Report: #482640

Complaint Review: BB&T Bank

  • Submitted: Wed, August 19, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, June 07, 2011
  • Reported By: templersstorms — Roanoke Virginia USA
  • BB&T Bank
    roanoke, Virginia
    United States of America
  • Phone:
  • Web:
  • Category: Banks

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Well, it is hard to find a starting point. I will try to go in the order it happened. A week ago, maybe two, I deposited my check into our BB&T checking account. This past Friday my wifes work check was direct deposited into our account. We drove to out house that we are selling that is a good 600 miles away, and then drove back. Needless to say, we used the check card quite a bit doing lots of small ($5 and less) purchases on drinks at gas stations, and lots of $20 purchases for gas. 

When we got back, I checked our balance online in the morning expecting to either have about $10 left or have one overdraft charge. Admittedly, we did not pay as much attention as we should have, but we full well to pay for our mistakes when we make them. Instead I saw that we have been charged the insane amount of $350 in just overdraft fees!! That is a total of 10 transactions that they claim we did not have money for. 

I am a very logical problem solving math oriented person, so I sat down with a pen and paper and tried to figure out where we went wrong. What transaction specifically put us over and when was it. After seeing that so many transactions that I was almost sure were made while we still had a good portion of our money left, I decided to add everything up. We have only had out account for about a month, so I added up all of our negative transactions in one column and all of our deposits in another. I included the first four transactions that were charged overdrafts since they were small and I really thought we had the money. 

When I was finished, I was amazed to see that we had deposited a full $46 in our account then we had spent by the end of the first four overdrawn transactions. That was hard for me to believe, so I literally quadruple checked my math. I needed some answers so I headed off to my home branch. 

The teller refered me to one of the two people who I think may be managers who set up your accounts and do all of those kinds of things. I talked to her for a good half hour or more. I asked questions like "How is it possible or legal that at the point that the computer says my available balance went negative, I actually still had $60 even after everything swiped before those were processed?" And "It is physically impossible for me to not have had $40 even after those four transactions were processed since every transaction up to them added together leaves me with $40". I was completely confused and it made no sense to me. She tried telling me that it is just confusing and no one really understands how the available balance and current balance and pending items and all of the computerized things work together, but it was just a matter of when each item went through and when they were originally bought. When I persisted she seemed concerned and at a loss for what to say and called someone and fished around on her computer for a while and printed some stuff off.

She then called over the branch manager and he talked to me for a while and tried to explain it the same way by saying that it is hard to understand the way that all of the different things come in and when they are processed and all that. I kept asking the same questions about where my $40 went and why I still had it after I was charged 4 of my fees. He then said that he would have someone from customer care call me at around 2pm. I aksed if I could take the papers that she printed off with me, since she kept referencing them to explain things to me. She wasn't going to since they are appearently "not really supposed to" but the branch manager said it was ok. I guess they don't want their customers to have all of the information about their transactions since that is all it was. Just a list of my recent transaction including the ones that were overdrawn. Only this paper also had when they were actually swiped including the day and time. It was about noon when I left. 

When I got home I realized my wife had the key for the house and she was at work so I sat on my car and looked over the papers for something that would make better sense to me. At this point I believed that there was an explanation for the $40 issue and I just didn't understand the way things worked since that is all they kept repeating to me. The first thing that jumped out at me as I looked at the list of transactions that went through on 8/17, which was a monday so all of the transactions for the weekend were on there as well, was that they were in order from largest purchase to smallest purchase. I thought that was just a way of organising this particular list until I noticed that the available balance was next to them, and they went down along with each transaction in the same order. So they actually took all of the transactions that they recieved over the weekend and that morning up to 11:57am and then arranged them not by when they recieved them, or when they were swiped but by the largest amount first. This way, if you first made 5 $1 purchases on friday, and one $20 purchase on monday morning and you only had $20 in your account, istead of charging the five $1 ones first, like it should in every way be done, thus leaving you with a balance of -$5 plus one overdraft fee of $35, they will charge you the $20 first so that each of the $1 transactions cause a fee. So instead of you being -$40 like you should be, you will be -$200!! IT IS WRONG. They need to processed in the order that you make the purchases. Since that is how they determane your available balance, and when your available balance goes negative that is when they charge you fees. 

