Thursday, April 16, 2015

Time to Close Santander Extra20 Account? Also, My Surprising Santander Bank Customer Service Interaction (Separate Issues)

I recently signed up for a Santander Extra 20 savings and checking account.  The account offers $20 a month for free that can be automated via ACH Bank Transfers as laid out by Doctor of Credit.

The most important development for me and anyone else who has the account is that they seem to have recoded ACH transfers from direct deposits to P2P transfers.  I transferred money on 3/19/2015 and it was considered a "Schwab Bank Transfer" and I got my bonus for the month.  However, when I transferred money on 4/14/2015 from the same account, it is considered a P2P transfer.  I'm pretty sure this has to do with a new way that bank ACH transfers are being cataloged in general, but not positive.

Here is a picture of my online account.

We will see if $20 bonuses are still paid.  My hunch is no, but I hope I am wrong.  If bonuses are not paid out, it may be time to close the account.

My Costly Mistake and My Surprising Customer Service Interaction 

My Mistake
Something else you might notice in that picture are some hefty fees in my account.  Allow me to explain what happened.

I set up an automatic transfer of $1,500 in and out of Santander for direct deposits and 2 automatic monthly bill pays from my account and my wife's account.   In my account, the bonus posted in March and I used the $20 from the bonus to pay the next month's billpay.

I set up the transfers to my wife's account a few days later than my account and I missed some sort of cutoff for the month and did not get the $20 bonus the first month (I did get it the second month).  However, I didn't turn off the auto bill pay and the $20 bonus wasn't there to cover the charges.

Santander paid the 2 $10 bill pays.  I was charged $35 per transaction for the insufficient fees ($70 total).  I didn't realize it until I logged into my account a few days later (I got something in the mail yesterday) and I was charged another $35 for "sustained overdraft" of 5 business days.  I had transferred money once I knew but it takes time for it to get to the account.

That's $105 of fees for insufficient funds of $20 for 5 business days - over 500% in fees!

Customer Service

I called up Santander and explained that I was a new customer and I made a mistake.  Could I please have a one time reversal of the fees.  I was told that the supervisor said no.  I asked to talk to the supervisor.  I explained the same thing and said that I am being charged over $100 because I didn't have $20 in my account for 10 days.  The supervisor said he could not reverse the fees because they were legitimate.  I talked to him for a while and got nowhere.  I asked if I could speak to his supervisor.  He said that there is no one there who is his supervisor.  I took down his name and promised to contact the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General for their excess fees which will likely do nothing.

My Reaction 

I'm surprised more than anything.  Santander is 100% correct in the fees.  The fees are laid out and clear in their terms.  That being said, I am still surprised.  Most companies (even credit cards!) would reverse a fee one time for a customer, especially a new customer.

They don't owe me anything, but I am surprised they wouldn't do anything to retain a new customer. 

Am I overreacting?  Probably.  I just hate losing $105 for a dumb mistake like this.  Leave a comment on your thoughts.