Unrightfully Banned by Bank of America?

The story of a recent Bank of America customer who was blacklisted by ChexSystems.

A recent Bank of America customer named “Jesse”, was banned for life from the bank for supposedly trying to “scam the bank”. Here is Jessie’s story:

Jessie writes (to consumerist.com):

I recently moved from Massachusetts to Connecticut. Upon my arrival I made the choice to leave my local bank account behind. I signed up for a Bank of America account through their website, thinking it would be simple to have ATMs that were available in both states.

After a month or two of frustratingly waiting, I received not one, but TWO debit cards in the mail. I looked through the paper work and found that they had in fact signed me up for two separate checking accounts.

I figured a quick call to customer service would clear the issue up, but the story only gets worse. The customer service rep I talked to told me that my account had a “flag” on it. I proceeded to ask if this was because THEY gave me two accounts and was told that the issue was not that. They said it “may have something to do with an unpaid account.” The only problem is that I am young, have good credit, and had never had any account with Bank Of America. Their claim was impossible.

Finally I asked if I could just close the accounts and open a new one. They told me that I could no longer open an account with Bank Of America. I asked if I could open an account in the future and they told me that I could NEVER open an account with them again. As in NEVER.

Basically, Bank Of America banned me for signing up for an account after they made the mistake of sending me two accounts.

I called them a second time to see if I could get another answer and the customer service rep said “We suggest you find another bank.”

I switched to TD BankNorth – one of the few banks that don’t use ChexSystems and currently have no major problems, besides any bank is better than one that gives you two accounts and bans you for life before you can use either.”

Unfortunately we have MANY similar stories to share with you soon.

Even though Chexsystems is not specifically mentionedby Jesse or Bank of America, it sounds like they were probably involved.

ChexSystems Mission

ChexSystems was originally devised to promote good banking. Banks individually join the ChexSystems organization to protect themselves from individuals who intentionally try to defraud financial institutions. This protection for the financial institutions should actually increase good banking, but, instead many banks misuse the reporting of mishandled financial accounts. Therefore, good banking and ChexSystems are no longer synonymous.

Consumers Database

ChexSystems maintains a database of consumers who have had an account closed by the financial institution to which the account belonged. The cause for closure can range from minor to serious. However, the individual banks are not required to report the actual cause to the consumer. Financial institutions are also not required to remove a consumer’s information from the database if the situation has been resolved. Since the information in the database remains active for five years, ChexSystems can cause a great deal of inconvenience and frustration to consumers who just made a simple oversight or perhaps didn’t even commit an error at all – i.e., when the bank made the error, such as it seems with Jesse’s or my case.

Rooting for ya,
Kelly Scott