RBC basically shut down my whole banking account
I'm furious. I've been a customer of RBC Royal Bank for 10 years, since 1999. I was even staff at RBC Dominion Securities for three years, and held staff accounts at the bank during the times that I worked for them.
My complaint, review, whatever you would call it is now 40 days after the intitial screw up on their part and still nothing has been resolved. All I receive now is stonewalling on behalf of the bank, and I'm not even looking for any damages, save for maybe a few NSF charges getting reversed that have accrued due to their actions.
It all started when I tried to turn my financial situation around...
I had been renting a house for $1040 plus utilities alone. It was a struggle, running my own home based business in this economy, and a struggle to make ends meet. Even in this horrible economic climate, I still managed to get my rent and utilities paid, including a $100 per month payment to RBC Visa.
My account is quite basic, I only have a $2500 limit on my Visa card and a $500 overdraft facility on my bank account.
In order to turn my financial situation around, I got permission from my landlord to sublet my premises and filled my place up with roomates. Yay; my rent and utilities were now covered by my roomates and effectively my living and shelter cost were now free.
One of my tenants was on social assistance and the ministry gave me two cheques. One for $200 for the damage deposit, and one for $433 for the first month's rent. My account was at a balance of roughly $80, and I deposited the two cheques for a total of $633. My account has an overdraft facility of $500 - so I withdrew $1000 to pay my landlord; leaving still some room on the overdraft facility to cover my $100 monthly VISA payment.
Somewhere, in the dark annals of RBC, trouble was brewing... Without warning, phone call, letter, or anything, they decided to lock my client card and restrict all of my accounts because of this transaction. I didn't find this out until Friday the 17th - 4 days after I made the deposit, when I attempted to pop my card into the bank machine the machine would just spit it back out before I could do anything.
During this time, I had been securing more tenants for my premises. My financial management was sound; I had deposited the cheques, withrdrew the monies, bringing my account to an overdraft position, the VISA payment should have come out, and then by Saturday I had a new tenant moving in for a $100 damage deposit plus rent of $433 which would have more than covered my overdrawn position.
Unfortunately, the bank had locked my account so even when I received the money from my tenant, I couldn't put it into my RBC account because my cards were locked up.
I called on the 17th their client care center, and asked them why my card was locked. They said there was some transactions that had occurred outside of my regular pattern and that I would need to present ID in the branch and confirm the transactions. I assumed it had to do with the social assistance cheques, I've heard stories of photocopied assistance cheques being used for fraud, and since I was listed as self employed, it made sense.
I went to the branch the very next day, presented ID - but this is where things started to get bizarre.
Apparently risk management would not do anything unless they could speak to my branch manager. Now I deal with the downtown main branch, I don't know anyone there. I decided to deal there because I had worked downtown, and I had had some bad experiences dealing with Surrey branches, because they treat everyone like criminals out there. So they said I had to wait until Monday and go back to the branch.
Monday I showed up at the branch, presented ID, and the poor CSR there was absolutely dumbfounded with the response she was getting from Risk Management. She looked at my account, and from her perspective, nothing was really amiss. I had an overdraft, I used it, I had a $1000 cash back limit on ATM deposited cheques, and I had only taken $600. My withdrawal limit was $1000 per day, and my POS limit was $10000. Risk Management was telling her that they wanted to wait on a 5 day hold for the cheques to clear; which was abnormal considering my cash back limits. She later realized that 5 days had passed, and checked- the cheques had of course cleared.
RBC Risk Management still refused to unlock my accounts unless someone in my branch who had a personal relationship with me unlocked them themselves. I was beside myself. 4 hours now spent in the branches and I had made zero headway, even though the cheques had cleared?
Exasperated, I asked her to call my branch; if I had travelled across town to get to my branch then they would be closed by the time I got there, and I had already presented ID to her.
She got the Branch Manager from the downtown main branch on the phone, and I breathed a sigh of releif. Someone who could clean up this mess. Little did I know this guy was worse than the Risk Management people. Things were about to go from bad - to horrible.
