Here’s a lovely rant. Last week I called Bank of America to activate an updated credit card (i.e. new expiration date). You know, the call you have to make before you peel the sticker off?
Over the past few years, it’s become increasing clear that banks only want to use this opportunity to up-sell to their customer. As annoying as it is, I’m somewhat fine with the process and have just learned to say “no thanks” and move on.
This time though, the rep at Bank of America was able to convince me of the up-sell. But he made some changes against my wishes, which in my opinion, borderline on fraud. Here’s how it went down.
As I was waiting for the activation of my new BOA American Express card, the representative asked me what I did for a living. He acted genuinely interested. We talked for a solid 5 minutes about what I do. In hindsight, I know he was just flattering me and building up rapport.
He then asked me if I wanted to earn 3-2-1 percent cash rewards on my spending vs the 1% I was currently earning. I said “no thank you” and that I didn’t want to change anything. I never use the card and was only activating the new one since we were making out first trip to Costco, who only takes American Express. He persisted and said nothing would change except that on my first X amount of spending I would earn 3-2-1 percent cash rewards.
I was suspicious so I let him talk more and he read a few disclosures about the offer. I then asked him if a new account would be created. He said “no”. I then asked him if a new line of credit would be opened and if my credit would be checked. He said “no”. Finally, I asked him if I would get a new card. He said “no”. After all of these no’s, I said okay, hook me up with the new rewards on my existing Bank of America American Express card for the first $500 in spending.
Guess what I go in the mail this Christmas Eve?
You got it. A new Bank Americard Cash Rewards credit card showing a new account and a new $500 line of credit. I also got and a letter stating that my credit had been checked so I was entitled to a free credit report.
You might be wondering what’s so bad about a new card and a credit check. Well, the new card with a $500 line of credit means my credit utilization ratio took a hit. Also, the credit check means I took an immediate 5 point hit on my credit score. We’re planning on borrowing money for a new home in the Spring. Changes to my credit score could cost me thousands in future interest payments. Ultimately what’s wrong with this scenario is that someone did something to my finances knowing that I didn’t want it or ask for it.
I hate it when things like this happen. I hate using this blog as a complaint board too. But I have to share this with you guys in hopes that it might change things at BOA and so that you can be more aware when making your own banking decisions.
I know what happened here. The rep is paid a commission or bonus for every new account/card that he opens. He was willing to lie to me to just get me to agree to the disclosures and get his bonus. Plain and simple, that’s what happened.
My questions for Bank of America:
- Is this how you want your reps doing business for you?
- Shouldn’t you have controls in place to prevent this?
When I received the card in the mail, I immediately called Bank of America customer service. When I finally got to a human, the response to my calm, well-mannered complaint was disappointing: 1. She told me I was at fault. 2. She effectively hung up on me by telling me she was transferring me to someone (you know, that special someone who conveniently isn’t there).
I’m calling back today to close the account and to get the credit transferred back to the American Express card. Once we get our home loan in the Spring I’m going to just close down all of my Bank of America cards. We’ve already stopped doing checking there because of the new conveniences of online checking and me moving my business checking to Chase. Not to mention the previous Bank of America checking account fraud I dealt with. I’m ready to be completely done with them. I’m tired of complaining.
Update: I reported this to the credit department and they are removing the credit request from my credit report. They also closed the account. Finally, I was able to talk to the fraud department and make a report. They are supposed to be calling me back in a few days. I’ll update this post when that happens.
Seems I’m not the only one who’s encountered this situation:
- Switched from one card to another without permission
- Bank of America doesn’t need your consent to give you a new credit card
- Did Bank of America open an account without my permission
- FatWallet thread on the issue
- Unauthorized Bank of America credit card
- Bank of America opened a credit card without asking me