Orphan Survival Stories Index |
My wife and I have banked at the First Georgia Bank, in Brunswick, Georgia, for more than ten years. I had always thought that we were good customers. We never had a bounced check, never had a bad or harsh word with any of the tellers. We had a very good relationship as far as I could tell. However, all of that was about to change.
My wife and I have four accounts at this one branch of the First Georgia Bank. We have several other accounts at various other banking institutions around town. I should point out that the bank has now changed its name to United Community Bank.
It is customary that we make our weekly deposits each and every Monday. This one Monday morning we proceeded to the bank to make our weekly deposit. When we arrived we realized that the bank was closed. We had forgotten that it was a holiday. We placed the bank deposit bag in the glove-box of the car and proceeded home.
The following Monday morning my wife began to look for the bank bag after she had readied her weekly deposit. As we searched the house we realized that the bag was in the car and that we had forgot to make last weeks deposit. My wife went into a panic. I ran into the office and telephoned the bank. I learned that two of the twelve checks which we had written had already bounced. We headed to the bank and made both deposits. We were told that we would be charged a fee on both the bounced checks. I telephoned the manager of the bank, Fred Alexander, and explained the situation to him. I told him that this was an accident and that he should give this fact some consideration. He was rather coarse with me but I felt that I could live through it. In the end, he agreed to dismiss the two check charges and deposit these funds back into our account.
Over the next few days we received numerous notices in the mail advising us that all twelve of our checks had bounced and that we would be charged a $35.00 fee for each and every check. A total of $420!!!
The problem as I see it: There is no doubt that a bank has the right to charge a fee for overdraft checks. However, I was told that only two checks had bounced. The funds were immediately placed into the bank to cover the remaining checks. Somehow they were still allowed to go through as overdrafts.
Once again, I telephoned the bank and I talked with Fred Alexander, the branch manager. This time he was more than coarse. He was down right rude. He made it very clear to me that this was our fault and that we were going to pay any and all charges connected with the overdrafts.
After hanging up, I telephoned the president of the bank. I discussed the matter with his secretary in some detail. I was told that she would discuss the matter with the bank president himself. Several hours later, I received a telephone call from Mr. Alexander. In a gruff voice he told me that the charges against my account would be reversed and credited back into our account.
Before hanging up, Mr. Alexander made the following comment to me: "Let me tell you this. This had best not happen again. Do you understand me, Mr. Kiser?"
I just about fell off my chair. Even to this day, I cannot believe that he talked to me in that manner.
I am by no means a wealthy man. Most of my life I have worked for minimum wages. My wife works as a waitress at Sonny's Real Pit Bar BQ, five days a week. What monies I have made off my books, and stories I have placed into bank accounts for my grandchildren's education. Most of my work I have gladly given away for free.
I wonder how Mr. Alexander would have treated me if I would have had half a million dollars in his bank? My guess is that he would have telephoned me and told me that I did not have to worry about it.
The fact still remains that no customer should be treated in that manner. I don't care if they have one dollar in the bank, or if they have one million. It is not a matter of money. It is a matter of respect.
I learned yesterday that Mr. Alexander retired several months ago. Hopefully whoever took his position cares a little more about "customer service."