Thursday, April 14, 2011

Joint Banking is the Solution? (422 Days to Go)

So, Tuesday night as usual was our date night.  We went out for Mexican food, discussed the venues in Westmoreland County that we liked and then did our grocery shopping for the month.  Giant Eagle was offering bonus fuel perks on all of their gift cards so we decided to stock up for future dinners out and some summer repair projects we've been planning or might need unexpectedly.  We decided that I would pay for the gift cards since I wasn't the one who'd just broken my wrist and was now broke.  Well, when I went to pay with my debit card, it was declined.  We thought it was a mistake since there is a relatively large balance in my account thanks to my tax return and asked the cashier to try again.  Declined again.

By now I was flustered, mouth agape, and turning bright pink.  I sheepishly dug out my credit card while the cashier gave me an annoyed expression and I did everything in my power to ignore the customers in line behind me.  My credit line isn't very big on that card, my only credit card, and I was cringing at the thought that it was being depleted so badly.  Never mind the fact that I no longer earned any points for the purchase I was trying to make.  Yes, I have the only credit card in America that doesn't have some kind of points.  But I don't like having credit cards because I have enough debt thanks to college.

Immediately after exiting the store, I started dialing the customer service line while using Jeff's phone to check my bank account's activity and balance to make sure nothing funny was up.  I was on hold for 30 minutes before my phone acted up and I accidentally disconnected on my end.  I tried again and was on hold for another 30 minutes without ever getting hold of a person before we were sitting down in the movie theater and had to disconnect.  Oh, and my card was also denied for the measly $10.50 it cost for our movie tickets.  By now I was furious.

Well, yesterday morning the bank finally decided to call me and ask if I had attempted to spend money at the Market District in Robinson.  I emphasized that attempt was the right verbage to use and demanded to know why my card had been shut off without receiving this phone call immediately following the act as was stated in their bank policy.  I was not given an answer.  I demanded a supervisor and got one.  She wouldn't give me an answer either.  I got transferred, spoke to that person barely long enough to confirm my account and was disconnected.  Take me from furious to enraged x 10.  Luckily, I had grabbed some cash from the house to pay for lunch out for a coworker's birthday and immediately following lunch, I walked into a local branch and demanded to speak to the manager.  He took me back to his office, had my card turned back on and tried to find out why the card had been turned off without calling me for 13 hours.  No one would even give him an answer.  I politely thanked the bank manager and silently vowed to yank every dime out of the bank.

So now, I'm planning on going with Jeff tomorrow and opening a joint checking account, having my paycheck rerouted and to get another bank to buyout my car loan, even if it does mean a higher interest rate--I don't really care right now.  I have never been so embarrassed and frustrated by such terrible customer service in my life.  And what infuriates me more is they won't tell me if this will happen again the next time I make a large purchase on my card such as, oh I don't know, a down payment for my venue or caterer.  Wouldn't that be a great way to start a relationship with a vendor?  That would actually be a million times more embarrassing than the grocery store if the caterer told me my card had been declined.  I'm tired of my bank making me feel like it's a crime to occasionally splurge on something big with my own hard earned and saved money.

Has your bank ever left you high and dry without access to your money when you needed it most?

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