I talked to the guy briefly, told him my story. About the tenant, the social assistance cheques, how there must have been a mix up. How I just wanted my accounts unlocked so that I could go back to normal banking life.
He instructed me he would not unlock my accounts, that he was removing my overdraft facility, and the only way that I could use my account was if I brought my account out of overdraft (by depositing money, he with the stroke of a key had removed $500 in available credit), and that even if I brought my account out of overdraft, I would have to appear in the branch and present ID in order to have my account restricted from 'deposit only' status. Furthermore, he told me that I would have to make all my deposits via the teller; that my ATM card was locked.
Eventually, he climbed down a little bit - he said I could use the ATM card to make deposits. But I'd still need to go to the branch to remove the lock (even if I dropped in a cheque for $10000 that cleared) and that he was still removing my overdraft.
Its important to note that in 10 years, I've never once deposited a bad, fraudulent cheque. I've never once had a client cheque I've deposited bounce on me. I rarely have missed a monthly VISA payment, even though my VISA was over it's limit and I wasn't making any headway at all.
I complained to the RBC Ombudsmans office. I used to work at RBC, and I could see where this was going. Risk Management loaded up my branch manager with crap to say, and he piped it off hook line and sinker and wouldn't budge. The Ombudsmans office wanted me to file a complaint with client care first, and forwarded my complaint to some goof in Montreal who didn't bother to phone me, yet chose to write me a letter and mail it. I faxed my complaint in and he had it in his hands within 48 hours. His mail to me took at least 7 days to arrive. For the most technologically advanced bank in Canada; the horse and cart delivery method was a joke; he could have at least faxed me a copy and mailed the original.
His response was an exercise in revisionist history. He said that when I deposited the cheques, they did a review of my account and determined that I was kiting. Kiting is where you are covering credit payments with other credit to continually keep all the credit in a circle, never paying anything off. Typically kiting is done with a series of bank accounts at different banks where you write cheques paying down the overdraft from each of them in a circle. Kiting is the same thing with credit cards, where you withdraw a bit from one and then pay it off with another.
These were my main accounts; credit card. I deposit money to them regularly; I have no other accounts. How the hell could I be kiting?
Furthermore, nobody told me of any of this crap when my accounts were locked. They just said they wanted the cheques to clear.
With my overdraft locked and accounts locked the accounts are useless to me. I don't mind paying them back for the overdraft, but I would have appreciated a gradual removal or at least warning. I have to cash my cheques at the local money mart because I don't trust giving them to the bank; the money is safer in cash than it is handing it over to them.
They also told me in some kooky story that my Visa limit was the cause of my troubles. I told them that this was hogwash, on the 8th I had spoken to Visa and made arrangements for an extra payment of $96 on the 26th of the month. Ironically, when I got back from the branch on the 19th, they called - informing me that my $100 automatic payment had been returned. They were still all right with me, after I told them the stupid things that had occurred that day.
In the end, now I'm waiting for 40 days for another complaint via the Ombudsmans office. I carry all my money in cash. I haven't been able to make a Visa payment since then because my accounts are locked. I lost $500 in available credit, and I'm paying 4% to cash my cheques. My VIP banking package is still costing me $30 per month.
My Branch Manager on the phone was quick to offer to kill my VIP service account - but I told him no f-ing way. You see you have to qualify for a VIP account - and if he took that off then I wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
I'm furious. The people at this bank have changed so much. When I first worked there, they bent over backwards for clients. Now it seems that they don't want anyone who doesn't keep $30000 in the bank. What's dumb, is that when you keep a lot of money in cash in the bank, you don't even pay fees. I'm paying fees through the nose for my services, ranging from OD protection to unlimited transactions to Visa interest. They're making a killing off of my financial situation.
Just as I was about to turn it around, they went and kicked me in the balls. What a bunch of jerks; even the Ombudsmans office us useless as a last resort complaint.