Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bank of America, Con Artists and Sleazy People

This is one of those days that started out going downhill and I'm on a roll! First domino to fall was in the master bath shower. It's slate and within 6 months of buying this house I noticed that the slate was improperly sealed and becoming unsightly. Lots of attempts to strip and reseal failed. I figured the problem was in the design - insufficient slope in the bed of the walk-in shower failed to allow for adequate drainage.
Enter Louie the tile guru today to tear out original slate, re-figure the base and re-tile. easy! The dominoes start tumbling big time. No base in the shower, no sealant, no pan, black mold, - in short the entire job non-code and I suppose my only luck here is that we caught this before the entire shower ended up dropping into the garage.
So am I a fool? What responsibility did I have when I bought the house just two years ago and 10 days over statute of limitations for filing a claim. My agent was thorough - we did all the required inspections. In fact a couple of things stirred my antennae so we had had two inspections. The seller, a female attorney by the way, was very clever. She had the right advice on cosmetic cover-ups! My agent asked if the remodel to date had been done with a permit - response "don't need one because it was a remodel not new build". In the two years I've been here , daily living has uncovered so many code violations that I pretty much have shares in the plumbing, A/C/Heating and electrical companies who have been out to remedy, tear out etc. . ALL the botched jobs were carefully concealed. No doubt in my mind that I was dealing with a major sleaze artist.

My house is in great shape now but I have a bad taste in my mouth. And I keep wondering what I missed, was there an inner voice, at what point should I have walked. Hindsight is great.

Now for the Bank of America. Read the fine print , ladies. I have a significant line of credit. I rarely carry more than a very small balance. When I travel I put expenses on the card and pay it off immediately . Goofed this time. In Rwanda a Visa charge ended up coming through as a "cash advance" - the bank I was dealing with claimed their machines down and that it was much simpler to put this through as a cash. I received $1,122.00. When I checked my statement on return I saw that the charge was for $1,707.54. I disputed this with BofA and was told essentially "tough nookies lady, exchange rates fluctuate, this is what we paid the bank". I paid my account in full but for around a $2,500 charge that I am to be reimbursed for - so I figured I'd wait to get paid back and then pay it off. Opened my statement this a.m. to find that the $1707.54 is broken out as a "cash advance" and charged a daily periodic interest rate that comes out to 24.99 annual percentage. My normal interest rate on this card is 10.99 percent.

I called to question why this charge had been broken out and was informed that "the fine print" made clear that anything the bank could charge higher interest on was the last to be paid! How's that for shafting loyal customers? I was also told that changes would come into effect next year but until then the bank had every right to make the most money they could. Wonderful. I'm closing out that card today. I don't like being taken for a fool. I asked the specific question, "If I send you a check today and state that it is to pay off this so called "cash advance" will you apply it to that charge?". NO! Get this, the response was "No, we pay off the lowest interest rate charges first, you can't do anything about that." As I have said before - read your statements and magnify the small print so you can read that too.

Going to check my packrat traps - maybe I can salvage the day. It's either that or eat ice cream!

1 comment:

  1. I'm really sorry to hear this! I opened an account with them a little over a year ago and have nothing but bad experiences ever since. They are certainly lacking in customer service. My last straw was a deposit they held from my account for over 10 days - even after the money had cleared the bank the deposit was coming from.


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