So after noticing that, I plotted out all of my transactions from the 17th and 18th since those are the days I was charged fees. And I discovered that some of the ones I was being charged for were as far back as the 14th, in the morning. And I was being charged an overdraft fee on items that I purchased three days ago when I still had almost $200 in my account. So I looked back to the long list of my purchases to see where that $40 went, and again to my surprise, it was still in my account on the 17th. And it did not disappear. In this list that I was looking at, it shows all transactions in the order that they were processed and applied by BB&T. It said clearly that I was positive for the first 4 transactions then only went negative after the overdraft fees for those 4 items, and after that was processed, the $40 in my account was used to pay off some of the fee. Which is completely absurd. The first 4 ones that I was charged a fee for actually subtracted from my balance and I remained positive, then even though I was positive it charged me overdraft fees while there was money there! WTF

Then I arranged the purchases according to when they were swiped and by each day that they were processed, and after counting in my $40 that payed for fees, I would have actually only been charged one overdraft fee on the very last of purchase which was a $10 purchase. But somehow they have programed their computer to charge fees when you still have a positive balance even including pending items, thus putting you negative and charging you more fees. They actually stop all of the transactions that come in, and change the order that they go through in so that you get charged as much as possible.

The person never called me at 2pm. I called them, they said that their computers were down and couldn't access any info, so to call back in ten min. I did, they said the same thing and to call back in an hour, and that they are open til midnight and the other people that I would need to call back close at 7pm. I called back before 7pm and they said that I need to talk to account review people and that they close at 5pm. So I am stuck waiting again. 

This company is bad. Do not do business with them. To summarize, they charged me 4 over draft fees while I still had $40-60 in my account, and $20 of that paid for all of those transactions, then for no reason I was charged $140 overdraft fees on those and the remaining $40 in my account paid off some of the overdraft fees. Then I was charged another $210 in overdraft fees on the next 6 purchases. Without being cheated and illegally charged I would only be $45 under including fees instead -$365! I am taking them to court. I hope they go bankrupt.
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/19/2009 06:28 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: melissa nadzan - (United States of America)

The truth is, all banks do NOT do this. Do yourself a favor and see if you can open up an account with USAA federal savings bank.  They credit all your deposits first, THEN take out the debits.
I opened an account with BB and T a few short months ago and am closing it because of other, equally terrible customer service issues and bank mistakes. Your money is NOT safe with BB and T.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Possible help

AUTHOR: Billh - (U.S.A.)

I don't know if you took into account the fact that, when you use the debit/check card the amount processed is immediately withdrawn from your "current balance" and then shows up as your "available balance". I was charged an overdraft fee for a $10.00 debit made on Oct. 23, because the bank basically told me that, at the time that the paperwork was presented to them I didn't have the funds in the bank to cover it. I can see why I didn't have the funds to cover it, because the bank deducted it twice , once on Oct. 23 and again on Nov. 4, when the paperwork was presented to the bank. This overdraft created the same problem that this gentleman ran into, in that it created multiple overdrafts totaling to about $140.00, in my case.

I lodged a complaint with my local branch and was given the same run-around this gentlemen was given. Now, since BBT is a series of "Regional Banks", I called the Corporate Offices at 1-336-733-2000 and spoke to Ms. Myrtle Lindsay. Ms. Lindsay told me that she would have someone call me about this. Ms. Lindsay was as good as her word and had a Regional Branch Operations Manager call me about this. After a lengthy discussion with this manager, I was able to explain to her what I was seeing. She was able to pull up the account and the transaction being discussed. After reviewing what I had said and looking at her records, she agreed with me and refunded all of the overdraft fees, she also said that she would bring this up to the corporate levels. I kind of doubt that this has ever been discussed at the corporate level.

I would recommend that this gentleman contact the corporate offices and file a complaint with them, maybe he can get some action from that approach.

