Banks: Why We Hate Them

I want to tell you true story about the Sun Trust Bank, the 8th largest in America, which led me to believe the errors they make as to bank fees cannot be excused as mere negligence, but are, at least in my case, the result of a willful disregard of the truth.

Let me start by saying, I am one of those people who always pays his bills the day they are received. I have never allowed the accumulation of unpaid balances, or interest expenses. When I moved to Florida on Jan. 2, 2009, I opened a checking account at Sun Trust, and used it for the next 2½ years. I always maintained the minimum balances required, and no bank fees of any kind were ever assessed against me, that is, until I closed my account.

As I was planning to move back to Wisconsin in June 2011, I decided to wind down my account, and stopped writing checks. After all outstanding drafts cleared, I went to a Sun Trust in Tampa on June 27, 2011 to close my account. I sat down with a bank officer and had a polite conversation, while she calculated my balance to be $2,433.12, and handed me the cash. I was given a Closing Withdrawal Ticket, which terminated my account.

The problem started a month later, when Sun Trust sent me a postcard claiming an alleged item of .01 cent had been presented, but denied, due to non-sufficient funds. Since I knew my account was closed, and I owed nothing, and the card itself said the 1 cent item along with a $36.00 penalty was waived, I did nothing.

I then started receiving annoying and harassing phone calls from Sun Trust. When their representatives would call, I would remind them my account was closed, and would ask why they were calling. Instead of answering, they said they had to ask me questions first, but I refused, saying I was not interested in participating in what I assumed was a survey. They kept calling.

I then received a libelous dunning letter in which they demanded $102.00, almost every penny of which was from bank fees levied upon penalties. I responded by letter on Sept. 5, enclosing a photocopy of the Closing Withdrawal Ticket, completed by a bank officer on June 27, showing my account had been closed.

I also demanded that they correct my former account, and stop all collection activity, since I was never overdrawn, and owed nothing. I warned them if I received another letter or call, I would pursue legal action, including costs, fees, and punitive damages.

But the bank ignored my letter, and their own Closing Withdrawal Ticket, and instead sent me another libelous letter on Sept 26, in which they continued to demand $102.00. They also made an extortionist threat to negatively report me to a credit agency.

While it would be easy to call these people idiots, I am sure loan officers and tellers are not totally stupid, and have some level of education. Since I also know they are not illiterate, I can only conclude the Closing Withdrawal Ticket was not reviewed.

My guess is problems like mine are caused by cheap bankers, who refuse to hire sufficient manpower to read letters from former customers, correct obvious errors, or respond intelligently. They certainly hire no one to apologize to victims like me.

I can only conclude Sun Trust willfully disregards truth by programming computers to generate collection letters, regardless of the facts. They engage in an illegal extortion, by threatening to report people to credit agencies, until victims finally give in. The conduct is not funny and is not excused as mere negligence.

Since another letter to Sun Trust would obviously do no good, and calls to the Republicans who run Florida, or the House in Washington, would fall on deaf ears, the only solution is to go public and to ask responsible newspapers like the St. Petersburg Times to do an expose on why people like me now hate the banks.

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