We have previously written here about the exorbitant fees charged by some Banks for overdrafts, and today we have a case study in the perfidy of this practice by a local branch of the South Carolina based South State Bank. SSB took over at this location from two previous Banks which failed as a result of the 2007-2009 financial debacle.
We have been a customer since 2001 at the precursor banks, Habersham, and CB&T, and since 2010-11 at the South State Bank. In that time we used a checking account primarily to receive monthly benefits payments from the Veterans Administration and the United Church of Christ. Deposited funds are generally used to purchase items on Amazon and eBay via ACH transfers.
In the twenty some odd years of our time with these banks we may have overdrawn the checking account once or twice; but recently SSB has demonstrated just how nasty overdrafts can get. SSB does not provide low cost “overdraft transfer” protection. What they offer costs a depositor is a “XYZ plan” with an $50 activation fee, a $200 minimum balance, and a transfer fee of $30 per episode, which is essentially the same as the $35 per episode they charge for NSF episodes. This is in contrast to other Banks which do the “overdraft transfers” from either Bank credit cards or Savings Accounts, and generally charge about $5 per episode.
The basis for putting SSB on my s**t-list is how they recently charged me $142 for two ACH based NSF with a face value of about $20, and would not waive any portion of these fees. Yes, you read that correctly: $142 for two almost simultaneous transactions from purchases on eBay where our PayPal debit card did not cover the purchase costs, and payment “fell back” to our checking account on SSB, which did not have sufficient money on deposit and thus resulted in a NSF.
It is obvious we did not intend fraud, malice, or irresponsibility in the actions, and would have been perfectly comfortable with depositing funds to cover the issues; but when the fees jumped to $142, the issue degenerated into anger at SSB for taking the opportunity to “f**k-over” a depositor because they are allowed to do so.
The unfortunate result from our standpoint is we can do nothing about this – they held funds deposited by the VA to cover these fees, which still leaves our account with an $8 negative balance. And one of the SSB Bank’s officers who has known me personally for at least fifteen years would not even reply to my phone call to him requesting his intervention.
Ok, so SSB, and those other financial institutions that can legally rip-off customers with wholly inappropriate overdraft fees deserve to be held accountable – but who’s going to do so?