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#3 Consumer Comment

They're all like that

AUTHOR: kma4155 - (United States of America)

All banks are like that, that's why I don't trust them. Bank Of America did that to me a couple years ago. $20 in purchases ended in over $200 in overdraft fees because they did the same thing. I actually saw it in a news report about 6 months ago about how banks order the stuff in highest amounts first so to get as much money out of you as possible.
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#4 Consumer Comment

BB&T is a huge rip off!

AUTHOR: DieYuppieScum - (USA)

The same thing happened to me. I owe $600 in overdraft fees on $500 spent. How does that happen? I have no idea! I get my paycheck direct deposited into my account. It shows up on Fridays.

I went out over the weekend and made a few purchases and now all of a sudden, my money is ALL gone and I owe $600 in overdraft. I did the math! It makes no sense. I didn't even spend the money I had in my account otherwise I would've been spending like $1200+ over the weekend.

The biggest charges went through...but the smaller $5 or $7 charges for coffees etc. did not so they each get a $35 service overdraft fee attached. So let's divide $600 by 35 to see 17 charges. Seriously? I didn't even make 17 transactions over this short period of time.

I don't care what it takes. I am not paying this money back to BB&T. If I sacrifice a bad charge on my credit report--I don't care! I REFUSE to comply with this abusive practice.

I sent an email to Customer Service lodging my complaint. I was told that the bank was 'sparing' me from embarrassment when I didn't have money to complete transactions...Well I would rather get a declined card than owe $600 in overdraft fees.

If the MONEY is NOT there then why does BB&T allow you to shop and spend???


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#5 Consumer Comment

I hope you win!

AUTHOR: JensDad12 - (USA)

Good for you to sue them in small claims.  I recently had an experience similar to yours with US Bank in Kentucky.  They deduct the largest amount first (a bank policy..not a govt requirement) because "that way your car payment or mortgage doesn't bounce".

This allows them to hit you up for every small charge with NSF's.  The truth of the matter is they would pay the car or mortgage payment...and it would be an NSF and leave you a negative balance.  So they're just lieing, basically. Banks don't return items today...they simply pay them and keep you with a negative balance as long as they can so they can charge you $6 or $7 per day it's negative (after 3 days).

Congress is already addressing the "deduct the highest charge first manipulation".

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#6 Consumer Comment are correct..but we are not stuck..

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

Due to the endless complaints and pending law suits, pressure from congress..and due to the fact that our economy is in a state of collapse..there are some policy changes coming. By next year I predict ALL the major banks will follow suit..many have "voluntarily" adopted these changes already.

One is the right to opt out of the courtesy overdraft protection service..and the other is the end of re-sequencing manipulations for the intent of maximizing the number of fees that can result from a single overdraft.

If ANYONE here is with a bank that does not change these policies..leave that have better choices now..and will have more in the future.

Now of course it is up to us to manage our finances with personal responsibility..but if you have been hit by the lousy economy and now keep a very low balance in your checking NEED to make sure what little money you have is truly protected. After all you don't want a check that is taking an unreasonably long time to clear..or unexpected electronic payments..merchant error or over site or accounting error etc. to clean you out.
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#7 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Rick Austin - (Virgin Islands (US))






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Cj makes some good points..but I don't agree with some of the advice.

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (U.S.A.)

I don't think the original poster is "financially careless" to the point where they need advice on how to avoid overdraft and NSF fees. I also believe most people understand what causes OD/NSF fees,,and are aware that if they overdraft..there will be fees.

Electronic deposits will not do much to prevent fees although agreed it is faster then waiting for a deposited check to can still cause problems. Such as it being impossible to stop if you do not wish it to be deposited for whatever reason..such as a dispute with the bank, merchant or a third party.

Writing checks should not be a problem either. Me personally do all my bill paying electronically..and my paycheck is direct deposit..but since I am completely debt is easy for me to manage my this doesn't mean circumstances never arise that cause problems..there are a lot of shady people out there and scammers..but for some people they actually keep better track of their funds by writing checks. But once again if someone is 'fianacially careless" it really going to make a difference?

