This is a word of warning to anyone with a Bank of America checking account: if you use your debit card to purchase anything online – even if it is a one-time order – unscrupulous merchants can help themselves to your money and BoFA will do nothing to help you!

Online companies have helped themselves to over $2000 of MY money and all BoFA will say is, sorry, we can’t help you because we don’t know the terms of your agreement with that merchant.

BoFA will not refund your money unless you threaten to sue, and even then, BoFA will only refund a small portion of your cash and tell you to take the merchant to court. I’ve read the horror stories online from other BoFA account holders but I never thought it would happen to me. I have been hit three times by three different companies – all in 6 months! Out of the $2000 stolen from my account, BoFA has only refunded $900!

This can’t be a coincidence!

I’m not going to go into specifics, but this is no coincidence that merchants are suddenly helping themselves to our cash. Obviously they realize that there is a loophole with debit accounts and BoFA is doing nothing to fill it.

Canceling your card will not help you: after a company took $1350 out of my checking account 3 months ago, a BoFA rep told me that even if she canceled my debit card, the bank would continue to pay the merchant because I allowed the merchant access to my account.

Solution: do not use your BoFA debit card for any online purchases, even if it is a one-time purchase. Use a credit card instead.

  • prynsexxx

    Damn, that does suck. I would be somewhere crying like a b i t c h if that happened to me.

    Credit cards and PayPal is all I can say.

  • wiggy2272003

    Girl, I could of told you they suck my neighbor(senior on social security) had a fraudulent check cashed for $2k out of her account. She didnt even hade close to that available. She asked them why they cashed it if she didnt have the money they told her they did it as a courtesty. It took her monthes to straghten it all out. Also if you go in there and try to cash one of THEIR checks and you dont have an account there they charge you.

    check out suntrust I like them


    Are you Serious?? I had a credit card with them last year and I had to cancel it because they seemed a little shady.. That is really FOUL!!

  • Coo Coo Bananas

    Thank goodness I switched a long time ago. Got like 3 dollars in that account lol.

  • ms.peaches

    Im glad to find that out cause I was thinking about banking with them I guess I will stick to my credit union!! but they don’t charge you if you don’t have an account with them especially if your paycheck is drawn from them, I know they didn’t charge me cant speak for anyone else!!But thanks for the info Sandra!!

  • lnp03

    I hate Stank of America. They have the worst customer service and their lines are always long! I stopped banking with them a long time ago.

  • milly

    Theyve done this to me so many times its ridiculous.

  • Bird

    I doubt it matters what card you use if a merchant hooks itself onto your account. I had the same thing happen to me with my Wachovia account and I had to go to the merchant to make sure they didn’t debit my account further. Why would you blame that on the bank? Should they have to refund the money while the merchant keeps it? I doubt any bank would just keep giving you refunds, no questions asked.

  • Sandra Rose

    @ Bird: I had a similar problem with my VISA card when a merchant charged $4500 to my card. I called VISA and they canceled the card immediately and sent me another one.

    BoFA told me that if I cancel my card they will still continue to pay the merchant!!! Clearly BoFA doesn’t care if merchants steal your money. All I’m saying is don’t use your BoFA debit card online. Use a credit card instead because you get better protection.

  • alana

    I worked as a personal banker in college and we could not stop merchants from taking money out of their accounts. ppl had to either cancel with the merchant or open a new account. I just opened an acct w/ BOA in Dec because I wanted to be in the “keep the change” program. I haven’t began using the account yet but I will be mindful of where I use my BOA debit card! good looking out

  • pinky2083

    i don’t like them either!

  • 2Unruly

    I used them, and a webhost a few years ago was deducting $99/month from my account, and I had not noticed, because I was busy working. I filled out a form and after about 5 busy days the three months was debited back to my account. But I don’t use their debit card anymore. They are a ripoff with fees. Bank of Boston was the best before the merger with BOA. I would pay bills online and at the stroke of midnight the bills would be paid. After the merger, it was just BOA, and after setting up bills to be paid, they would take 5 days for the transaction to transpire. They just like to HOLD & USE your money for too long, BEFORE they paid your bills.

