Well, it is no secret that banks are not doing so well. SunTrust Bank executives have apparently decided on a way to pull in some extra bucks. Unfortunately, they have resorted to sneaky and illegal tactics to do so. Current customers all over the country, who signed up with SunTrust Bank under a "free checking account", are getting emails or letters stating that the company has decided to change all free checking accounts to "pay accounts".
Funny, upon searching my terms and agreements, paperwork, and the like, I could not locate any terms that gives SunTrust the right to change my agreed upon service (my free checking account) to a pay account whenever they want. When I called I was told that "due to industry changes all free checking accounts would be converted...sorry". Being a law student, I explained that I did not consent to this change and nowhere in my agreements/terms/or disclosures is it stated that SunTrust has the right to do this. In fact, my terms state that the only change allowed is a conversion from a "student checking account" to a "free checking account" upon graduation. This is the agreement I signed. Changing terms after the contract is formed is illegal. I was transferred to a supervisor who told me that the bank reserves the right to change my account anytime. I ask her where that reservation was located. She put me on hold to "find it". After 20 minutes she came back on and said she would have to find out from someone where that legal disclosure was. I explained that if it wasn't accessible to their customers and it wasn't disclosed at the time of contracting the "free checking account" than it isn't valid. I further stated that nowhere in my paperwork is an additional legal document even referenced. If the management can't even find the disclosure that states "we reserve the right to alter your account" (i.e. change your contract) then how do they expect their current customers to know about it at the time they signed up for an account.
So, I understand that banks are hurting. They over extended themselves when loaning money to unqualified candidates and now they are attempting to stay afloat. But instead of scamming current customers who deposit their hard earned cash and place it trustingly into their hands why don't the executives consider cutting their own bonuses or selling a few of their Hampton estates.
I will no longer bank with SunTrust. Those of us that sign up for "free checking" or "students accounts" do so because we are living on school loans or something like that. Why should I pay and interest rate for my loan and additional pay SunTrust a monthly fee and check card fee when they are the ones getting my business and my money. They get my money...they get to make my cash work for them...hey suntrust, take my hard earned money I deposit each month and loan it to small business and investors who can makes some money for you.
If you currently have a free checking account with SunTrust, watch out. As of November you will notice monthly charges going to SunTrust. You will also be charged every time you use your check card. If you signed up for a free checking account and did not agree to any such change than file a complaint with the Federal Reserve (click on the link bellow).... that is, right before you find a new bank . . . a bank with some character and honesty.