Sovereign Bank: Anything for a $35 charge

 10 Feb 2012

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So after moving to CA we clearly don’t need our Sovereign Bank accounts anymore. I set out the other day on a mission to clear all auto payments from them, and also close the account.

The first people I talked to said I need to get the account down to a $0 balance. Simple. I cleared out auto payments, made sure everything was in order. Did a $1.18 transfer to my new ING (awesome by the way) account and thought I was good.

At that point a couple of things happened. First I missed an auto payment. My amazon web services (s3) account wasn’t moved to the new credit card so they chared me $.73. This came out before my transfer so it suceeded. The next step unfortunately sucks. My gas company has a horrible website and I while I thought I removed the auto payment, I did not. Even though the auto payment was set for “what was due” and even though my balance was technically $0.0 cause I had paid their $16 dollar charge manually they billed me for the $16 again. So now my balance with them is $16 over and sovereign got a $16 charge that the account couldn’t afford.

They charged me $35 for this $16 overcharge. Then my $1.18 charge came in and I get hit with $35 again. This is ridiculous. I call with the goal of 1) closing the account, 2) paying the balance, 3) trying to get one (at least) of the charges removed.

The first lady I spoke to was a complete bitch and told me they couldn’t do anything for the charges and the ONLY way for me to pay is to mail a check. The caveat is that I’m already 3 days overdrawn (of course I only found out today…) and if I get to 6 days overdrawn they charge me AGAIN. So mailing in a check is a huge gamble. Honestly at this point I bet if I mail a check, they won’t “process” it till after the fee date so I would get charged. She told me mailing the check is the only option since I can’t make it to a branch.

After this I ask to speak to a supervisor. This supervisor sounded good at first. She is reversing one of the charges and she also told me I can pay over the phone “for a fee”. I assume by fee she meant $1-2, like the fee to pay your gas bill over the phone or something like that. I was happy with one $35 dollar fee reversal at least. So now I need to wait until Monday, check that the $35 fee is removed and then call to close the account.

Here’s the kicker: She then informs me to double check all of my payment accounts (like that amazon one) cause for THIRTY days after the “request” to close my account, sovereign will PAY CHARGES that come into the account and charge me $35 for each one? WHAT THE FUCK. There is no logical reason that they can’t just start denying charges to my account. I want to close the account and have sovereign do NOTHING else but this aparently isn’t an option. They basically force me to be open to charges for another 30 days. And why not? If they can force this on me they can get $35 bucks everytime I forget about another auto payment going into my account.

The other kicker: The “fee” is $15 for paying over the phone… cause that’s what Western Union charges they tell me. Give me a fucking break. They have online banking and billpay technology, but they can’t take a payment from my other bank without a $15 dollar fee? This is bullshit. Complete bullshit. Fuck sovereign.

So now my plan is to get rid of sovereign in my life as fast as possible. I’m going to make sure the $35 dollar reversal is on my account on Monday. I’m going to make sure Amazon S3 is set to bill my other credit card. Then on Monday I will call collections and have them bill me $15 bucks in order to make a instant payment to be able to close the account. Then I will pray that I don’t get another payment to the sovereign account for $30 days.

I will be calling customer service on Monday as well to find out if there is ANY way to actually close the account. There has to be, policy or not that is ridiculous.

Update: Amazon S3 payment moved. Now just waiting for Monday to call sovereign’s collections department and then customer service after.

Quick Comment: I just wanted to quickly make another point. I’m glad I’m in a situation that I can pay these ridiculous fees without missing rent and other things like that. What if I were much worse off? I can’t imagine people living paycheck to paycheck being able to deal with this. Something has got to change.

Great Idea from Coworker: On Monday I will also report my cards as stolen so that sovereign WON’T TAKE CHARGES FROM THEM!

Uggg: Wanted to overnight a check from ING for $20 bucks since I’d rather pay ING+Courier $20 than Sovereign+Western Union $15, but since their collection address is a PO Box you can’t overnight courier deliver to them… of course.

Update: It’s Monday morning past 8 and unfortunately the payment I transfered from ING and the $35 reversal don’t show up on my account. Going to wait until tomorrow I guess to see if those things post. It’s amazing how some banks do things immediately while others take days to get the simplest things done. I did call in order to report our cards lost (without replacement since that’s another fee of course…) so now hopefully no payments can go through. It’s amazing how rude the lady can be on the phone. She asks me for recent transactions to veryify me. I give her one and she goes “Can you give me another?”… so I give her another. After that she asks again so I read off about 4-5 from the account and she gets annoyed at me “Just give me one sir!”…

Amazing.