Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Bank of No Returns

We all know that it isn't every day that an answer to your prayers drops right in your lap.  (Cause if it were, well then I'd be skinny. . . and childless. . . and married to. . . well married to somebody ultra-rich, I can't exactly think of who right now. . . and a Mega Millions winner to boot.)

But today, my friends, was different.

For today I ended my daughters' long-time relationship with overdraft charges.  And I did nothing to make it happen.  Just a few garbled prayers this morning (mixed in with some choice left-over swear words from my re-entry problem) and before you know it, my phone was ringing!

Me:  Hello?

Customer Service Guy:  Hello?  Mrs. Spin?  This is a customer service guy from your local bank. . . you know. . . the bank who lets your daughters purchase outrageous $6 choka-broka-mocha-lattes with their debit cards when they don't have the money in their accounts to pay for them and then hits you with a whopping $36 overdraft fee when they do???  You know. . . that bank???

Me:  Are you calling here because you spoke with my daughter earlier today?

Customer Service Guy:  No, I'm calling to see if you know about the new banking regulations that will take effect on August 15 regarding overdraft coverage for your debit cards.  You see. . . up to this point, the bank could - at it's own discretion - opt to cover any overdrafts our customers may have inadvertently made with their debit cards. . . kind of like a convenience thing. . . so that the transaction didn't get denied.

Me:  Oh yes!  I know all about how the bank would repeatedly let my daughters buy things which they didn't have money for and then "conveniently" charge them (a.k.a. me) $36 for the favor. 

Customer Service Guy:  Well I'm calling today because now if you want that coverage to continue you now have to "opt in".

Me:  Continue?  Who on earth would want that absurdity to continue?

Customer Service Guy:  Well, it would spare the purchaser the embarrassment they might feel if the transaction got denied.

Me:  Believe me, young man, a little embarrassment would be far preferable to the wrath of Drip Dry.

Customer Service Guy:  But let me explain the benefits of "opting in". . .

Me:  Listen, I don't mean to cut you off, but let me ask you to take a look at my daughters' accounts with me for just one moment.  Once you do, you'll see why there is no "opting" of any kind under discussion here.

Customer Service Guy (looking at accounts):  Oh . . .I see that you've recently had a little trouble with overdrafts.

Me:  Little???  Do you call getting hit with eight overdraft charges to the tune of $288 in two days a "little" trouble?  Sure, Veggie already told me that you refunded half of the charges earlier today when she called pretending to be her overdrawing sister ('cause she's the only one who has enough chutzpah to challenge you. . . and plus. . . she's had plenty of experience with these kinds of things). . .  but we're still talking about $144 charges in two days!

Customer Service Guy:  Well, actually, Mam. . .  another charge hit this afternoon. . . .

Me:  But I transferred money into that account first thing this morning when I discovered it was overdrawn!

Customer Service Guy:  I'm afraid it was too late.  Do you see the $7 in sushi she purchased the other night? Well that transaction was already processed when you moved that $400 into the account.  It was too late to stop the charge.  They're automatic, you know.

Me:  Yes, you don't need to tell me that.  What you do need to tell me is how I will never automatically pay these charges again!

Customer Service Guy:  Well, you have to tell me if you want to "opt in" or "opt out".

Me:  My head is spinning so fast that I can't remember which is which!    I want to do the thing that will ensure that I never have to pay a lousy overdraft charge again.  If that means opting "in" I'm "in", but if that means opting "out" I'm "out"! And you can just forget the embarrassment factor . . . I fully expect my daughters to be embarrassed when they attempt to buy things they don't have the money to pay for!  I'm sick of this stuff! I am not giving these girls another dime!  Can you hear me now?  I'm finished!

Customer Service Guy:  Okay Mrs. Spin, you're all set.  I have opted you "out" of overdraft coverage on all of your debit cards as you were speaking.  Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Me:  Yes, there is one other small thing.   I was planning on calling you tomorrow anyway. . . my third daughter is flying to Italy next week and she'll be taking my debit card with her.  Do I have to alert you to the fact that there may be international withdrawals on the account?  You know. . . so they don't get denied????