Saturday, November 1, 2008

Through the Wall

When I get really angry I describe that state as being "hurl the television through the wall" angry. Not that many things rile me up to such a degree, thankfully, but it does happen at times.

My folks have a certificate of deposit at Bank of America. They, along with my sister and I are joint signers on the account. Since mom and dad are now at the retirement place, they have me handling their financial matters seeing as how they erroneously think because I'm in finance and accounting that I know what I am doing.

Early in October I called the bank to ask if I could roll over the CD from its current low rate to the special that they were offering with a higher rate. The woman on the phone was very nice and closed out the old CD and transferred the money to a new one at a higher rate. No muss, no fuss. I thanked her and was happy.

The next day I noticed that the old CD was gone from my online banking page, but the new one wasn't there. I called the bank again and asked why it wasn't showing with the rest of my accounts. The woman told me that it takes a few days for the processing and it should show up within a week.

After nothing appeared on my account for a week, I called again and this time was told that the bank made an error and only put my parents names on the account and that is why it wasn't linked to my online banking account. She assured me she would correct this oversight and I should see the new CD appear with my other accounts, online, in about 7 to 10 days. Okay, fair enough, I'll wait.

Friday I checked online as I do every day and.. no CD. I called, and, oh.. before I go on let me tell you that I hate calling Bank of America because their phone system is horrible. If you have anything other than a run-of-the-mill question, you have to sit through a horrendous number of punch-this-number or punch-that-number choices before you can speak with a person. Then it turns out to be the wrong person who then transfers you to another wrong person.

That comedy of errors hit me on Friday. Finally I got through to someone who could help and I explained the situation. She checked into it and said yes, that is the problem, my sister and I were not put on the new CD when it was set up. And no one had corrected it. Then she told me I would have to go to a brick and mortar branch to fill out a form to have it corrected and all the signers on the account had to sign it. Or, she said she could send me the form.

I explained that the original CD had all four of us as signers and that is how it should have been transferred to the new CD, so why can't they just make that correction? The woman said she can't do that because it requires a signature and the proper form.

I said, well you didn't need a signature when you closed out the old CD and opened a new one on the phone, so why would you need a signature to correct an error that the bank made? This was not my fault, I told her, and it was a big hassle for me to go to a branch to get this form then drive all over the place to get everyone's signature, especially when it was the bank who made the error, not me.

Unfortunately I had been connected to a parrot.

All the parrot knew how to say was, "I am sorry but we can't do anything to help you. You have to fill out the form and get it signed."

Finally I gave up and told her to just mail me the form so I don't have to drive to the bank to explain things all over again.

Then Parrot said, "I'm sorry, I can't send you the form because your name isn't on the CD."

Duh, talk about Catch 22. I said, "you can't send me the form??"

"No I can't because you are not on the account."

"But it was your error that caused this! That's why I'm not on the account!"

"I'm sorry but I can't send you the form because you aren't on the account." Case closed, according to Parrot. "You have to go in person to a banking center."

So much for taking ownership of the situation or empowering your employees to do the right thing. This was no gray case, it was black and white. The people on the old CD should be the people on the new CD and if this could be done by phone, why did a correction have to be done with forms and signatures???

By then I was hurl the television through the wall angry. But when you talk to either a crazy person (we have one at my office) or a parrot, there is nothing you can do about it. I always love it how they then tell you to have a nice weekend as you are terminating the phone call.

A few minutes later after the steam had cleared, I decided to call back. I spoke with a different woman this time who put me on hold for quite a while, then came back and apologized and said, "uh, what were you asking for again?" Haha.. just kidding. If she had really said that my hand would have emerged from her phone and strangled her. She apologized and said she saw what had happened, and that someone had made notes on the account that didn't make any sense, and she would fix it for me. I didn't have to sign any forms. It would take 10-15 days.

I said, "no offense, but that's what I was told the last time, and you see what happened, so how do I know the same thing won't happen this time?"

She assured me that last time, someone had made nonsensical notes on the account saying the situation was resolved and no changes were needed, so no one had ever made the requested change. This time she would handle it properly.

I guess all I can do is trust her and wait to see if it happens or not. What else can I do anyway? Bank of America is such a maze of red tape and bureaucracy that I am sure their employees feel as helpless as I do even when they really want to be helpful. I would hate working for an organization like that. I am thinking I shouldn't be dealing with them as a customer, either. After (if) I clear up the case of the missing CD, I probably won't be a customer. Customer service should be what the name implies, "customer service." Not "pick up your television and get ready to hurl department."

It makes me wish I was Obi Wan Kenobi and I had the Force at my disposal.

Parrot: You have to go to a branch and get the form and sign it then spend your time driving all over the place to get everyone else to sign it as well.

Me (as I move my hand in little circles): You don't need to go to a branch.

Parrot: You don't need to go to a branch.

Me (more hand circles): You don't need to get signatures.

Parrot: You don't need to get signatures.

Me: In fact, I will fix it for you right now.

Parrot: In fact, I will fix it for you right now.

Me: It's done. Have a nice weekend.

Parrot: It's done. Have a nice weekend.

Me: This isn't the droid I wanted to harass.

Parrot: You aren't the droid I wanted to harass. Move along now. May the Force be with you.

Me: While you are at it, can you hurl that television through the wall?

Parrot (putting hand over the mouthpiece): Excuse me, Bill, can you hand me that TV please?

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