I will not GIVE you the satisfaction

So a friend of ours was talking to Carolyn the other day. She was telling us a story from a few years ago. Apparently she got upset that she was the only one doing the dishes and that her husband never did them. So one day she decided to go “on strike” (i.e. not wash the dishes). As soon as I heard this part of the story I knew it was a bad idea.

Sure enough, as expected, nobody did the dishes forever, they both got angry at each other and the problem was not solved. This must be a guy thing, because as soon as I heard the story I told Carolyn “Man if you did that to me, I wouldn’t do the dishes because I would not give you the satisfaction” For me that kind of passive-aggressive behavior would make it not only about the dishes but just about the principle.

Recently the cafeteria at work decided to (once again) nickel and dime us. You are now charged 21 cents if you want to use a cup (like for water). Also, if you take a to go container – ooh that’s 25 cents. Errr wait. I mean if you DON’T use a to-go container, you get a 25 cent discount. But… conveniently, the price with discount is exactly the same as the old price. Hmmmm… The other day I forgot my water cup upstairs but I instead opted to just have no beverage with my meal. ARAMARK I WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE SATISFACTION!!!!!!

And now, fast forward to a week or so ago. I get a notice from National City about 2 overdraft charges. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I have money at National City, but in various accounts. And so sometimes the money just is not in the right place at the right time. I have fought these before with pretty good success (just this once). As this dude points out, a bank’s cost to attract new customers can be up to $3500. So they have an incentive to bend over backwards to keep their existing customers.

This time though it’s complete crap. I transferred enough money on March 11th to cover 2 transactions I knew were coming in on the 12th. They cleared, leaving me with a couple hundred bucks in the account. But due to “holds” on the card of $671.80 that triggered 2 over draft notices. Even though my account statement never shows me going negative. And oddly enough none of the future transactions (from the 12th to the 17th) add up to $671.80, no matter what combination you try

Added to that is that I have an alert set up that is supposed to email me any time that my balance goes below $250. Never got an email, despite supposedly having a negative balance.


Here is my saga:

Attempt 1: Called up the customer service number on my overdraft notice. Spoke to a guy who was pretty rude. Got nowhere.

Attempt 2: Following the SlickDeals mantra – I immediately hung up with him and called the same number and spoke to someone else. She went on and on about those holds, and I countered by going on and on about where does this $671.80 come from – show me the transactions. Finally she offered to refunded me $34 (the cost of one of those overdraft fees) “as a courtesy”. I told her hey that was nice, but I want them both. She wouldn’t do it. I asked to speak to someone else. She said there was nobody else. I kept at it. Finally she said she’d take my name and number and have her manager call me.

Attempt 3: The next day I talked to the manager. I again wanted to know where this $671.80 came from. She said she couldn’t tell me. I said I’d accept the $34 if and only if she could tell me where this money supposedly came from. Again we go on and on. Finally she tells me that I can get that information if I go into my branch. I say fine.

Attempt 4: I go in this afternoon to my local National City branch. I go up to the desk and say “Yes I have 2 things here – first I’d like to deposit this check for $35,000″ and then I have this overdraft charges that they told me you could take care of. I figured if they saw what a high roller I was maybe I’d get better treatment. Of course, they don’t know that I’m not REALLY a high roller (the check was the latest draw on the new house and has to be deposited so I can pay off the sub contractors) but hey :-) . She couldn’t do it and had me wait to talk to some other lady.

Attempt 5: A few minutes later I got called back into the office of said lady. Did the whole thing with flashing her my bling. She again gave me the whole rigmarole about holds and all that. I countered with talking about how much money I have (ha!) and how much business I do with them and how I don’t want to have to go to 5/3 or PNC or wherever. She says there is nothing she can do unless it’s a bank error. I say well to me it IS a bank error. I ask if there is anyone else that can do it. She says her manager will be in tomorrow. I leave it at that. Seriously folks – what is the interest they’d get in even ONE day on $35K? Not to mention that thanks to the wacked out Federal Reserve laws in the US, deposits of $35K mean that National City can make loans of I believe $350K!

Attempt 6: After reading those finance blog posts I linked to above (I had them in my memory but had to search for them), I decided I’d use the tips he had in his post and looked up National City’s number off their website, which, oddly enough, was different than the number that I had called before (from my letter). This time instead of asking about these fees that I got, I straight out said “I see these fees and I’d like them waived”. I thought she was going to do it but in the end gave me the excuse that the only place that could do that was my “home” branch, which is the branch where I opened the account up 10 years ago (down in Clifton). I suspect that is bogus but I will give them a call tomorrow and if that doesn’t work I will keep calling. It just takes one person.

NATIONAL CITY I WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE SATISFACTION. I will seriously close down all my accounts over this $34. Just ask UC who will get ZIPPO of my millions until they apologize for screwing me on health insurance in summer 2000.

UPDATE – See part 2 for the thrilling conclusion

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Comments (4) left to “I will not GIVE you the satisfaction”

  1. annahannah wrote:

    I wish I had your tenacity about these things. Also, Kev just got an overdraft notice..his first.

  2. Carolyn wrote:

    somehow I missed this blog post of yours. I guess 4:32 in the morning is as good a time as any to read it. I am impressed at your willingness to stick to your guns. maybe that’s also why you’re so much better at coupons than I am. I’m just don’t want to have to “fight” with people over stuff like that. I’m too sensitive man! :-)

  3. Aaron wrote:

    We had a similar issue with US Bank. Our online balance was in the positive but because of “authorizations” or some such nonsense it went negative for a split second. We have our savings account tied to our checking and can transfer money instantly online. Shanna gets a call from the bank (which I admit was nice) saying that we have 2 charges that will be in overdraft. Ends up there were 6, (count em 6) charges because they processed the highest dollar amounts first. Shanna looks online and transfers enough money to cover it. HOWEVER, they charged us the overdraft fees and the amount Shanna transferred was enough to cover our charges, not the charges and overdraft fees. Guess what? Causes another overdraft.

    Now I’m pissed. I call the bank and go to town. I get the runaround. Hang up and call someone else. She is willing to remove 2 of the charges (as a ‘courtesy’) but that’s not good enough for me. She says that I can call back and talk to the branch manager and I tell her he can call ME and here’s my number. In the meantime I’m going to talk to Chase and National City.

    2 days later I get a call saying all the charges were removed and they are really sorry. Stay at it. Escalate it up the chain of command as far as it will go.

  4. dan wrote:

    Nice work Aaron – yet another example of if you just keep calling and calling you will eventually get what you want.

    Hey I think Jesus had something to say about this!

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