It’s great to have Bank of America in my corner — seriously


Bank of America gets more than its fair share of complaints. But Ann Rieke just had a terrific experience with her B of A credit card, and wanted me to know about it.

Hers is a familiar story. She’d paid $1 to get her “free” credit score through a fly-by-night company online. “When we called, a representative said it was ‘plain as day’ I was signing up for a monthly report.”

Actually, it wasn’t.

“I followed their ad for a “free” credit report and that was all I wanted, not a monthly report,” she says. “I didn’t go back to see if their claim was true because I didn’t care — I was willing to pay the $1 for service charge and that was it.”

In fact, you can get your free credit report right here. And yes, it’s actually free.

I’ve written about this scheme in the past, and even though the disclosure is relatively clear, customers don’t always read the fine print. That doesn’t make it any less of a scam, say consumers.

Rieke decided to dispute her credit card bill. Here’s what happened next:

“After going over the charges and dates with the B of A rep, she was able to get through to the company,” she says. “It turned out to be a lengthy and argumentative conversation with the merchant.”

Rieke and the merchant went back and forth during the conference call, and the B of A representative said nothing. “The B of A rep stayed on the line quietly and patiently until the company agreed to reverse the charges,” she remembers.

She adds,

The B of A agent was respectful enough of me to let me handle the problem, but stayed on the line in case I needed her. When the matter was resolved and the merchant hung up, the B of A rep confirmed with me the problem was solved, I was satisfied and we were done.

In other words, B of A had her back.

“I hear people bash B of A all the time,” says Rieke. “They say, ‘Oh they are awful.” But my experience has been if you are patient and polite they hang in there with you and solve the problem. This is not my first positive outcome with them. I’m staying with B of A.”

I hear about too many credit card disputes that don’t go the customer’s way, and truth be told, B of A could have turned Rieke down flat. I’m sure the “free” credit report company had protected itself with disclosures and legalese on its website.

Still, B of A stood with its customer, and that was the right call.

Bank of America gets our third Elliott award for excellent customer service. Good job, B of A.

If you’ve experienced excellent customer service recently, please let me know about it. We’re recognizing companies who go above and beyond the call of duty in a new weekly feature.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google Plus

  • J. Random Driveby

    31 years ago, after taking a job in Fort Worth, I opened an account at Republic Bank Ridglea. About a year later, I moved to Dallas, and moved the account to Republic Bank Greenville Avenue. A year later, when I moved back to Fort Worth, the account stayed at Republic Bank Greenville Avenue, because the difference in quality of service was night and day, far more than enough to compensate for the 40-mile drives that I was fairly routinely making anyway.

    A few years later, an issue came up. I drove to Dallas, to talk with the bank. The customer service desk sent me up to the department head. It was the end of the month, and the department head was obviously up to her neck in end-of-the-month audit work. She nevertheless dropped everything, IMMEDIATELY, because There Was A Customer In Her Office With A Problem.

    Well over 20 years later, after a series of mergers, buyouts, and name changes, my checking account is STILL home-based at Republic Bank Greenville Avenue, which is now part of Bank of America.

    And, funny thing, the customer service I get from them is still exemplary.

    I have a personal philosophy: the best customer service you can get from some outfits is invisible: you never meet or deal with their problem resolution folks because there’s never a problem to begin with. They do their jobs, correctly, all the time, every time.

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    Another reason to always ask your credit card issuer for help with an incorrect charge. Haven’t had that many problems that I couldn’t resolve myself, but always know I can call in the big dogs if needed. .

  • James Penrose

    “customers don’t always read the fine print. That doesn’t make it any less of a scam, say consumers.”

    Consumers may say what they want, but if you don’t read the fine print (i.e. the contract you are signing) then it is simple: You are an idiot who should not be allowed to handle your own finances and should probably be wearing a helmet and safety vest when you leave the house so others will know you have mental development issues and are “challenged”.

    The government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions trying to educate people about how to get the genuine free credit report. Thirty seconds work on Google will get you the real thing but yet you get fools like this who don’t bother to do even a minimal amount of checking because they count on others to throw them a rope whenever they dig themselves a hole.

    These are the same people who ignored words like “adjustable rate” and “balloon payment” when they bought houses and were shocked to find out their rate could adjust or they owed a balloon payment despite the HUD-1 form and loan disclosure forms that laid out all the costs of the loan.

    I’d like to think this person learned a lesson but the odds don’t favor it and in time, she will be back with some other sob story about how she was scammed by the nasty people out in the world even though they told her ahead of time exactly what they planned to do to her finances, how they planned to do it it and what they were going to charge her for doing it. and she could have stopped at any point.

  • jacksan1

    Wow, I did do a double take on the title. “Bank of America” and “in my corner” do not usually occur in the same line.

  • MSRowan

    I have no idea why taking a picture of the ticket would have solved anything. I have been in the habit of taking pictures of my rental car when I get it, drop it off, and if I am parking someplace where I will be gone for a while. The first two are for proof of what condition the car was in when I picked it up, and when it was dropped off (saved my butt, too when Enterprise tried to ascribe damage done to a car rented by me. I had the pictures to prove what the car looked like when I gave the keys to the agent, as a matter of fact the agent was in one of the pictures! Trust me Enterprise didn’t see that coming yet I thought most people did that.) The third is because when I am in a strange location with a rental car, I sometimes can’t remember where I parked the car, and unless I rent a really special car, to me, all of my rentals look alike. I think that would be a better type of recourse for erroneous tickets. A picture of your rental in the parking spot you used. then if you get a ticket for parking in an inappropriate place, you have the pictures to prove it!

  • Chris3081

    I once had Chase call me and ask me if I had ordered some merchandise from England, and they said “We didn’t think that was you.” Then they asked about something else and they said “We didn’t think that was you either.’ I never even

    saw those charges so I never had to dispute them.

    Key Bank, on the other hand, once hit me with a charge of $1100 on a Home Depot charge in a city I had not been (Chicago). It took four attempts to get this off my card, the last one being a certified letter. They put out one of those stupid

    cards that could be scanned while still in your wallet.

    By the way, I noticed their rate which was supposed to be 8.99% was actually

    9.75%. Isn’t this in violation of the Fair Credit Act or do they get around this like banks do on mortgages, with one rate then also an “effective” rate?

  • Rezwan Babu

    get free credit report
    If you have been cast off for credit for any motive, purely ask the
    creditor to make available you with a correspondence stating the reasons
    for their conclusion.