Netbank Complaint - Beware, Netbank is after your wallet
ALPHARETTA, GEORGIA -- It's with a heavy heart that I write this review as I have been a satisfied customer at Netbank for over 5 years. I enjoyed the fact that I did not get allocated monthly fees on using my checking account and that I could enjoy no ATM charges. I also enjoyed their Bill Pay service in which I felt relieved and satisfied that my monthly mortgage payment came directly out of my checking account via ACH Withdrawl before they issued the check to put in the mail. January 2007 changed all of that.
I have called and sent bank mail to their customer service department over 9 times since February inquiring as to why my check to my mortgage company as well as other bill pay accounts are not debiting out of my checking account when they issue the bank check. According to Netbank, it is due to the bill pay company Check Free. Three phone calls to Check Free have prompted that the issue is on Netbank's side as to how Netbank is reporting the payment type. No one at Check Free or Netbank is able to precisely explain what happened, it is just a bunch of finger-pointing.
Why is this an issue? How many people have gone to the grocery store and wrote a check 2 days before payday? How many of you have hoped that your deposit goes in before the check gets cashed? How many of you have been hit with bad check fees because the grocery store deposited the check the next day using Check 21 technology and the check attempted to cash one day or even one hour prior to your direct deposit payroll going into your bank? Netbank's new bill pay format is EXACTLY that!!
My mortgage company is set in the bill pay program to debit on the 1st of every month as I get paid monthly. On February 26th, Netbank and Check Free wrote a check to my mortgage company, sent me a little note in bill pay saying the funds would be debited from my account when the company cashed the check, and sent the check out. I had a direct deposit of my payroll on the 1st of March and luckily the check canceled by my mortgage company on the 1st of March by the stamp on the back of the check image. The funds were finally deducted from my account on 3/6. Whew...February and March, I got lucky. What about April?
Since it seems that this company likes to put those monthly payments in the mail on the last Monday of the month (January 29th was for the Feb. payment which canceled on Feb. 2nd), I can only assume that this is where Netbank makes out on bad check fees. Check Free issues the payment on March 26th, postal mail takes 2 days to get to mortgage company, receives and cancels check on the 28th or 29th depending on how reliable the local mail man is, and attempts to run the check. Again, I get paid on the last day of the month...however the last day falls on a Saturday so funds may not be available until that morning. Can you hear the BOING???? I'm sure that in April, many Netbank customers who are not aware of this will hear that sound. And guess who is going to have to pay the piper?? US, the customers!!
Netbank is aware of this, it has been pointed out by their own staff and their response has been once people get used to how the new system operates, they will change the way they use bill pay. However, they never made their customers aware that this could happen. Luckily I just happened to see the issue prior to having any bounced checks and have been raising holy hades about it since my payment type changed from an ACH Withdrawal to a regular check payment. You figure, 1000 customers who do not know about this and have payments set up appropriately, payments that have worked just fine for years, all of a sudden get hit with a $30.00 fee. That $30,000.00 in Netbank's pocketbook, now times that by maybe an average 3 payments per customer before people really know what's going on. Now that's a potential $90,000.00 in the bank's pocket. Believe me, whoever at Netbank dreamed this up is not a stupid person when it comes to inflating Netbank's bottom line. Steven Herbert picked a smart one.
Consumer beware, if you are using this bank. Go out to your bill pay and check which accounts were ACH back in January and change your payment dates ahead a day or two when you are absolutely sure the funds will be in the account. Netbank and Check Free are going to use the excuse that you weren't responsible in setting the right date on your bill pay accounts and they are going to collect their money off the top of your bank account.
Next, do like me, change your account to another bank who is up front on how their bill pay system works. There are just too many banks out there to choose from today that offer interest checking and no fees.
Good luck to any Netbank and bill pay consumers out there, every $30.00 fee is a tank of gas, and I know that sometimes that is a huge chunk out of a family's budget these days. In the mean time, I am sending a certified letter to Steven Herbert, president of Netbank. Next will be a formal complaint to the FDIC.