BofA Fraud Dept Needs Higher Standards
Bank of America blocked my ATM card on the fourth of October, without calling or emailing me. Apparently their fraud department detected “something suspicious.” Bank of America has blocked my card before, but that was when I was hopping around Asia- I can see how it can look suspicious if there are purchases in three different countries in one day. I wasn’t able to withdraw cash over the weekend which sucked, but I managed by using my business ATM card and borrowing some cash from that account. It took 48 minutes on the phone with a BofA rep and a game of 20 questions to sort it out and unblock my card.
Things got really interesting when I called BofA today. The first rep I spoke with said I had to be transferred to the fraud department, I told him I had a question about something else before I was transferred, but he rudely cut me off before I could finish my question.
“Could you please transfer me to a supervisor or someone else whom may be able to assist me with my question?” I asked.
He transferred me to BofA’s main menu. Thanks a lot buddy. I had to navigate through all the voice prompts and punch in all my info all over again.
I finally got back to someone, who answered my 2nd question and transferred me to the fraud department to unlock my card.
This is where BofA’s really poor service shined through.
First I was told that I changed my address last week and that’s why my card was blocked. Nope, didn’t do that so I asked them to take a closer look. The rep confirmed that I called last week and switched my address and provided all the security passwords. I told her to read the date back to me- “Oh that was October 3rd, 2004. That must not be it.”
Take another look I told her.
“Sir there were several highly unusual charges against your Bank of America check card on October 4.”
“Ok, what were they?” After several minutes on hold she came back.
“The charges were verified and confirmed as legitimate.”
Thanks, yes I confess the two purchases on October 4th were very suspicious. Gas and a sandwich from the neighborhood deli. “This is really concerning to me as I need access to my cash and can’t have BofA randomly block my card. Can you please take another look at your records to make sure this doesn’t happen again?”
On hold again…
She then said it must be the “unusually high deposits” I made last week. No, I told her, just my wife’s paycheck and a check I deposited from a client of mine. The exact same amount I deposit on the 1st and 15th every month. She insisted the amount was large enough to raise red flags (trust me neither of us are pulling in bi-weekly checks that resemble a money laundering scam). “Sorry sir, it looks like we’re going to have to send you a new card. You should receive it in the mail in 7-10 days.” Nope, don’t want to wait for a new card, I’d like to pay for my lunch in cash today. So I asked her to take yet a closer look.
She put me back on hold and cam back with the “real answer.” The card had been used at Shell station to buy $41 of gas last week. “This has been flagged as a possibly fraudulent charge,” she said. I never knew my weekly gas run was suspicious, but ok… “It looks like whoever used the card entered your PIN several times incorrectly before getting it right. We spotted this and blocked your card to protect your account and your identity.”
Well that sounds great! Bank of America looking out for me. Only problem is, I USE MY CHECKARD in “VISA MODE” WHEN MAKING PURCHASES. NEVER USE PIN EXCEPT FOR ATMs.
I asked for a supervisor.
The actual problem (they think) is that I used my card at a gas station last week. That’s right $41 worth of gas again.
“Whoever used your card swiped it over and over again,” the supervisor told me.
Nope, everything worked fine. Swiped it once.
“Sometimes there’s a communication problem and even though you swipe it once, or system thinks you swiped it several time and thinks it’s fraud, so it blocks your card.”
Well, can you at least unblock my card ?
“Sure and sorry about all the confusion, the woman who was helping you has only been with is for two days.
Finally, I’m now able to use my own ATM card. What a hassle.
So why didn’t I get a call or an email about my card being blocked?
“Oh well we have millions of customers. We try to get around to calling all of them when something like this happens…”
Try harder BofA
All the reps I dealt with were courteous and friendly (except for the jerk that basically hung up on me originally), but that only goes so far. This incident really made me feel like BofA has some serious issues in their fraud department. If it took me 48 minutes to sort this out, I wonder how painful it would be to deal with a real fraud issue. Instead of really investigating the problem the reps played a guessing game and didn’t bother to find the real problem or offer a real solution. Maybe they should start with training people a little better.
Thanks BofA, thanks for wasting an hour of my work day.