    It’s best to deal with small banks and neighborhood credit unions. Once banks grow to the size of BOA, forget about it.

  • 2Unruly

    It’s not just debit cards, once you set up electronic payment withdrawals from checking accounts, you have already authorized them to go into your account…so it is a similar screw job.

  • hellava10

    Stick with credit unions!

  • kymlayla

    BOA has been sued for this and then some. About 6yrs ago there was a huge lawsuit with BOA employees and customers accusing them of fraud because they let all thse big amts post to your account knowing good and well that you didn’t have the money. but you did have monies in there for the smaller transaction but they send those back so that overdraft fees, rtn checks fees can be added to your account. I only dealt with them for about and year and I was gone. My sis is a VP for them and she can tell you some horror story.

  • BayArea

    I shop online a lot with my WAMU (Washington Mutual) debit card. I check my account on a regular basis (it shows pending transactions seconds after I make a purchase online). Sandra, you should probably put the shady merchants on blast also, so we know not to patronize them. You got me a little worried. I can not afford to give away money. Especially not any g’s. Sorry this happen to you :(

  • selly

    Ha….I had about 5 accounts with BoA and last year they placed my IRS Tax Refund check on hold and ended up mailing me the check back after I deposited via ATM. It was a complete mess! I couldnt get into the bank during the hours and that’s why I deposited in the machine. They had to do some kind of verification and all this other BS that didnt make any sense. I closed 3 of my accounts with them because of this mess and after I closed one of my accounts, they kept charging me some kind of monthly fee on my savings acct so It took me 3 months to settle that issue. I was like…how in the world can u charge a monthly fee on a account that was closed. They do suck!

    Also, I did put in a complaint with Better Business Bureau and let me tell u….It Works! A BoA rep called me within days and if u place a complaint on the BBB website, they HAVE to settle the issue. It works with any company that you’re having issues. I’ve tried it with Sprint too!

    Happy Monday everyone! Uggggh!

  • ATLien

    That sux! I still have several accounts w/ BOA but I rarely use them. I route all of my cash through my credit union and Schwab only. BOA is just a convenience account cause they’re local. I’ve had many run ins with them as well and learned my lesson a long time ago! Stay on em SR, I wouldn’t give up without a fight…

  • dblaq

    As a merchant myself, I can only say this merchants don’t get the money, because as soon as the bank hit you with a chargeback it comes out of your account. So obviously the banks are holding onto the money. I felt the same way about customers because many seemed to know the system buy buying shit from you and once they receive it, they file a claim stating they didn’t authorize the charges. They request you to fax in all documentation including a delivery proof. I never won any cases where I had all documentation even where the customers called from the number on file.

    So to be fair, merchants sit in the same boat but more so I believe that if customers do not get the money back, merchants get hit with the charges. So where is the money going – THE BANK!!!

  • GWU

    Never use your debit card to purchase anything online. Only use your credit card. The terms of a credit card are in favor of the card holder. Debit cards absolve the bank of almost all liability when it’s your card in question. Also when you have any issues with the bank, deny you’ve authorized any transactions, even if you did. Then they will pay attention. I work for a bank in Canada, are laws are different, but this is the one area that both are quite similar. You are responsible for all debit card transactions that use your card and your pin number. No exceptions. If they copy your card then you have recourse, but other than that you’re screwed. When in doubt ALWAYS tell the bank you are clueless. trust.

  • sharnell

    Sandra, I am so glad you are covering this story. I have been telling everyone that will listen about this exact situation. I closed my account with BOA and they were still paying merchants and sent me to check systems and there was nothing that could be done about it. Please, everyone reading this post believe you me this is no job or scare tactic. Stay away, stay far far away.

  • 2thick4u

    I will let all my friends read this posting and research more about BOA!!!

    This doesn’t make any sense, I am glad that this hasn’t happened to me!!!

  • Windycitychick

    Yes I would appreciate it if a list of merchants were shown…are these small business or places like Macys, etc??

