Join us on our 'bank anger' tour across the blogosphere
Now, I know that it's nothing new to blast a bank on a blog, or trash it on Twitter or spread your fury about their practices on Facebook, but with bank fees climbing and climbing (overdraft fees are estimated to cost Americans $38.5 billion this year), I went on my own little Internet tour today, looking around for reactions to banking fees, just to see what I could find and get a sense of how people are feeling toward banks these days. Not too surprisingly, I found a lot of ugly out there.
People are mad. As Hell.
First up, a blog posting at BigRobby.com. Seems this blogger and father from Maine rented five movies from a place called Redbox, and the folks at Redbox didn't put the charges through once, but as five individual charges through Big Robby's credit or debit card. He had a lower balance than he thought, and wound up getting five $35 overdraft fees from Bank of America. Big Robby is not pleased. Robby wrote a post about his feelings about Bank of America. He also expressed his feelings in a lovely photo of a finger (I'll let you guess which finger) next to the words, Bank of America.
Going over to Twitter, I typed in the words "bank fee" in the search engine, I pulled up a number of colorful expressions, mostly associated with (again) Bank of America. One young woman with the handle @Lessafish complains of an extended overdraft fee (the daily fee a bank lodges on you when your account has been in the negative for more than a few days). She uses a colorful two-word expression that suggests the bank digest some fecal matter.
Another Twitter user, @s7p, says she has closed her Bank of America account, ending her 140 character tweet with: "Take that, fee-mongerers!"
Not that all the current anger is aimed at Bank of America. One guy on Twitter has an account called I Hate chase. As in, he hates Chase Bank. If you hate Chase Bank, too, you can follow him at @IHateChase. (I'm following him, too, but only to see what he is up to. Just be warned that the type of language used here shouldn't be seen by young children, or those easily offended by strong language.
Now, to be fair, there are a number of people on Twitter who point out when banks do them a solid and refund a fee, so there is that.
But mostly, I'm finding anger. Even Scott Adams of Dilbert fame rallied against bank fees on his blog just several days ago. Adams titled his post, "Your Bank Hates You," and fumed for some time about banks in general, saying: "They have a naked interest in keeping their service as inconvenient as possible. My bank doesn't even offer a check box option for paying the entire balance on my credit card. Instead I need to write down the balance from one screen, or try to memorize it, until the screen appears where I can enter that figure. In other words, they even make money from my typos. It's totally intentional. Bastards. That trap has worked on me several times."
I can only hope this means Dilbert will be lampooning bank fees in some upcoming cartoons soon, which may provide some solace for angry bank customers.
This ends our brief tour, mostly because it's exhausting taking in all that vitriol in one sitting. But if you want to continue out on your own, simply Google "I hate banks" and be on your merry way. Remember to breathe!
Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist who often writes about money and banking issues for WalletPop and other publications. He is also the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).