Regions/Amsouth Bank Complaint - Poor Service/Incompetence
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE -- Consumers Be Aware and DEMAND Service where you spend your money! This could happen to you.
Banks – Huge revenue producers, off our Money, the People……………My experience with AmSouth Bank & Regions Bank, now one huge conglomerate, getting bigger. I know this is far from news, but I had to share this.
The term “Customer Service” seems to be a part of every company’s motto lately. Which is smart, consumers are no longer allowing their money to be taken without service, and why should they (we)?
Banks are no exception, we see banks lure us in with gifts, money, interest rates, whatever will get us to deposit our money, get credit cards, get loans, so that they can make money off of us, and lots of it. They woo us, everyone is super personable, helpful and attentive and then we turn over our cash or sign on the dotted line. We all know what happens next, we become an account number. However, they continue to make the same money without having to provide any service.
Now, I don’t expect a birthday call from my bank, but I do expect trained professionals to notice something odd and care enough about me as a person, to contact me, before it could potentially ruin my credit, cost me money, or needless embarrassment. C. Dowd Ritter, President and Chief Executive Officer of the new Regions/AmSouth merge, was quoted as saying “Combining AmSouth and Regions creates a company with market- leading positions in some of the best markets in the country, said Ritter. These companies complement each other in many ways, and together, led by one of the strongest management teams in the business, we will have an even greater ability to deliver superior service to our customers.” WOW, sounds like my kind of bank!
Personally, I am a hotel General Manager, my team must provide great service every time we encounter a guest. I am aware that guests have a choice, and I want them to choose my hotel because they feel good about being there. I would have it no other way. If a guest encounters a challenge, my staff is trained to own that challenge until the guest is 100% satisfied. Money is not a concern, good service is the best marketing you can have. It makes your consumer that most loyal and understanding when issues do arise. I love what I do daily, and my guests matter.
Well, here is my story, you be the judge on whether or not I received superior service, or any service at all. Not to say that these banks are this way always or not good banks, this is just my experience. I certainly gave each bank an opportunity to make my situation right before writing this, but they failed horribly.
I became a Regions customer when my bank, Union Planters (very service oriented, smaller bank), was taken over by them. All was fine, as banks go, until 3 months later, I noticed the “Free Online Banking” sign I had overlooked many times. Well, we had five accounts; four used online banking, including a business account, so this would be a huge monthly savings for me. At least $60.00 a month so I quickly called to be signed up, only to be told, the offer was for new customers only. Why is it, that the loyal, existing, paying customers are always punished and not allowed such deals they should be more that entitled to? I argued this point with Regions with at least 10 calls over 3 years. Eventually, they allowed us to also save (smart move). The last agent that I spoke with offered to waive the fee from the prior month as a courtesy. I thanked him and mentioned that they may want to remove all fees charged since I began this quest for justice. He said he would se what he could do. We left it at that and I dropped the issue, I appreciated him looking into it. (Remember this though).
Around one year later, (and with no additional “Free Banking” credits later), I bought a Lexus RX 330. My first luxury car, I worked hard for it and was so proud. AmSouth was the bank that held the loan. Then I received notice that both banks would be merging, great, how convenient for me, I thought. Regions held all of my bank accounts and AmSouth also held my home equity loan. Glad two companies I already had an established relationship merged.
I paid the first 3 payments through my business account and then began to pay from my personal account, of course using the convenience of Bill Pay. For the next four months I paid AmSouth faithfully (never realizing that one of the numbers in my account number was wrong, a 9 instead of a 3). You have no idea that a small human error like this could cause such a huge, unnecessary mess, of course for me, the account holder.
About that same time I received 3 different credits from Regions that stated “Bill Pay Credit” “Online Banking”; there was no other reference, memo, or note. Of course, I told everyone I knew about Regions doing that and how kind, ethical, and right it was … that was superior service! No one could believe a bank would do that ….. Well, it turns out that they were right and boy, was I wrong. Looking back, each credit came about a month after my car payment was sent. I never connected the two, I foolishly trusted my bank, and only reconciled quarterly. Not soon enough to stop the upcoming fiasco ….
On May 17th, I received a call at 7pm from my 21 year old son, with my 11 and 13 year old sons noticeably very upset in the background. No bill paying adult was at home. My son told me that there was a “Repo” man just at our home, and he was to take my car. The man left his number with my son, so I called. Knowing that I never missed a payment, I was upset, confused, and bewildered and I asked him why he was there. He told me that Regions had sent him. I explained to him that AmSouth held the loan, I never missed a payment, and I never was to pay Regions, the wonderful bank I had five accounts with. He was kind enough to allow me the next day to sort it out.
My friends told me to report them to the BBB, call the news teams on your side, raise hell! As I am a hotel General Manager, I hate when people do that, without giving me a chance to fix the problem to their satisfaction. I am huge on service, because consumers have a choice and I know that. I decided to give my bank an opportunity to make this right, plus I needed the facts myself.
