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Monday, October 13, 2003
Ok, I've got to blow off some steam. Back when I transferred my investment account from Quick & Reilly (the raison d'etre for this blog -- those Beantown bastards) to Ameritrade, I opened up a NetBank checking account. I liked the idea of online banking -- being able to control all of my finances from my computer like some kind of Wall Street Captain Kirk -- and with an Ameritrade promotion, I got $40 for opening an account.

Well, NetBank seems determined to take its $40 back. A couple months ago, it started charging me "inactivity" fees. I don't have all that much money in the account -- I set up the account just to test the online banking waters and it's not my primary checking account (that's with Washington Mutual -- with whom, shockingly, I have no gripes -- except, well, a homeless man once attacked me in one of their branches.) In signing up, I looked very carefully for any rat-fuck fees like this and didn't notice any. They had already erroneously applied and then reversed unexplained service fees -- twice. By the time I noticed the inactivity fees, I had already received two (yes, I was that inactive.) I thought that this was total bullshit -- they could have at least sent me a warning email. So I contacted their service line ready to close the account. But I have to admit that their customer service has always been pretty crack, and the guy I spoke with explained in just the right tone -- not too patronizing, not too "hey, tell it to my supervisor" -- that he would reverse the charges ("as a courtesy") and that if I just had any type of activity with the three-month period at all, I could avoid the fee. I had been thinking about setting up online payment for my phone bill, so I decided, "Well, shit, let's give it a go." I didn't close the account, but rather went online and set up the online bill payment for my phone bill.

A couple weeks later I got my first e-bill from SBC. I viewed it online -- everything looked in order. And then, at the beginning of the month, I checked my account again and it showed that it had been paid. Problem solved? Well, now I get my second e-bill from SBC and it's twice what it normally is. What the hell is going on? I don't remember making any more long distance calls last month. In fact, I think I made a few less. So I log in to my NetBank account to check out the bill and notice that it lists last month's bill as unpaid and past due (even though it was deducted from my NetBank account).

Now this could be a fuck-up on SBC's part, but with all the shit NetBank has been putting me through, I figure I'll start with them. So I start to write them an email and look at my account activity to double-check all the info and I notice a $5 service charge on 10/8. No fucking explanation. No fucking notice. Motherfuckers. I get better goddamned service from the dirty scumbag eucalyptus trees out front. So this is the email (actually form-mail) I send them:

I set up e-bill payment last month with SBC for my phone bill. I got an email indicating my bill had been delivered and when I checked it last month around the due date, it stated:

"Payment Status: Check # XXXX7990 from our account was mailed to SBC Phone Bill - CA on 10/2/2003. Funds were withdrawn from your account NetValue Checking - XXXXXXX651 on 10/1/2003. Contact your financial institution if you have a question about when your funds were withdrawn."

But, I just received another e-bill from SBC for this month and it indicates that last month's bill was not paid and is past due. What happened? Can you straighten this out for me?

Also, I just checked my statement and I notice I have a $5 service charge debt. Now what? What is going on? I signed up with this online bill payment to avoid "inactivity" service charges and have already had 4 service charges reversed. I opened an account with NetBank thinking that online banking would be more convenient, but this is really getting to be a headache.

Thank you,

Tomohiro Idokoro


Now I know some of you out there are saying, "Shit, you think that's bad, try banking in Nigeria," or "What the hell are you whining about, I could eat for a week on $5." Well, fuck you. That's no excuse. And NetBank is about a heartbeat away from getting a Pedro Martinez fastball to the head and going on the shit-list.