More mysterious tales
what is not said as much as what is said, says Bankrate reporter
Low balance 401(k)
Moving on to a new job? Hope you didn't leave anything behind
-- especially your 401(k) retirement plan. Former employers can
cash out 401(k)s that hold $5,000 or less. They have to try to notify
you, but if they don't hear from you, your money could end up in
a money market account earning practically nothing.
If you're leaving your job and have a low balance
PIN vs. signature
Is your bank sending you reminders to press "credit"
when using your debit card at the cash register? Maybe they're even
tempting you with entry into a sweepstakes every time you press
Here's why. When you press credit and sign the receipt,
the bank makes more money on the transaction than when you press
"debit" and use your PIN. But, choosing debit is a more
secure transaction, and it
can save you money in the long run.
. . . . . .
Bankrate readers share stories of corporate doublespeak:
Bank acknowledges transfer mistake -- but
won't pay fees charged
My story is about my mother and father. Dad just passed away
and Mom transferred a large sum to pay the funeral bill. She did
this at the drive-through of her credit union, which gave her a
receipt and never said a word. Later, without her knowledge or a
follow-up letter or phone call, the transaction was reversed. Checks
started bouncing left and right. They even bounced her property
Mom had to go in to the credit union to straighten
it out. They finally fixed the transfer and refunded the fees they
charged, but refuse to pay the fees they caused her to incur with
other businesses. They insist it was her fault! When she showed
the representative her receipt and told her that no notice was sent
to her or my deceased father, they said none was required because
it was canceled immediately -- which is impossible because they
gave Mom a receipt.
The dispute over the fees is still pending, and my
mom's good name has been ruined by careless, thoughtless thugs at
the credit union. In her 70 years of life, she has never bounced
a check. She has been banking with this institution for over 45
Insurance approves surgery, then refuses to pay
Today's insurance companies require pre-approval for almost
everything. But this reader was stuck with a bill of $5,000 even
after receiving pre-approval.
My wife needed to get her wisdom teeth pulled, but
because of her family medical history, she had to have the surgery
at a hospital.
We called our insurance company for approval and were
told to go ahead with the surgery because it was "medically
necessary." But after my wife recovered, we discovered the
tooth pulling was not the most painful part. The insurance company
decided that although they said go ahead, they would not pay. You
see, "medically necessary" does not mean "covered"
We appealed twice and were denied both times. We tried
complaining, but found out that self-funded PPO's are not accountable
to the state insurance commissioner.
We are now on the hook for more than $5,000 in uncovered
medical bills, just when we were planning to buy a house. Looks
like that will have to wait.
Phone company takes more than purse thief
I paid all my bills and left for my vacation. Five days into
my trip, my purse was stolen and I had to cancel all the credit
cards and notify my credit union about my checking account. I thought
all the checks had cleared, so they closed the old account and opened
a new one and transferred my balance. Unfortunately, my phone company
was out of state and though I thought they had received the check,
it had not cleared.
My check for roughly $20 was returned to them marked
"account closed." They called me and mailed me a letter
saying that if I did not call them within 10 days they would disconnect
my service. Of course, I wasn't home.
When I returned a month later, I had no phone. I had
to pay a $25 returned-check charge, a $40 readjustment charge (for
marking the bill paid, then not paid) and a $65 reconnect charge.
They also wanted a $100 deposit, but I talked them out of that since
I had a perfect payment record.
Even offering to show them the police report made
no difference. The thief only got $40. Who's the thief here?
-- Posted: Oct. 25, 2002