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Regular Contributor

When I cannot have my concerns addressed by the original "representatives," what is the next highest step?  Is there an Open Door policy within this organization?  Where can I find a list of email addresses or phone numbers for me to be able to escalate my issues?

18 REPLIES

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You can file with the BBB.

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Filing with the BBB is absurd.  The BBB is a paper tiger. 

 

Td1917, you can always ask for USAA's executive escalations.  There are special, senior representatives available to handle certain cases. 

 

Also, if you feel USAA has dropped the ball and you are dealing with a banking issue, contact the bank's regulator. Without looking it up, I'm guessing USAA Bank is regulated by the FDIC. To be sure, you can look it up on the Federal Reserve website.  Banking regulators are REAL tigers and not stupid little shills like the BBB.

 

If your issue is with insurance, your state insurance commissioner can LART USAA into taking appropriate action.  

 

Again, with a large bank, the BBB is generally a waste of time. 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you.  I agree, the BBB isn't really the way to go for me.  It's not deceptive business practices or anything that I am concerned with.  It is simply the human factor and the canned responses that I have been receiving for 2 days.  I keep trying to be logical about my situation, but I have been treated unfairly in the last 2 days.  The latest email I received said that my complaint and issue have been sent to the next level.  We'll see what they say, but in the meantime I'm still out $1200 for 8 days and not a single person that I've spoken to really is concerned at all.  :(

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I will, however, continue to spread my experience via any social media and public site that I can reach.  The result of the last 2 days of run around is that 6 members of my family who have been USAA members (some for more than 40 years) are willing to walk with me and cancel banking, credit card and auto accounts along the way.  

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"Filing with the BBB is absurd.  The BBB is a paper tiger."

 

They are all paper tigers, even the CFPB.  At least when it comes to individual complaints.  What they do is pick up on the statistical data that will may indicate a legal issue they can possible pursue.  What all these organization really do for the individual is forward your complaint back to the business for a response, then provide that response to you.  It would be in very rare circumstances that any other action would be taken.

 

What I like about the BBB, is they publish both the complaint and the response.  As a consumer, this is by far the most effective way for me to determine how the business responds to various customer service issues, than just seeing one side of the story.

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No, that's not entirely true.  

 

The CFPB has enforcement powers that the BBB will never -- ever -- have.  First of all, banks are afraid of the CFPB. Judging by USAA's historical response to the BBB on check clearing issues (it's all there in the BBB site), the BBB inspires them to laugh.  Of course, this could be because with RDC check clearing USAA is always right, but that's not the issue.  If the customer has a legitimate complaint, it cannot be swept under the rug with a generic equivalent "We don't care."  

 

Further, you seem not to understand just what the CFPB does and can do.  They most certainly can and when necessary do tell a bank they are in the wrong. CFPB enforcement actions are not limited to the multi-million dollar fines you read about in the papers. And then there are banking regulators.  Banking regulators at, for example, the FDIC most certainly do order banks to perform certain actions in specific instances. 

 

The BBB is a good resource to see if institutions voluntarily do the right thing.  The original poster has already gone a bit up the ladder so I doubt voluntary action on the part ofvUSAA is going anywhere.  That said, I doubt a letter to the FDIC or CFPB would work either. USAA is right in holding the check.  However they might see the need to do a better job examining things to members when they do.  

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If the issue is a check hold on a check you deposited using Deposit @ Home or Deposit @ Mobile, you are fighting a battle you will never win.
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Clearly.  However, it is a ridiculous excuse they are giving me and every day without my money is infuriating me.  According to the last message, my issue has been further escalated and I am awaiting a reply.  All I would like is to expect some sort of consistency and some respect.  The voicemail I received from a "manager" is down right disturbing.  

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What excuse do they give you?

Of course it is infuriating. Money is a very sensitive issue and nobody likes it when they think they are being treated unfairly.

Sometimes it helps to look at it from another angle. I don't know your particular situation, but perhaps it is like so many others that wind up here on the forum. Perhaps you deposited a check via Deposit @ Mobile. You may have done this numerous times in the past and never had a hold placed on your check deposits. Then, one time, a hold hits. You were not expecting that and it caused cash flow to come to a ten-day halt. You, like anybody else would have been, were annoyed. You called customer service and got a half-baked or what sounded like a half-baked answer. From annoyed it went to downright angry. Am I far off the mark?

Another way to look at this is that you got customer service representatives who themselves downt completely understand the mechanics of how remote deposit capture works. The answers they gave you were garbage because, as we know, GIGO. They were not properly trained. I doubt even their managers understand things. USAA dropped the ball in not giving their representatives the knowledge and skills they need to handle this situation.

Now, why was your check placed on hold? Ok, you know there are regulations on when banks must clear checks, right? The principal regulation is called Regulation CC and it lays down check clearance times. You deposited a check, right?

Well, actually, no, you didn't deposit a check. The check is still in your possession. You deposited an image -- that image is called a "substitute check" and doesn't fall under Regulation CC. The funds from that substitute check can be held per the terms of the Depository Agreement -- which 99.9% of customers never have read.

So why the long hold? Why are substitute checks dealt with differently than normal checks? It only takes the bank one day to clear checks and substitute checks so by now they have your money, right? Not exactly.

The Federal Reserve has talked a lot about RDC and how great it is. But, the Fed also warns that it is by far riskier for banks than accepting normal checks. Why? Think about this for a minute. When you hand a check to a cashier their are a number of risk mitigation points. They can see you. They have your photo. They can see the check. They examine the signature to see if it appears signed by the account owner. They see the security features of the check to make sure it is "probably" not counterfeit.

On the other hand, nobody looks at the substitute check you deposit. The system just scans the amount, routing code and account number and runs it through FedWire electronically much the same as a merchant runs a credit card. Except with this substitute check there is no CCV2 code, no expiration date and not even a name attached.

To give you a very real example, you could copy the account number and routing code from any check given to you by anybody. Use your computer and MS Word and draw up a check using those numbers. Stick a dollar amount in and scribble a signature and then successfully deposit it using RDC. Make the check out for, say, $10,000 and immediately the funds are in your account without hold. Lather, rinse and repeat.

The check "writer's" bank just debits the account and the account owner is none the wiser maybe even until they get their statement a month later. Meanwhile a reasonably industrious crook can get away with several hundred grand. You see, there is a security hole with RDC that I could march a regiment through. The only defense USAA has is placing the funds on hold. And even that might not prevent them from taking a bath.

Now some would say "USAA knows me. I've been a member for 100 years. I'd never do that." I'm sure USAA knows you would never do that. They know you are as honest as Ole Abe. But what scares USAA the most is when Honest Abe gets screwed by someone else and in falling victim to some of the zillions of scams floating around gets suckered into depositing a counterfeit check in USAA. It happens. It happens a LOT.

They can't examine every RDC check that gets deposited. They put holds, believe it or not, for our own good.

But you should be upset at the lame excuses they are giving you. They shouldn't be so dumb and unable to properly explain things.

A way to avoid holds in the future is by having a USAA credit card. They generally allow cardholders a daily no-hold check deposit limit. The limit can be quite large if you also have a lot of accounts / assets with the bank.