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  1. #1
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Can't even rely on my bank...

    I thought I was actually being reasonable in expecting Wachovia's systems to be "online" 24 hours a day, every day. That's apparently too much to ask even of them. This is really just a rant, nothing important to read here.

    I just got a mail from Google that my credit card was declined when they tried to charge it for my AdWords balance like they do very two weeks. That's never happened before, and the credit card they have is a Wachovia check card I use for all my business purchases. It's linked to a checking account that I maintain at least $10,000 in at all times just in case of a sudden debit.

    So obviously I become worried. Was my payment information stolen? Did someone rack up thousands in charges so there's not even enough left for two weeks of advertising?

    First thing I do, naturally, is try to log in to their online banking site. It logs in fine, but it doesn't show my account balance like usual. It says "unavailable" without any explanation. I click on the account and it shows me a list of recent transactions, but my available balance is "unavailable" and the normal link that shows credit card holds is completely absent.

    Has something really happened?

    So I dial up 1-800-WACHOVIA, now slightly more worried. The computer voice picks up and asks me to punch in my account number. I do so, and wait a few seconds, then it replies with "we are experiencing technical difficulties and are unable to access your account information", followed by hold music. I'm obviously being transferred to a real person, so I sit on the line until someone picks up.

    There's nothing wrong with my account. Wachovia is performing "scheduled maintenance" until 7AM, which means "scheduled but not announced anywhere on the website", and after prodding the support person for some details, that their system automatically declines charges above $100 while it's in maintenance mode.

    What a great feature that is. I'm lucky that, according to the e-mail from Google, "for the time being, your account is still open and your ads are still running".

    I hope nobody else tries to charge a regular bill to my card until after 7AM.

    Bah. What a waste of my time.

  2. #2
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Yeah that's pretty ridiculous for a bank. Especially if you're a good customer. Besides this charge which was declined was a regular payment? So there's no excuse for having such a rubbish system.

    I would consider transfering to a different bank right away, but first call this wachovia and give them an ear full about it. If they don't offer you anything to stay with them then go.

    I mean, that kind of situation would worry anybody. In today's climate we always default to the worst case senario where banking is concerned. they should have informed their customers beforehand, not doing so is plain irresponsible.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Good luck getting hold of a live person. At Bank of America, it's difficult to get a live person at the local branch and you can forget about their headquarters.

    Wachovia bought AG Edwards, based in my town. They fired hundreds of people here and shipped hundreds to replace them in the same jobs from North Carolina (?) or wherever. Go figure. With brains like that handling your money....

  4. #4
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armchaircritic View Post
    I would consider transfering to a different bank right away, but first call this wachovia and give them an ear full about it.
    You say "this wachovia" as if it's a no-name. They're the 4th largest bank in the country and 3rd largest brokerage firm. If they can't run a bank right, who *should* I trust?

  5. #5
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    I can call my bank and speak to a real person without even going through a list of options. It rings, and someone picks it up. They're the only "customer service" number I can call without having to go through some sort of automated system first. It's sad that this is special and that it even makes me feel like the phone call is "special" somehow, just because it's so unusual and I don't have to dial the number dreading a 20-minute wait only to deal with someone with broken English with whom I feel like I'm bashing my head against a stone wall.

  6. #6
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    I prefer automated systems to customer support representatives.

  7. #7
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    You say "this wachovia" as if it's a no-name. They're the 4th largest bank in the country and 3rd largest brokerage firm. If they can't run a bank right, who *should* I trust?
    I had no idea that they were that big, I'd never heard of them. But perhaps if they are a US only bank (unlikely as they are bound to have interests elsewhere) I use HSBC which is big in the far east and in the UK, but probably a minor player in the US.

    I suppose the question is, how often do they do this update? If it's regular then

  8. #8
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    First time I *know* of... wouldn't have known if Google didn't mail me about the declined card. Just an annoyance :/

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    I prefer automated systems to customer support representatives.
    Last year, I mentioned my problems with Bank of America and trying to reach them. I called the hq in Atlanta (I think) but I needed someone in the executive offices. It kept asking me for my account number to talk to someone but I didn't have a personal account with them and my call had nothing to do with that. So I called one of the branches near me hoping someone could give me a different number but that just steers you into the same system the hq office had.

  10. #10
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Just hit 0 or # a dozen times and you usually end up at an operator with any automated system. Just saying I'd rather have the computer pick up and help me if possible before I'm forced to deal with a real person.

    If Wachovia's system could've just read a recorded message about maintenance until 7AM, I wouldn't have needed to wait on hold and get a real person to explain that to me. Waste of both our time.

  11. #11
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    I reckon that in the UK most of the time if you're pleasant to the person on the other end of the line they'll be very helpful and attentive. Probably because they're so used to getting abused by people angry at the company who take it out on the call centre staff, when instead it's the suits in the offices that ought to receive the crap from the customers.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard HarryR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
    I reckon that in the UK most of the time if you're pleasant to the person on the other end of the line they'll be very helpful and attentive. Probably because they're so used to getting abused by people angry at the company who take it out on the call centre staff, when instead it's the suits in the offices that ought to receive the crap from the customers.
    Yah I definately feel this, I've had some problems with my bank before just dropping my overdraft off completely, leaving me at times 500 short for the month.

    The people in branches of any financial orginsations are mostly good, but there have been times when I wanted to get angry but I knew they can't do anything because of "the system" and the people making these stupid policies (e.g. missed a credit card payment? next time your pay cheque comes in upto 50% goes towards the balance of the card.. WTF!)

    As for automated systems and anything phone related, I find them completely useless because the only time I use them is when something weird has happened and screwed up my account. On a number of occasions I've been bounced around phone systems with people in either department saying they can't access my account because it's still showing as it being with the other. Nobody seems to realize this, and aren't willing to do their job to fix it for you unless you go in-branch and sort it out there.

    Banks are just out there to profit from you and in practice really don't care if their actions cause you frustration or financial loss. I've filed a handful of complains with them so far, but I can't escalate them to the financial services ombudsman until they've been resolved - which none of them have been yet!

    </rant>

  13. #13
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    That is annoying, but most big banks and similar sized organizations have downtime here and there. Unless it turns into an ongoing problem, I try not to let that kind of stuff bother me.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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