Those of you patriots who have been following the little saga of the Bank of America's refusal to return the Chuckmeister's money following the sad and untimely demise of his lovely and patient wife, will be anxious to read this, the Final Chapter, the "post mortem," so to speak, in that painful drama.
Those of you who haven't are invited to scroll down and acquaint yourselves with a situation no one could have possibly predicted: one of the biggest banks in America decided to screw a loyal customer by hanging on to his money far beyond what would have reasonably been...reasonable.
But I, The Chuckmeister, after more than two months of screaming, shouting, pounding my fists on the table and threatening to call in "Lawyer Daggett," have finally wrestled this mess to the mat and the referee has named me the victor! Dammmmmm-n-n-n-n!
Anyway, to continue from where we last left off, BofA demanded that I fill out and have notarized a certain affidavit unique to the State of California. I asked the lady on the other end of the phone at their Estate Unit if she would fax me one. She said no, I had to find one on my own. I asked her where I should look to find one. She said, "Google it. You'll find it." Now that was helpful. I guess that's customer service in today's America. At least in the Bank of America's...America.
So I jumped on the Web and located just such a form. Downloadable and printable for only $5.00. How nice. So now I'm $35.00 in unrecoverable fees from this little adventure. I fill out this form, go find a couple of family members to serve as witnesses, employ another notary for another $15.00 and fax the whole paper pile away. And then wait. And wait. Three weeks I waited.
Was the check finally in the mail? Ummmm, no.
I get a letter letting me know that I sent the affidavit before the State's arbitrary 40-day elapsed time requirement. I sent it to them in 34 days. Of course, they didn't tell me about this little nicety, nor did the website offering up the form for sale. No amount of begging and pleading could get the Banks' flunky to agree to a waiving the rules. I was instructed to do it all over. Let that sink in: all over again...
So, grumbling out loud the entire time, I return to the wilds of the Web, find another form, pay $6.00 this time, down load and print it, and fill it out. I ferret out two more witnesses, pay another $15.00 for a notary (that's $65.00 in fees in you're still counting), and then re-fax the package back to the Estate Unit. Hoping that this nightmare will now, finally, be over.
No such luck. I get a call from a BofA dimbulb kindly informing me that I had now "chosen the wrong affidavit." I needed, the person told me, a form that specified the amount the Bank was holding from me, plus the account number. I remarked that the Bank should know the account number and the amount they've been holding, and that none of the forms I had thus far reviewed had such a statement. She told me to go to "www.courts.CA.Gov" and I would find one. Really.
So, not-so-slowly shaking my head side-to-side, I head back to the Internet and scope out this website. Was there an affidavit that offered up instructions according to the Bank's demands? Ummm, no. In fact, there was not even a form available with the affidavit's name. There were a couple of forms that seemed close in the probate section, so I downloaded them ($14.00 more dollars...$79.00 now total), filled them out, got them witnessed and the packaged re-notarized ($94.00 the new total!), and sent them in.
Room Temperature-I.Q. lady on the other end of the phone at BofA was suitably sorry to hear of my plight when she called to tell me that, once again I had chosen the wrong form. That's three so far, I told her, and I was becoming more than a little bit off-pissed. I let her know that I had three options seemingly available to me at this point: One, I could just agree to give the BofA the money they were holding, hoping that it would help them have a really, really nice Christmas party. Of course, that option would also involve me contacting the Media and conducting a press conference on my front yard. I would first short BofA's stock, doncha' know.
Or second, I would take a large caliber weapon and start blowing holes in the nearest Bank branch. Or, in third place among options, I would call in a lawyer and sue the crap out of them.
Whilst contemplating among those options, I chose a fourth. I went to the largest branch here in Chuckmeisterville, marched my crippled body in an arrow straight line to the largest desk I could find, plopped myself down and told the poor dweeb sitting there that I had come to solve a perplexing problem, that he was going to help me do so, and that there would be Hell to pay if he didn't.
Well, as it happened, the guy I chose had a bit of horsepower. He listened raptly to my tale of woe, and then started making phone calls. I suspect one of them was to the local PD Swat unit, but I can't be sure. Anyhoo, within an hour the guy had sorted through all the difficulties and been given the assurance from whoever was on the other end of the line that I could finally rest easy; my nightmare was almost over.
Oh wait: what Mr. Desk Guy found out, and what enabled this whole ugly situation to obtain a successful resolution, was...wait for it...I had been an owner of, and signer on the account right from the beginning! The lazy oafs at the Estate Unit hadn't taken the time to dredge up some microfiche from back in 1986 to verify just who owned this account. And my very loud claims that I had been writing checks on it for more than 40 years fell on deaf ears. I co-owned the accounts, and they had wrongfully put me through unnecessary grief for two and one-half months.
Oh yeah, and then they informed me that I would just have to wait somewhere from 7 to 14 BUSINESS days to get my check.
Update: Today I opened my mail. In it was a cashier's check from BofA for all my money, finally. No letter of explanation, or regret. Just a check. But it did not include all the unnecessary fees they'd forced me to expend trying to get my money back. I'm sitting here trying to decide whether or not to sue them in Small Claims Court to get back my $94.00. Still might...
For those of you out there who need a recommendation regarding banks, you can be certain that my commentary regarding BofA will not be at all positive...