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A Modern Day Heroine – Jackie Ramos

09 Dec

Meet Jackie Ramos, a former “customer advocate” from the collections department at Bank of America. “Former” as in fired…

For being honest. Hat Tip to Huffpo on this one.

Former Bank of America employee offers inside look at bank’s practices

While millions of credit card customers have been through the painful process of negotiating past-due or over-the-limit accounts, few have dealt with their credit company face-to-face. Usually, the conversation is with a customer-service representative in another city who cheerfully outlines the fees and penalties that the cardholder must pay, regardless of whether he or she can afford it.

Jackie Ramos, a former “customer advocate” from the collections department at Bank of America (BAC), posted a video on YouTube in which she offered an inside glimpse into what happens on the other end of the phone. While Ramos notes that her former employer encouraged her to “do the right thing for the customer,” she says she soon came to realize that her job was actually to squeeze as much money as possible from the company’s cardholders.

In her video, Ramos describes the strategies that Bank of America used to maximize its profitability. From charging a $15 “convenience fee” for payments over the phone to tacking on $39 late fees and $39 over limit fees, Ramos says her bosses encouraged her to nickel-and-dime customers, drawing out every penny possible.

For some debtors, Bank of America offered “Fix Pay,” a program that would effectively transform a credit card account into a loan; in the process, it would eliminate fees and close the account. According to Ramos, customers had to answer what she describes as a series of “irrelevant” questions and meet certain income requirements before they could qualify for the Fix Pay program. Ramos’ infraction, which ultimately cost her her job, was that she encouraged some cardholders to lie about their finances in order to get into the program. Her logic was simple: If their accounts were manageable, fewer customers would default on their obligations.

While Bank of America declined The Huffington Post’s request for a comment on the video, it did confirm Ramos’s account of the firing with the blog.

The fact that Bank of America disagreed with Ramos’s actions should hardly come as a surprise for anyone who has held a credit card over the past ten years or so. Late fees, convenience fees, interest rate increases, credit limit decreases, and other gimmicks have become common, effectively transforming credit cards into the economic equivalent of a game of Russian roulette.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 9, 2009 in General, You Know It's Bad When...

 

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4 responses to “A Modern Day Heroine – Jackie Ramos

  1. brotherbrown

    December 9, 2009 at 2:45 PM

    This one gets me where I live. Convenience fee for an electronic transfer? Are you kidding me?

    This one is my all-time pisser: I have a Home Depot Consumer Account, due on the 25th. One particular month, the due date fell on a Sunday. I go online to pay the bill electronically on Friday the 23rd after 5:00 pm, and notice that a late fee ($39.00!!!!! The minimum was less than that!) was attached to my account. I went on and made my transaction, then called the customer service line get an explanation.

    The representative says she sees by viewing my account that I have just paid an amount well above the minimum, and that my payment history is solid, so she cannot explain why the system shows an accepted payment above the minimum AND a late fee dated the 23rd for an account whose due date was the 25th. Of course, she reversed the late fee.

    Like

     
    • btx3

      December 9, 2009 at 3:50 PM

      Yeah – but it’s the hassle and attentiveness factor on behalf of the consumer. Many people don’t pay strict attention to their accounts – and go through them each month with a fine tooth comb to discover where they are being ripped off. It takes extra hours every month just to protect yourself from theft by bank and theft by credit card company.

      Getting to a live human to solve your problem is another part of the scam. If it takes you 10 – 15 minutes or more to get to a human operator, a number of folks will drop off in frustration.

      My most amazing experience was in trying to close down my Mother’s credit card accounts. The worst was Sears Mastercard who, although they were happy to accept payment in full on the account (about $800.00) from me – weren’t willing to either a) cancel the card, b) honor my wishes to not take anymore charges on the card, or c) to cancel their $1.15 a month credit card “protection” fee despite having a Power of Attorney in hand.

      About 18 months later I got a call from a Lawyer trying to collect $1023.00, 99% of which was “late fees” on the $1.15 a month credit card “protection” fees which I had not authorized, and asked to be canceled after paying the card to zero. Laid the situation out for the Lawyer, who apparently had been dealing with dozens of similar cases. They simply canceled it.

      I have gone totally credit card free. Other than houses and cars – if it ain’t cash…

      I don’t buy it.

      Like

       
  2. DW Jazzlover

    December 15, 2009 at 5:53 PM

    My Hat is off to Jackie, she will be fine.

    Like

     

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