I have other things I could - would - actually did plan to write about - but Bank of America is so much taking the cake lately that they're getting their very own post, because I've had it. First of all, don't ever forget to endorse the back of a check. I did; that's what started me on this odyssey, and my special trip through all the many circles of hell just won't quit.
The check was someone else's, given to me to cash or deposit. I tend to deposit everything - like a squirrel, I just keep chucking it all away, mostly for the rent (which I have no chance of paying on time this month, thanks to this clusterfuck).
But my specialty is forgetting to endorse checks. That said, I endorse most of them, if around 80% of them counts as "most", and if endorsing them seconds before depositing them in the ATM or handing them back to the teller after they remind me counts as "remembering to endorse them".
I've had tellers reminding me since I was 19. Obviously it's never going to sink in that I need to endorse All The Checks before cashing or depositing them, though I think this incident has taught me better, not that it matters now.
The first check in question was from a person who forgot to sign it, then I forget to ask him to. Then I forgot to sign it myself and deposited the damn thing. Not in the bank - in the outdoor ATM, because I have a BoA account where if you merely walk in the door you get charged $7 for approaching the teller, so I tend to stay the fuck away from walking in the door, for that very reason. So this time there was no teller to catch my mistake and remind me to endorse it and to get it endorsed by the other person.
Leave it to me to not be more than 10 feet away from the ATM when I turned back in horror - it hit me exactly then that we'd both forgotten to endorse the check.
Way to go, my memory. It was outside normal banking hours so $7 charge or not, there was no teller because the bank wasn't even open. So I called the BoA ATM check clearance center as soon as I got home to see if they could return the check for me to endorse before actually depositing it, or if they'd accept it without any signatures (I've had this account for 10 years, so they should know me and my inability to remember to sign anything, by now).
No go on either idea - the big ol' Loomis truck would be coming at 8am to clear the ATM out, then off to a clearance center the check would go, but it's against the law for the bank to accept a check without proper endorsements, so that check was coming back to me one way or another, like it or not. The fact that it was a third party check probably only further complicated matters.
Calling again the next day, I learned the check would take at least 3-5 days to come back as undepositable over lack of endorsements, and another some-odd days to be processed inside of the bank, at which point the bank would either call or snail mail me to come to the bank to sign a legal copy of the check that they'd provide, then I'd have to deposit it again, as the first check couldn't be accepted.
And my rent is due. Now. I don't have time for all this, so I called the person who wrote the check and asked if he could cancel it and write me another one. Well, that would cost him $30 if he went in his bank (which is not BoA), or he could do it for free online that night. So I told him I'd wait.
He gave word the next day that the check was cancelled. He said he'd write another one the following Friday (which was two days ago). I told him that was fine.
The next day BoA levied a $12 fee over the check he cancelled. Though I'm not the one who canceled the check, BoA charged me $12 because he cancelled it. I'm still trying to figure out why I get charged $12 when another person chooses to take their checks back, a situation that could be out of my control (though it wasn't this time; it was by choice, but what happens when someone takes a check back and it's not my choice?).
I've known the check writer for years so I should've thought you can take whatever he says with a grain of salt because he's so unreliable. Sure enough, Friday turned into Saturday and then into Sunday before he got the check to me. I rushed off to the bank with it, only to see a "Hold" notice across the bottom of the receipt - the check won't clear for a minimum of 10 days (Nov. 9th is the seemingly random and totally bullshit date they chose).
Absolutely shocked - I've never had an ATM hold before, and I deposit payroll checks, personal checks, tiny settlement checks all the time - I called the same clearance center again only to be told they couldn't "see" it'd been deposited on their side, so to call back another time. They didn't say when, so I suggested "tomorrow" and they sounded game enough, but still unsure. And yes, he was American, based in Arkansas, according to the canned script he read off to me.
The amount on the check, plus whatever comes in this week from jobs and selling, was the only way the rent would have been paid on time (and by "on time", I mean by the 5th, without it being "late", but we're not even going to make the 5th now). I really, really tried, and that even though it's been such a horrible month. I had to return food to the store just to have enough money to do anything else this week, that's how bad it's gotten.
The lease calls for a $50 late fee for running even one day late. We've never been late, and I sort of pride myself on paying on time, even if my phone spends half a year on average shut off for lack of funds and I just pay Comcast whenever because screw them, really, and I go without however many meals a day almost every day of the year just to pay the bills.
But paying the rent late? Not down with that at all.
Before the hold I was going to call BoA tomorrow, anyhow, about the $12 chargeback fee on the last version of this check, since I don't see why I should have to pay for someone else to choose to cancel their own checks, so while I'm on the phone with them about that I'm going to see if I can get the hold lifted, but I'm not holding my breath.