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beware of Bank of America


jerseyjoe
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I recently built a web site for a long-time client based in Europe. Not a CC site, but what I learned about the BOA Online Payments systems suggests great caution is called for in relying on it. I know it is not a CC gateway, but there will be times when it may get involved.

My client could have paid me via PayPal but he mentioned that he had heard that his BOA account could be used to send me a check through their online payments. This had the attraction of avoiding PayPal fees which would have been significant dollarwise due to the amount involved. He had retained his BOA account in his home state of California because his overseas employment was for a finite term.

He checked with BOA. The date was August 10. They said they would deliver an online check to me no later than Saturday Aug18. Considering that they already had a 1/2 day time zone advantage, the 9 days of processing time struck me as a tad excessive. But he and I were both curious to see the system function so we went ahead.

What a lesson we learned.

Late in the day of Aug 17, BOA cut a check as the Payer and me as the Payee. As best I can read from marks on the envelope it was not received by the US Postal Service in Columbus, Ohio as BULK RATE MAIL until Aug 18. There was no way in would be delivered in New York when promised. Here we have a California bank issuing checks from a small midwestern town by the slowest possible delivery method.

In other words, to put the best face on it, they did not keep their promise. That late posting guaranteed them another two days of float. If that reflects standard practice, considering the volume of transactions, they are squeezing many millions of dollars out of funds owned by heir depositors.

But that was the smallest part of the problem.

I took the check - issued by BOA - to the BOA branch across the street from my office and asked them to cash it. After, all it is their check, I have plenty of ID, I was born in this neighborhood more than 74 years ago, and I am well known by just about every storefront business in the neighborhood.

BOA declined to cash their own check. The explanation was, (and I am quoting verbatim), "These checks are the subject of so much fraud and we have no way of verifying its validity."

I contacted my client. He notified BOA to cancel the dishonored check and return the funds to his account. Ten minutes later, he sent me the funds by PayPal.

Caveat Emptor (that means, get involved in a transaction with Bank of America at your own risk.)

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Guest kaskudoo

interesting read - although i am not a BOA client, thanks :)

may i suggest that for international payments you might want to consider a company based in Canada, called xe.com?

i have a German bank account and transfer money a few times a year back and forth using their service. without much of advertising, i found their service fast, secure and easy.

just my .02c :)

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interesting read - although i am not a BOA client, thanks :)

may i suggest that for international payments you might want to consider a company based in Canada, called xe.com?

i have a German bank account and transfer money a few times a year back and forth using their service. without much of advertising, i found their service fast, secure and easy.

just my .02c :)

My client is in Germany. That makes your comment especially relevant. I'll share the info with him.

Thanks for your input.

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Hi Joe,

interesting post, I hope you complained.

I do deal with US businesses from time to time, but us Brits have our own banking problems to keep us busy.

ie 7 working days to send money (~£200 / ~$400) from a family members account to my personal account.

The money was taken from their account immediately, yet took 9 days to appear in mine... This was an electronic transfer using their online banking - not a cheque.

Considering they are about 50miles away, it would have been quicker to drive over and collect it in person..

I've got no real complaints about my Business Bank, but personal banking constantly drives me mad (cost cutting call centers, and sales calls account review calls).

Jason

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Guest Brivtech

There's no reason why UK banks should take several days as standard to cash cheques, but it's a system that's developed, and that we put up with. It makes the banks a lot of money, holding on to our money for those few days at a time.

The USA generally have got Cheques down to a fine art, being able to "normally" cash them almost instantly.

I try an avoid cheques. With my Lloyds TSB Dollar account, I get a hefty fee for every cheque cashed, so simply won't accept them, or charge a fee if customers insist on paying that way.

With most banks offering electronic banking on an international basis, I can't really see why customers need to pay by cheque these days. It still amazes me how even with electronic banking, payments can sometimes take far longer than expected. I think it's again down to the banks holding onto the funds for a while. You'd think it should be instant, or at least by the next working day if you consider batch processing. I would make a complaint to the bank that took the 9 days, you may even get compensation.

As for the time it takes by standard electronic banking, don't always trust your customers. In my years of dealing with bad payers (About half of Joe's experiences), I've heard all sorts of excuses. Even the nicest most trustworthy customers can turn into compulsive liars when it comes to (not) making payments on time.

The banks are often to blame, but not exclusively.

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About half of Joe's experiences),
uhhhmm . . . demurrer follows. If I said something to give that impression, I withdraw it.

I have clients in 7 countries and have been doing internet stuff since January 1994. I can count the deadbeats on one hand and still have a finger left over for the internation symbol of you-know-what.

In fact, since truth is a perfect defense against libel, I'll list them . . .

1) digink.com - pocketed a healthy 5-figures of commissions I earned. Funny thing is, they still list as clients, those I took with me - and still serve - when I left after discovering their mendacity.

2) ayc-hotel-grenadines.com (aka Palm Island Resorts, Grenadines and other countries). An outright thief who stole more than $8,000 in room reservations I paid for on behalf of clients.

3) captainyannis.com - acquired by the same company while owing me a year's hosting.

4) dolldoings.net - a stone deadbeat whose sob story I bought. Cut her off after two years of unpaid hosting and one excuse after another. (can't stand to hear a woman cry.)

Finally, the issue in this thread is that my most recent deadbeat is Bank of America. They issued a check and then went all weird when it was properly presented to them. My own client promptly put me whole with a PayPal transfer within ten minutes of being notified.

The founder of BoA, an Italian immigrant to the US, made his reputation for integrity when the San Fran earthquake and fire destroyed his little bank. He put all his cash and documents and mortgages into a wheelbarrow, trundled them off to a safe place and re-opened the next day across a wooden plank, making sure his depositors had funds in the crisis. From that, he became the most trusted banker in town - until the suits took over.

If you hear a faint whirring sound that's probably him spinning in his grave.

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I can add to the BOA story from another perspective.

Last September, I received an offer in the mail for one of their credit cards. The offer included a good interest rate on balance transfers that would be valid until May of 2007. I accepted and transferred around $6000 from an account with a normal interest rate.

A couple of months later, I noticed they had jacked up the interest rate. I called to find out what had happened, and they claimed that I had made a late payment and they were entitled to the higher interest rate. Regardless of the fact that my payments were at least a couple of days before the due dates, they refused to correct their 'error'.

So I promptly transferred the balance back to another account, minus their 'excess' interest.

Despite a formal letter explaining the situation that accompanied the check, they refused to adjust their records, and now I'm getting calls from a law office for collections. (And the 'excess' interest was only a few dollars, which was kept on the books with interest and is now up to around $400.)

I suggest that EVERYONE stay far, far away from Bank of America. They cheat their customers.

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  • 3 months later...
Guest HenryLaster78

Hey Joe,

Im a former bank of america employee and also client and i know BOA used to screw ppl over and that is why i quit working for them and moved my account

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Hey Joe,

Im a former bank of america employee and also client and i know BOA used to screw ppl over and that is why i quit working for them and moved my account

You may want to try USA Merchant Account , as we have had not problems with them. I belive they are with JP Morgan Chase Bank and they understand ecommerce business and our needs.

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