BofA’s help desk called me at around 1:15 AM (I was up so not a problem for me). I’ve managed help desks in the past and I know there are two kinds of help desks. The first is the one that we mostly encounter, some high school graduate in a tiny cubicle with a headset typing key words into a computer and then reading back whatever text seems most appropriate. The second is experience, well-trained staff who have studied and understand the products and have some degree of authority vested in them. BofA’s help desk was the second kind.
The woman told me she’d read my blog post and understood the situation. She told me that she would make calls and try to get some action for me. Then she told me about SmartPass, which is BofA’s double authentication system for web transactions. When I told her that wouldn’t work for me because they won’t send me a verification number by SMS, she told me they also have a digital dongle (like the one I have from HSBC), that it normally costs US$20, and that she would send it to me for free. And she told me that she understood the errors came down to training issues of branch staff and she would highlight this as an issue for management attention.
When I woke up this morning I had an email from the branch manager telling me they had credited the money back to my joint account even though they had not received the funds back from HSBC yet. I have no way of knowing whether this action came about because of the branch manager or because of the initiative of the person from the help desk. (I’m assuming it’s the latter.) My mother redid the transfer and this time it went through smoothly and the money’s in my account.
So while I was critical of Bank of America (and justifiably so as far as I’m concerned), I also have to give them credit for having a help desk that was truly helpful.
Disaster over. Normal life resumes.