1sunfight’s Weblog

February 21, 2009

The Banks and Sloppy Bookkeeping

Recently I had started receiving phone calls from the department at the bank where I have my car loan through. Given that I have been making my car payments on time and through my online checking account, I had no reason to be concerned, or so I thought. This morning I got another one of those phone calls and decided to see why they were calling me; perhaps, a month off for good behavior? That was not the case.

I called them just out of curiosity to learn that they were on the verge of repossessing my car. I laughed at them, not literally, but I pointed out that not only have been making my payments, I have proof that I have been. In so many words, I was called a liar. Sorry, but that does not fly in this camp, not at all. I went ahead and called the bank where I have been doing my banking since 1986 and told them what was going on. Graciously they called the other bank to straighten things out on the spot.

During the course of the conversation I learned I did not make a payment in July. It must have been temporary insanity. It was explained that this threw off my account. I imagine that it would only impact my July payment history, but not the way they handled my account. According to them I was three months behind because of this. I retorted you are going to have explain your bookkeeping methods with a claim like that since there is verifiable proof payments are being made every month. I did learn during the course of conversation that one of my payments had been accidentally sent to another account I have with them. Long story short, I let that one stand. As if I want the hassle of retrieving that money. However, the lien holder on my car still insisted that I was three months behind claiming they had not received my most recent car payment. My bank immediately slapped them down. Sorry, but that payment was made to you by us, we have the documentation on that and when it will it be processing with your bank. Your claim is false and we can prove it. That shut them up. I did go ahead and make two payments just to get this charade behind me, but the conversation that took place with the bank that has my online checking account was frightening to say the least.

The customer service rep told me that while I was on hold the other bank was making the claim that there were many more missed payments than what I was being told due to their bookkeeping method. She went to bat for me before I even spoke with the other bank. She knew they were dead wrong and could prove the claims they were making against me were unfounded and completely false. As our conversation continued I told her about my initial conversation with the other bank nearly calling me a liar. It was then I learned that she was, in so many words, told the same thing. She sent them the proof on the spot, which shut them up. It was not long after we spoke that I received an e-mail from the customer service rep detailing the events of the three way conversation and its outcome.

In this day of our economic and financial crisis I now sit here and wonder exactly how much more of this debacle is the fault of the banks due to sloppy bookkeeping. Recently it was revealed that the bailout money the banks have received so far is going untracked. One bank even claimed that they had no method of tracking money coming in and going out. It is no wonder our banks are in the position they, we, are in. They are incompetent with handling basic bookkeeping and are losing money because of it. It makes me wonder how many other people are experiencing this same problem and how many are having their cars are repossessed as a result, or losing their homes as result. I was fortunate that I had a customer service rep who handled the other bank very well for me, but I wonder how many others are falling through the cracks and are suffering needlessly.  Now that I think about it, I am not impressed with the way the banks view people while they are resolving issues with them.  A person is automatically assumed to be a liar, and that the banks are unwilling to believe the customer, even with verifiable proof.

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