Knowing that I had never received a phone call or any written notice from Regions about this issue, I assumed that it was just an error maybe caused by merging and was quite upset that my own bank would just “Repo” my car, without so much as a letter or phone call. I could not reach anyone until the next morning anyway. That night, after calming down my kids (which infuriated me) I sat down and looked at my accounts. I printed out all of the payments, they were all there. What was going on? …. Then I thought about those 3 ethical, warranted, credits to my account and how I sung the praises of Regions Bank to everyone I knew, hmmmmm, the amounts were the exact same as my payments. These were 3 different payment amounts. One was for my actual note, $598, the second was for $625 (late charge applied, and the last $576 (I guess I overpaid sometime)
Once I pay a bill, I never mentally retain the amount, unless it is always the same, like a mortgage. So the credits being different amounts with no note or memos other than stated “Bill Pay Credit” or “Online Banking”, I never knew this was a big problem and not a great reward. Still, how could it get to this? Even if one number in the loan account number was wrong, they still had my name, address and social security number to cross reference, ironically, the checks were coming from Regions, now THEY SAME COMPANY and both companies I HAD SEVERAL ACCOUNTS WITH. This had to be a computer error, because a trained, customer service oriented person would have noticed that there was something strange here. NO ONE NOTICED ANYTHING.
Please tell me why the recipient, AmSouth, after receiving 3 checks with an incorrect account number, didn’t look up the name, address, or just CALL REGIONS. Please tell me why the sender, Regions, would just keeping posting credits, with no information to alert me something was wrong. No phone calls, no online message in my Bill Pay, no note on my account (I was at a Regions Bank at least twice a week). This was just totally unacceptable to me that no one cared enough to contact me or even question the transactions or talk to each other, I mean they were now one company. I was floored. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know I was at fault. I should have had the correct account number and definitely should balance my account more regularly and question credits more carefully.
The next morning, at 7am, I talked with AmSouth, they said they never showed any payments posted after I started sending them with the wrong account number. She also said they cannot access Regions records from their computers. Not really sure how they sent them back to regions without at least having them first, but ok. I had to pay all three months right then and that was fine, I added the next month as well. She gave me the number for the Regions Repossession Department, a confirmation number, and told me that she would check on the reporting to my credit bureau and see if anyone could correct any negative rating that was reported. I certainly hoped she would.
I had to wait until 10am to call the Repo department, since that is when they opened. I then called Mike, the Repo man, and told him it was all taken care of and he should receive a call after 10am. I thanked him for communicating with me and giving me time to sort this out. It was 8am in the morning.
I then called Regions, to express my dissatisfaction and try to get some answers. She apologized stated that she could see the attempted payments and would make sure my credit was not affected. I certainly hope she does. She also agreed that the credits and notices mailed to me had no information that would have alarmed me that there was a problem. She had no idea why no one within the company picked up the phone and tried to figure it out. Sure, I should have called about the credits, but it was a credit that I thought was a refund, not a huge priority to drop everything and investigate or confirm. She also said that I should have been called or sent detailed written notification, before action was taken. Well of course, anyone in business should have known that, so why wasn’t that done? Even though she was very nice, I knew it was time to move banks. It was now 8:45 am and I was ready to move on with my day. Still very disappointed with the unprofessionally, poor service, and total lack of concern for their multi-account holder. I was tired of thinking about this.
I then called the Regions Repo Department, at 10 am, and explained what had happened and that I needed her to call off the Repo man. No apology, or reassuring words from her, instead I got an earful about how the customer service rep with AmSouth was wrong for even trying to assist me, she did not follow procedure, and she needed her name, as my account was in Repo status ….. Ouch, it shouldn’t have been! She assured me she would communicate to the appropriate people that a Repo was not needed. She also said that could see both computers systems (AmSouth and Regions), including my account, and payment was made.
“Well, if you can see both systems, you could see me attempting these payments, why was I not called?”, I asked. She said the phone number was not a good one. Well, we had changed our number, but we were still listed. Regions Bank gets my payroll checks regularly which have my job phone, the get my personal company checks, which list my office and cell phone numbers. So, who made the decision to Repo my car instead of sending a letter, trying to call me, or even looking in the system to see if they could find an error. She didn’t know, and this is my bank and I was livid. I asked her again if I was all set now, she said yes, she would contact the appropriate people. Yet, no apology. Definitely, need a new bank.
Now, we get to why this letter has been written and distributed …….. at 4:35pm, Mike the Repo man, that really has no reason to be helpful, called to tell me that he had not been called, was still instructed to get my car, and the only office that could call him off was closing in 25 minutes. The same office I talked to at 10 am were the ones he had still gotten the go ahead from. I thought I was going to combust! I was furious when I called Regions Repo Dept back, the person that answered, said the system showed nothing showing payment or the status of the Repo being put on hold. She began giving me excuses, I told her that she had 20 minutes to fix this, period! If my car got taken, I was getting a lawyer. I gave her my number and asked her to call me back before 5pm, no matter what she was able to do. I thought about the tears and fear I saw the day before in my children’s eyes behind this nonsense and began to cry.
She called me back in 10 minutes and told me it was taken care of …….again, no apology. I then called Mike to make sure and he said yes, he did not have to get the car. I thanked him for caring enough to work with me and call me before the office closed. Why is it that the only person that provided any service or concern was the one that was going to lose money by doing so? The bank that makes money off me daily, could have cared less, I was certain of that.
Hence, this letter, I do not expect it to be printed or really anything to be done with it. It was also sent to Mr. Ritter hopefully, to improve training at the bank. I just hope that maybe that any person that reads it may question why we allow things like this to happen and that it might strike up conversations. Banks can’t exist without consumers. Why do we pay because of poor service with companies we pay? These banks offer nothing more than many others do, why do we accept this? The banks clearly care most about the shareholders. I found that one the Regions website, but could not find anything when I searched “customer service”, but plenty when I searched “shareholder”. Regions stood to make even more money off me if the car had been taken. Well, I have had enough with companies that use millions of marketing dollars to talk the talk about superior customer service. I want to do business with a company that walks the walk, how about you?