Thursday, January 30, 2020

Jaki Jean on my impending breakup with Bank of America

In the digital culture of cyber space, conversations between actual human beings who can hear one another’s voices are rare.  As much as I enjoy my cyber conversations with friends & family, I miss the sound of voices.

I miss the timbre, the cadence, the intonations, the sound of laughter & of concern.

Nowhere is the absence of conversing outside of a screen more frustrating & confusing that in our day to day interactions with businesses & organizations & government agencies.

Accessing a “live agent” is cumbersome.  No doubt to encourage us to respond to canned questions & answers from artificial intelligence & computer programs.

Because I cannot speak with or email an actual breathing being at Bank of America, I am forced to reach out via my personal blog.

BOA did respond to my request to speak with someone – a response I only received by contacting them on their Facebook page via Messenger.

Hi Jaki, thanks for reaching out. We'd like to know more about your concern. Please send additional details along with the location of the financial center. ^Annette

Dear Annette – I cannot possibly use the confining space of Messenger to communicate the details of my experience with the Keegan’s Glen BOA Financial Center in Stafford, Texas.
Because I cannot speak with or email a breathing being, I am writing to you via my blog & will send you a link.

One week ago, on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, I discovered that my checking account had three dubious transactions in the processing status.  A debit & credit for $49.93 from FRG TeamFan Shop & a pending charge for ten cents, supposedly from The Miami Herald.

Knowing that the charges were fraudulent, I went to what used to be my friendly & helpful neighborhood BOA branch to shut down my debit card & obtain a temporary card.

After waiting an unusually long time in the lobby, I explained my situation to the young woman who offered to help me.  

Her response was to ask me if I had an appointment. 

(Seriously?  I was supposed to make an appointment to report fraud & ask for help?)

She then took me to a computer station & told me to wait for someone to sign me in.

A young woman arrived, used my debit card to access my checking account, & discussed my personal business in an open area on the edge of the lobby.

Beyond the discomfort I felt in airing my private life to an audience, I was informed that because the transactions were processing, nothing could be done.   

She suggested that perhaps the ten-cent charge was due to my reading an article in the Miami Herald.  She seemed unaffected by the fraudulent $49.93 charges.  After all, she said, the initial charge was reversed.

I was advised to contact customer service after the processing was complete. 

Frustrated & confused at how easily my problem was dismissed, I went home & researched the $49.93 transactions from FRG*TEAMFANSHOP.

FRG TeamFanShop is a testing ground for identity thieves to try out credit card data they have stolen to establish if the card is still valid. 

The site supposedly went inactive in 2015.

Apparently, it has resurfaced.  This means that my card was compromised & needed to be immediately shut down.  The thieves had my card information.

After discovering the source of the transactions, I did indeed call BOA Customer Service to report the fraud.  After explaining the situation & my dissatisfaction with my experience at the Keegan’s Glen location, to a live being named David, asked:

Were you issued a temporary card?

The failure by Keegan's Glen to issue that temporary card has caused me inconvenience,,frustration & embarrassment.  Without a debit card, I cannot make deposits, withdraw funds, or pay the automatic payments I have set up with various vendors. 

In our current reality, it is impossible to conduct life without a debit card.  At least within the reality I navigate.

My only option was to go into the bank & wait in line to cash a check.  

Rest assured, I know a dismissal when I experience one.  

I am both disappointed & enraged.  While I imagine that in the great scheme of things in the world of BOA, my complaint may be deemed inconsequential, I can assure you that it does matter.

Unfortunately, I was too stunned to make note of the BOA representative’s name.  Apparently, she works the lobby area.  I only recall that she had impossibly long eyelashes of very poor quality.

As soon as I receive my new debit card & make arrangements to satisfy the vendors who debit my account each month, I will research & choose one of the three other banks in the area who will treat me with respect, address my needs & attempt to help me solve a problem with my account.

It is not particularly convenient for me to change banks after a decade.  The Keegan’s Glen location fits perfectly into the demands of my role of caregiver for my eighty-four-year-old bed bound mother.

But I, and my concerns as a customer, will not be dismissed.

All of this could have been avoided if the Financial Center in Keegan’s Glen had taken my concerns seriously & issued a temporary debit card.

Regards, with a handshake,

Jaki Jean Ettinger

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