Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nickel and Dime

I noticed on my latest TCF Bank statement that they were notifying me of a new fee starting next year.

Now, they already charge an arm and a leg for just about everything associated with their 'free' checking: using out-of-state ATMs, using in-state ATMs from other banks, overdrafts, withdrawing cash deposits too soon, extra statements, wiring money into or out of the account, breathing the bank's air, etc. But the newest fee seemed ridiculous even for them:

Effective February 15, 2006, the fee for returned mail will be $3.

When we moved from our apartment to the house several years ago, I dutifully updated my address with TCF. A few months later I was wondering why I wasn't getting statements anymore. When I called TCF, it turned out they had inputted the wrong address so the mail was getting bounced back.

Starting in February that would have cost me $3 a statement. And then, they probably would have sent me a letter informing me of the charges. Oops! That got returned too. Ka-Ching.

What does returned mail cost them? The cost of a 39 cent stamp (if that, at bulk rates)? So they are making over 700% profit on that returned mail. Except they would have had to send that statement anyways, whether my address was right or not. So who (besides me) cares if it actually gets to me, or gets returned?

It seems stupid, especially when around here mail gets returned to sender all the time for no apparent reason. A number of people I know have had mail that they sent to us with the right address kicked back saying 'no such address'. I guess the mailman was aggravated with us those days or something. Or maybe the mail got dropped in the wrong mailbox, and the recipient kicked it back instead of putting it in the right one.

Whatever the reason, it seems utterly ridiculous to charge a $3 fee for it. It certainly isn't like those outrageous fees (which they don't even have the guts to post on their website) are making it back to me in the form of good interest rates on my savings account.

5 comments:

Bill Roehl said...

I moved to Minnesota late in 2002 and knew no one thus I had no warnings as to TCF Bank's true suckage.

1. Their "free online banking" is poor. So poor and so far behind everyone else that it's not even worth using. Because of that, I paid $2.95/mo to use their "enhanced online banking" which is still 10% less than what everyone offers for free.

2. Their nickle and diming came to a head in 2003 when, because I had the "enhanced" online banking, I noticed that they were charging me ATM fees when I was using THEIR ATMs. Normally anyone else wouldn't even have noticed the $22 charges being skimmed from the top.

3. I was charged a "returned mail fee" of $3.00 because when I moved in 2004 they didn't have my updated address in the system. I specifically remember giving it to them over the phone (so I could use my bank card as a Visa properly) and verified it at the bank in person when I wanted to make sure my new checks were showing the new address.

While they had no problem in removing the charge from their accounts because it was "obviously not my fault" it was still an additional hassle I should not have had to deal with :(

So, fast-forward to 2005. I get married and decide to ditch TCF and merge in w/my wife's account at US Bank. They had numerous questions why I wanted to close my account and wouldn't take "no comment" as an answer.

Finally after explaining why I thought TCF was such a poor bank the woman sheepishly handed me my cashier's check and I was happy to close out my accounts with them. Since then, I have heard nothing but bad mouthing about TCF. I wish I had been listening more closely when I first moved here!

FWIW, I don't know if US Bank is the best option out there but their online banking is far superior, I haven't had any problems w/random ATM fees, and my wife has been using them since she was in HS w/o a complaint.

Might be time to check into a new bank.

Steve Eck said...

The trouble with switching to a new bank is inertia.

I would have to get all the automatic withdrawls and direct deposits switched over to the new accounts, and that would take calling places up, filling out paperwork, etc. And I'm pretty lazy when it comes to that stuff.

But I do think TCF has gotten pretty bad about their fees, and their website pretty much looks like it's 1997.

Bill Roehl said...

I would have to get all the automatic withdrawls and direct deposits switched over to the new accounts, and that would take calling places up, filling out paperwork, etc. And I'm pretty lazy when it comes to that stuff.

I admit that it was a bit of a PITA to get all that stuff switched over and I had to leave some money in there in case there were some accounts somewhere I couldn't remember.

After three months I figured I was good to go and closed them all out completely.

At first US Bank's online banking didn't work w/my mobile device but with a long overdue OS update to it I was back in business.

As much as I love mobile net access, I wasn't about to stick w/TCF just because their online banking worked with it ;)

Anonymous said...

This same thing happened to me today. I moved, let TCF know of my new address and got a $3 returned mail fee. I'll be closing my accounts with them.

Megan said...

OK, US BANK CHARGES $5 DOLLARS FOR A RETURNED STATEMENT, AND IF THAT MEANS YOU GO NEGATIVE, IT RACKS UP TO THE TUNE OF 352 IN OVERDRAFT CHARGES... IT HAPPENED TO US, THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO REMOVE THE FEES AND HAVE SENT THIS TO COLLECTIONS..... FUNNY THING IS, I STILL LIVE AND GET MAIL AT THE ADDRESS THEY MAILED THE STATEMENT TO. GO FIGURE.