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Random :: Fun & Learning with Bank of America
  submitted on January 25, 2010, 7:30 AM

Maybe I should make this a series. I was logged onto my Bank of America account online last week, and noticed an item listed as "Return Item Chargeback", and a charge for $250. Upon further inspection, it would appear that a check I had deposited for $250 the week before was not accepted by the bank. Here's the reason it gave me:

"This check deposited to your account was returned unpaid. Please contact the maker of the check for more information."

Okay, so I contacted the person that wrote me the check, and they checked with their bank, and the bank had no notice of any problems with the check being processed. No answers so far. Next, I call my bank, to see if I can get some kind of explanation. Finally, I learn that the check was not processed because it was written out to both myself and Melissa, but I was the only one that signed it, so it was being returned to me so that she could sign it and I could re-deposit it.

Now, under normal circumstances this sounds like a plausible explanation. I have a few problems with this reasoning, however.

-First, Melissa is not listed on my checking account. We still keep separate bank accounts, so I fail to understand how her signature makes my deposit any more valid than if she doesn't sign it. She's not on the account, so it shouldn't matter. And it's not like they were asking here to sign the check over to me, they just wanted her to endorse it, just like I do with any check I want to deposit into my account.

-Second, this is not the first time I've deposited a check that is made out to both Melissa and myself. And I know that Melissa has deposited more than one check with both of our names on it that I have not signed (She too, has a Bank of America checking account). Let's take our wedding, for example. We had a number of checks to deposit into my account at the time, and they pretty much all had both of our names on them. We didn't both sign them, though. Yet there was no problem in them going through. So what's so different this time? Why is this check oh so special?

-Finally, the reasoning on their site as to why the check was returned is misleading and flat out wrong. The check was returned unpaid, "please contact the maker of the check for more information". The maker of the check? The maker of the check doesn't know anything about this because there was no problem on their end. The problem lies solely with the fact that BofA thinks the check was endorsed incorrectly, which means it's a problem with the person depositing the check. So why send your customer on a wild goose chase trying to solve this problem and having them look in the wrong place?

But hey, look at the bright side. At least I solved my mail problem so that when they deliver my returned check I'll actually get it.

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