I’ve been getting a ton of traffic and support over Metro Bank’s ongoing customer service issues. In this post I’m going to talk about how to file a complaint and get results. But first, I’d like to help:
My site is currently getting thousands of hits every day from Metro Bank customers. If you work for a bank or credit union and you’re offering any sort of special incentive for Metro Bank customers to jump ship, send me your contact information and details on your promotion. I’ll post all the offers within a day or two. I’m willing to do this for free, and in fact, I will not accept any compensation of any kind.
From the comments here and elsewhere, the most common problems users are reporting are:
- Visa / ATM cards being declined for no reason
- ATM cards not working at ATM machines
- Unauthorized transactions debiting the account
- ATM withdrawals that never happened still debiting the account
- Website is inaccessible, slow, and/or non-functioning w
- Website is poorly designed
- Customer service unreachable by telephone, or has excessive hold times
- Apathetic, defensive, and/or confrontational employees
- Incorrect balances or inaccurate transaction history
- Duplicate transactions
- Incorrect overdrafts
For added bonus points, a Metro Bank employee named “Shannon” waltzed on over here and said that any unhappy customers can go “F off”.
If you’ve been affected by Metro Bank’s epic failure, here’s some helpful information to make sure your complaint is heard by the right people. Read on for information on crafting an effective complaint letter.
First, try to resolve your complaint through their call center (888-937-0004). Document the name of the person you speak to, the time & date you called, the time they answered, and the time you hung up. It’s also not a bad idea to note any important points you discussed. If that’s unsuccessful, visit your local branch. Ask to speak with a manager if the employee can’t or won’t help you. Again, document the time & date of your visit, who you spoke to, and what the outcome was.
If that’s unsuccessful, contact their corporate headquarters in writing. Metro Bank’s corporate address is:
3801 Paxton Street
Harrisburg PA 17111
Their upper management consists of:
- Gary Nalbandian, Chief Executive Officer
- Mark Ritter, Chief Operating Officer
- D. Scott Huggins, Chief Risk Officer
- Steve Solk, Central PA Market Manager
- Victoria Chieppa, Senior Vice President of Operations
Metro Bank’s email structure appears to be firstname.lastname @ mymetrobank.com.
There are three main outside parties that can help with your complaint. First is our good ol’ Pennsylvania Attorney General. Typically they defer bank complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, but our AG is very aggressive and pro-consumer. If they get a big enough volume of complaints, they may become involved. The FDIC also has the authority to send in Bank Examiners to ensure that all applicable laws and regulations are being followed, and that sound practices are being used to protect the public interest. The addresses are as follows:
Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
(click on “Consumer Complaint Form”)
Pennsylvania Department of Banking:
(under “Have a Question? Need Help?”, click on “submitting a request online”)
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC):
(simply fill out the form)
Remember that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Be polite, but persistent. Calm, but unrelenting.
If you’re unhappy with Metro Bank (as I am), you should also consider leaving (as I am). Central PA has an abundance of dependable, secure, financially-sound banks and credit unions who will bend over backwards to earn your business. There are also a number of national banks, such as E-Trade and ING, who offer unique and competitive advantages. If you have experiences to share with your bank (or if you ARE a bank looking to pick up some alienated Metro customers), please feel free to do so in the comments below.
Now then: There’s a right way to complain and a wrong way to complain. I am 100% sympathetic towards the customers who have had their finances locked out by this fiasco, but the fastest way to have your complaint dumped into a pile and never looked at again is to be rude. Other turn-offs include threatening legal action (companies get these all the time), making unlikely or inappropriate demands, and wordiness. Keep your complaints brief and to the point. Remain calm. Stick to the facts. If you must talk about your feelings or thoughts, keep it light. For example:
RIGHT: I spoke with Nadine at your call center on June 17th at approximately 4:28pm. She was very dismissive of my claims, and even stopped to say “Well I didn’t double-post your bills”. She was ultimately unable to resolve my concerns.
WRONG: I spoke with Nadine at your call center last week sometime after work. Our conversation went on for a very long time. I feel that she was not taking me seriously and had no interest whatsoever in helping me out. As an example, when I told her that my bill payments had been double-posted in my online ledger, she sarcastically replied “Well I didn’t double-post your bills”. I don’t appreciate being spoken to in this manner.
Unless you’re attaching supporting documentation, your letter should be no more than one page. If it goes longer, you’ve probably written too much. Set it aside, go do something calming for an hour or two, then come back and see what you can trim off. Your letter should clearly state what happened, why it was wrong (if it isn’t already painfully obvious), and what you want them to do about it. The last part is important — if you say “I hope you all go out of business!”, you’re not going to get what you want. Reasonable resolutions should be concrete. Examples include:
- “I would like a written apology for the conduct demonstrated by this employee.”
- “I expect my account balance to be corrected as described above no later than June 20th, 2009.”
- “I would like my account closed effective June 21st, 2009.”
If you want proof that your letter was received (not a bad idea, considering Metro Bank’s track record for inaccurate record-keeping), send it certified mail with signature requested. This costs about $5 for a standard letter. Reputable businesses do not refuse certified mail; if Metro returns your mail refused or unclaimed, then cut your losses and seek another bank immediately.