This is awesome.  I wrote the following comment to the forum “moderators” at WRAL and look at what they sent me back…  apparently I was “inconsiderate or abusive” towards the draconian comment police.

“Stop moderating by opinion instead of guidelines.  It’s way too obvious.  In fact, you should stop moderating through the use of humans.  That equates to the suppression of speech and smells of agenda.  Millions of unmoderated forums on the internet without lawsuit and WRAL feels the need why?  You don’t want anyone offended?  Yet you post comments offensive to entire demographics but nothing offensive to individual, anonymous posters.  Double standards… nice.  How does “internet moderator” come across on a resume anyway?  Pretty good if the next job you apply for is Draconian Propaganda Filter Specialist.  Be proud.

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Still undecided about the mountain bike…

I still own my Jamis D29 even though I’ve spent months convincing myself I should sell it. Now the news comes that the trails at Lake Crabtree could be closed within the next couple of years. I brought it with me to ride today. Taking one more stab at making the 29er fun. Hell, I’m not even convinced the geometry of the bike is right for me despite various stem changes and bar layouts.

There is a hot Salsa Chili Con Corso cross frame on ebay right now for $449. It would be a sweet frame to build with spare parts I already own. I’d like to have flat bar and a drop bar cross bike. I could sell the Jamis and have money left over. But it is such a pain in the ass to sell and ship a bike.

The Fine and Fee Tactics of Bank of America

Bank of America obviously has a paid, financial and legal think tank dedicated to maximizing revenue from customer fees.  Here are some of the historic and current tactics BoA used over the years to take money from those who have none.

Historic Fees

Not until the creation of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, championed and lead by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, did Bank of America begin backing off of some of their original account fines and fees including:

  1. Processing account debits and withdraws by largest to smallest dollar amounts in order to maximize the number of overdraft transactions so they could collect non sufficient funds fees for as many transactions as possible.  BoA pioneered and practiced it until outlawed.
  2. Debit card use fees.  They backed off on these primarily due to customer outrage.  Once again they tried to see how far they could push customers for revenue before a 20% increase in account closures during the first part of 2012.
  3. In 2013 they shut down their “eBanking” program where some account holders were charged $8.95 for talking to a teller.
  4. For awhile they tried charging customers $25 to close an account.  They are the only bank that still requires a customer send a signed letter to a post office box to close an account. PNC still does this.  Why?….
  5. The “Zombie Account” fees.  Thought you closed your Bank of America account back in 2011?  Nope.  Until 2012 any account closed could automatically be reopened if a deposit or payment transaction hit it.  Forget to change the auto pay account information on file for your auto insurance policy?  BoA would reopen the account and pay the transaction, accruing overdraft fees many people would never even know about until it reached collections.  Again they backed off after the assertions that BoA is the swill of the earth proved too true for PR to handle.

Current Fees

Oh Bank of America is certainly not giving up.  When revenue can’t be met through solid loans and interest rates they will continue to seek blood from stones.  They have at least one brand new tactic…

  1. Holding transactions.  Got an auto pay scheduled for your car or life insurance that usually posts on the 3rd of every month?  Wait… it’s the 7th so where’s the transaction?  Or that check you wrote you were told was deposited over a week ago?   BoA is holding it.  They can do this at their discretion per the account holder policy.  Yet they only hold an auto pay transaction or check if the account balance is dangerously close to the transaction amount (hard to know their specific balance criteria).  Here it is the 7th of the month and you just bought a cup of coffee for $1.29 that puts the account in the red by 87 cents once the forgotten auto pay transaction for your insurance is processed.  Like programmed clockwork BANG!…. the auto pay transaction is posted and $35 overdraft fee ensues, thank you.  This tactic renders mobile banking apps and other forms of checking your available account balance almost useless.  They are betting people aren’t closely following their transaction posting history in great detail and making it difficult for them to do so without daily, in depth review of all transactions regardless of schedule…. and banking on it.
  2. ATM use fees.  One of the main reasons I am closing my Bank of America account of 24 years is this socially embarrassing admission when I have to tell others “Sorry, I can’t use the ‘no fee’ ATM”.  Originally an NCNB account, I am not proud to have been assimilated into one of the few banks that charges me for using any other banks ATM.  Even at “no fee” ATM’s Bank of America will charge you $3.
  3. Debit card replacement fee.  Again, BoA is damn near the only bank where it will cost you $5 to replace a lost or worn out card, $20 if you want to rush it.
  4. Overdraft protection fee.  No one is going to move my money from savings to checking to cover a potential overdraft.  Literally, I mean no one even though I’m signed up for overdraft protection.  A computer does it.  Bank of America collects $10 for all of the computers hard work.  Nonsense.

Overall I’m pretty excited about closing my Bank of America account within the next week.  I tried to like them but really, there’s nothing in it for a customer of bank of America.  Even when we’ve had very high account balances there’s no reward or satisfaction of being a “customer” (more like a victim) of an institution designed to sign you up and pass on ever fee they can legally conceive.  I want a bank that does not place account holder fee tactics at the top of their revenue and legal agendas.