ED Magedson – Founder
Suntrust Bank303 Peachtree St. NE 30th FL Atlanta GA Charlottesville, Virginia United States of America
I've been a loyal customer of Suntrust for decades, even before it was Suntrust. They have the nicest people working in their branches. I never had a single proglem in all those years, until April 10, 2010. One bad employee introduced me to the hostile, elusive and unresponsive management structure. On that day I went to the drive-through at the Pantops branch, which I rarely use, to deposit a check from Germany. I've done this at least a dozen times over the years and I know there is usually a day or two extra delay for it to clear. After quite a few minutes, however, the teller asked me come inside. I asked why, but just repeated that I should come into the lobby.
The lobby is completely open, with desks on both sides. People coming in and out pass within a few feet of them and there are no walls or screens. You are completely visible and audible. I was met by Chris Gregoria, whose first question was, "Were you expecting this check?" I was taken aback by the stupidity the question assumed and by the intrusive nature of the question. [continued below]....
He told me had never seen a foreign check. I told him I had had deposited checks from the same German bank manytimes over the years and it was not a very large amount. He then presented me with a document (see photo) that he had already filled out. The form was stapled to my deposit slip and stated my deposit would not be available for 11 days. The reason? He checked the boxes for "We believe the check you deposited will not be paid for the following reason(s) and the reason he checked was "We are unable to contact/identify "payor bank" for verification." He said there was absolutely nothing he could do about it, and my two options were to take the check elsewhere or wait 11 days.
He had filled out this form before I ever entered the lobby. This is important because of later claims made by the President's Office. I asked if I could speak to the branch manager but was told there was no one there at the moment except him, and he was in charge. I asked if we could call the toll free customer # in Orlando for assistance. He declined. I asked him to check with a branch I typically usedthatmight perhaps have seen a foreign check. He refused but said I could just take the check there and he would cancel the deposit here. I asked him to call or Google the bank and I had their their contact info. He would not; he said he could not and yet the form said "we are unable to contact/identify payor bank"--when by his own statement it was impossible for him to attempt that. I asked him repeatedly why I had been singled out and said it was that the check looked odd to him.I asked him again to call the customer service number (toll free) in Orlandoand he refused again. So I called them on my cell phone while he just sat there at his desk. I told Orlando where I was and explained the problems I was having. After listening and apologizing, they put me on hold and then to my surprise called him. He complained to them about mycall to them and that I had"complained about me right in front of me."
The document he gave me clearly indicated that Suntrust believed this was not a good check and that I was either a criminal or an idiot.I then spent quite a lot of time trying toreach Suntrust's structure. I called Richmond Suntrust, who said they would never have processed the check that way.This helpful person connected me to an area manager back in the Charlottesville area. What I heard for this person was, as it turned out, the official Suntrust position: they had done nothing wrong. The young man was only trying to "protect" me. She seemed annoyed with me.
Eventually I found HQ in Atlanta, mainly by following SEC filings. I emailed Mr. McCoy who was PR Finance, as close as I could get to complaints. He helpfully directed me to Nedia, who was friendly but didn't meet her call back times, causing me to have to follow up to her. We mostly discussed the policies that Suntrust used to decide when a customer is going to be pulled out of line and given an inquisition about a deposit. She said there were policies and criteria and that she would send them to me. That never happened, but it was important because I believed the ignorance of Gregoria, who was not properly trained, and who also had a "big shot" complex; maybe it was because I was a middle-aged woman, or the check was from a foreign country or even in fact from Germany. How was I to know?
When Nedia failed to produce, I spoke with Marsha Walker, who is "Officer" in the Office of the President. I told the story again and said that given that I had to call Orlando on my cell and burn my minutes, given that I had been getting the run around, the least they could do, besides giving me those policies, would be a token of eventen bucks for my time and effort and expense with these long distance calls. She said they only did that when money had been lost. She also indicated that Suntrust reserved the right to question any person making any transaction. Of course, if you don't know the criteria for that, they can profile or discriminate or just hassle you because they feel like it. She also told me that "Legal" was reviewing this, whichcould only mean that they had cause for concern and that quite possibly Gregoria's conduct was actionable.
On May 22, 2010 Marsha wrote me a letter (see picture 2) stating "Because deposited checks drawn on foreign banks require special handling for processing, our representative invited you to come into the branch to see if he could assist you in having the collection of the deposited funds expedited for you." This is a lie; he had already filled out the form showing that far from being expedited, this check was going to be extra delayed.
She continued, "He also wanted to help verify the authenticity of the check in an effort to make sure that you were not a victim of a possible scam." A second lie; he made no effort to verify the authenticity of the check. In fact, he refused to do so. He brought me in because he thought I was trying to pass a bad check or I had been given a fake check and was too stupid to know it. Pre-screening deposits? Really? After all, if the check had been worthless, I would be the one to lose out and they would no doubt collect fees and make money from that.
Walker's letter, though brief, repeats those two points. She also said they made NO error, so no ten bucks for you but she assured me that Gregoria's actions were "not to imply any criminal actions on your part." Clearly, we disagree on the meaning of "assistance," which in Suntrust's lexicon means, challenging you and questioning you about a deposit because you or the check might be a scam"--but why was I selected for suchassistance? No, it was not "assistance"--Gregoria's form clearly meant "bad check."
It's also clear that Walker is psychic, because she is privy to Gregoria's thoughts and intentions. Clearly, she spun a story to make his actions defensible--and isn't it interesting that the Office of the President would thrown down over this lowly branch non-manager, maybe assistant manager, who knows? That even an inexperienced andvery poorly trained(especially in customer service) individual is protected at the highest levels? This can only mean they were worried and stonewalling.
Note too that there is no apology in her letter. Of course not, they investigated themselves and found they had donenothing wrong. Instead she writes "I am sorry that you felt this situation was mishandled and regret any misunderstanding that occurred." So this translates, in stonewalling as "I'm sorry your subjective--and completely wrong--"feeling" did not match the facts. I'm sorry you are so stupid." She also looks forward to serving me for many more years.
Of course Icanceled with Suntrust as soon as the last item cleared in my account. Suprisingly, the troublesome check actually cleared OVERNIGHT--so I guess that rule is a little slippery too.I hope Suntrust found it worth protecting anemployee like Georgia;I'm just one lifelong customer,after all. Butpeople should know whether there is an evil empire behind the smiling and truly nice people at the counters. You should also know if the bank has a policy of yanking you aside for a public, embarrassing series of accusations, all because, for example, a new guy has never seen a foreign check and has an attitude issue. But people like him cannot thrive without people like Walker to cover up his mistakes and protect him.
Speaking of knowing about banks,I was proud of Suntrust for not being in the news for accepting or needing bailout money. But I went to the SEC filings and guess what, they did. And I also thought they were just a bank. But the "bank" is just a branch of a holding company, SunTrust Banks, Inc. The holding company got special permission to do what an actual national bank can't:hold synthetic leases. They double dipped TARP funds and bucked their own shareholders --and TARP--to avoid restricting executive compensation. (source: WestLaw Business).
But what do I know, I'm just a middle aged stupid woman with criminal tendencies.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/04/2011 02:49 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/suntrust-bank/charlottesville-virginia-22901/suntrust-bank-marsha-walker-lifelong-customer-singled-out-and-publically-interrogated-for-678605. 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.
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