Wednesday, July 08, 2009

If you have a card with Bank of America,

or are thinking of getting one, you ought to go here and hit the links.
Yesterday my wife and son were supposed to be coming home.

At 7: 30am, my phone rings. My wife is freaking out. She reserved a ticket locally on a puddlejumper from the regional airport close to her mom's house, to the major airport where she'd begin her journey home. After 3 weeks of happily using her debit card from Bank of America, the card was being declined. No ticket.

I calm her down, and call Bank of America. No, the person says, there is no problem on our end.

I call my wife. She talks to the clerk at the reservation desk. Card is swiped again a few times. Nothing. It comes up "Not Authorized."

I go online. There's plenty of money- about $600 left in her account. Cheers to my wife for staying within our travel budget! The ticket is only about $150 US for she and our son.

Again, I calm her down, and call Bank of America. No, the person says, there is no problem on our end.

"Well" says I, "There's something wrong here." I call Bank of America a THIRD time. This person says that there was a 'block' placed on her account, and promptly transfers me to the wrong department.

I call back. This is my fourth call now. I get a security person. I explain that time is tight, that there's something going on. The woman explains that the access is being blocked for 'suspicious activity' on the card. Suspicious activity? A plane ticket? The third local flight purchased in as many weeks? No. Sorry. BS. For three weeks and two dozen transactions, there have been no problems. Now, when it matters, my wife is left to hang.

Now, I had called Bank of America a week before my family flew to Brazil. I explained what was happening, and the nice girl on the phone had assured me that there would be no problems.

I'm getting nowhere with the woman on the other end of the phone this time. Can I list some recent transactions? No, I can't. I'm not in Brazil, and my wife is at an airport that has a pay phone, by which I mean, you bribe someone to use their phone. She can't call
That's from Part 1. And it gets worse.


Anonymous said...

You may not want to post this, but I had a day to think over that story and had to write something about it. Sorry.

Let me apologize up front here, but after reading that story all I can say is that that guy really has no clue about how the world really is. I have traveled for most of my life as a field engineer and NEVER WENT ANYWHERE without having my passport and a paid return ticket in hand. What is this, "There was enough money left on the card to pay for the ticket.", stuff?
Am I to gather that he sent his wife and child out of the country and to what really amounts to a borderline third-world country without either of them having return tickets - or the funds necessary to support themnselves if BAD THINGS HAPPENED?
Hint: That's why they are called third-world countries.

Screw BoA for their part in this fiasco, but the root cause was the original lack of intelligence displayed by the guy.

Paul, Dammit! said...

Well, at least the guy apologized beforehand. In the end, of course, he's right. I'm not sure why my wife did what she did, except that she has used that little airline for most of her life prior to coming to the US, and the regional airport is located within commuting distance to her hometown. It seems like she'd be a better judge of local behavior than an armchair quarterback anyway, being a local.