More than three years ago, when I started looking for a house, I decided to get a mortgage with Bank of America (I had a checking and savings account with them at the time). If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen someone else.
When I signed all those mortgage papers, I said I wanted to make bi-weekly payments. That should have been a done deal. Instead, in October, I received a letter saying I'd have to re-enlist in that program. At first, I thought it must be a mistake. Then, after a phone call (during which I waited on hold for 20 minutes), I was told I would, in fact, have to sign up for the program all over again. I told the person on the phone that was really a dumb thing to do. They should let the customer opt out of the program. Then, I realized the way I was paying my mortgage meant I could pay it down faster (and we all know, banks want you to keep paying them for as long as possible).
Imagine my surprise when I look at my statement and see that I was charged for that call. I was also being charged a monthly service fee that was supposed to be waived since I had my mortgage through them (despite my attempts to correct that, it never happened). So, I decided to close my checking and savings accounts at Bank of America. When I called to tell them I needed to change the account information to pay my mortgage, guess what? I was charged for that call, too.
When I walked into the nearest Bank of America to close my account, I was met by the nicest banker. When I told her about the lack of attention I received during my phone calls, her response was, "Well, you could have come into the bank for service." Yeah. That's exactly what I wanted to do every time I had an issue with them. As I closed out the account, a teller said, "Oh, you weren't supposed to be charged this fee because you have a mortgage with us." I said, "Yeah. Want to refund nearly three years of those charges?" She said, "I can't do that." I said, "Give me my money. NOW."
I had to make a mortgage payment by phone in November, then pay by mail in December because they couldn't get the auto draft of my other bank account straightened out. Each time I was assured they would get the payment right the next month. Imagine my surprise when they don't draft a single payment the entire month of January. I call Bank of America February first. I wait on hold for half an hour. I finally get an operator who, after looking up my account while I wait on hold, cannot explain why my mortgage payment was never drafted. This is when I get REALLY angry.
"What do you mean you don't know why it didn't draft? How can you people fuck up an auto draft?"
"I mean, you're a BANK! Collecting payments is what you do, right?"
"If you can't get your shit together, tell me now. I'll find another lender."
Operator finally says, "Ma'am, I'm making a notation in your file to make sure we auto draft the payment Friday."
I sigh. "Listen, I know it's not your fault. But I am making this promise to you right now: the next time I call you, it's to close this final account with you people. You have shitty customer service. You can't seem to figure out a fucking auto draft? My God! That's the one thing you people are supposed to do!"
She apologizes. Then, I ask for a supervisor. I want to make sure that I am heard loud and clear. BTW, I understand there's a very good chance there is no supervisor taking these calls. It's most likely some other under-paid call taker sitting in a cold, dark room.
My payment went through Friday. I am still giving serious thought to finding another mortgage lender.
I am also considering writing to every one of my lawmakers to let them know that the next time Bank of America comes to them with their hands out saying they're "too big to fail," to just let them fail. If that's how a big bank behaves with my money (and my house) in its hands, it deserves to be smacked down. I do feel bad for how I spoke to the operator last week. I know it's not her fault. But someone there has to know it is bad business to not figure out an auto draft. It's especially bad business to keep customers on hold for half an hour. That's a sure way to fail. And they have no one to blame but themselves.