I had $490 in overdraft charges assessed against my Wachovia checking account. I had $287 in my account and had transactions that did not exceed $250 post against my account. I had NO NSFs but because of a few check card holds that were cancelled by the vendor, Wachovia generated one $35 OD charge after another. Note: my account was never actually OVERDRAWN. After pressing my case the bank reimbursed $150 of the $490 in OD charges which is appreciate but completely inadequate. I have a copy of my checking account online statement that I saved as a "screen save" so I can substantiate my claim. (I recommend all bank customers do the same)
Note: Wachovia's paper statements have debits and credits listed separately which I believe is one tactic they use to make it difficult for customers to reconcile their accounts and the assessed fees. The "captured" screen save of my online statement shows the OD charges being applied against my account BEFORE the items they claim triggered the OD charges. As noted above it was a check card HOLD that triggered the "phantom" overdraft charges. Wachovia does not provide FULL TRANSPARENCY in their accounting.
To the banking person who claimed that it's the customer's fault. It's time to revisit the meaning of CUSTOMER SERVICE. If you create a system that is difficult and non-transparent customers (especially those who are vulnerable) will inevitably be caught. The question is .. is it ETHICAL to set up a system that is DESIGNED to take advantage of customers ? The answer is of course: NO
This is a WIDESPREAD problem that could be addressed by the proposed bill HR 946 (see info below).
The Center for Responsible Lending's website has a form that you can submit to send email to your member of Congress (see their automatic feature at the right of the screen), asking them to support HR 946, a new bill that will make bank's accountable regarding their outrageous "overdraft lending practices".
Center for Responsible Lending:
MSN Money article about "EVIL" banking policies (it mentions Wachovia):
Please share these information resources with your friends and family. Congress may not act quickly enough and every day people are being swindled by these banks with their greed-driven, socially irresponsible, profit-mongering agenda.
You CAN make a difference and these are some of your options (DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert - please do your homework before making any decision relating to your finances.)
1. Stop using your check card
2. Consider using a debit card that does NOT assess OD charges
3. If you do have a check card and want the bank to stop assessing "phantom overdraft charges" (as described above), ask them to remove the automatic overdraft protection but consider replacing it with a more conventional overdraft protection from linkage to a savings account or a personal line of credit (ask for FULL dislcosure re: fees for any option you consider - Note: even linking your savings account to your checking account to cover ODs may have a fee associated with each OD charge - they charge you to lend money to yourself!)
4. Change banks if a bank refuses to reimburse unjustified OD charges
5. Contact your local congress person and ask them to support HR 946 (see Center for Responsible Lending URL above)
6. Organize locally to spread the word about these banking practices and how consumers can avoid these charges.
If enough consumers take action the banks profits will plummet and they will be forced to return to a true model of "customer service".
Durham, North Carolina