You probably get the customers you deserve.
A friend of mine—call him Van—fired that bank recently.
Van admits he doesn’t scour bank statements. He scans for obvious problems, like a balance thousands of dollars off from what he expects. If he finds none, he moves on with his life.
Not long ago, he noticed something called an “Advantage Fee.” It was small, but Van did some research. He learned that he’d been charged the fee for a long time, but that his account type and history should have exempted him.
“The bank customer service agent was great,” he told me. “She said it looked like I’d gotten the fee stopped before, but somehow it got turned back on about a year ago.”
The agent stopped the fee, credited his account for six months, and promised to submit a request to credit him for the earlier months. The bank’s software limited her to a six-month refund.
Weeks later, Van received a terse letter from the bank. It informed Van that they would not credit the rest of the amount they erroneously charged him because Van wasn’t reviewing his statements carefully enough.
“You should have told us sooner.”
That’s right: the bank was keeping a customer’s money because the customer didn’t perform quality assurance checks on the bank’s flawed software.
Some process-and-policy wonk probably received a commendation for saving the bank $60. That two-figure savings cost the bank a six-figure household. It also undermined the credibility of a helpful and friendly customer service agent.
On the bright side, maybe the bank will replace Van with a new, young, low-income customer who scours her statement every month and challenges every item.