I have been distressed and perplexed by banking issues over the last few months - so it`s great to have this forum to constructively vent!
Earlier this year, I opened a checking account with a "major" national bank in order to receive a better interest rate on a small loan. I had previously banked exclusively with a small credit union. At this point, I am forced to leave my account open with the bank until my loan is paid (sooner than later) - but I will run, not walk, back to my credit union as soon as that happens. Here`s (one of many reasons) why:
Two weeks ago, I was out with a group of friends at a local restaurant. I had to leave early, so I asked the waitress for my ticket, which she brought (about $8.50) - I gave her my debit card, she ran it, and brought it back to me - charged in the amount of about $80. Inadvertently, she ran the entire tab for the group, instead of just my part. She apologized profusely, supposedly ran a "credit" to my card, and then brought my correct ticket, which I signed off on.
Anyway, long story short, on Monday morning I checked my account and saw that both charges were there (no "credit" for the incorrect amount) - and in fact the incorrect charge was now $93 (an automatic 15% adjustment to assume a tip had been added). I called the customer service number for the bank, and they said it was the restaurant`s responsibility to fix it. After many attempts by the restaurant manager (phone calls, faxes, etc.), and many calls by me, still nothing was done to correct the error and the bank insisted that I needed to take it up with the restaurant. Finally, on the third day, I went to a local branch of the bank to explain what was going on and hopefully get some help sorting it out. They said there was nothing they could do . . . until I mentioned that I would be closing my account. Amazingly, I was called over to a woman sitting at a computer - she made a quick phone call, and five minutes later, the bogus charge was removed from my account.
There is no doubt in my mind that had this occurred with my credit union debit card, the first phone call I made on Monday morning would have been the end of it. Why I didn`t just go to them for my loan, I still don`t know.
So, even though I know it`s like screaming into the wind, I guess I`d say that perhaps a little "human understanding" and more "assuming the customer is right" would be in order. Many larger banks have become way too big and impersonal for their own good, and I often feel frustrated by their unfriendly (and unreasonable) tactics. And even though this was an individual issue, and not one related to me as a small business, guess where my loyalties will be when I do go out to pursue financing ? Also, how many people do I know who might be affected by hearing about my bad experiences?
Bottom line - treat all customers as if they are potential small business customers - because they are!