I am currently working on an article concerning Angry Customers and the banking industry. As you can imagine, there are a number of instances where customers are not happy with their banks. Today’s Boston Globe has an interesting article called “Man Beats Bank.” The gist of the article is that, above and beyond the typical pesky fees that many banks impose upon their customers for pratcially every service rendered, there is a darker side. Fleet Bank, now owned by Bank of America, utilized “‘a secret rate sheet’ that bank employees were given daily and told not to disclose to customers.” This came to light when a customer was charged $10,000 for a transaction that should have cost him $30. The bank shot itself in the foot when it inadvertently attached the secret rate sheet to a deposition of a bank official. The bank customer, who is a lawyer, was tenacious in his fight, and after 8 years, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that the bank had not properly disclosed the rates. State and Federal regulators and even consumer reporters had previously ignored his complaint, and he believes that many other Fleet customers have been similarly overcharged.
If banks wonder why their industry has such a shaky reputation, here is one obvious example. Sometimes, it’s not enough to read the fine print; sometimes, the most significant details are “secret.”
– Chuck Dennis