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Shut Up; I Took My Money!

, , , , , , | Working | March 9, 2023

Some time ago, I opened a savings account with an online FDIC-approved bank. That bank had a lot of “rules” concerning when savings accounts could be closed, but I read the rules and agreed to them before making my deposits.

Some months later, something came up, and I needed the money in the savings account. I double-checked the rules, and I could withdraw all the funds and close the account without any penalty or fee as long as I notified the bank’s online customer service representative (CSR) via Chat in a timely fashion.

I then activated Chat, and I was told to empty my account and get back to them. I emptied it later that day and went back to Chat.

There was a LONG wait until a customer service representative appeared. In fact, there were long waits between all of the messages here.

Me: “I would like to close [account number]. I have emptied that account as I was asked by another representative.”

Representative #1: “Please give me [lots of ID information].”

I gave her all the information she asked for.

Representative #1: “Read [the rules].”

Me: “I read them, and I qualify for a non-fee closure.”

Representative #1: “Please wait while I access your account.”

There was a long wait.

Representative #1: “Okay, I have successfully closed your account. You should be notified in a few days.”

Days went by, and I saw that account was not closed, so I tried again. I went through almost exactly the same delays and responses.

Days later, again, the account was not shown as closed. I went back to Chat for a THIRD time, and the tale repeated again.

Days later, I was now past the “no fee, no penalty” calendar period. The account was still open. Back to Chat again.

Me: “I’ve tried at least three previous times to close the account. Do you see it as closed?”

Representative #4: “No. I see no previous attempts.”

[Representative #4] repeated the tale, but I wanted to chat with a supervisor.

There was another long delay, but my phone’s battery is a good one.

A supervisor got on the line and read from the same script the representatives used.

Me: “When I started the closure, I qualified for a non-fee closure. Now I see that [Bank] wants to charge me a fee. You are the FOURTH person I have chatted with. Please close my account RIGHT NOW!”

Supervisor: “I cannot do that; my closure tool is broken. I will send you back to [Representative #4].”

Another long wait…

[Representative #4] again said the account was closed and reconnected the supervisor.

You guessed it… another long wait.

The supervisor read from the script yet again.

Me: “If the closure fails this time, I believe the FDIC has a complaint process. I do not want to wait another month for an email or something telling me the account is closed.”

Supervisor: “I will drop the fees. You don’t have to wait for an email.”

The Chat closed.

A couple of days went by, and I got an email from [Bank] telling me the savings account was “CONNECTED”! Not “CLOSED” but “CONNECTED”!

However, accessing the bank’s website showed that my savings account no longer appeared. Looks like it may be FINALLY closed!

Lesson: online banks give higher percentages because they have few or no physical locations and may impose severe communication burdens on clients. They also seem to have employees who have difficulty doing what they promise.

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