Friday, February 13, 2015

Point of Personal Privilege: My Credit Union

Ok, first off- this is not my credit union.  I couldn't find a commercial for mine, probably because it's run by the Actual Federal Government and it doesn't need to make commercials to attract customers.  But this commercial was stupid and annoying enough* to make it worthy of my blog, so...

Second, let me say that I generally like my credit union.  They have always been very good to me, quick to respond to questions, etc.  I'm a bit irritated that they shut down pretty much all of their suburban branches and I have to take a train to use the "most convenient" branch, and it has really crappy hours and I have to go through a metal detector to get in....but heck, I've been a member since 1985 and I really don't like change so....

But two weeks ago, my credit union made a mistake.  Ok, things happen, and they fixed it quickly.  That's not the problem.  My problem is what happened next- a comedy of stupid exposing an over-reliance on computer-generated mail.

Here's what happened- I tried to use my debit card and it was rejected.  So I went online and checked my account- and found that it was overdrawn....because for some reason, my credit union had sent Verizon $536 I didn't owe and that Verizon didn't ask for.

I called the credit union and was quickly emailed a "Non-Authorization of Funds" form to fill out and send back, and within two hours the problem was rectified and the money returned to my account.  I didn't get an apology, but at the time that didn't really matter to me.  Mistake made, mistake fixed.  No problem.

Oh, but wait- a few days later, I got a form letter in snail mail from the Credit Union which informed me that my account had overdrawn, that the "bill" generating the overdraft had been paid, and that I was being charged a $28 Member Privilege Fee (this had also quickly been returned, days earlier, when the mistake had been fixed.)  Meh, no big deal I figured- these things are automatically generated and sent, whatever.

The next day, I got another form letter- "Your account is overdrawn by this amount, please remit to keep your account in good standing."  Again, I know these letters are generated and sent automatically, but now I'm getting a little irritated.  The Credit Union made a mistake, and fixed it.  I didn't ask for an apology, but now I'm thinking I would have liked that- especially if I was going to get "you've been a bad boy, send us money" notices instead.

Today I got one more letter- "The United States Credit Union is committed to your financial well-being and we would like to help you avoid these costly fees in the future."  Um, how?  By disciplining the person who screwed up my account?  That would be ok- but why tell me?

I mean, come on- what's next, credit union- are you going to send me a Helpful, Informative list of Financial Peace University seminars in my neighborhood?

And now I want an apology- not so much for the mistake (which would have been more than mildly annoying if I had been on vacation,) but for the daily "our computer assumes you did something wrong so here's another politely condescending missive" letters.  So I'll be calling on Monday and asking for one- and for the address of a person I can send at least three "we noticed you screwed up a customer's bank account" letters to.  Wish me luck.

*Even the YouTube glue-sniffers hate this commercial.   Just check out the comments.

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