Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rant of the Day: Why I Despise Banex

Banex blows. Banex is horrible. Banex does not know the meaning of the term "customer service." Customers? Do we have those? they ask.

Banex is a bank, based in Mexico, I think, and used to be BanCrecen. I have had more problems in the two months that I've had an account at Banex than in the SIX YEARS that I've had an account at Banco Cuscatlan. In fact, I still have the Cuscatlan account and use it for most everything. The only reason I opened an account at Banex is that they have a debit card one can use outside of Costa Rica (and if anyone knows of another bank here that offers a similar service, I'm all ears).

But, Banex is about the worst bank I have ever had to deal with. Here's my short list of (ahem) "issues" since opening my account:

1. I had to have some $ wire transferred into my account from the U.S. Generally a simple process, once one has the correct information. The wire transfer was sent, but no money in my Banex account. Waited a few days, still no money. Called "customer service." The first person I talked to said that it takes 14 days (WHAT? FOURTEEN FREAKIN' DAYS?) to get a wire transfer into your account. I was livid. What would be the purpose of the wire transfer, then? I had my (Tico) husband call the bank. ("When in doubt, get a local" is my motto.) He talked to someone completely different, who said that, in fact, a wire transfer shows up within an hour, but this one hadn't gone through, so send it again. Sent it again, went through in an hour. That was an "easy" probem to solve.

2. I often get paid from clients in the U.S. by check, which I need to deposit into my bank account here. Banco Cuscatlan takes 10 days from the time you deposit the check until it is cashed. I suppose they basically just hold onto your money so that they (not you) can earn interest on it, but whatever. Anyway, I made the mistake of depositing a rather substantial check into my Banex account. The infamous 14 days passes, still no money in my account. So great, time to call "customer service." I get some kind of story that, because of the weekends, blah blah blah, it's more like 21 days. After waiting for the 21 days to pass, still no $ in the account. So I call again, and I get some ridiculous excuse that since there was a federal holiday in the U.S. (President's Day, I believe it was), it is taking an extra day, and of course since it's Saturday, I'm gonna have to wait until Monday for the money to be in my account. President's Day? We don't even celebrate that in Costa Rica, so what in the hell does that have to do with anything? Time to get esposo on the phone again. This time he threatens to close my account if the money doesn't show up immediately, and guess what? It's there within the hour, even though they insisted there was no one there to deal with it on a Saturday. And that's the last time I deposited a check in that bank.

3. I sometimes use PayPal, and have a website hosted at Yahoo, both of which I pay for using said debit card from Banex. Both sites charge you $1, which is then supposed to appear back in your account after a few days, something about verifying the credit card. Ok, fine. I don't have a problem with that. I do have a problem, though, when PayPal makes a chargeback to my card and it never shows up. I also have a problem when I am charged twice for my webhosting, though I never made the second charge. PayPal tells me they initiated the chargeback over a month ago. Yahoo says they never charged me the second time. Guess what. Time to call "customer service." Mi esposo this time suggests we go to the bank in person, so I write down all of the $1 chargebacks that have never appeared, and the larger chargeback, and the extra charge. The person at the bank has no idea what I'm talking about, so she has to call over another fellow to help her out. Then the supervisor comes over and starts telling me (with some rather annoying attitude, I might add) that "I have to get the company I work for to redo the chargebacks." Huh? Um, dear! Help! About a half an hour later, they finally find the substatial chargeback that was processed but never showed up in my account. The three $1 chargebacks are MIA, apparently. When we get to the double charge, the guy starts telling my husband that I have to go back to Yahoo and they have to do a chargeback for the amount. Ah, yes, but I already spoke to Yahoo and they have assured me they only processed one charge. So I ask, what would one do in the case of an unauthorized charge being made on one's card? Well, he explains, one would put in for that charge to be taken off, but of course if they see it has come from Yahoo, they are not going to take it off the accout. I don't get this. Of course it comes from Yahoo, but it was not authorized. I fill out the paperwork anyway. He insists I call Yahoo and see what they can do about the second charge. I notice he has the wrong date on the paperwork. Since there are two charges on my accout for the same amount, but on different dates, I figure they would need to know for which date I am requesting the charge be removed. Duh, right? When I had a similar problem some years ago at a different bank (an ATM didn't give out the $ -- never use the ATM inside the Mas x Menos in Escazu!), I had to explain what happened, get the thing notorized, etc. This was just like, check a box and sign your name. I wanted to explain, but no go. I am quite sure that, after a month of Sundays has rolled around, the charge will not be taken off my account by my bank. Oh, and those three $1 chargebacks? They have no idea what happened to them, and suggest I call Yahoo/PayPal and have them reprocessed. Like I am going to spend my time doing that, which I exactly what they want me to do: not bother. Sure, $3 is not much to me, but add up all the other people that the bank is taking advantage of in this way, and it adds up. And how many people are going to complain about $1 here or there? I guess I just have a 'thing' about getting your money for nothing, even if it is $1 or two. So maybe I'll call Yahoo and PayPal after all.

One thing all this has taught me is not to use this account except for the things I absolutely need to use it for: i.e., using the card to pay for something outside of the country. And I warn everyone away from Banex. Blah. Seriously, though, if you have had the patience to read this far, please, please suggest another Costa Rican bank to me! All I need is one that will let me have a debit card I can use outside of CR. Is that too much to ask?

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