This is a story that I just have to tell, because I think that the banks are committing fraud and not giving the same quality of services to everyone, but charging everyone the same for them. I did some work a while back for a client that I have been dealing with for a long time and in 45 days they sent me a cheque addressed to my company and I took it to the bank. It had been a long hard winter and like everyone else my company felt the pinch of these hard economic times. My company has been dealing with this branch of the Toronto Dominion bank for over 6 years and have not so much as bounced one check, or had a check returned. When we are not sure we have the cheque certified just to be on the safe side. I must confess right up front that we were over $20.00 when we handed in the cheque for approximately $460.00.
The teller a nice young man said I will deposit your cheque but you will not be able to have access to any for a period of 5 days. I asked why and he said that it was bank policy because the account had not seen much activity in the last month and they could not tell if this was a regular customer of mine or not. I did not feel that because business was slow for a bit that the bank had the right to hold the cheque for 5 days and I told him so. Still smiling he turned to the next teller and asked her to explain why to me. Her explanation was no better than his, so I said, “you have no right to hold this cheque my client’s account is with Toronto Dominion and I am with Toronto Dominion and the cheque is Toronto Dominion, I should be able to just transfer the funds directly into my account as inter branch banking.”
Next they did some checking on the computer and tried to convince me that they could not gain access into the clients account because they requested no access. When I told her that I insist that she do the branch to branch transfer of funds she turned away done with me as I was not her problem. My teller excused his self and went to see his manager. I could see them talking and when he emerged I could tell from his demeanour that he was not happy with what he had to tell me and nervous about my response.
Giving me his most honest reassuring smile he began to tell the biggest whopper of a lie I have ever heard from a teller. I am going to send a special fax to the branch in Toronto he said and the moment they fax me back and say that the money is cleared I will release your cheque. I knew he was lying, but what I could do I said thank you and left the bank like the fax story was intended to make me do. The next day was Saturday and my bank was open and my money had not been released so there I was standing in front of the female teller the day before and today I was her problem. This teller listened to my story again and informed me that because of the special investigation into why the funds were not being released started by my teller from the day before the money was still frozen and the reply was sent to his personal in-house e-mail so that only he could find out what they said. I was told to come back at noon when he started.
To be fair I checked the account online from this point until today and it still had not cleared. I was told that they never got an answer back from the other branch and that the money would be available midnight. When I asked if I had certified the cheque would it have passed and the manager explained to me that certifying a cheque meant nothing anymore and that even if I had paid the $25 charge they would have held it. Apparently because the clearing of the cheque actually takes 48 hours, they think that the funds would somehow go missing out of the account, certified or not. This says to me that the funds were never frozen in the 1st place. I asked why do they continue to do this certifying if it does not mean anything and she had to admit she did not know, but told me that it ws definitely not in my best interest to certify and that it was optional to call to verify if the certification was real or a fraud. I walked out of the bank feeling like they were nothing but liars and that they had conned me from the beginning. I know why people like my mother and the older generation never trusted banks; you may not get the interest that they give for using your money,but you do not get the run around for 5 days when you need it either. I think I will go back to stashing my money and getting cash. I will continue to pay my taxes, but save a bundle on useless charges the bank seems to milk me for at every turn.
Not putting my money in a bank and not accepting cheques as payment for services rendered could end up saving me lots of money. I wonder how many other charges like this are being collected for by banks and not worth the paper they are written on. If this is not banking fraud and misrepresentation what is? By the way it was said that all this was to protect me from the bank having to taker the money back if something went wrong with the cheque. As soon as the cheque was deposited in the bank the bank took the $20.00 it was owed out; not bothering to wait the 5 days I had to get access. They seemed confident enough that the cheque had sufficient funds for that transaction..