The salon that my fiance worked at a couple of years ago (she is a hair stylist) decided to switch from a commission based salon to a booth rental salon (i.e. they are independent contractors). A representative from Suntrust set them up to receive credit cards (merchant services). The entire salon met with the representative to set them up. They all noticed the early termination fee and all protested it. He scratched through it and said that he understood that hair stylists switch salons a lot and they would waive the fee.
My fiance left the salon to go back to a commission based structure at another salon back in February 2007. She called the representative, who would never return calls, to cancel the merchant services. Well, a few months passed with the $12.50 monthly fee coming out of her account every month. Then a fee for $107 came out of her account and threw up a red flag that it was time to make sure it was cancelled.
She called the main Suntrust customer service and they forwarded her to a lady that helped her out. She stated it was a mistake and gave her the $107 back and cancelled the account. My fiance said she also wanted to close her checking account. She didn't like the idea of someone being able to take money at will from her account. She told her there was no need to close the account, there was no way any more money could come out.
We were getting ready the next Friday evening to go to her family's Christmas gathering in Savannah when she checked her account. It was a negative balance. They had taken $500 out, as well as a $35 fee for every transaction after. We immediately called Suntrust. It was around 5:45 eastern time. We were on the phone for 2 hours being transferred from rude customer service rep to rude customer service rep, who simply didn't care. They said the early termination department wouldn't be in until Monday morning at 9 am, to call them back then. We had to borrow money for the trip.
We called back first thing Monday morning, and even got the same guy who told us to call back at 9am and it would be handled. He then notified us that we had to call a toll free number and someone would call us back in three business days!!! This is the same guy who lied and said to call back Monday morning and he'd be able to handle it. We called the toll free number and left a voice mail.
I also called the original representative that set up the account and pretended to be interested in opening a new account. He called back immediately! I gave the phone to my fiance, who explained the situation. He seems to be helpful and claims to have submitted the original paperwork showing there would be no fee to three different people in the early termination department.
Meanwhile, the lady from the early termination department finally returned the call, a full week later. She refused to call the original representative. We explained how ludicrous it was that even if the original representative not have waived the fee that we'd be charged the $500. We could have left the account open for a full year ($12.50 a month = $150.00) and still come out way ahead. That would put us out beyond the three years required, so why not open it back and give us back the $500 until we can get it resolved and close it again. She said it didn't work that way and that once you cancel, it can't be reversed, and it isn't their responsibility to notify of the $500 fee.
We called back the original representative yesterday, who told us that the lady we spoke with has our paperwork showing no fee. We then called her back. She said there was a problem with her email (surprise...surprise) and we'd have to call back today. I was soooooo frustrated, I searched for anyone else with our situation and stumbled upon this site. There was another post with the same problem. I hope others report them. We can't buy Christmas presents until we get that money back (if we do). I can't believe this wouldn't be a good case for a class action lawsuit. Suntrust is just as guilty as First Data Merchant Services. They should have to pay punitive damages for all of the people they have taken the $500 from.