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  • Report: #1003505

Complaint Review: Bluebird by American Express

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  • Submitted: Fri, January 25, 2013
  • Updated: Wed, February 06, 2013

  • Reported By: Pennsylvania United States of America
Bluebird by American Express
4315 South 2700 West Salt Lake City, Utah United States of America

Bluebird by American Express Blue Bird Missing Direct Deposit - Customer service is useless and seems to intentionally delay any possible action to correct problem Salt Lake City, Utah

*Consumer Comment: YOUR RIGHT

*Author of original report: MISTAKE on original issue - Customer service still poor

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About a month ago, my wife opened a Bluebird account and added an additional card for me.  We thought this would be a good alternative to our previous accounts as the Bluebird card offered low / no fees for our typical transactions. 

After using the card for a few weeks adding funds from another (NON Bluebird) account we had to fund the card, all seemed ok and I changed my direct deposit from my employer to go to the Bluebird account. 

The problems started with the first payroll deposit.  The morning of my scheduled payday, my wife checked our balance and discovered that the deposit was not there.  I inquired with my company's bookkeeper who process the payroll and she showed me that she had indeed processed the deposit and additionally she had done a "test run" on the account several days before to verify the account.  (From what I understand, the "test run" is a process required to verify that a new account is valid to receive direct deposit transactions).  She showed me that the "test run" was successful.  Clearly, at this point I knew the issue was on the receiving (Bluebird) end of the transaction. 

My wife called the customer service number to inquire about the missing deposit and was informed that it may take until 2PM that day before the transaction would be posted.  As it turns out, by 10AM it posted and all was well other than the fact that with any other account we always had the funds before 6 AM, as do all of my coworkers who have their pay direct deposit. 

Today is payday again, and knowing that the last direct deposit didn't post until 10AM, we waited until after 11AM to check the Bluebird account. To our disappointment, no deposit.  My wife called and was again told to wait until 2 PM to call back.  She asked the customer service rep if they could tell her if the transaction was pending or otherwise what the status was.  The rep insisted that they could not see any information on a direct deposit until it was posted and available. 

Thinking this was odd, I called them (still before 2pm) and asked for some explanation, since my employer had confirmed they had transferred the money, yet it wasn't in my account.  My theory is that the money (even if only electronically) had to be somewhere.  Since my employer sent it, and it wasn't in my account, that leaves American Express Centurion Bank AKA Bluebird.  They continued to insist that they had absolutely no way to check on the deposit until it posts to my account.  I pointed out that there is NO mention of this in the information provided at the time we opened the account, nor on their website.  I asked if the 2PM standard was a regulatory standard or simply a policy of Bluebird.  The response:  ..."that's just how the system works". 

At 2:30 PM, still no deposit.  Again I called back and this time I informed the customer service rep, that I would be recording the call for my records.  During this call, after an substantial persistence on my part, the rep put me on hold to cal "tech support".  She then asked me for some information about who the employer is that sent the deposit and if it was in my name.  When I gave them the information they said that the problem was my wife was the actual account holder so the "system" would automatically reject a deposit in my name.  I told the rep that was absolute BS since both the "test run" and the previous pay were successful.  The rep had no idea what to say and then gave me a ticket # to reference.  The rep said I should wait a little longer and call back if the deposit still wasn't there.

Called back around 5 PM because the deposit still didn't show.  This rep was particularly rude, spoke over me trying to speak, and had a generally unpleasant tone.  She acted as if I had done something wrong and was out of place to be complaining about this issue.  She called "tech support" while keeping me on hold and then told me they need the "trace number" for the transaction so they could trace it.  I almost hit the ceiling.  All day long various reps told us they can't check a transaction until its posted and now they can with this trace number that I have to get from my employer.  Funny how during business hours, there was no way to do it, but at 5PM which is the typical end of day for most office workers (such as bookkeepers who could get that info for me) are gone for the day.  I insisted to be connected to a supervisor and like the reps, I informed her that I would be recording the call for my records.  She refused to let me record and said if I continue to record she would hang up.  She said there was "no need" for me to record it because they already record it.  Ha, yeah, like the people screwing me around are going to hand over recording that prove that they are screwing me.  I stopped recording, with the hope that the supervisor would be able to help.  Completely useless.  She just kept repeating that only the trace number could be used to research the transaction.  She insisted that Bluebird has no other way to look it up, no even by my Employer's information, etc... 

