I think my ex-bank is stalking me.
|Me: Really Stressed Out
But it's not because they're huge, faceless corporations whose greed has been instrumental in the collapse of the global economy, no. After all, everybody's greedy; the global economy is built on the backs of the poor and perhaps ought to collapse; and I'm more concerned with what's going on in my life than I am about some abstract concept like "the global economy" that I can't understand or control.
What's going on in my life is that the bureaucracy of a Big Eff-Starking Bank* just cost me another twenty minutes of my time, fifty cents, and however long it takes me to write, edit, and post this little essay.
Here's the skinny: I opened an account with a Big Eff-Starking Bank located conveniently near my place of employment. Two years later, said BESB got bought by an even bigger BESB; so I went to the first BESB and asked them if I could just continue my account with them under the new BESB, and they said I couldn't, on account of I had a cross-border account.
I said, "b-b-but I don't have a cross-border account," and they said, "Yes. Yes, you do."
Not one to argue with the BESB holding all of my money, I asked if I could close the account with them and open a new account with the new BESB and they said, "Sure!" but added that because of regulations, they couldn't actually tell me that, and I'd have to wait a month after closing out the first account before opening the second. So I said, "Give me all my money, and I swear, I'll think about it." They said, "Come back tomorrow."
True to their word, when I came back the next day, they closed out my account, and I dumped my money into a new, local bank nearer to my home. My trials, I thought, were over (small, local banks - saviors of the world - yadda-yadda).
Little did I know that the owner of said BESB had read Franz Kafka's THE TRIAL and had thought it was a comedy.
See, apparently somebody had decided to wait a couple of months to cash a check (thanks, dad), and rather than bounce the check, the BESB re-opened the account and started sending me emails and leaving phone messages to the effect that I owed them a hundred and sixty dollars. They also somehow found a hundred dollars they'd "missed" in a money-market account they'd closed for me, and were sending me statements for that, too.
I called, asked them to transfer the money-market money to the checking account, cut them a sixty-dollar check, and mailed it to the address THEY gave me. Problem solved, with only half-hour's phone-headache and the price of a stamp, right? Wrong.
The address that the courteous, completely understanding BESB flunkie on the phone had given me was apparently the wrong one, and instead of going into the checking account in question, the money got deposited into my (also theoretically closed) credit card account. I called again, and the new BESB flunkie told me that they would generously refund me the service charges I'd been accumulating on the account I had tried to close, but that they would be unable to transfer the money from the credit card to my checking account, because of mumble-mumble-mumble. He put me on hold while he transferred me to the credit department. And on hold. And on hold. And on hold.
I had a previous engagement, so I hung up the phone.
When I called again, today, the BESB who answered did not understand the Kafka references I was making, but was just as courteous, and informed me that the credit department would be able to fix me right up. This time, the transfer went through and the vaguely French-sounding BESB credit flunkie listened to my story, and then asked if I'd like to transfer the funds to my checking account. I mentioned I'd been told that this would not be possible, and so he suggested I go to an ATM and withdraw the sixty dollars. They'd even waive the three dollar fee, he promised!
I told him that this would not work for me - that I did not wish to spend five gas-dollars driving to the nearest ATM, only to find I'd been charged SIX dollars and had somehow opened an account with a Cayman Islands Bank I'd never heard of. I asked him what were my other options. He told me they would mail me a check. I could cash it, and then write a new check that I could then send (for the price of another stamp) to an address that he assured me would once and for all close my account.
I am having trouble believing him.
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*Since I know somebody's going to ask, the Big, Eff-Starking Bank in question is/was RBC Centura, which is/was affiliated with the Royal Bank of Canada (where I used to bank, when I lived in Canada), which is possibly the reason I ended up with a "cross-border" account I did not request.