Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bank make Hulk angry ! Hulk smash bank !

[Rant, best to ignore]
After growing increasingly certain of this in the last few months, I now have final confirmation: the branches of Bank of America that are in Massachusetts are piles of steaming dog poo. Yes, I know they used to be Fleet Bank, and they aren't quite doing merging with BoA, and merging the IT systems of two different banks is really, really hard [*sniff*] and whatever other excuses people have for doing a shitty job, but this time they've really outdone themselves.

Ever since we moved here, which was shortly before BoA and Fleet Bank merged, I've had the devil of a time depositing checks into my BoA account. The usual interaction goes something like this:

- I walk up to the teller window, give them a deposit slip and my checks
- The teller types in my account number, looks confused, retypes my account number, looks even more confused, hits a couple more keys and finally asks: "Are you sure this is your account number ? I can't find any account with that number."
- I reassure him that, yes, I actually do know my account number, and have known it for the last 8 years
- He tries typing it in again, still fails to find it, and then asks me for things like my Social Security number, mother's maiden name, blood and urine samples etc, all for naught.
- Finally, he asks "What state was this account opened in ?" [despite the fact that it's clearly marked on my deposit slip], I say "Washington state" and we engage in a ritual "Washington state .. is that DC ?";"No, it's not. It's Washington state" exchange. Apparently, most BoA tellers here didn't get the memo that Washington DC is on a different coast than Washington state ...
- Armed with every bit of personal information, he then tries once again to find my account. And fails. Miserably.
- Finally, it's time to Call Somebody Who Knows What The #$%#$ Is Going On -- the teller calls whatever geniuses they have sitting in the back of the bank, describes the situation, gets some instructions and ... sometimes they find my account, sometimes they don't. If they don't, well, then they have to call a different set of back-office oracles [or just plain back-orifices ...]. Repeat until success.

Sometimes, the process described here takes upwards of 30 minutes, at the end of which I'm ready to squeeze through the little hole in the partition and commit mass murder by shoving the little nametags that proudly proclaim "Higher Standards" down the throat of all the bank employees. The only thing that prevents me from doing so is that I'm too big to fit through the hole. That, and the fact that, deep down, I know it's not really the teller's fault that he's been given a shitty system to work with.

So, that's how it went until last week, when I made the mistake of not actually waiting around to see that my check found its proper home -- when I walked in, there was a long line for the tellers and they had somebody just taking checks off people, writing down the account numbers and then handing out receipts, to speed up the process. I handed the lady my check [despite some misgivings] and walked back out; thankfully, I had the sense to keep the receipt.

Now, a week and a half later, that check still isn't in my account. And nobody has any clue where it is. I've talked to the BoA customer service folks, to the people at the branch where I deposited the check, waved my receipt into lots of people's faces and ... nothing beyond "We're still looking into it. We'll give you a call when we figure out what's going on.". Not exactly what you want to hear when said check is a month's paycheck [which, despite, or precisely because it's a graduate student stipend, I really do need in my account ...].

A couple more days of this crap and I fully expect that I'll finally lose my already precarious grip on civility. And they won't like me when I'm angry -- it doesn't happen very often, so when it does, a lot of stored-up potential is released.


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