Fun With BofA
This Bank of America thing has become a total mess. #firstworldproblemsinfirstworldcountries
1) I lose my card in Istanbul, setting off a chain of events that is almost too absurd to be believed.
2) I call the very same day (costly call using my bf’s phone) to cancel the card and have a replacement sent to Norway for when we arrive. I am told to expect the card within 10-14 days and maybe some extra days for Norway’s postal service (Norway has a terrific postal service though, I am downright shocked at how quickly my international postcards arrive to Andreas). I repeat the address five or six times by letter.
3) I wait a month, checking the mailbox every day like a foolish little thing. I email and get a reply that indicates Bank of America has a system that is is a bit helpless when it comes to international addresses (they’ve just put extra zeros in everywhere to compensate)
4) exactly a month later (July 7) I call back and inform that my card has not arrived. Bank of America blames the postal service, confirms the address, and the country (after continually reverting back to asking ‘what state is that?’ and otherwise talking to me like I’m in the US), and they offer to expedite the card for a fee. I ask them why they aren’t paying for the fee since I’ve waited a month. They don’t do that, I am told. I agree to pay the fee, they agree to charge my (now somewhat flush due to complete inability to spend in spite of continued payments of Zell bucks) account and do a three day (give or take) delivery of the card.
5) 9 days later I frustratedly tweet about my awesome BofA experience and their twitter account picks up on it and offers to call me. More international calls on my bf’s dime, woohoo! They call and I speak to an extremely nice man who offers to dive in and see what’s up, tells me they haven’t even put the card order in yet, there is no card order on file, confirms the address and offers to send a new card, and given the amount and accounts I have, also is going to wave the fee for expediting this time. Hooray for class privilege?
6) I receive a call the next day at a random time (though I’ve asked them not to call without warning since I am using my bf’s phone). After the missed call they tweet me to see when is a good time to call. I let them know, they call, I rattle off the security questions I now know by heart, peachy keen and the nice man has checked the account again just to look after me (and I’m thinking what awesome service at this point) and it turns out the woman I agreed to pay a fee toward sent the card non-expedited. So that card will need to be cancelled when it arrives and he’ll send me a new one right away, no fee. Okay, great, except that now it’s been an entire month and a half of me freeloading over here without being able to spend my Zell bucks. (Again, #firstworldproblems but I would like to take my boyfriend out to dinner and stop freeloading)
7) I received another unannounced call at 1:50am last night from the same number as the other calls from the social media team which I assume is either confirming the sending of the card or another disaster. I receive this call despite asking and confirming several times over the past two calls that I want to be contacted via twitter DM or email so as not to keep using my bf’s phone — they won’t be able to tell me classified information via twitter, but there is a message center on the website where similar information has already been shared. I’ll find out what the phone call was about when they respond to my (now completely frustrated again after all the social media team’s good service) DMs. I’m in Norway. They sent the card to Norway, the address on file is Norway (because I can’t list a temp address I have to actually change the address of my entire account every time I need a new card), and they call at 2 in the morning on my poor boyfriend’s phone because reasons. BF doesn’t leave the ringer on thank goodness.
8) I receive a confirmation email at 5am (no big deal because emails I can receive on my own phone and can answer them whenever) that the card has been sent and providing a tracking number (which is only provided when a card is expedited). Eventually I notice the address is now completely wrong, in both the street address misspellings and listing the city as “TROMPUIN.” There are not so many large cities in Norway, you can basically count them on one hand. “Trompuin” is not one of them. The address was correct on the first card that was ‘sent’ so I have no idea why instead of just confirming the address on file they decided to start over every time (but not also confirm spelling).
9) Andreas assures me the postal service here in TRONDHEIM is very used to dealing with doofery and the card will probably get delivered anyway. But that with UPS I will likely need to be around to sign for it. We will try leaving a note, because the card is scheduled to arrive Thursday evening and we are leaving for Berlin on Thursday morning (one month and a half after trying to resolve this, and plenty of time since first ordering ‘expedited shipping’).
When I think about all the international fees that would have been racked up in the time since ordering the replacement, and in the time since ordering the second and third cards, and this weekend in Berlin as well, it makes me a tiny bit sad for Bank of America in all this. But I’ll be transferring what I can to another account and they can reap the benefit/fees until this is resolved. If I do ever move to “Trompuin” I guess I’ll try to find a local bank. (I’ve been told international friendly banks don’t really exist, however, and that it’s difficult for domestic banks to deal with global issues.)
TLDR; #really? And once again, #firstworldproblems and i know money problems of this nature aren’t horrible problems to have. It would be extremely cool to have a system where I could input my address and have it stick. Took three years for them to finally get my address change right after I moved from NYC. :( (Every time I updated my address with them in person, for those three years, it had reverted to a previous address by the time I returned to the bank.) I know they’re trying to handle this. The biggest frustration has been the calls in Istanbul, and the long conversation with about the expediting fee resulting in a non-expedited card.
