My latest gripe about my bank

Over the years, I've made more than my fair share of mistakes in banking. I once put a large check in a backup account instead of the main one and the next day, I had a bank fee bloodbath. At various times, I've been derelict at balancing my checkbook, and there have been times I've lost track of what check was still out there, only to fully understand when it came through, and I didn't have enough money in the bank to cover it. I've also -- well, look, I'm not here to talk about my dumb mistakes. I wanted to bring up my bank's dumb mistake, and ask the question:

When my bank screws up, why can't I charge them a fee?

Friday, I rushed over to my bank and made a deposit of $646.

So, anyway, I make this deposit before 5 p.m., which is the cut-off time to make a deposit, never mind that this particular branch will still be open two more hours. And then the next morning, I dutifully check my bank account on the bank's web site, and...

It isn't there.

No record of a deposit, no nothing. Just the measly amount of money that I had in my account, before depositing my $646.

Fortunately, in a rare display of common sense, I didn't throw out the receipt. I have it. And so I call my bank and explain that something mysterious is afoot. They tell me that they'll look into it and will call me back. When we finally talk later, I'm told that they did indeed make a mistake, but I won't be able to receive my money until Tuesday morning. Will I be reimbursed for any overdraft charges that may result in all of this, since I already know I have a check due to come out Monday?

The answer I believe I received from the teller: Probably.


But never mind that. There have been several occasions I've plead my case to the bank managers, explaining that I made a mistake, and I think of how they responded, which was usually punctuated with chuckles and then guffaws when I invariably get to the part where I ask if they could refund my fees... and what do I get? A sincere apology? Or maybe even an insincere apology? Maybe one of their bank pens?

So far, I've received nothing -- not even my own money.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
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