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ATM error costs BofA big time

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Friday, June 22, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

For all the readers who have been frustrated with Bank of America recently, here's something that will make you laugh: The banking giant just accidentally gave a Detroit man $1.5 million. It doesn't look like the bank will be recovering the funds anytime soon, either.

Ronald Page, a BofA customer whose checking account supposedly only had a few hundred dollars, didn't receive any insufficient funds notifications when he attempted to make cash withdrawals at the ATM. In fact, he didn't even receive the traditional alert that he had reached his daily withdrawal limit. Instead, a rare ATM error allowed him to continually take out as much cash as he pleased at ATMs and casino cash windows.

So what did Page do with the money? Invest it and change his name? Squirrel it away in a Swiss bank account and leave the country? This was no criminal mastermind. This was just a man who stumbled on a treasure, and his luck appeared to stop once his ATM card dispensed the cash. He gambled it all away at three Michigan casinos. Now, he's facing federal charges, and it looks like he'll wind up in jail.

The story is laughable on both sides. It's hard to believe that any checking account holder could believe that he would get away with collecting that much cash (and lose it that quickly). However, I think Bank of America looks even more foolish here. With all the advanced banking technology, you would expect the institution to catch on to the problem relatively quickly, but it took the Charlotte-based bank 15 days to put a stop on Page's account. For a corporation that has seemed so concerned about profits for shareholders, that seems like quite a long time to let a rogue account holder drain his nonexistent cash flow.

I think it's fairly safe to assume that BofA won't be able to cash in on these overdraft fees or out-of-network ATM charges.

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379 Comments
patrick
August 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I spent 1 year trying to re-fi my condo loan. It was +50% underwater and I did qualify under the govt finance acts (HARP, HAMP, etc)... All BofA did was make me chase my tail for 12 months, re-asking for the same documents (water, electric) each month. never did get a re-fi and eventually walked away...just a shell game for them..

cavpilot
August 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

BoA bought my mortgage 2 years ago, this past April their computer, for unknown reasons, refunded the previous 4 monthly payments, then 3 days later reapplied those payments. This initiated 4 months of "late fees" and 6 weeks of weekly FEDEX packets requesting to refinance my mortgage....it took going to a lawyer to get the "account manager" to finally return a call and "discover" that a mistake had been made, that if I just paid the late fees my account would be up to date....after a 1 minute discussion with my lawyer, the "account manager" determined that BoA would make a one time adjustment and waive the late fees.

If you have the misfortune of being subverted into BoA's business, watch your bills very, very closely.

eda
August 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

BofA destroyed my life. They played games with my checking account holding money just long enough to make an over draft happen and once I had a mistake made by the IRS where they put a lean on my account. The IRS gave me my money back but BofA...not one dime... I would rather do business with a tank full of sharks.

REED
August 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

BoA posted my credit card payment wrong, with receipt in hand went into the branh that posted it wrong. It took 5 trips into the branch and 6 months to get this corrected. All the time they are billing me for late fees on the payment that they posted wrong and didn't correct. great place to do buisness...NOT.

Maringin
August 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I had a similar thing happen. We discovered that checks were being deposited into our account by a man with the same name as my husband's. After being told that was impossible and spending an hour filing out forms - which I then had to take to another bank to get notarized! - they finally looked into it. Another person had been issued an ATM card with my husband's number. BofA did finally apologize after I complained to the main office. Sheesh.

SN
August 11, 2012 at 1:06 am

Use a Credit Union and eliminate the trouble. Easier to deal with and are much more customer focused and friendly, let alone the lower cost structure.

Lloyd
August 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

I went into a boa branch here in Washington to cash one of their checks. The teller asked if I had an account with them and I said no. She said the bank would not cash their own check. I said in a loud voice. That is why I do not bank at boa, and walked out never to return.

john
August 09, 2012 at 11:49 pm

me and my wife were customers of theirs in the early 2000's, i cashed my pay check at my employers bank and deposited the money into our boa account. i did this because they always put a 15 day hold on my pay checks, but believe it or not they actually put a five day hold on my CASH.

we closed the account and bank with usaa now, MUCH MUCH BETTER...

Doug
August 08, 2012 at 10:53 am

BofA = Bumblers of America

Darren
August 07, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I had BofA for the "convenience" of being able to use an ATM anywhere in the country without ATM fees. But when I traveled from Washington State to California, I found my ATM card was not compatible with the banking systems in CA, and I spent 30 minutes inside a branch trying to withdraw my money. It was easier to hit a couple of grocery stores with my Discover card and get cash back than to get money out of my bank account. When I returned home I closed my BofA account and went to a regional bank that has partnerships with banks around the country to use ATMs without extra fees. Same benefit without the mess. Why anyone would still choose to do business with BofA is beyond my comprehension.