October 25, 2011

Screwed again by Dodd-Frank

Whether it be the law of unintended consequences or just Dimocratic stupidity, I ran into yet another asinine example of how Dodd-Frank screws the average American.

We had a little neighborhood garage sale over the weekend.  On two occasions, people asked if we would take a check for their purchase.  One was a neighbor whose husband is a local high school teacher, I figured I could find her if the check bounced.  The other was a complete stranger.  Further muddying the should-I-or-shouldn't-I waters was the fact that she lives in a low rent area, had just recently moved there, in fact.  So recently moved that her checks had her former address on them.  I took the check anyway, thinking in her case, that if her check was no good, she needed the $25 more than I did.

Both of the checks were from Chase bank accounts.  I am not an account holder there, but there is a branch on my daily commute and I decided to cash the checks this morning, rather than run them through my bank and play the 'will they bounce?' waiting game.

That was the weirdest banking experience I have encountered.  There was no service counter with tellers.  There were several people milling about the lobby, waiting on customers to walk in.  It was like a furniture store, with each of the people waiting to take their turn.  So, five or six people greeted me and asked how they could help me.  I waved the two checks and said I needed to cash them.  A helpful gentleman guided me to his cubicle, offered me a seat and took the checks.  Then he asked if I had an account there.  I explained that I did not, but they were both Chase checks, so there shouldn't be an issue.  Right?

That was when Mr. Helpful informed me that they charge a fee to cash their own checks.  WTF?  $3 each, it is a non-customer check cashing charge, he explained.  Are you fucking kidding me?  For a check drawn on your own bank?  When did this start happening?  Thank you Barney and Chris, for setting limits on financial institutions that have them doing the airline version of finding every possible thing they can charge the average consumer for, to make a stinking buck.

Ultimately, and probably in no small part due to my colorful turning of a phrase, Chase waived the fee, as a courtesy and in consideration of the fact that the checks totaled a measly $55.

Before I end this, let me tell you about the rest of the banking experience.  After handing the checks over, I was asked to endorse them, put my index fingerprint on the memo line and provide my driver's license.  Mr. Helpful excused himself and left the cubicle with the items.  He soon returned and chatted me up about where I bank and why, doing the Chase soft sell.  In a few minutes, a man in a suit entered the cubicle and handed a bank bag to Mr. Helpful.  The suit never acknowledged me, which I found weird considering the mass welcoming committee in the lobby.  In the bank bag was my $55, and I was on my way.

I guess if that is the most efficient way that Chase can figure out to cash two friggin' checks, they probably need to be charging $3 for the privilege.


CenTexTim said...

I've never heard of charging a fee to cash a check drawn on your own bank. Those greedy bastards. Quick, grab a bunch of drummers and occupy the town square.

Banking has sure changed since I left that line of work.

kerrcarto said...

Wells Fargo does the same thing. Believe me. I was kicked out of one a few years back for raising holy hell in the lobby.