Now Cj..when you stated " Use your debit card instead. Any transactions done are reflected right away in your available balance"

This is where most people are geting into trouble if you read through the thousands of ripoff reports. Not only are some banks not posting transactions in a timely manor..but they are re sequncing and manipulating them to cause more fees..and additional fees for transactions that in all actuality had the funds available at the time ACCORDING TO THE STATEMENT. So if you really want to help people to avoid fees..the worst advice is to request they trust the bank or any statments from the bank. Most..not all..but most banks have it set up to where what you would call "financially careless" and I would say the 'targeted" young, poor and elderly/disabled on fixed incomes most likely to overdraft..and for a plethora or reasons.

When you state to limit card use to larger purchases, and use cash for smaller purchases...this is very good advice. But...for many people it is a matter of convenience to use a debit card at times. For example if I am stuck in traffic I may need gas before I get home or to my bank branch. I am in the middle of no where so I am not going to get off and look for a bank branch. So my choice is pay a fee at some ATM..or just use the card for gas..maybe a snack and coffee and back on the road. That is one of the purposes for a debit least that was a selling point to get the debit card..but then again the bank told us the same hype about online banking..and now we know it is unreliable and inaccurate to yes...we all need to be careful with our accounts..but yes also..we can not trust the bank..kinda sad. Of course if I had cash in my pocket to begin with..this point would be moot..but sometimes you need to use the card for a small purchase.

As far as your suggestion to "set up an overdraft protection of some type"...for myself..the best overdraft protection EVER was when I walked into the bank..and had them put in writing that I opt out or "decline" overdraft protection. Now my card will be declined at the point of sale or an ATM if funds are not available. And for the "financially careless"...there is not better way to prevent the $35.00 soda pop. For someone who is good with their finances..and has a savings account as well..then an overdraft transfer service is good insurance. Unfortunatly most of the people getting fleeced by these banks are barely making it paycheck to paycheck during this economic crisis..much less have a savings account.

My particular bank has an overdraft service (if you enroll) that will transfer funds due to an OD from savings to checking for a fee of $12 if the account is under $10,000..and free if $10,000 or yes for some consumers I could see doing this,depending on what the particular bank has to unlike what I see many reply here..not all banks are the same.
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Ways to avoid od/nsf fees

AUTHOR: Cj - (U.S.A.)

First off I will say that large banks do  take advantage of the financially careless.  However, you can stay out of fee trouble just by doing a few simple things. First and foremost, have your funds electronically deposited into your account. That way no funds are held and you dont have to worry about "waiting for your check to clear".  Second, avoid writing checks if at all possible. Checks can and are paid with no advance notice to you and can screw up your account beyond all repair.  Use your debit card instead. Any transactions done are reflected right away in your available balance. Third, limit your card use to larger purchases and use cash to pay for smaller purchases. That will make it easier for you to keep track of your spending. Fourth and finally, set up an overdraft protection acocunt of some type. This way if you do slip up and spend more than you have to spend, it wont cost you nearly as much, maybe a few bucks in finance charges or transfer fees versus 35 bucks a pop for od fees.
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read this...

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (U.S.A.)

H.R. 946, introduced in the US House of Representatives on February 8, 2007, would increase regulation of overdraft loan programs. The proposed legislation would Amend the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) to clarify that overdraft fees are covered, require written consent before enrollment in the overdraft loan program, require financial institutions to warn the customer when an ATM withdrawal will trigger a fee, and prohibit financial institutions from changing the order of check clearing or delaying the posting of deposits solely to increase overdraft fees.

This bill was referred to committee in April 2007 and died in committee. As of February 2009, the FDIC was taking comments on the issue.

And remember..if you don't have a linked account..overdraft protection is nothing more then a short term loan. Does this give the bank the right to manipulate and re sequence transactions SOLELY for the purpose of creating additional fees? I think not.

Looks like the OPs fees were caused by 5, 10 and 20 dollar purchases. So the "courtesy" the bank did by posting the largest transaction first causing the avalanche of fees on transactions that HAD the funds at the time of transaction..tell me... which transaction did the bank think was the mortgage payment?

