We are selling a car (1961 Buick) and a man contacted us off of an ad we placed on the internet. He said that he was a car dealer and wanted to purchase it. He was from out of country and wanted an associate of his in the U.S. to send us a cashiers check for the amount of the car plus the amount for transportation of the car to him. Once the check cleared we would wire the amount for transportation.
We received a cashiers check and deposited into our savings account at Twin Cities Federal in Bloomington, MN (Southtown Center/Penn Ave Branch) on 10-08-02. While at the bank depositing the check, I asked when would the check clear and I would know that the funds were GOOD, they said 24 hours. I said to the teller, "Really, I thought that it took 10 days for a check to clear?" and he said "Not with a cashier's check". Since I wanted to be sure that I was being clear to him, I said "I need to know not just when the funds would show up in our account, but I need to know when we can be sure that it is a good check, that it has cleared, and that it is real money that we can touch and use.
I don't want to get a charge or have this come back and bite us in the butt" The teller laughed, and said "Tomorrow afternoon ma'am. No problems", I thanked him and left. Two days later, twice the time that I was told to wait to be sure that this was a good check and that it had cleared, I went back to TCF and after the teller told me it looked like the check had cleared I withdrew $7200 to be used for the transportation of the car and we wired it via Western Union.
On 10-16-02, TCF called and told us that the check was counterfeit and that they were deducting $8,800 from our saving account, even though they told us that the check would be clear in 24 hours. Our account was negative because of this and they said we were responsible. I told TCF at this is why I asked the specific question that I did; I wanted to have the right information. Why are WE responsible because THEIR employee gave me incorrect information? If the clerk had said that it would show up in my account in 24 hours, but we would not be totally sure that the check was good for 12 - 14 days
we would have told the guy in Africa that we would not be going forward with anything for 4 weeks. I trusted that they knew what they were talking about. Isn't that their job, to inform their customers and to help ensure our financial safety? The TCF bank manager told me too bad, and that if I was worried about the check clearing I should have been more careful. She said I should have called the Bank of America that the check was issued from to verify the account number and that the funds were in the account to cover the check.
I thought that is what TCF is supposed to do during the time that they tell you that you have to wait to be sure a check clears.
On 10-17-02, Renee with TCF Headquarters called. She was handling the return of counterfeit check. My husband asked her if we were to bring a cashier's check into a TCF Bank and deposit it, how long would it be until I would know it had cleared? Not just the funds have been transferred, but that the check is good, and there is real money that I can pull out of my account and use and not have to worry about the check bouncing? She thought it was 24 hours, but went to verify this with someone else. When she came back she said yes, 24 hours. Now we have two TCF employees telling us the 24 hours! We did that, we waited 48 hours, so what did we do wrong? And why are we being held accountable for TCF's not giving us the correct information?
We were told that this would not effect our checking account, but on 10-19-02 I got a notice from TCF that checks from our account had bounced! It turns out that on 10-17-02 all of the money from our checking account was transferred to our savings account to cover the negative balance, even though that same day Todd assured me that this would not happen. And there were service charges of over $90 being charged to us!
The manager finally admitted to us that a cashiers check could come back and the amount would be deducted from your account in 6 days, 6 weeks, or even 12 months after you deposit it. According to her, they have no way of telling. Had the teller been honest with me the day I made the deposit and told me this information we would have never preceded with the transaction.
I had to call Todd Olson, the regional manager, several times to find out if things were being resolved and what would happen next. He said that they were reviewing the information, including the bank lobby videotape and the police report and that they will know more in a few days. After a few days past, I called again. I was told by Todd that if I would have shown this much concern over the check at the time of deposit that TCF would have handled this different and could have checked the account to make sure it was safe.
He said that from viewing the tape it seemed like I was paying more attention to my daughter, who by the way is two years old, than I was to the transaction with the check.
TCF has informed us that they would send our case to collections if we did not pay in full or set up a payment plan. So, in order to protect our perfect credit rating, we are currently paying $872 per month on the 18th of every month to TCF towards this negative account. These payments in no way are admission to fault or responsibility to the negative amount by us. We are only doing so because we are being forced to by TCF in order to protect our credit rating. On 12-06-02 I received a call from Brian Davis with Milenium Credit. It turns out that even though we are up to date on our payment plan with TCF, they still sent our case to collections even though we were assured that this would not happen.