My bank alerted me a few days ago to a fraud committed against my account. But with a balance of $8 and no overdraft protection, they told me, everything is okay. The transactions were stopped.
I was so happy. And proud. Proud to have an account at a bank that was looking out for my interest. A bank that knew, without being told, that because I live in Los Angeles, chances are I was not in Montana this past Shabbos trying to fill up my car at three separate gas stations one right after the other.
Bliss. Until yesterday, when I received a letter from the bank notifying me that despite the lack of overdraft protection, they had processed the transactions anyway. I was now formally on the hook for $541.77 worth of charges accrued in the great state of Montana.
Woe to me. So this morning I went into my bank, sat down with the representative and poured out my heart, beginning with, how, with no overdraft protection, could this happen? He assured me that he didn't know, and that I would not be held to the charges. But first, they had to call the fraud department and arrange paperwork.
My turn to talk to the fraud department attendant came, and as I questioned him, I got the feeling I was speaking to a telemarketer. You know, the delayed responses and the slight click on the line. So I asked him if he were in India. No. He was in the Philippines.
Is there any reason why I should be talking to a bank employee in the Philippines? Is there any sane reason why, when they charge you $35 for bounced checks and overdraft fees, I can't be speaking to someone here in America?
Enough outsourcing. Time for some serious in-sourcing. Time for my bank to get its story straight - either my lack of overdraft protection stopped the purchases or it doesn't really matter what your account status is - the bank does whatever it wants.
In the end, the gas stations and restaurants are on the hook for the money. Not the bank. Not me. As far as the criminals are concerned, as the saying goes, they're laughing all the way to my bank!