What is the business world doing to society? It is abominable when fee’s and charges are assessed to people in need? Disabled, unemployed, single parents, are the prime target of these unfair practices. The people who need help the most are the one’s fleeced by banks, and government bureau’s everyday.
This is a long article, but, it is well worth the reading if you can stick it out with me!
People in that are given authority can, and will, abuse that authority. It’s a proven fact. Need I remind you of the Stanford Prison Experiment? The students granted the position of “Guard” became sadistic and abused the “Prisoners”. Why do so many people ignore this important insight into authority and those granted with it?
We are all raised believing that certain questions are rude to ask. You know what I’m talking about: “Is that lady pregnant?”, ouch. or what about, “How much do you weigh?”, “How old are you?”. What about, “What is your salary?”, rude, tsk, tsk. And, “What kind of bills do you incur (or receive)?” No way, don’t ask, very rude. But that’s EXACTLY what they rely on. Who is they? The government, banks, utility companies, etc. They rely on our secretive nature about our bills to gouge, overcharge, and generally hack into our money.
I can clearly remember my mother telling me, “That’s rude. You don’t ask about other people’s finances.” As a matter of fact, growing up in my household, you didn’t ask about anyone’s finances.
If I don’t tell you about the ridiculous fee’s I am charged by the bank, or the clandestine penalties I’m charged by the DMV, how will you know? How will we be able to say, as a collective voice of society, “No, this is wrong! You will not charge us these exorbitant fee’s and get away with it.” if we don’t talk about it? We won’t. And that is exactly what they want! We will all sit by, oblivious, while our neighbors, friends, family and the rest of society is torn into financially. This needs to change!
The following scenario’s I was either with the person as the situation unfolded, or I was provided the original letters, sent from the institutions, to read.
There are two incidents, of people fleeced, I was witness to, that have been festering in my soul since I heard about them. They may not have happened to me personally, but they were just as upsetting for me as if they had. Then, over the weekend, I was told about yet another atrocity. I can’t take it anymore, I have to do something, I must write about it!
If you look at how our society is set-up for dealing with financial issues, it is completely defective. When people who are not financially secure are charged more fee’s than anyone else in society, there is a problem! These scenario’s are so disheartening because they happened to people who simply do not have the extra money to deal with these fee’s, penalties, and charges. These people will go without such basic necessities as food, clothing, electricity in their home, because of these fee’s. These are NOT the people who should be charged when a bill cannot be paid by them. These are not the people who have the means to earn more money, or borrow it from someone. These are the people society needs to lend a hand to. These are the people that should be LAST on the list to be penalized! They are already penalized with their knowledge that they can’t pay a bill, or they can’t buy their children clothing. These people don’t LIKE the fact they cannot pay a bill. They do not LIKE that they can’t register their car. Who in his right mind doesn’t want to be able to drive their car? Who can conduct a normal, or semi-normal life without a car? Yet, they are charged, and charged, and charged, again.
Let me tell you what I know. I will keep to the facts, and I will omit no truths in the following stories:
Bank Gets Off Scot-Free With Fraud – A woman took a shot at starting her own business. This business relied on receiving payments occasionally from unknown people. Things were going well, when she was presented with a check from one of her customers. Not trusting the validity of the check, she took it to Dumpqua Bank (the name of the bank has been obscured). She told the teller at Dumpqua, “I don’t know this person, but they want to do business with me. I don’t want anything to do with the money on this check until it clears their bank. When can I expect it to clear their bank?” The teller responded with, “Give it 24 hrs to clear their bank.” The woman said great, thank you, and left the bank.
Three days later she returned to the Dumpqua bank. The same teller was working. She inquired, “Has the check I deposited cleared their bank yet?” The teller told her, “Yes, it has cleared their bank just fine.” The woman withdrew the funds and completed her customers transaction.
