I am talking about Canadian banks, I do not have much experience with US.
Most of us have heard and hopefully remember the 4 customers who lost money to their banks one by one. I really do not know details of their problems but I know details of mine and want people to know and be very careful regardless of their misplaced trust in banks. When I heard of the 4th victim I decided it was time to talk; although I was 'warned' by OBSI investigator of my 'obligation' not to talk about the investigation. What about his obligations to his job and to me to be honest, unbiased, justice and just decent human being; how about these?? Besides thing that we do in 'secret' stink. I have been a customer of CIBC for a long time and everything 'seemed OK' until I moved to London, ON when the nightmare started. In addition to small incidents, they tried to cheat me in Visa interest then tried to screw up my RRSP and when I fought back they put withhold on my accounts. I could not get any where with the bank brass let alone help to resolve the problem. From CIBC Customer Care and Ombudsman to OBSI (Ombudsman for Banking Services) all stand together to screw up customers. Although facts might be glaring in their faces but they choose to close their eyes and minds and render the most bizarre decisions. Here is what exactly happened without any exaggeration. I am an old man with health problems. Cold is not only painful but it is actually dangerous to me. For that I leave to US every winter.
I manage my accounts, and still do, well. Before my US trips I usually calculate my monthly Visa payments, if any, and estimate what I might charge in my stay and pay the total in advance. One year I spent a little over my estimate. The statement arrived just couple of days before leaving to Canada. The unpaid amount was less than $100. I figured if I sent a check, I would arrive and pay before the check reaches the bank, besides the interest would be roughly about $3. When the next invoice arrived the interest was over $12. I made an accurate calculation and even added an extra day, to find the interest less than $4. So I called CIBC Visa to correct the 'mistake'. Apparently they were expecting my call because the guy answering, cut me off right after I said "I received the invoice and..." before completing my sentence. He said in a loud serious firm voice "SIR ... we charge interest on the whole amount from the day it is posted and that is what you signed for". Notice his choice of words; whole amount. I replied also in same voice "SIR ... that is not what I signed for. What I signed for is to pay interest on the unpaid amounts only. The interest you charged me, on the unpaid amount is over 64% and that is not rip off ... it is theft" there was short period of silence then he said "how about no interest, we are not charging you interest" I said fine.
Here is what Visa was trying to do:
⦁Normally if you pay part of the balance before the "due date", you are charged interest on the unpaid amount only. All banks do that.
⦁I pay CIBC Visa in advance sum of money usually $500 - $1000 for 4+ months. CIBC pays me zero interest on it and it is OK.
⦁Visa had a large portion of the purchase price already in hand before the purchase was made.
⦁Visa wanted to charge me interest on my money that they already had in their hands, in addition to the unpaid balance!!! What kind of scam was that??
I had 2 GICs in my RRSP maturing in Dec. 2017. I went to the bank and gave my instructions in Nov. 2017 and I was ready to leave for the US. But due to an unrelated unexpected problem I was forced to postpone my travel. I went to the bank to deposit a check to find out that CIBC was trying to screw me up again. I had one RRSP GIC maturing in Dec 2015 (one of the 2 in 2017), I gave my instruction to the bank in Nov 2015 then left to US. CIBC ignored my instruction and did their own plan. At the time I thought it was an honest mistake (misplaced trust) and did nothing. Now in 2017 it can not be another honest mistake. I was angry and tried to get my instructions implemented, but CIBC was determined to ignore them to the point I asked for the police. That was useless; they did not know “banking laws”?? Or may be they know they can do nothing, thanks to the corrupt powers that be. Banking laws are set to screw up people, why? That is another discussion. In both years there were no papers printed or signed and I thought it was an effort to reduce paper use; stupid mistake and misplaced trust believing they are honest and will do it. But that was not the case, they had no intention of honoring my wishes at all; Why? Only one reason comes to mind, any guesses? I made a complaint in another branch and left for my trip after assurances that my instructions will be implemented. I received a statement in Jan. 2018 showing that my instructions were completely ignored. I cut my trip short and came back to Canada; as a result of the effect of the cold I was unable to move for 2 months. When I was able to move I