    Selly I had the same thing happen with the IRS deposit this year. I called and asked: what do you have to verify?? It’s from the government not Ray-Ray nem….

  • Sandra Rose

    Thanks to GWU and all who responded. My attorney Precious at The Anderson Firm, is on top of this. I canceled my account with the unnamed company back in January!! I never used their service, yet they continue to charge my card every month!

    I’ve called them numerous times in addition to emailing them, and each time they say “sorry” then charge my card again! BoFA does nothing. I have an account with Wachovia which I use as a secondary savings account. But I think I will move all my money over to Wachovia and close my account with BoFA. They are worthless.

  • Sandra Rose

    Windycitychick Says:

    Yes I would appreciate it if a list of merchants were shown…are these small business or places like Macys, etc??

    I’m not going to name the company just yet. But I will soon. It isn’t a major retailer. But quite a few blogs use their service. You probably will never do business with them if you don’t own a blog.

  • nyp

    wow! that’s a real downer. i think the banking industry is shady. period. i’ve been banking bith boa for almost 10 years and during that time, whenever i’ve had disputes with online merchants i’ve been credited. i think the lesson here is that if you recieve bad service, there’s always an alternative.

  • NC_NYer

    Yep – I’d be interested to hear who the merchant was, as well (when the time is right). Wonder if it was “CCBill, Inc.”…..

  • brdnbutta

    You need to close your account immediately. There is something about using a debit card with any bank or financial institution that allows merchants to do this. It all depends on which network the company uses to make the transaction. If they use the ACH network they can hit your account daily for any amount as long as the account remains open. The bank cannot do anything to stop it because “you have authorized the merchant to debit your account”. Also even if you do a stop payment on electronic debits if the merchant changes the amount you have requested be blocked by even a penny the transaction will go through. So definitely use a true credit card when subscribing to services that debit monthly because you always have a greater amount of protection that way. Also alot of banks and creditu unions have a maximum amount they are willing to refund in these types of situations as well as a time frame for when they will refund these charges. For example if the charges have been going on for 6 months they may only refund the last three months

    also @ selly

    when i worked at a credit union a few years ago –a tax refund that was placed in the atm or night depository was always returned to the account holder and not deposited. Our explanation was that because of all the fraud during refund season the depositor had to be present in order to cash or deposit a refund check

  • GWU

    The Banking industry isn’t “shady” they are just in the business of making money from money. They have more regulations than most, so they’ve are masters at nickle and diming. Unlike most organizations, they do lay it all out for you in the fine print. Unfortunately we have been conditioned not to read the fine print.

    Honestly, when your kid starts looking for their first job, have them work part time at as bank teller rather than McDonalds. And let that be the only customer service job they ever have. They’ll be better off financially than working at McD’s or Starbucks…not because it pays well, but they will get a crash course in money management watching all of the clients.

  • tbrown

    I don’t make many online purchases with my account, but I have made some. Primarily through amazon for books and whatnot. So far, nothing’s amiss. But thanks for the warning :)

  • Sandra Rose

    brdnbutta Says:

    You need to close your account immediately.

    Even if you close your account, BofA will still pay the merchant as long as they keep billing your closed account. I am fortunate because my debit card expires next month so any further transactions by this merchant will be refused. I’ve learned my lesson though. I will never use any debit card online again. I will use my American Express or VISA from now on.

    Banks like BofA prey on people who might not qualify for major credit cards. I did hear from a BofA employee who emailed me to say she would look into the problem. But I am going to close my account because I’ve had enough of BofA.

  • 2Unruly

    Coincidence: There is a debit card suit on Judge Joe Brown right now…someone agreed to let someone debit their account for a cell phone payment, and the cell company kept billing the plaintiff’s debit card. She could not get them to stop, because she was not the account holder, so she was suing her friend who had the phone.

  • Kymystry

    Sandra… as a former BofA employee .. You MIGHT have some recourse .. I banked with them for 11 yrs (im now with WaMu Whooo HOooo) … and the same thing happened to me 801.45.. my account was used fraudently and went thru the proper escalation channels .. Cust Service (and Yall thought 911 was a Joke) .. went into the branch .. got the District manager involved .. no avail .. so .. I got the VP’s numb (they HAVE to give it to you) in Charlotte .. and BofA credited my account for a grand total of 1300.00 when all was said and done… I promtly left them after that.

