A couple days ago I posted a video Will and I made about the Tragedy of Sad Sack. The tale was long and winding and we had to leave out an important part of the story to fit it together.
It’s true that “Sad Sack” bounced a check. What I didn’t mention is the fact that Chase Bank told me that the check had cleared. I had been checking my balances via online banking obsessively, waiting for the moment when I could be sure that I was done with “Sad Sack” forever. The day it showed the check cleared I celebrated with a martini and a huge sign of relief. It was over.
The next day “Sad Sack” called and informed me that the check wasn’t going to clear. I started to cry. There was no way this could be true! My balances showed that the check had cleared! In this case, I was sure, “Sad Sack” was mistaken. But not sure enough… “Sad Sack” had a way of wasting my time and energy.
I called up Customer Service. I said, “Is there any chance that this check hasn’t actually cleared?”
The lady helping me was a sweetheart. “I don’t think so,” she said.
“So absolutely the check has cleared?”
“Let me check.”
She was gone a long time.
When she returned her voice was small and meek. “Actually,” she admitted, “the check won’t officially clear for a couple more days. I’m sorry.”
“Wait a minute.” I was livid. “I know this isn’t your fault, but Chase told me that this money was available before it was actually available. I could have spent it and wound up bouncing checks all over town!”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She kept apologizing.
“It’s not your fault,” I told her again. I know not to shoot the messenger when dealing with these companies. They’re just trying to make a buck in this cold, hard world too.
What’s in it for Chase Bank for me to think that the check cleared before it actually did? Any number of bounced check fees–that’s what!
They’d make a ton of money off of the fact that they provided the wrong information. It’s a safe bet that I wouldn’t take legal action over just a few hundred dollars.
Banks are for-profit machines. This is just one way that they screw us over every day. They constantly take our money. They make so much money that they can afford billion dollar marketing campaigns all the time. And pay their executives insane amounts of money.
This year I’m pulling all my money from Chase and consolidating it in Patelco Credit Union. It’s not quite as convenient, but there are no hidden fees whatsoever. Credit unions are non-profit banks. They don’t advertise because they can’t afford to. They’d rather we keep our money. They don’t even charge us for using other ATMs. Though any major bank will still take your money if you use their ATM. Thankfully credit unions cooperate, and for the most part you can make a deposit or withdrawal at any other credit union ATM for free.
Join me. Let’s keep our money for fun (and martinis) this year.