Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The bank stole my money!

I went into the US Bank in Stillwater, MN to pay my mortgage a few days ago. I had some cash and a couple checks to put toward the mortgage (never got to the bank to deposit them, so thought I'd just skip the step and put them toward the mortgage directly). I planned to pay the remainder of the mortgage, minus the cash and checks, with a personal check.
Unfortunately, I entered the bank right after my hip injection last week. I apparently was a bit stressed and preoccupied after the painful injection, because I missed a huge error made by the teller. She failed to credit me for all of the cash and checks! In fact, she shorted me $50.00! Fifty bucks! Maybe that's not a lot of money to some of you, but it's a pretty big deal to me! To make matters worse, I didn't notice the error for two days. According to my receipt, my mortgage was credited for the proper amount, so either the teller slipped $50 into her pocket, threw one of my checks in the trash, or just screwed up!
I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I'm assuming it was an innocent mistake, and if it was it should be simple to fix, right? The bank teller's drawer would have been $50.00 over her receipts at the end of the day. One phone call from a customer stating they were shorted $50.00 on that particular day...I mean, put two and two together! Teller drawer +50 bucks, customer -50 bucks equals a pretty simple fix. Makes sense, doesn't it? I thought so, too. The thing is, getting someone to even look into it seems to be a major problem for US Bank.
Once I noticed the error, I did an internet search to locate the bank branch and phone number. It was too early to phone, so I wrote an e-mail to US Bank via their customer service website. The website promised a response within 24 hours. They don't promise a resolution, just a "response." I followed my e-mail with a phone call directly to the bank branch as soon as they opened.
The female employee who took my call told me she would get back to me "in a few minutes." That was nearly 48 hours ago. In the meantime, US Bank responded to my e-mail and said they were referring me to the mortgage division. "Oh boy," I thought, "here we go."
I responded to US Bank's e-mail, re-explaining the situation and stating that I thought the bank branch likely had the extra $50.00. I didn't believe the mortgage division would be able to assist me. Remember, I hadn't actually overpaid my mortgage. My mortgage was credited with the correct amount, even though I had actually given the teller $50.00 more than I owed on my mortgage.

Tonight, the saga continued. I received another e-mail response from US Bank stating that "because I don't have an account number they can refer to" I need to contact the bank branch directly. I'm not sure what this e-mail means. I don't have a checking or savings account at US Bank, just my mortgage. But why does a customer need an account number for US Bank to research that customer losing $50.00?!
So I just finished my third e-mail back to US Bank. I informed them I had already contacted the local bank branch without resolution and asked them to please stop passing me around! As far as I can tell, nobody has actually lifted a finger to look into the matter! Yup, US Bank has responded, but every response has directed me to seek assistance elsewhere! Nice.

This seems to be a typical customer service tactic. Has anyone else noticed this? It seems most customer service departments play a war of attrition with their complainants. Customer service passes the "victim" around until the customer's complaint, problem or loss becomes less bothersome than the process of remediation!

"I'm sorry. I can't help you. Go repeat your story to another department." I'm sorry. I can't help you. Go repeat your story to another person." "I'm sorry. I can't help you. Go repeat your story to another office."
And on, and on, and on...until the customer is so fed up, frustrated and exasperated, they can't stand it anymore! The customer eventually gives up. Problem solved through attrition. The last man standing, customer service, won, but no one ever addressed the original issue.

I fear I am now engaged in this attrition war with US Bank! The only action which seems to have been taken has been to refer me elsewhere. What a waste of time and energy! Why can't someone just look into the problem? Look at the receipts. Look at the video tapes--banks have video surveillance, right? This could have been resolved with one simple phone call if someone actually took some action!! But, no, that would make too much sense. That would mean someone might have to admit there was a mistake! What ever happened to customer service? I don't think I like what's become of it.

Soon, I'll need to decide whether to keep pursuing this or let it go. I guess I'm about to find out how much sanity I'm willing to sacrifice for 50 bucks.
Wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

"There are no more big-deals."

Jerry N. AA Oldtimer

Paul Eilers said...

And these people speak English!