Deflated by overdrawn fees
BY STEPHANIE ZIMMERMANN firstname.lastname@example.org August 31, 2012 6:44PM
THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:22AM
Dear Fixer: I was on my way to take my son to his doctor’s appointment when I got a flat tire. Luckily — or so I thought — I was two blocks away from an NTB tire shop.
I had my flat tire fixed and bought another one because it needed to be changed, too. The total bill was $198.88.
I gave them my debit card. The gentleman waiting on me ran it through, but there seemed to be some sort of computer malfunction. He tried several times, after which I asked if it was OK to write a check. He seemed to have problems with that as well, but was able to make a phone call and get it approved.
The next day, my bank account was overdrawn by $698.64, including $102 in overdraft fees. It seems that the computer problems caused my account to be debited three times.
I called the store, and after some back and forth, they said my money would be refunded in 48 hours.
But the next morning, I woke up to find that I had been charged ANOTHER $198.88, plus $34 in overdraft fees and $15 in extended overdraft fees. The overdraft fees now totaled $151.
I was polite and tried to be understanding, but I was more than annoyed.
After I complained, I received $596.64 of the $747.64 I requested. But I am not sure why no one from the company will explain to me why I cannot be compensated fully for their error. I have lost $151 in additional funds because of their errors. Please help.
Yoti Kale, Gary, Ind.
Dear Yoti: The Fixer agrees; you shouldn’t have to pay for this silliness. Fortunately, after we brought this to the attention of the people at TBC Retail Group (NTB’s corporate parent), they agreed.
They’ve asked you to email your bank statement showing the overdraft fees, which you did. Your refund of $151 will be arriving shortly.
Avoiding Isaac fraud
Hurricane Issac’s hit on Louisiana and Mississippi is bound to bring out the charity scammers, who are always looking to capitalize on natural disasters. The local Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to give wisely, not impulsively. Beware of online charity scams and overhyped claims. Find out if the charity has a presence on the ground in the affected areas. Two good places to check out charities are give.org and charitynavigator.org.
A consumer’s tale of woe
Tracy and her daughter have a checking account together. They also have an ex-friend who played a terrible scam on them.
The friend had come to them, asking if they’d cash a $1,000 money order since he didn’t have his own bank account.
Wanting to be helpful, they deposited the money order into their account, and 24 hours later, the funds showed up as available. Tracy’s daughter took out the cash and gave it to the friend. Meanwhile, Tracy put in another $230 so her daughter could pay some bills.
Next thing she knows, Tracy’s account is in the red by $655.
You guessed it — the money order was fraudulent.
Tracy’s bank washed its hands, saying they were simply making the funds available.
“I am being charged with paying the entire amount of the money order, plus late fees and withdrawal fees,” Tracy wrote The Fixer. “The money order is not in mine or my daughter’s name but she did endorse it under the person’s name to whom it was made out. Now we cannot get hold of the friend, or the person who purchased the money order.”
The costly lesson for the rest of us: Make sure a transaction actually clears the bank, which can take weeks longer than the quickie “funds available” notation on your account. And be careful about whom you consider a friend.
What is a Costly Lesson? It’s an UNFIXABLE problem that cost someone a lot of money but holds a valuable lesson for the rest of us. If you’ve got something to warn the rest of us about, e-mail email@example.com with Costly Lessons in the subject line. And don’t worry — for Costly Lessons, we leave out last names to prevent further embarrassment.