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Sunday, February 27, 2005

To the Bank I Want to Spank: I Am Not That Guy Who Owes You Money

In my last entry I alluded to an annoying interaction I had with a bank. Here's the story.

A couple of weeks ago I came home to find a message on my answering machine from a bank's "recovery" (e.i., bad debt, non-payer, deadbeat) department that was looking for someone with my last name, but a completely different first name.

I called the bank and left a message about there being no one here by that name, and would they please call me to explain the situation. Maybe I do owe them money, and they just got my name wrong, I thought. Surely they'll call, and we'll straighten all this out. After all, the bank's phone message said they'd call within 24 hours.

Twenty-eight hours passed with no returned call, so I called the bank. I got the same recording, and I left the same message as before.

Days passed, and yet a different person called from the bank, again asking for the guy with my same last name.

I called both people at the bank, leaving stern messages about them not returning my calls, and I threatened to alert the police about them making harassing calls to me.

I finally did speak with a person at the bank, who blamed the mistaken calls to me on bad information from a phone directory. I asked why she hadn't called me back, and she something about being out sick the days I'd called. I asked why her phone message said she'd call back within 24 hours, and why, even though she was clearly back from being sick, I was still getting calls from her bank.

Her answers indicated a severe lack in the bank's customer/public relations practices. Well, I'm being polite. She gave the impression she didn't see a problem in the ways she'd handled things, which made my usually even temper go off kilter, like a top that had stopped spinning upright and was beginning to wobble unsteadly off its axis.

So, feeling I'd exhausted my civilized options, I told off the first bank idiot, who indulged my request to speak with her manager. He also seemed to have majored in apathy in college.

All I was looking for was a sincere apology, an explanation that what had happened was far, far from the bank's normal operating procedure, an assurance that they would carefully examine what had happened to ensure it never happened to me or anyone else, and maybe, maybe, some token of its contrition, such as a letter of apology with a free bank calendar or some such shit.

My wife had to remind me later of other stuff this same bank (back when we actuallly used them years ago) had botched, such as not processing a work check I'd deposited and fouling up our mortgage tax escrow payments, resulting in nasty letters from our county tax collection office.

I looked up the bank's name plus "sucks" into an Internet search engine, and found many, many people share similar experiences.

Amazing that it's still in business.
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