And don't listen to the merchant "holding" or "authorizing" BS..believe me..when the card is swiped..the bank knows it..regardless of what is supposedly "held"..electronic transactions occur at nearly the speed of light...even if you use a check at the grocery store these days...before the food is bagged..believe me the bank knows about the transaction.
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This Is Due to Debit Card Usage

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

...and that's it.  See, when you use your debit card, the money is not taken from your account so that the merchant can verify the transaction.  BTW, it's a great reason they do this, so you don't pay for fraudulent transactions associated with your debit card.  What it means though is that you will not have that money available even if the money isn't removed from the account.

Yes, banks sort transactions from highest to lowest and debits before credits.  This is a situation where using a check register is imperative; you need to keep track of your money spent.  Insofar as to whether this is legal, the answer is YES.

If you don't understand the difference between your account balance and your available balance, the difference between them has to do with pending transactions.  In most cases, your account balance will be higher than your available balance if you use a debit card.  However, the determination as to whether you overdraft your account is based on your AVAILABLE balance, not your account balance.

The only time your available and account balance will remain the same MOST of the time will be when you STOP using your debit card.  There is a lesson here and that is using your debit card is NOT FREE.  It cost you $350 without you even knowing it.  If you happen to be completely confused, my advice would be to STOP using your debit card - right now.  You haven't grasped the idea that this thing is costing you lots of money and all of the math in the world isn't going to help because this isn't a math issue.  It has to do with understanding how money flows into and out of your account with a debit card.

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Mad about NSF/OD Fees @BB&T.. or Pretty much any Bank.

AUTHOR: Mamas04 - (USA)

Hey, I read the report about the 4 nsf's from over the weekend. It's not a tactic to try and get as much money from the customers as possible.. The reason they pay biggest to smallest is because they figure that the bigger items are more important than the little 1.00 or so.  Just think of it if it was your mortgage payment along with like 3-4 other stupid little charges.  Then they would pay the little ones and then the most important one would get returned and then you would probably have more problems with your mortgage company.. Fee's


Another solution would be to get Overdraft Funding or Protection.. basically tie another checking or savings to your current checking incase you are short in your account it can pull from the linked account and save you the head ache of fees..

 It is great.  Dont get me wrong... If I would have been in that situation I would get pissed too.  And normally when you use your card it shoudl already take it out of your balance..

 dont know if this helps you at all.. and no they wont go bankrupt. They have been around Way too long and are way too succesful... one of the oldest banks. and are one of the 5th largest in the US.

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Maybe something can be done...

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (U.S.A.)

I understand you are upset about the fact you were charged all those overdraft fees when realistically you only overdrafted on a single transaction.

I also see that you understand your account went negative and take responsibility. Hopefully you won't let that happen again now that you realize the banks practice of manipulating and re sequencing transactions.

I am not allowed to give out websites or phone numbers here it seems but if you google "Finkelstein Thompson LLP" you can find out how to contact them to help with an "investigation" if you have been a victim of this "re-sequencing" which directly caused the ADDITIONAL fees on top of the actual legitimate overdraft(s). Well instead of "victim" it should be "Plaintiff".

Not unlike so many other rip off reports on the banks doing this..almost every one thinks this should be illegal. Whether it is or isn't..we all agree it should be so we can either sit on our laurels and do nothing..or fight a little for it.

It is alleged that some banks, are in violation of 12 U.S.C. 4303(b)(1) for their failure to disclose that the condition precedent of a pre-existing overdraft could cause the assessment of additional overdraft fees.  Instead, the banks have been lying to consumers that the condition precedent was insufficient funds.

[The true reason why you were assessed the additional overdraft fees that you did NOT cause is because you actually had a pre-existing overdraft in your account that the bank used to manipulate your account to create additional overdraft fees by a creative accounting practice].

[The bank then falsely accused you of being at fault for the additional overdrafts you didnt cause by lying to you about having insufficient funds in your account.  In fact, without the pre-existing overdraft(s) in your account (condition precedent), it would have been IMPOSSIBLE for the banks creative accounting practice to have assessed additional overdraft fees against you that you did not create].

[That is why the bank engages in tactics to make you overdraft your account. For example, the bank will not immediately post your correct available balance or the bank will drop a hold on your account to only apply it later to make you believe you have more available funds in your account then you do. The bank will also split two pre-existing overdrafts created on the same date so it can create additional overdraft fees on two different posting dates instead of one
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