whatever for a new total of $50.
The way I see it with my Fifth Grade math education they still owe me another $16.
But, they say that since the clerk made a mistake and refunded me 1% of the total transaction for the international service fee rather than subtracting the service fee from the total before multiplying by the 1%, they do not need to pay me the additional monies owed from other banks ATM transactions fees. I don't see the relationship, but their explanation is priceless.
Here is their explanation quoted from the last email sent to me for your pleasure:
Anonymous Customer Service Representative:
'The following information is a quote from the department that processes the refunds. I am using what they said, because it is slightly complicated. Basically, the confusion comes in where the receipts show the international amount but the statement shows the converted amount.
"What we are seeing is, for example, $1500 on the receipt and $27 on the statement. The customer's account has not been debited $1500. The money listed on the receipt must be converted to US dollars. For example, July 2: Statement shows converted $10.41. In order to calculate the fee correctly, we have to use the formula (.01/1.01) x 10.41 = 0.105141 rounded to $0.11. The statement shows the converted amount, while the receipts will show the international amount.
One more thing to note: International fees should be refunded differently. In this case, the processor did not process the refund correctly. As a result, the customer received $0.41; should have been $0.11 in the example above. If you look at what he was refunded and calculate using the formula above, he received more than what was entitled. She has been made aware of the error."
There will be no additional refunds since there was a banking error in your favor when the refund was given.
Thank you for choosing BBVA Compass.'
I think what they are getting at is that the total amount that shows on the bank statement includes the 1% international service fee, the ATM charge, and the amount withdrawn. If the international service fee was calculated on $1,447 minus $50 of ATM charges and $14.47 of isf that was already added to the total, then the isf would be based on $1,447 minus $66 which is $1,381.
The international service fee on $1,381 is $13.81 which is $0.66 less than the amount they credited to me. So their employee erred in my favor less than a dollar. And they are using that error in my favor to justify holding back the $15 in ATM transaction fees that they promise on their web page to refund to me if I submit the original receipts to them.
And, yes, I did hold on to the original ATM slips during my trip to Thailand and my return trip home. And I expect to be paid. Give me my $15.
I think they very rarely deal with this issue of ATM transaction refunds, because their customers are too busy trying to stop the bleeding caused by their NSF fees to worry about these pennies. As a result, they don't know how to do a simple refund. I wasn't asking for an exact amount, just a rough estimate within a dollar would have been reasonable to me, although if they know how to charge to the penny, they really should know how to refund and pay to the penny as well. They claim ignorance and ineptness, but in fact they are pressured to steal.
They have stolen my money and I want it back now. I will email this complaint to them after it posts.