Surreal customer service

Posted on April 18, 2018


surreal customer service

Queue the Twilight Zone music. . . I had another surreal customer service experience.

On March 5, I went in person to close my account at Citizens Bank. I should have known something would be amiss since it was first day of work for the teller who helped me. Score one for the teller, he immediately asked his supervisor to come over and help. The first question they ask is “why are you closing your account?” I wanted to reply, “Because your service is awful, you keep trying to sell me services I don’t need and your fees are higher than any other bank.” Instead, I smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, we are moving to a place where you have no branches.” (Breathing a sigh of relief). But wait, the supervisor wanted to know where I was moving. Quickly, without thinking I said, “Down south.” End of that conversation.

The teller asks me for my license. No problem, you can’t just close an account on a random person’s say so. The teller is madly clicking the keyboard, with a very puzzled look on his face. The supervisor is now madly clicking the keyboard with a puzzled look on her face. I am thinking to myself, “How hard can this be? There has been no activity in this account since December.” The teller smiles and hands me back my license. I immediately put it back in my wallet so I don’t lose it.

The teller asks me how I want the money. Um, how about a check? The teller asks me again for my license. I did deep into my purse and give him my license again. More frenzied typing on the keyboard.

The teller looks up from his frenzied typing and apologizes for the delay. He says he is calculating the interest due on my account. I’m thinking, isn’t that what computer sytems are for, but once again I smile and nod.

Finally(!) after about a half hour, he hands me a bank check. All this effort for about $1800.00. I guess they want to make it as hard as possible for people to take out their money.

But wait, the plot thickens.

On April 10 I get a very sternly worded letter from Citizens Bank saying that I owe them $24.99 and this must be paid immediately or else my account will be turned over to a collection agency. What???? I immediately call Citizens Bank and after listening to Muzak for 10 minutes, get connected to a customer service rep named Josh. I am pretty upset at this point, but try to maintain my composure. I ask Josh how I can be charged something for account that has been closed for over a month. I hear frenzied typing on his end. He comes back and says, “This is service charge because you didn’t maintain the required minimum balance.” After counting to ten, I explain (again) that I had closed the account on March 5 and I have the bank check to prove it. More frenzied typing. Josh comes back and says, “Well, there was a balance in your account of the interest accrued and that is what triggered the service charge.” I ask him how much interest had accrued. His reply, “One cent.”

Oh boy, where do I go from here? I again took a deep breath and counted to 10 and explained for the FOURTH time that I closed my account on March 5 and at that time, the teller supposedly calculated the accrued interest. I also said that I am NOT paying a service charge for a closed account. Josh once again puts me on hold for 10 minutes. If I have to hear that Muzak for one more minute I am going to scream. . . When Josh finally comes back on the line he says, “Good news. We will not be charging you the $24.99 service charge. We are now closing your account.” I’m thinking, “Okay, isn’t that what I spent a half hour doing over a month ago?”

Yesterday, I get a check from Citizens for $0.01.  Yes, that’s right for 1 penny. No comment.

Just so you know, I moved my money to a small local bank. No fees, friendly service and no annoying collection letters.

What surreal customer service experiences have you had lately?

P.S. Update on my jury duty. I was ecstatic when I got a call late Tuesday afternoon, telling me I was not needed for jury service. Hooray! Unfortunately, it doesn’t get me off the hook for future jury duty. You only get excused for three years if you actually have to show up at the courthouse.

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