Tuesday, 10 March 2009


BoA (Bank of America), itself virtually DOA, seems to have come up with a unique way to tap a source of revenue. We've been experiencing this newfound source of cash firsthand.

We've been trying to make a payment on a credit card.

Usually that is easy. Like millions of people, we have opted out of receiving unnecessary paper statements that cost money to generate and mail and mail back a check the old-fashioned way and now with just a few keystrokes and a click of the mouse our bills are checked and paid online. We've been doing this for several years.

Until now.

We've been trying for three weeks to pay a bill online. Each time the Bank of America online payment system is temporarily unavailable. Because the system has been unavailable for such an extended period of time our bill is now past due.

(An aside: In the internet/digital age, can three weeks (and counting) still be considered temporary? Just a thought...)

Calling Bank of America to make a payment by phone is now necessary.

Bank of America charges $15 to make a payment by phone. $15!!(Now that's an appropriate slogan, don't you think?)

And for us that call is an international call as well. Fortunately they don't charge each time you call, because it took us three tries to make the payment, being cut off during the call twice; once because we had run out of load on our phone and once due to being disconnected while the call was transferred. We've still been unable to be transferred to a representative of their website for assistance.

We've also been unable to have answered for us if we will be charged a late fee due to the bank's system being temporarily unavailable or not. Like insurance companies, they are usually not responsible for anything they do wrong or any of their systems not working, it is the customer who is responsible for not doing the job of someone at the bank or insurance company to see that things were done properly. This is, quite naturally, called service or customer service.

I would call it self-service, except that was what we were trying to do in the first place by simply paying our bill online (and on time, might I add!).

Clearly Bank of America has laid off everyone who kept the online payment system running. Three weeks is an awfully long time for a company of that size (well, the size they were a year ago, anyway) to be down.

At $15 per phone payment, all those former online bill payers are shoveling a lot of extra cash into Bank of America.

I have an idea for anyone with a Bank of America credit card: Cut it up, pay off the balance, and let them lose out altogether. They won't get the percentage of the sale when you make a purchase, they won't earn any interest on your balance, and they won't get you for $15 when you make a payment!

And should they ever call you, be sure you're temporarily unavailable.

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