ED Magedson – Founder
BBVA CompassBirmingham, Alabama United States of America
So you have $50 in your account on Friday. You make a purchase for $30, a purchase for $19, and a purchase for $18 in that order on Saturday. Even the most evil of banks will only charge you one overdraft fee, right?
Well, with BBVA Compass, this is not necessarily the case. What can happen is that, only the $18 charge will post to your account on Monday, and you will be charged a $38 overdraft fee because there were holds on your account relative to the $30/$19 purchases that did not post on Monday. That brings your account balance to -$6, and then when the remaining two purchases clear/post at midnight on Tuesday, you are charged $76 in overdraft fees for those two transactions.
This is, in effect, what happened to my corporate account recently (I can document it) after an honest mistake on my end (I thought I had paid $xx towards a bill, turns out I paid the full amount). From what I can tell based on memory, account details (both online and given to me from a branch), either overdraft is based on the order in which transactions post (which is supposed to be partly chronological, partly smallest to largest), in which event I should not have been charged any overdraft fees. Or, it should be charged based on the order in which transactions were authorized, or something to that extent, in which case I should not have been charged more than three or four overdraft fees tops.
Instead I was charged 6 fees, and it became 7 fees due to a $7 charge that went through when I had no clue that my account would have been assessed overdraft fees (I had checked my account info the morning before overdraft fees were initially applied). I am sure this is justifiable through technicalities, but shouldn't that be besides the point? I'll add that in case anybody was wondering, even with the worst possible interpretation of transactions, my account had been overdrafted by $27 for less than one business day in this case (i.e. a covering deposit was made before any transactions posted).
In fairness to BBVA Compass, with a trip to the bank I was able to get four fees reversed (the max that my branch was able to authorize based on my history), and with two phone calls I was finally able to get the issue escalated properly (it was supposedly recommended for escalation after my trip to the bank, but the banker never completed the request). I was finally called by the customer care department when I stated I would not be available, and it sounded that the agent had made up her mind before hand, I did get one more fee reversed. Of course, if the initial fees were truly reversed, all fees would have been reversed, as the initial fees were the only reason I received additional fees. So the fees were credited back, but not reversed.
I am still disappointed in the experience, this is the first time my account had been overdrafted per BBVA Compass, and anybody who understands the definition of good customer service understands that at least six overdraft fees should have been credited back here, if nothing else as a courtesy. Also, everything was done "as a courtesy," and we all know that only so many of those are allowed. Everyone I have spoken to with BBVA Compass stands by the overdraft policies that I describe above.
And I must say that I am generally happy with BBVA Compass and would have recommended them to anybody before this latest turn of events (if they would like to change/clarify policies, or otherwise take steps to correct this issue I will update). While they are still a bank when push comes to shove, they do not nickel and dime me, and transactions usually post fairly, i.e. if you make an ATM deposit and immediately afterwords run a $40 transaction, your deposit, even if it is not officially available for another day and a half, is considered as having happened before your $40 transaction (in my experiences).
Also, everybody that I have dealt with at BBVA Compass has come off as friendly, professional, and helpful within what they are allowed to do. And finally, at least with my personal account, I have had experiences in the past which would have seemed to indicate that they are deliberately lenient even where they could have justified an overdraft fee based on slight overdrafts. Interestingly, when meeting with my local branch last week, I was told that after Compass was acquired by BBVA, policies relating to personal accounts had since been overhauled, but not policies relating to corporate accounts.
You might ask why I don't just opt out of overdraft protection? BBVA Compass does not allow that with my corporate account (I assume this is legal). Plus, I do generally know what I can and can't spend, and a poor credit rating sucker like myself can occasionally benefit from an emergency line of credit.
Ultimately, I am not just complaining about $76 in fees. It's the principle, and it has to do with what I know could happen to me in the future.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/22/2011 02:44 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/BBVA-Compass/Birmingham-Alabama-/BBVA-Compass-Shady-Overdraft-Procedures-Birmingham-Alabama-685614. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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