Two weeks later, the woman went to make another transaction at Dumpqua bank. When she walked in the teller from the previous transactions came over to her immediately. “I’ve been trying to call you all day!” says the teller. She went on, “That check you deposited. It wasn’t good. We need you to give us the money back.” Shocked, and unbelieving, the woman responded, “You told me it cleared their bank! I told you I didn’t want anything to do with the money until it cleared their bank! Why did you tell me it had cleared their bank?” The teller answered, “I’m sorry, I should have keyed it in, but I didn’t. Now we really need that money back.” The woman advised the teller, “I do not have the money. I completed their purchase and gave them their product. You told me the check cleared their bank. It’s your problem now.” The woman left Dumpqua bank with the teller following her telling her they need the money back. There was nothing the woman could do, she had given the person their products, the money was gone.
Dumpqua initiated a bounced check accusation against the woman claiming she had bounced the check. Nothing was done about the teller that was “Sorry, I should have keyed it in.” Then, when the bounced check scenario gave the no results, Dumpqua placed a negative transaction on her credit report stating that she owes money and isn’t paying. This negative credit report entry will stay on her report for eight years!
She was lied to by the teller. She was trying to be a conscientious business owner by waiting until the check cleared the check writers bank. Who do we trust if we can’t trust our own bank? How do people conduct a business when their bank won’t help them identify fraud? This was the perfect situation for the bank and the business woman to collaborate and catch a criminal with a fraudulent check, but instead the bank gave the business owner fraudulent information thus allowing the person that created the bad check to get away scot-free.
Just Like $800 Dominos – Coincidently, this next scenario comes from the same bank as mentioned above, Dumpqua. Same bank, completely different person/situation. This person is disabled. They do not receive anything from disability as of yet. They had applied nearly a year before. A meager retirement fund, and hand-outs from family was her means of supporting herself at the time. Getting by, but barely, she was slammed by Dumpqua bank. As many of us do, she had to kite a check. (Kiting a check is the act of writing a check to pay someone like PG & E, or the water bill, or to a private party, etc. when the funds are not in your account yet. The idea is to pay the bill so your basic necessities won’t be turned off, with the hope your deposit beats the check to your bank account to cover the check). Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose kiting checks. When a person is living on a meager income, sometimes this is the only way. My disabled friend used this method to pay the rent on her home one month. Her landlord insisted on payment or she was to vacate the premises. So, she wrote the check on Friday, knowing she would have the full amount in the bank on Monday morning. Well, you guessed it, the landlord went down and immediately cashed the check at his bank. The check got to her bank before she did Monday morning.
Come Monday morning, she deposited the funds into her account, nothing was said. The receipt reflected enough money to cover the check written on Friday. Lo-and-behold, the check had already arrived at midnight Sunday. She was already overdrawn and didn’t know it. The bank sent her a notice in the mail that she was overdrawn. This was received Wednesday. By the time she got to the bank Thursday morning, the account had been overdrawn for four days. Dumpqua bank assessed her fee’s to the tune of $800!! How in the world could that happen you ask? When the check for the rent overdrew her account Sunday at midnight, the bank assessed fee’s on her account of $15 for the check immediately, plus $5 per day that the check was not paid. When she made the deposit on Monday morning it was not enough to cover the ensuing checks coming through because she did not account for the $15 plus $5 a day assessment. Any check or debit on the account was bounced, or denied which caused $15 per item plus $5 a day per item. This snowball effect went on until she received the letter from the bank on Wednesday. Within those four days she went bankrupt and didn’t even know it. If the $15 plus $5 a day had not been assessed without her knowledge, the overdraft would not have happened, but the fee’s charged caused one, after another, to overdraft her account. With much dismay and irritation, she made phone calls, visited the bank, and generally made an uproar about it until some of the fee’s were waved by the bank. She still had to pay the $15 per item, but just this once, and I’m sure to get her out of the bank, they removed the $5 a day for each item. She still had creditors to answer to why her payment was returned. There was several days of clean-up to people this disabled person had to go through. The bank took their fee’s out of her account for the next couple of months until they were all paid in full.
