I received my first statement from Household Bank, and noticed they had a web site, like most of the banks out there. I logged in and thought it would be a great idea to sign up for their auto debit service, so that they can just take the minimum payment required each month from my checking account, and thereby preventing any late fees from being assessed.
So as I'm on the website entering my information, I hit submit and get a response inviting me to contact their customer service department due to technical difficulties with the site.
Not a big deal. I contacted their customer service department and let them know about the message I received trying to set up the auto debit feature and the representative invited me to provide the ABA routing number, my checking account number, and the amount of the desired recurring payment ($25 per month for the next 6 months). We end the conversation in a cordial manner, and of course, I'm thinking to myself "great, all done, and I do not have to worry about it now."
On the contrary friends. Two days before my scheduled payment is due, I receive an email from Household bank informing me that my minimum payment was unsuccessful most likely due to an insufficient balance, or inaccurate banking information. So I begin to panic. I jump online and verify the information input by their representative, only to notice she had left off the last digit in my checking account number.
So, I go through the entire process of deleting whats on file, and establishing a new bank link, this time for a one time $30 payment. After submitting, it seems everything was processed correctly.
A few days later, I check the web site to verify my payment was actually applied, which it was, but I also notice a $35 RETURNED PAYMENT fee. I thought to myself, surely to god they aren't charging me $35 for their error. So I call their customer service number, and speak to a foreign speaking gentlemen. I question the charge and he tells me it was because my check was returned. I respond "Sir, I didn't pay by check, so it is impossible to have a returned check fee placed on my account." He then asks, well, perhaps you didn't have enough funds in your checking account. I tell him this too is impossible. My checking balance is always above $1k. I proceeded to tell him what had happened and he replied I'm sorry, but we are unable to refund your fee.
At this point, I'm becoming a bit agitated, so I ask to speak to a manager. She comes on the line and also reiterates, you must have not had enough funds in your checking account to pay the scheduled payment. Again I tell her the same thing I just told her co-worker; that this is impossible, as my balance is always in excess of what I was about to pay them. I tell her the whole situation again, and then she responds by saying "so what can I do to help you?"
I ask for a one time customer courtesy refund of $35, and then I'd be on my merry way. She responds by indicating this fee is impossible to waive, as the fault clearly lies in my hands. I'm not sure whether these people are just playing dumb or if their competence level is actually that low. I tell her that what she's telling me is not acceptable, and that I should not be punished for #1. being responsible and attempting to pay my bill in a timely manner and #2. for their mistake of incorrectly entering my checking account number the day I provided it to the rep over the phone. Again she shrugs me off saying "I understand your frustration...etc..but this is a valid fee and we are unable to waive it."
So I ask her, is it mechanically impossible for her to waive it...I mean does her computer program actually not give her the entitlement to waive fees, or is she just not allowed to do so by her manager? I then proceeded to give her two options....#1. have her company waive the $35 fee and have Household Bank take the $35 loss, or #2. take the full balance currently on the account as a loss, as I will refuse to pay one penny of it (also telling her that I'm aware of the negative impact on my credit report, which is actually not a worry at all to me).
She places me on hold and returns saying "sir, I'll meet you half way and credit half of the fee to you, $17.50." So I tell her, "miss, this was not an option I gave you!" (I'm sick of these creditors thinking they have the power to pull anything they want, and we as the consumers just sitting there on the sidelines saying, okay...there's nothing I can do about it).
She then says "sir, I'm offering you a reasonable solution to this problem, do you want me to credit you the difference or not?" Obviously she was starting to become frustrated and I could sense hostility from her voice. I told her to do whatever she thinks would be appropriate to retain me as a customer. She didn't seem too concerned as she stated "Well it is a fairly new account, only a few months old, so we really have nothing to go on." I just told her "do the right thing."
She quickly said, "I'm refunding the $17.50 sir, as this is a fee we never waive, and thank you for being a customer...." "CLICK"
And that was it.
Needless to say these people are just absolutely disgusting. I would advise anybody who is doing business with them to end their relationship with these scavengers; and those thinking about starting a relationship with them...a word of warning...STEER CLEAR!!!!!!!!!
And, I do have to say I will NOT be paying a single dime going forward. Not the remaining $17.50 of "returned payment" fee, nor the remaining balance I owe. I'm not worried about the negative impact on my credit report (hell, honestly, my credit isn't too great as it is, how much can it hurt me?). I gave her the option of crediting the $35, she refused...and took an alternate route. I could care less about the $35, its the principle that I have a problem with.
Hope Household Bank enjoys the bill I stuck them with...enjoy the loss! I'm not threatened by the collectors (they don't have my number anyways, and if they find it, my phone is always on forward), they can call and threaten until the become red in the face. I know the 'behind the scenes' practices of collecting, the threats, and the like. Its all an act, and they will learn no to mess with this consumer. I do not back down when cornered; in fact, I get revenge.
Stand your ground, and let these jerks know YOU are the ones that keep them in business!!!