All Business, Good & Bad

Sometimes, an awful consumer experience. Let's call them out. Okay, mostly. But sometimes awards. Yes? All the accounts are truthful. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike. Email me with your stories and I'll include them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fifth Third Bank - Bad Business, February 2002

I, like many others in this country, play the check game. You know: my direct deposit hits tonight at midnight, so I can get gas this afternoon instead of coasting on fumes until early morning tomorrow.

It was just such an assumption that nailed me (appropriately), and gave us reason to mistrust the big 5/3.

Having made the exact decision concerning gas as noted above, I received a call from my landlord saying that the check he received that day couldn't be cashed against my account. "The bank says that your available balance is ..., and your ledger balance is ...."

My first thought was "Why the hell is my landlord cashing my check against my account?" My second thought was confirmed with a few clicks of the mouse: "How did he get the amounts, to the penny, that I have in my account?"

My landlord ended up cashing the check the next day, but said that he had received the numbers from the bank.

He went to the bank to see if the check could be cashed. The bank's computers were down, so they called the branch down the street to run the numbers.

I wrote a letter of complaint to the primary branch, the branch phoned, and the regional headquarters elucidating my disapproval at my landlord knowing exactly how much money was in my personal bank account. I received a letter of apology with some story about how my landlord must have overheard the teller repeating the numbers as she received them by phone. Sounds hokey to me.

After a few phone calls and some research, I had a copy of the federal statute that was violated in this case. Unfortunately, I had no recourse because the violation of personal privacy detailed in the statute had no fee attached to it, and no case history to back a fee. And a lawyer won't touch a virgin statute with a stack of law books.

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