Debit Card Debacle

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two months since I bought my house. In that time I’ve gotten a lot done toward “making it my own” and getting used to my new normal. Changing addresses was something that I did early on, but only now do I think I’m finally “done” with that process.

One of the first things I changed my address on was my banking information. I thought all was well because I received a bank statement at my new home within a few days of the address change. Of course, something didn’t work correctly, that thing ended up being my debit card. It turned out that whenever I tried to use my card somewhere that asked for my billing address (gas pumps that ask for your zip code, the iOS App Store, my heating oil company, various websites) my card would be rejected. Only when I used my old address would the transaction successfully complete.

I made multiple trips to the local bank branch, called the bank’s customer service number, spoke with their debit card fraud people to make sure nothing weird was going on with my card and sure enough, everyone I spoke with said that as far as they could see, everything was right and that the correct “new” address was on file for my debit card. Despite my address showing correctly for everyone I spoke with, my card still wasn’t working. As you can imagine, this was beyond frustrating.

It got to the point that every time I would go to the local branch that all of the tellers would know me as the guy with the debit card problem. Finally after a phone call to the customer service number confirmed that my address information was correct, only to be followed up by another card rejection I went over to the local branch hoping that someone would be able to see something that would explain why my card was acting up.

Luckily I ended up working with Diana who, just like everyone else, said that she couldnt’ see any reason why my card wasn’t processing correctly. The one thing she did do, that no one else did, even when I’d asked, is she escalated the issue. She knew that she couldn’t fix the problem, but she took the initiative to find someone, anyone, who had the power to correct the problem. I’m not sure who she contacted or how far up the food chain it went, but she looked into the problem for weeks, and kept me informed of the progress the entire time.

Finally, just this past Thursday I got word that the powers that be out there in debit card land had identified the problem and apparently I was the very first person to have this problem. As a test they implemented the fix on just my card and asked me to try it on Friday to see if it had worked. If so, they would roll out the fix to everyone else so no one else would have to endure this craziness. Thankfully, whatever they needed to do behind the scenes did work and my card is now working properly.

I called Diana back to let her know so she could tell the debit card team that their fix worked and thanked her for her efforts that truly went well beyond what I would have expected from a teller at the local bank branch. I also asked her if it would be OK for me to contact her manager to let her know what a good job she did.

I wrote a brief email to the branch manager explaining the entire situation and what Diana did to help resolve it. I got a message back from the manager not only thanking me for the note, but I was asked for permission to send my email on to upper management at the bank so Diana can be recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Great customer service may be hard to find, but it’s not dead and I’m glad to see that companies are recognizing their team members who are willing to take the time to make things right instead of just rushing someone out the door to move on to the next customer. It may have taken a few hours over the course of a few weeks to resolve my problem, but that time spent is something I’ll remember and will keep me as a customer for years to come.

Mortgage Mess Managed

Back on October 1 I posted that my mortgage guy had put a contingency on my loan stating that I had to keep at least $15,000 in the bank or my interest rate would go up by 0.125%. It turns out this wasn’t completely accurate. It turns out that I had to keep at least $20,000 in the bank or my rate would go up. Needless to say, this was completely unacceptable.

My Realtor, Tammy Huk, and I were following up with the mortgage guy about this asking for proof that I agreed to this arrangement and it was taking an inordinately long time getting anything out of him and he was unable to turn up any evidence that said I requested special treatment. Only when my Realtor called the office number for the mortgage person did we learn that he no longer worked for the bank I had my mortgage through, but he’d resigned, and his last day was the date of my closing. How convenient that he “accidentally went to the wrong address” and missed the closing, which is what he told me on the phone.

Disgusted didn’t begin to describe how I felt about the situation. Not only did he slip something into my mortgage without telling me, but he quit and didn’t bother to tell me? Seeing that the former employee of the bank would not be able to assist, my amazing Realtor called around and found someone who would be able to help me. Through her diligence I eventually had a vice president at the bank working on a resolution. It took a while as he had to deal with quite a bit of bureaucracy to not only find an acceptable solution to the bank and myself, but then to find a person who was authorized to sign off on the change. He did come through and this morning I was given a document stating that the contingency has been removed and I will maintain my interest rate through the balance of my mortgage.