Wachovia, You Have Met Your Match

I have been a Wachovia customer for close to two years now, and I have been usually quite happy with the service I have received -- great online access, good customer service, lots of branches.

All of that changed two days ago.

Last week, when logging on to check Yodlee (which I do incessantly), I noticed there was an offer for $50 for opening a new free checking account [note the word choice here -- it's important]. So, I thought to myself, "Fifty bucks? Sure, why not?" I filled out the requisite paper work, including a queston which asked me if I was an existing customer. I noted that I was and carried on.

The next day, I received an email saying that I had to verify my account creation over the phone. I wasn't surprised by that, and I actually appreciated it a little bit -- they were making sure it wasn't fradulent. I decided to call the toll free number when I didn't have anyone pick up the direct line listed in the email. BIG MISTAKE. After waiting several minutes to speak to a representative, an epic battle of wills began.

The man on the phone desperately tried to convince me that the offer was only for new customers, not just new accounts. I patiently told the confused gentleman that it said nothing about needing to be a new customer anywhere, just that you needed to open a new account. The debate continued for several minutes until I finally just said, "Ok, that's fine, but you may want to actually put that on the ad instead of taking up people's time with an offer that is misleading."

The next day (did you really think I would be defeated that easily?) I tried calling the direct number I had received in the email and when the person didn't pick up, I just hit "0" to speak with another financial specialist.

An angel of helpfulness answered. Chris was unbelievably accomodating. Within 5 minutes, my checking accounts were linked to each other, to my existing checkcard, and online. What service! All I needed to do for the $50 was deposit $100 of new money into the account. No sweat!

A few lessons learned (specifically about this ad and in general):
- this account needs to be opened online
- $100 of new money must be deposited
- the $50 probably won't show up until June
- don't second guess yourself - if you've read the small print, stick to it!
- customer service is hit or miss - sometimes you just need to talk to someone else
- direct numbers are always better than general 800 numbers
- lastly, call this number instead: 704-590-0854 (for a Financial Specialist named Shaun).
- I find that the "Financial Specialists" tend to be far more informed. My guess is that these are the kids recently out of college, young and eager to help, as opposed to someone getting paid $8 an hour to answer the complaints of whiners like me.

All in all, I still think it's been a decent use of my time. Even if the entire situation took 30 minutes, I am not making close to $100/hour. Hopefully, with reading this, you can save all the shenanigans and just pocket the $50 in 5 minutes!

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you really need $50 that badly? I'd rather have 3 hours with my family than arguing with a bank. Sounds like you found a loophole genius- not taken down the corporate empire.
Enjoy the $50 at the local top dog fine dining establishment.