Monday, January 26, 2009

The "even more" return of customer service

One of the oddities of my job is, because we move around a lot, we tend to collect bank accounts. OK, not so much now, with internet banking and megabanks and all, but back in the day if you moved to a different state, you pretty much had to get a new bank account. One of the accounts I had was with a credit union. I opened it in 1985, and wherever I've moved, I've kept that account open. Mostly because I think there's a certain cachet to being able to be a member of this credit union. Wherever you are in the world, if you see someone with a credit or debit card from this credit union, you can give a little "hey" nod, and you'll know that they know, and they'll know that you know.

Nope, not gonna tell you what it is, but its name wouldn't mean anything to you anyway (unless, of course, it does, in which case, you already know).

Aaaaaanyway... This account is sort of our "fire and forget" account. I have a small bit of my pay sent there every month, and we never look at the account until we need some extra. Well, the other day, I had reason to try to log on to my home banking account trying to find the interest for Uncle Sam's annual extortion, and it had been so long I forgot my password, and locked myself out. So I call the member service office, and after answering many many questions to identify myself (including "what was your qualification for membership?") the rep reset my password, and said, "When you log in, you'll need to update your address, because we have a bad one on file." I gave her my address, and she said that was the one they had. I told her I had been here for 3 years, likely to be here several years more. She said, "OK, I'll take that flag off the account. Sorry about that." She hung up, I let the mandatory 10 minutes pass (why does everything take "10 minutes to update in the system"?) and I log in. Well, imagine my dismay when I see, every month for the last 6 months, a $10 "invalid address fee." $60... gone... for an invalid address that wasn't even invalid!

I picked up the phone, and called member services again. A different rep answers. "I'm looking at my online account, and I see all these invalid address fees. I just spoke to another rep and advised her that the address you have is correct; can I have my money back please?"

Type type type, I hear.

"That money's already been refunded to your account, sir."

"What?" Refresh the browser. "Oh, there it is... wait a sec. Already? You mean you didn't just do it?"

"No, sir. The rep you just spoke to did it."

"Oh. Wow. That's great! Thanks!"

Yep. Imagine. A bank (OK, credit union, but still..) refunding a fee without being asked. Who would have believed it?

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