“Too big to fail” apparently means “continue to screw the consumer.” Despite a rash of revelations about how big banks, most notably Bank of America, have resorted to outright criminal behavior to squeeze money from consumers, their abominable tactics continue.
A small example:
Our mortgage is with BoA (not the original lender, but mortgages are still basically hot currency and almost all are sold to other servicers as soon as they are issued). We’ve had the mortgage since March of 2011, and have always been current with the payments. The loan is actually in the name of my now-deceased mother, because I had an employment gap and banks would not even look at us despite having sufficient income.
So this month it turns out that our payment was a bit late – teaching hours have been down this last month, and Social Security doesn’t kick in until August. This morning I got a call from Bank of America; it was a dun call, and they wanted to make sure I knew there was now a late fee due, and when would the payment be made? 4 days past the due date.
Up yours, Bank of America.You don’t start dunning people if a payment is 4 days overdue.  It makes you look cheap, grasping, and insensitive. Oh wait, that’s what you are… my bad.
Tales like the above are all too common these days. Corporations are looking only at the bottom line, and they couldn’t care if they lose a significant percent of their customers to increase their bottom line (I’m looking at you, Netflix.) Customer service – this is an oxymoron these days, as the level of service at most companies is bare bones, outsourced to India or the Philippines, and you’re lucky if you can get anyone on the line that knows how to solve your problem, let alone give a rat’s south-40.
Happily, there are the exceptions.
Back in 1996 we bought a living room set from the now-defunct Granite Furniture Company.
(♫ Granite’s on the railroad tracks,
Greater Savings, that’s a Fact
Buys in carload lots for you
Try the Granite, you’ll save too! ♫);
Granite Furniture Ad, Deseret News and Telegram, September 5, 1960
it’s a great set and has provided good wear for almost 20 years. Some years ago, however, one of my oldest son’s friends accidentally snapped off one of the recliner release handles on the sofa (you know who you are, Bing), and we’ve been unable to use that side of the couch as a recliner since then.
On a whim, I looked around inside and found a tag indicating that it had been made by Action Manufacturing, Inc. A bit of Googling let me to the Lane Furniture Company – apparently they either acquired them, or Action was always a subsidiary. Anyway, I dashed off a note to Lane from their website, describing the problem and giving the model and ID number of the piece. Less than a week later, I had confirmation from their service department that a new handle would be sent out to me… no cost, under warranty. I just about messed my britches in astonishment.
Today the parts arrived. Not one, but two handles… so I have a spare if another one ever breaks.
A huge shout-out to Lane Furniture for making awesome furniture, and for standing behind it for so long. Thank you, from a very happy consumer.
 If any of you feel tempted to leave comments about how BoA is within their legal rights, I’ll just delete said comments, and say rude things about you behind your back. Times are tough, and we need more people like George Bailey, and far fewer like Henry F. Potter.