What The Heck!? – This last event was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I am still reeling from reading the letter the bank sent him. This involves yet another disabled person. He was given a much-needed car when a family member passed away. As things would have it, the car was in fine shape, but it needed minor repair work over time. IE: new brakes, SMOG test, new tires, etc. This was becoming all too much for him to afford. During this time another ailment befell him and his feet became disfigured, preventing him from pressing the pedals in his car. When the registration came due, he did not have the money to pay it. The car was in working condition, but he couldn’t drive it with his feet disfigured, so he left it to sit. In California, in order to place your vehicle as NON-OP (non operational) the registration must be paid, then a fee is charged for the NON-OP status, with taxes and other fee’s applied. He did not have the money for these things, he didn’t have money for anything. The Department of Motor Vehicles was persistent in collecting their due registration fee’s. He didn’t/couldn’t drive the car, he couldn’t afford to register it. He did not drive it, he couldn’t drive it especially with his foot condition. The car was parked in his yard. Cobwebs grew from it, dirt and weeds collected around the tires.
Fast forward two years. The car really has cobwebs now! His financial situation is improving, slowly, very slowly, but he is able to have a bank account to pay bills with. He receives a notice from the bank that his account is overdrawn. He wheels himself down to the bank to find out how this could be. He’s very careful about keeping track of his debits and credits, and generally balancing the checkbook is important to him. When he gets there he is notified that a legal action has been taken against his account by…….The DMV!! They assessed his account, and got legal permission to remove from his account an amount of over $150 without any prior notice to him! Then, to top it off, the bank charged him another $125! The banks reasoning for this fee……for dealing with the DMV. They assessed him a fee of $125 for dealing with the DMV! What he heck is that? Isn’t that their job, to deal with money? Now they can assess a fee for doing what they do for everyone else for free? So, now his account is minus an unexpected $250. Guess what happened with the bills he had paid recently? You know exactly what happened, they were all denied! Then, those people charged him fee’s on top of that for their payment being denied! This is all so much craziness my mind was reeling! And here is the show stopper, the DMV will continue to take this $125 out of his account each month until the registration, on the car he can’t drive, with cobwebs growing on it, until it is paid in full AND they have put a lock on his Safe Deposit Box he has at the bank! What does his Safe Deposit Box have to do with the DMV? How do they have the power to lock him out of his personal belongings held in that Box? He cannot access anything in his Safe Deposit Box until the fee’s are paid in full which are approximately $900.
How in this whole wide world does the DMV have the power to force a disabled person to pay a registration for a car he can’t even drive? The DMV is collecting registrations to pay for our roads, to repair street signs, and lights. They are collecting the fee’s on our behalf, the American person. As they see it everyone that uses the roads contributes to repairing them. Where are they going now with this outline of duties? They work for us! I say wave the fee! Leave him alone. Pick on someone else! Stop bullying people! Who doesn’t want to use their car? Who doesn’t want to pay the registration so they can drive their car? Nobody that I know of. So when someone CAN’T pay the registration, or registration PLUS NON-OP fee’s, don’t chase them down and FORCE it out of them!! You have no right! If they drive the vehicle they will be pulled over and cited. There’s the punishment. We don’t need the DMV taking control of our checking accounts and safe deposit boxes over registrations! What is next? What if they just decide to forego sending out registration reminders, they are costly, waste of paper, and time, and they decide to just TAKE your money from your account for registration without notice? How does that shoe fit you? Does this sound appealing to you? I sure as heck hope not!
As I see it, these banks and DMV are flexing their muscles to see how, and what they can get away with on the American people. They have targeted people who are in need of representation, yet cannot afford such a luxury. These people can’t afford to go out and get an attorney to fight for their rights and the banks and the DMV know it! We need to put a stop to this at the ground floor we are on. Are you going to wait until it affects you and your bank account? Are you going to wait until you receive a letter in the mail that your overdrawn because the DMV swiped the money out of your account without your knowledge, and now you owe the bank thousands of dollars? Or, are you going to do something, anything, now while we still have a voice to say, “NO, this is wrong.”
Justice IS BLIND it is up to us, the American Citizen to guide her in the right path!!