I am pretty certain they intentionally withheld being able to use the trace number until after typical business hours because they knew it would be unlikely that anybody could get that information over the weekend.  I guess they are just hoping the problem fixes itself before Monday or that maybe I will forget about the entire paycheck I am currently missing.

Bluebird, like most pre-paid cards are generally targeted at lower to moderate income people like myself.  It is attractive because of the few and low fees.  Given that's the case, I'd think the folks at Bluebird are probably pretty well aware that most of their customers are like me, living check to check for the most part.  Their (mis)handling of the deposits and their unprofessional attitude towards the issue are reprehensible. 

When (if) my pay ever shows up in the Bluebird account, we will quickly remove it and all other funds and close the account.  The little bit we saved in fees will likely pale in comparison to the costs and other hardships of not having my much needed pay on time. 

I have never received such terrible service from any other bank or pre-paid card.  The initial problem is bad enough, but the (complete lack of) customer service in any meaningful way is completely unacceptable.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/25/2013 05:42 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Bluebird-by-American-Express/Salt-Lake-City-Utah-84184/Bluebird-by-American-Express-Blue-Bird-Missing-Direct-Deposit-Customer-service-is-usele-1003505. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 1Consumer 0Employee/Owner
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#1 Consumer Comment

YOUR RIGHT

AUTHOR: JHICKMAN - (United States of America)

I am going through the same thing now. It has nothing to do with mistakes or errors it has to do with American Express posting a card agreement they simply do not honor. The FTC call's this illegal and I would have to say doesn't it feel like it? We are constantly told one thing and another is true simply put the customer service number is no more then an answering service with no ability at all to assist any customer that calls. every rep you speak to needs to send a message via an email system back to the US from India where all of American Express Prepaid cards are out sourced to. Your not wrong your right. You give them your money and anything and I do mean anything can happen and there absolutely nothing that can be done. Thank's for sharing and I don't use my card either anymore and never will. But I won't let this go they broke the law and I just can't stand for it. Telling us one thing and arbitrarily doing another!
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#2 Author of original report

MISTAKE on original issue - Customer service still poor

AUTHOR: Tom - (United States of America)

I have no interest in bashing any company for something that is not their fault.  As such I must make the following statement regarding my original post:
 
   The reason my direct deposit did not appear in our Bluebird account was in fact, an error by employer / employer's bank.  My paycheck is supposed to be divided with 90% to the Bluebird account and the remaining 10% going to a conventional savings account.  Upon reviewing my savings transactions, I have discovered that this paycheck was deposited entirely into my savings account. 

In short, there was no direct deposit sent to the Bluebird account and therefore, Bluebird (nor the other associated business entities) are in any way responsible for the missing deposit.

Nevertheless, I must say that the customer service was absolutely poor. I stand behind my opinion that the representatives "available" for customer service lack the proper knowledge and attitude to be of much help to customers. 

We will be liquidating and closing our Bluebird account as soon as possible, not because of the original issue, but rather because of the terrible experience with the customer service personnel.  I personally refuse to conduct business with any company whose employees don't grasp the concept that the reason they are there are because of the customers.  Furthermore, I refuse to do business with a company who fails to provide customer service that is capable of basic customer service tasks such as clarifying the policies and procedures set by that company's own member agreement.

Additionally, I will add that the previous direct deposit which was received later in the morning than typical was not an issue with my employer.  In that case the payroll was sent correctly.  The delay was on Bluebird's end.  I did receive the deposit on my scheduled pay day, but on every past account I have ever had, along with all of my co workers who receive direct deposit, the funds are typically available before 7 AM of the pay day.  This may not be an issue for some, but again, customer service was completely unable to explain why it takes longer for funds to be received into Bluebird accounts. 
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