PC Financial - A lesson to learn
It started out with my marriage planning about 3 years ago. My wife and I opened a joint chequing and saving accounts at PC Financial, being attracted to the high interest rates and looking forward to make better savings to build our family. With the attractive PC points which can be accumulated to trade in grocery, we bought into applying the PC Mastercard as well. There is an ATM close to our home, as such we made great use of it to do our financial transaction, depositing and withdrawing. There was virtually no need to contact their call center for my simple banking needs.
Things started to spiral downward in summer 2010, I got a call about fraudulent activities on my PC Mastercard. It was probably the first time I ever talked to their contact center. I was shocked with the news since never did I lose any credit cards in my life, how did my card or my information get used or stolen by someone else? The representative carried on with her questions on my transaction. She literally read out every single entry, and asked me if I knew for sure that I was responsible for that transaction. Trying not to make any mistakes on my end, I asked if they can call me at a later time when I am home. She suggested to send me an affidavit to better confirm the transaction and promised that I will receive it in 3 to 4 weeks. My new card will also be arriving in 10 days.
A month has gone by, the new chip card arrived but nowhere could I see the affidavit.
I called the call center again to ask for a status update. The representative indicated that the transactions were confirmed already and I should be paying the amount billed on my statement. I immediately responded that I will not be paying in full for the statement amount since I did not recognize some of the transactions. I was waiting for the affidavit the entire time. So she once again went through the transactions with me once again. Great. And she promised me that she will still need me to fill out the affidavit that she actually did get it to me within the following 2 weeks.
Remeber the new replacement chip card? Hoping that all these fraudulent issues were resolved, I was looking forward to use this new technology to make my life easier with the encrypted PIN technology and I could say goodbye to signature signing. So, activating my card through the phone was no problem. But wait, what about the PIN? Surprised by their simple reply, the PIN is "xxxx". I just want to say that this PIN is so simple that anyone could have guessed it. So thinking that I must change the PIN immediately, but the option was simply not available. The representative told me that the PIN technology actually wasn't in place yet so I had to stick with the dummy PIN for now, and whenever I am requested, I will still be required to sign the receipt.
I laughed with my heart on that. How on earth could you provide a service that has not been implemented? And you could market it and claim it as increased security?
Now my fraudulent activities really do make a whole lot of sense now.
Losing half of my confidence with this bank, I could not believe that it was not yet the end.
Near the end of 2010, having reconciled our family budget which we often performed every 2 months or so, my wife and I deposited a large amount of money through the ATM and hoping to make that our permanent saving account to save for our new home. Two weeks down the road, a mysterious $1000 was taken out of our account. So my wife immediately called to question. PC pointed to us that our money did not reconcile with their account, so we must have claimed $1000 more than what we actually deposited. We were so mad when we heard the findings, since we keep track of our spreadsheets and we counted our money carefully every time we deposit. It is a large sum of money and we never want to make any mistakes. So we requested an investigation on the case and hoping to hear some good news in two weeks, which the representative suggested.
2 weeks passed, no sign of changes. The phone was picked up to follow up with the case. The investigation was finished and it was not their fault. Wonderful. It's not your fault, then whose fault would that be, I wondered. So would you ever called me when money was taken away from my account automatically? or when you are finished with your "investigation"? "No, we don't call our customers. It's your responsibility to keep track of your account." The supervisor told. Having stressed on the many events that had happened in the past, I indicated my intention to cancel my account and any affiliates with PC Financial. The supervisor said, "after all, it is your own choice."
A bank that relies solely on phone, web, ATM banking, in my opinion, failed miserably in two of their three services. A heavily utilized call center that provide poor customer services; an internal operation that is in such a mess and there is an obvious lack of internal communication; treat banking security like a joke. I can not blame them entirely for the ATM problem since it seems to apply to all banks. An investigation by the firm itself will definitely sound funny in other industry but not in banks for some reason. It was a lot of hard work to earn my $1000 but with nothing else I could do, I can only consider this as my contribution to lower Canadian inflation rate.
Moral of my story: There is no free lunch. If you have some money for the banks to lock on your chequing account, although it doesn't make any sense since it is really your money lending to the banks to do their business, just let it be locked. Before you knew it, the opportunity to talk to a bank manager face-to-face is invaluable.