Wachovia Bank speculative fees Sarasota Florida *EDitor's Suggestions on how to get your money back into your bank account!
First off, I do agree in principle with the know your balance advocates. That said, any intelligent observer can see the hammerlock the big institutions have on rule writing through the legislatures and comptroller of the currency. It's a water-tight, my-way-or-the-highway scenario.
My grievance has to do with the extortionate theft of $490 from my checking account.
I did know my balance. It was enough to pay all of the outstanding items I had authorized, as they were presented for payment in the daily clearing process. This included a phantom item for an annual subscription which I had stupidly paid a year ago with the Visa check card, not noting the fine print for an automatic renewal this year.
This brings up a point which I have not seen discussed in the hundreds of related posts in this and other complaint forums. I apologize for being long-winded, but, the self-serving bank settlement manipulation goes even deeper than most people realize.
In the old days, when a paper check was issued, that item made it's way back to the payer's bank through a constantly evolving system of physical transport of that paper from hand to hand. Banks and the federal reserve operate a network of clearing facilities which add and subtract deposits and checks each night. This physical handling and cross-country transport added cost to the banks' account, in the sense that they could not invest this float for their own benefit. The issued but not yet settled items represented potential earning power for the customer's account, not for the banks.
When the check arrived at the issuing bank's home clearinghouse, the order of settlement would be: balance, plus deposits, minus checks, minus fees equals new balance.
Long story short, with the advent of massive computing power, new electronically logged transactions and a subservient rule making apparatus, the banks have managed to turn the clearing process on it's head, to their sole advantage. The new clearing sequence is now: balance, minus fees, minus checks and electronic items, plus deposits equals new balance.
Be aware: when you authorize a purchase with your Visa checkcard, that amount becomes encumbered/sequestered/appropriated. You no longer have the benefit of use of that amount in your account. It may still show in the balance, but the extortionists have declared that amount to be available in the bank's investable funds. The ownership of the float now goes to the bank.
The exquisite irony of this change rests in the fact that many of these electronic items still are not immediately presented for payment in the clearing process. You may buy something from a vendor on the 1st of the month. The item may not be presented for payment until a few days later. Even though your balance may be sufficient to cover the item when it is presented for payment, if it wasn't covered when the charge was authorized, an overdraft fee is charged to your account.
Be aware: Again, the overdraft fees are applied first in the clearing sequence. Even if you made a deposit that day, and the deposit would have been sufficient to cover the paid items and fee, the fee takes precedence and causes the overdraft.
Net effect, banks are allowed, by law, to prospectively and speculatively apply fees to your account. The fact that fees are applied when the phantom charge appears, not when the actual item is presented for payment, represents a massive shift of advantage to the banks.
This is the gist of my specific complaint. My account was charged $245 on two successive days even though the balance was enough to pay all the items presented for payment, ON THE DAY THEY WERE PRESENTED. The overdraft fees caused the carnage by sucking out all of the available funds before paying the items and before applying deposits.
The branch manager told me she could not do anything about this as their authority to refund fees was curtailed. Why? Because they had been refunding too much! I asked her to please request to a higher authority on my behalf. No response was forthcoming. A note to their Overdraft Resolution Team did not elicit a response. A second, delivery confirmed note to the ORT and branch manager went unanswered.
I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. No reponse yet.
The whole thing galls me. Caveat Emptor.
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EDitor's Suggestions on how to get your money back!
HERE IS WHAT RIP-OFF REPORT SUGGESTS YOU DO:
Go to your bank within 60 days of the charge, or as soon as you know about the charge, don't delay, and tell them that there has been fraudulent activity within your account. Explain that you wish to file a dispute, and demand that they assist you in accordance with Federal Regulation E.
According to the majority of victims interviewed by Rip-off Report, those who immediately called their banks to dispute the charges did not get very far. Many victims got the following responses from their banks: we could not do anything for you or you waited too long; it has been more than 60 days.
If the bank is says that you have waited too long, explain to them how you called their 800 number as soon as the charges were found, and were told by the bank that nothing could be done. Remind the bank that they failed to assist you properly at the 800 #, and instead, provided you with an inadequate explanation of your right to dispute. Tell the bank that it's their fault time has expired, and since they gave you the wrong info to begin with, they will just have to deal with it, take the loss and reverse the charges.
Tell them the truth; this was unauthorized and your account was NOT to be charged! Keep emphasizing how you never authorized anything! Direct them to the hundreds of victims reports that were filed on Rip-off Report.com. And if you're at the bank, walk them over to their computer and make them go to this site! If you are on the phone with them, tell them you will wait while they access this site! Either way, be persistent!
DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!
Let them know nicely, that you were advised to Report them (the Bank) and this situation to the Banking Commission in your state. Since each state has a different name for the agency/controller over banks, find that name before you call or get to the bank so you can throw it in their face. The more knowledgeable you appear to be, the further you will get.
And just continue to demand the Federal Regulation E form! The bank CAN, MUST and WILL reverse the charge! But, you must be persistent; ask to speak to the supervisor or the area manager for all the branches in the state.
Let the bank personnel know you are meeting with the media later in the day, that you would much rather they do the right thing (as most other banks have) by looking at the complaints and immediately reversing the charge(s) to your account; no matter how long ago it was. Be sure to call the Media if necessary so you are telling the truth.
If you have to, be loud (but nice) in front of other customers. If you are just calling by phone, the above tactics should still work. The bank can easily fax or mail to you the Federal Regulation E dispute form.
CHARGES TO YOUR CREDIT CARD
If the charge was to your credit card (not debit card, check card, or checking account), contact the credit card company as soon as possible to request a dispute form. Consumers usually have a little longer to dispute fraudulent credit card charges (up to 6 months), but it is better to act right away. In this type of situation, credit card disputes are usually successful since fraudulent companies often won't contest the disputed charge. In rare cases, credit card companies will review disputes, but refuse to reverse the charges. If this occurs, complain to a manager and let them know you will be filing a report here.
Remember Don't let them get away with it! Make sure they make the Rip-off Report .. The more Reports filed on a Company or individual, the more likely it is that the authorities, media and attorneys will want to take action.
And good luck Let us know how you do!
ED Magedson Founder, Rip-off Report.com & Author of www.ripoffrevenge.com
Don't let them get away with it.
Make sure they make the Rip-off Report!
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CLICK HERE to read about Credit Card Scams... find out how to get your money back. *Rip-off Report Investigation provides valuable information.