10) The boyfriend just received his phone bill, and the three calls it took to get a replacement card sent in Istanbul cost $85. No way to set up a free way of calling (see update below), no way to call back. The first phone call took 10 minutes to get a replacement card sent and the address input into the system (no facilitating adding the address myself online because of security and while the online system has a link to “order a card replacement,” it is disabled — for security reasons). That call was almost completed when the call was cut off, so I was forced to call back (no ability to return the call and just confirm — I think the system doesn’t allow them to call back?). The second call had me waiting on hold for an extended time. The third call could not confirm the address input from the first call, and we had to do the entire thing over again, which took 15 minutes of repeating the problem, the address, the operator repeating information over and over, and finally confirming the card would be sent (and further time instructing me of things that were available via the website). Again, the total cost for the three calls: $85. We still have not received the bill for the other calls, the follow-up call to Bank of America to request a replacement for the card that never arrived, or the calls from the social media team (which I hope aren’t charge to the recipient…?). I have made copies of the bills. The first card never arrived (it would have by now), the second card replacement was not ordered expedited as requested and confirmed, and we have cancelled and replaced cards three times now.
So now I have not only been cost the ability to purchase and use the money I have been earning for the past month and a half, it is actually costing further money because of a) Bank of America’s inability to confirm information from the first call (and go ahead and finish things off even if the phone call gets cut off before they can say “Thank you for calling,”) and b) Bank of America’s system (or lack) for inputting international addresses. And c) not completing the first two replacements correctly.
The operators I originally spoke to were not particularly efficient. In addition, they were confused with regards to their own policies on the first call, the second call, the third call, the follow up call requesting another replacement be sent (insisting I would be charged a fee when the next call from social media team insisted I wouldn’t due to my status as a Bank of America customer for 10+ years and having multiple accounts).
Just got off the phone with the member of the social media team I’ve been in contact with, who, truly, has been patient and has worked very hard to resolve this issue. He double checked on the city and due to the correct zip code, card should still arrive, and he gave me an updated estimation of the time of arrival. He answered my questions with regards to how the automated system works, why debit replacements are disallowed in the system (for security reasons — though I’m not sure why this would still be a link in the “debit card” section of the online site), and why the calls can take longer than intended due to having to provide answers to security questions each time (again, a good security measure), and let me know that a team will be in contact with me in the next couple weeks to resolve the issues of the phone bills and the experience. I’m unable to update my address in the system without visiting a branch or calling on the phone, apparently, (again, security measures and I certainly would rather my account be secure) and since this began a friend has tipped me off to a way of calling the 800 number using a third party calling service. I’m still confused about the miscommunication of the original 4 phone calls (1-3 in Istanbul, and #4 to ask for a second replacement to be sent) as well as the lack of delivery of the first card (it would have arrived by now even if cancelled), and the Norwegian postal service is fairly amazing, and the second card being sent non-expedited. So we’ll see where this goes. Card should likely arrive by Friday evening — I’ll be in Berlin for the weekend so I’ll update on Monday.
So far the tracking number provided has been showing quite an unusual history, one that’s difficult to decipher. After being assured that the package had been updated to be delivered to Trondheim (not “Trompuin”), either this update wasn’t successful or the tracking number is not linked to the new updates (which would render having a tracking number at all somewhat pointless), because the last known location has been Olso (delivered on Friday morning), and not Trondheim. At 10:35 on Friday morning it says “The post office was unable to deliver the UPS SurePost package as addressed and returned it to the sender.” Which would be really upsetting after having been assured the address mistakes were corrected with the corporate UPS account by Bank of America. Then at 11:55am on the same day, it reads “The post office attempted to deliver your UPS SurePost package and left a delivery notice with instructions.” Well, I’m back in Trondheim after my weekend in Berlin and there is no note, no mail, nothing, and I’m guessing my card never even made it to Trondheim after all, but got stuck in Oslo because of the faulty city listing as “Trompuin.” Turns out the zip code failsafe isn’t so safe after all. I messaged BofA and will see what they say and how they’re going to rectify this additional mess (and see if I will ever be able to spend my money again or if I’ll have to transfer all my funds to a different bank just to access them). I’ve stopped expecting things to go smoothly, so I wasn’t terribly surprised to see the package listed as only having gotten as far as Oslo, but… did my card ever make it to Trondheim or not? What is happening?
The card arrived!! I am holding it in my hands! A piece of plastic has never been so beautiful to me! I’m attempting to activate it through online banking etc, and the Social Media team contacted me today to check and were extremely caring about the situation and were calling UPS, but, as I understand it, because UPS only has one office in Norway (in Oslo), the delivery was sent through a local service to Trondheim, and thus arrived at the post office next to our apartment. I had the idea to check today while we were buying groceries, and was shocked to see it there (but the Norwegian Postal Service is top notch, so I shouldn’t have been so surprised). I sent a few messages back to the Social Media Team to thank them for their time and diligence, and I’m going to attempt to take my boyfriend out to dinner tonight to thank him for two months of funding me while this has been going on.
Only thing left to resolve is the phone charges incurred from the various times of needing to contact customer service to order each of the attempted replacement cards (the first round of which never did arrive), charges which are outlined above. Hoping the team in charge of that part of customer service for BofA has some kind of solution for that (there’s a way to call collect internationally but it wasn’t working at the time of my attempts), so that I am not out more money for having tried to get my card replaced and for the difficulty of inputting international addresses into their database (which resulted in fairly long calls). Grateful to have my card, access to my funds, and for the social media team’s care.