Taking The Pettiness Up To Eleven (Cents)

, , , , , | Working | February 14, 2020

(After my father suddenly passes away, I start closing his bank accounts and such. All are payable-on-death to me, so it is pretty easy to get everything done at once. I go to a large national bank chain that’s known for ripping off its customers for one account, and I sit waiting 45 minutes to talk to a banker in a completely empty bank, until the customer “service” person tells me:)

Customer Service: “I’m afraid that [Banker] is too busy doing his own paperwork and therefore he is not going to be available for the rest of the day.”

Me: “But he has no customers!”

Customer Service: “You should go to [Another Branch 15 minutes away] where there is no line and someone can help you.”

(I am ticked off as h***, but I go since I really need to do this and have already traveled to another town and sunk the travel and waiting time into it. Of course, the other branch is packed, and I wait another 45 minutes. The banker is new and has to call the estate department to walk her through the process. Ninety minutes later, the account is closed, and I have a check in hand for the funds. Fast forward two weeks… A statement comes from the bank for that account, which is NOT closed, and apparently has $0.11 in it. So, I call the estate department of the bank.)

Estate Rep: “Oh, I guess the banker didn’t close the account properly. You’ll have to go back to the bank and do it again.”

Me: “No, that’s why I’m calling you. I can fax you the death certificate or mail a copy. But the last time I tried, I spent 90 minutes of travel time round trip, was left sitting for 45 minutes like an idiot at one branch because a banker didn’t feel like dealing with a customer today, then was told to drive across town to another branch, and then spent another 45 minutes waiting and another 90 minutes watching an untrained banker apparently incorrectly close the account despite being on the phone with you guys for tech support the whole time. I’m not doing that again. How do I send you a copy of the death certificate?”

Estate Rep: “You can’t. We only close bank accounts in person. You’ll have to go to the bank again.”

Me: “Really? Literally every other bank, brokerage house, credit card company, and creditor of his did this by mail or fax. Are you really going to tell me that you are the one and only bank that won’t close an account without going in, like every other bank will?”

Estate Rep: “That’s right. We don’t. You’ll have to go in.”

Me: “So… let’s say I decide to leave the account open, instead. It’s going to cost you a lot more than the $0.11 in the account every month to print the statement and mail it. In a couple of years, it’ll become ‘abandoned property.’ That’ll cost you a bunch more money for the paperwork, plus time and overhead looking for who the property belongs to. Inevitably, you’ll reach me, who’ll laugh at you and decline to claim $0.11. Then, the $0.11 will go to the state, requiring yet more overhead and time for paperwork. Are you really going to tell me to come in, or shall I leave the account open and watch the fun begin?”

Estate Rep: “You have to come in. You have to close the account.”

Me: “I don’t gotta do nothin’. I think I’ll leave it open. I’ll consider it my dad’s final gift of laughter.”

Estate Rep: “But you have to—”

Me: *click*

(And as bummed as I was about my dad dying, that is indeed how, for the past two years, I have had a good chuckle every month at that awful bank’s expense, and I’m sure I’ll have more chuckles for several years yet. All for the cost of eleven cents.)

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