Back in 2004 I bought a car in Marietta, GA. I financed the car and the financial department at the dealership offered me 3 different loans. One was from a bank I had never heard of, but its interest rate was really high. The second one was through Audi Financing. But the best interest rate came from another bank I had never heard of called AmSouth. I thought, "well, it's just the car loan. who cares what bank has it?" I went with AmSouth at 5.9% interest.
Shortly after, I received an envelope in the mail from AmSouth that included a bunch of paperwork as well as a loan coupon book to start paying back this loan. Each month, I would write a check and tear out the coupon and mail it to a PO Box in Birmingham, Alabama.
In the front of the coupon book was a slip of paper that had this text on it (or close to it):
Want to save a stamp?So I filled it out and sent it in with the next payment. Each month on the 17th, they draft my account for the loan payment amount and I don't have to worry about it. This little form was all they wanted to set up the automatic monthly draft payment.
Fill out this form and include it with your next payment to set up automatic draft payments from your checking account. Your loan payments will come out on the due date and you won't have to worry about mailing it in each time.Routing Number:___________________________
Sometime after setting this up, AmSouth was acquired or merged with Regions Bank and became the new Regions Bank. My automatic payments come from REGIONS now instead of AMSOUTH when I look at my statements.
Skip to now. I have been moving my checking account over to ING Direct, which means updating things that are automatically paid from my account. The most important thing is the car payment, but it's been the most difficult thing to take care of.
Last week I called Regions customer service and was greeted by a recording that said they are closed. Call back between 5 AM and 7 PM Central time to speak with a representative.
I called back the next day and got a representative. I explained that I was moving my checking account and needed to change the account they were drafting from for my loan payment. Looking back on the call now, I think the guy was confused because he was probably thinking my checking account had been at Regions (I've never had anything at their bank, except this car loan). He told me he can't do that on the phone, I would have to come in to a branch. I said I live in Hawaii and that's not really possible so he then asked why I was living in Hawaii. Way to stay focused. He said he would have to mail me a form that I could fill out and send back to Regions to change the draft authorization. I asked if there was a faster way and he said he could fax m the form, so I gave him my fax number.
After waiting two days, nothing showed up. I was expecting the fax, but even now, more than a week later, nothing has arrived via mail. I called back.
I had to explain the entire situation again, the representative apologized and put in another request for the form to be faxed and mailed. I asked if there was any way to verify that it had been sent. She said, "no, you'll just have to wait."
Waiting a day, no fax. I call back and say this is now my third time calling asking for this form. The guy apologizes and says he'll make sure the request goes through. I'm on hold for a while and he comes back and says it went through.
Waited until today and nothing has shown up. I call back, this is now the fourth time. I get some lady in the Memphis call center. She is totally confused by this request. She first tells me I have to change it with my bank. What? No, you guys are the ones who are taking money from my account. You are who I sent the form to anyway. I explain it again and she gets it (I think). She does say that the form has to be sent to me by mail or fax. I explain that I've requested that three times now over the past week and nothing has arrived. She apologizes and says she will verify it went through. OK, sure. She does that and then tells me that if it doesn't arrive in 20 minutes to call back and ask for her and she'll see what's up. OK, I can do that.
30 minutes later, I call back. I get some lady and ask to speak to who I was speaking to before. The new lady kindly informs me that Regions has NO WAY to transfer calls between call centers or operators. Huhwha? Why did the Memphis lady tell me that? The new lady also goes on to tell me that a form request like that takes 24 hours, not 20 minutes. Is the Memphis lady or the new lady correct? What's going on here? New lady also empathizes with me telling me she used to live in St. Something and knows how difficult it is when you live outside of the states (NEWS FLASH 1959: HAWAII IS NOW A STATE!). I say that Hawaii is a state and she says, "I know, and I lived in a territory." But I think you missed my point.
Basically this call goes nowhere. While on hold at some point, I look up Regions branches that might be close to my parents because I will be visiting them in a couple of weeks. There is one a few miles away. I ask if I can take care of this request at a branch (remember on calls 1, 2, and 3, they told me to go to a branch) and she tells me that the branches have the same level of authority as the phone bankers and they won't be able to do any more for me. So basically I'm stuck. There's no way for me to update the account on the draft.
I decide to try a different angle. I ask if I can discontinue the automatic draft payments. Can she do that for me over the phone? She tells me that doing that will require mailing or faxing me a form that I will need to fill out and get notarized. WHAT? She tells me it's for security reasons. But the form I used to start the draft was nothing like that. Why all these hoops now?
She does tell me she can put a stop on the draft payments for 6 months, but that will cost me $36. WHAT? What are you even talking about now?
She puts me on hold again and somehow the call gets dropped. Ooops. I guess she was getting tired of talking to me.
I call back, now the sixth time. I get a guy this time and explain the entire situation over again. I decide to skip the part about changing the account they are drafting from. I just want to stop the draft payments. Just let me mail in paper checks from now on. Is that even possible? To my surprise he says yes. He has the form, fills it out, asks what effective date I want, and puts in an order for a new loan coupon book to be mailed to me (but, as previously established, Regions is incapable of mailing things).
It took six calls and hours of wasted time. What you just read was the summary. I do not understand why Regions is this way. I have only ever dealt with the telephone bankers and I have only ever had this loan account with them, but if the branches are anything like the phone service, I can't imagine ever considering banking there.