  • Richie Domino

    Hey Sandra check out Dave Ramsey to see what recourse you may have.

    FYI- If you make a deal to allow a company to withdraw multiple payments over a period of time or should I say “they withdraw $50 a month for 3 months” they can take it all in one fatal swoop and there is nothing you can do about it.

    I know creditors try that to get people to write them post dated checks. A post dated check can be cashed at any time.

  • Richie Domino

    -after thought-

    For those who don’t have one yet get a PayPal account. You can transfer money from your checking into your PayPal and just use your PayPal to make online purchases. PayPal also has a debit card.

  • BayArea

    Sandra: Good thing it expires next month. I would have gone the lost or stolen route, in order to get everything halted.

  • Windycitychick

    Sandra Rose: But quite a few blogs use their service. You probably will never do business with them if you don’t own a blog.

    I actually do have one…but I may have an idea now

  • srv

    Damn SR,
    Hi by the way!! Anyhow, I bank with BOA and I actually love my account. I had someone purchase 300 worth of pizzas on my account and they promptly refunded my money. Another time, I went to purchase something off (which has the best deals on electronics by the way) and they sent me to this verifcation screen as a security precaution. Not so bad right. I agree with you though, because if something like this had happened to me, I’d be pissed!

  • NaturalFromHead2Toe

    I absolutely hate BofA. I’m in the check system behind them fools. They were also stealing money out of my account. In fact, they were stealing money from quite a few people I know. Thieves!!!

  • NaturalFromHead2Toe

    Oh and another thing, I bank with Wachovia and I like them. I had to open a student account on-line with Wachovia because of BofA screwing me up and putting me in the check system. I’m not a student but I applied as one and got an account.

  • brwnsugga4you

    i stopped using them a few years ago. once i found out that they would hold a direct deposit…and if you hand any pending transactions they would let the transactions go through be for the deposit took place so they can charge you all of those unavailable funds fees (ridiculous). so even though they knew the deposit was coming they would still get their money off the top. this bank is the worst out of all the banks. i’ve had washington mutual, wachovia…and they are not 1/2 as bad as this bank.

    i hope you find a way to get your money. but, if i were you i would close all of my d*mn acounts with them.

  • ursmyle4me

    Thanks for posting this, Sandra. I just thought I would offer my small piece of advice for other people who purchase online a lot:

    I have always used a pre-paid debit card for my purchases online. That way, they can only take what I put on there. I have learned in the past when I purchase things that offer flexible payments, or things that have trial days, or even bill collectors that I don’t want to give access to all of my “lil” money.

    When bill collectors wants a post dated check, I give them the pre-paid card info, and as much as they try, they can not take anything but what I put on there.

    It has worked for me for years, and it also gives me a piece of mind, when I purchase online.

    The best pre-paid is netspend. You can go on their website and read about them. I have two cards, one for serious purchases, and one for BS. The one for BS is when I purchase “30 day trial” stuff and cancel and they try and charge anyways. I love the card and recommend it for anyone making large purchases. The card can hold $5000 at a time, and you can go just about anywhere and put money on it.

    Thanks again Sandra

  • brdnbutta

    Sandra Rose Says:
    Even if you close your account, BofA will still pay the merchant as long as they keep billing your closed account
    ***********************************************************Dang Sandra
    That is absolutely foul! The credit union I used to work with never paid attempted debits on a closed account and we actually advised our accountholders to close their accounts and open new ones to stop the charges from reoccuring. I’ve told my parents for years to close out their BOA account, anyways good luck to you in getting the issue handled

  • nautilus

    I used to work for them. I know their in’s and out’s. I know that they cater according to the size of someones average balance, and don’t really care to lose customers who have smaller accounts. I wasn’t proud to work for them, I quit working for them and hate banking with them. I am glad you aired them out on here Sandra, it’s a very warranted warning.