Personal Technology

BoA Fraud Alert Reveals Horrible Customer Service System

Bank of America called this afternoon, advising me that there was a hold on my debit card because of a possible fraudulent charge. It was a recording: please call this number ASAP.

Given that BoA changed my debit card number in October because of some problem with their database, and given that I have had one fraudulent charge which required me to ask for the card number to be changed, I approached the call with trepidation. Like a lot of folks, I use my debit card as a form of electronic checkbook for recurring charges. I’d just renewed my subscription to The Economist this morning by phone because the auto-renew failed. The thought of having to again change numbers on a host of accounts did not make me happy.

The first thing you have to do is sit through a long menu of options, none of which matches “the BoA fraud department just called me.” I hit the “play them again” number and then picked the first one.

The automated customer service recording asked me to input my debit card number. I do. I’m immediately placed into a musical queue.

At about 12 minutes, a Bank of America rep comes on the line. He asks why I’m calling and for the state that issued the card. I answer. He asks again. I repeat. Then he puts me back on hold while he finds the right rep to transfer me to. Why? I put the number in at the very beginning of this process! Yes, it was Seafirst Bank at the time, but they don’t have these databases linked yet? They can’t automatically route a call based on the debit card number?

This time I have no music, so I don’t know if I’m really still on hold or if I’m in limbo land and will soon hear that dreaded recording telling me I am disconnected.

At 14.25, there is music in my ear, and a recording telling me that my hold time could exceed six minutes. I muse to myself: clearly that’s the case, since I’ve already been on the phone for more than twice that.

At 21.33, I hear a live voice. She asks for my debit card number and wants to know why I’m calling! I’ve already answered both of these questions. I politely note that I input the card data at the beginning of the call, then I recite it again. I explain (again) about the call from the fraud department. She asks me some questions to verify that I am who I say I am and then looks things up without putting me on hold. (Thanks for small favors.)

BoA was holding a Chateau Ste Michelle wine club charge from Monday, February 7. I’ve been a member for more almost three years, with recurring charges. She promises to note in my record that this is a recurring charge, so I won’t get pinged by fraud again.

I hang up. The phone says I’ve been online for 25 minutes.

I feel like my money is so safe. Not!

Note to self: get off your butt and get everything shifted to BECC.

Originally posted at my Posterous account; automagically posted to WiredPen.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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