went to the bank trying to salvage what I can. Things went from bad to worse; they refused to change what they had done with my RRSP as if the money was theirs not mine. They lied to me constantly. Like any sane person I did not want to keep my money in a bank like this; my trust was below ZERO. So I tried to withdraw my money and invest it somewhere else. CIBC refused to give me my money!!! I complained to Customer Care and his best offer was that CIBC is willing to implement my instructions that I gave in Nov 2017; this offer was made in Jul 2018!!! I wrote to CIBC Ombudsman (and president) and received “Rules of Engagement” from the Ombudsman, it was a war!! Customers who fight for their money are considered enemies. CIBC wanted me to sign an agreement allowing CIBC “to collect and share information and communicate with third parties”. That agreement did not have an "end date" or "list of people/organizations" that my personal information would be shared/disclosed to. Considering CIBC history with customers’ information (2004), I asked them to add these 2 points to the agreement, for me to sign. The agreement should be void after the investigation ends. The list is to limit its use to those who have direct connection to the problem. As it was, CIBC could have used it indefinitely and gave/sold my information to anyone on the street; literally. CIBC refused, why? I wrote to OBSI and first responses indicate that it is same old story; treat the victim as the guilty one and let the guilty walk away laughing. The investigator stated that the cost of my ruined trip will not be refunded because I would have "incurred it" if I stayed. I am sure he would fight like hell to get a refund if his 'pleasure' vacation was ruined. Also, he suggested that there was no need for me to come back and I could have resolved the problem by “other means”?? He did not say what these ‘other means’ are. Being 2000+ km away; letters/faxes and phone calls are the only ‘means’ I know. He chose to ignore/forget the fact that I tried very hard in person to resolve the problem before I left then after I came back without success and that was why I wrote to him!!! I went to the bank in Sep trying to take my money out, but I was told that Oxford branch manager who had created all this, put withhold on my accounts (why would she has this power???) and I was not given any reason. Few days later I decided to go to the bank and leave in one of 2 ways; leave with my money or refuse to leave until police arrests me. Fortunately for everyone, specially me, I am old with many health problems, I got most of MY MONEY. I have seen a lot in my life but I have never seen or heard of anything even close to these bizarre events anywhere in the world (OK? OBSI). Through out these events communications between OBSI and I continued. Early in the investigation, the analysis of the investigator was so bizarre I complained to their complaining office. Instead of replacing him they ignored my complaint. The final decision included reasons of justification that were so absurd I could hardly believe an investigator would produce such BS. His reasons ignored facts, made no sense, had contradicting statements, and even twisting facts or making up new ones to support his predetermined decision. Decision will be analyzed later.
In the meeting of Nov 2017, 'the financial adviser' tried relentlessly to sell me some Mutual Fund. I declined politely but she did not stop until I told her that I was not satisfied with CIBC Mutual Fund I already have. I don't think anybody should be subjected to this kind of pressure especially seniors. Although I am pretty stubborn, at one point I almost agreed just to shut her up, they know that!!! Failing to take my money for crappy Mutual Fund, she started asking me about my Tax Returns?? (strange? more than you think, next time).
These happenings are not new to some banks. The difference is; it used to be small, hidden, timidly done, infrequent and resolved if you complain; now it is an epidemic, large and brazen right in your face and you will always be on the losing end. Or may be it was the same and I did not notice because I was young and can fight. Banks that do this are specialized in taking money from Minorities and the Elderly; easy pry. I am sure there are more people losing money and don't know it because they don't monitor their accounts based on misplaced trust!! Even if you monitor your account, it will not be safe. I thought I was OK monitoring my money but alas they will not leave you alone.
Whoever said "people in finance have no sense of hummer" is wrong? What is more hilarious than these 2 items; CIBC has department/office for "Customer CARE" and OBSI logo says "Inspiring CONFIDENCE in the Canadian Financial Services"; aren't these the best JOKES ever? Personally; what I got from this experience is huge disappointment, lost confidence, and absolute mistrust.
Ever wondered why there are no actions against this epidemic of money grabbing by banks; simple.