If you have money in a Bank of America account, like I do (for now), then I advise you to take out all of your money and run far away from them if you plan on doing any traveling.
Bank of America is single handedly trying to assure that I starve to death while I´m here in Peru. This might be somewhat of a ranting post, but I need to get this off my chest and also hope that this can be some sort of miniscule stab at revenge.
The saga begins with a mistake I made. I´ll be the first to admit it, I made a stupid mistake. On February 4th, my third day in Cusco, I went to an ATM and, upon receiving my money, decided to count how much I had received. I neglected, however, to notice that I left my card in the machine while counting, and it was promptly eaten by the greedy money shooter.
That´s where my mistakes ended. The ATM was not connected to any bank where I could go in to retrieve my card, so I quickly called Bank of America to have them cancel it. Which they did. The first Bank of America representative I spoke with, who later turned out to be one of the most either wicked or incompetant (most likely both) people I´ve encountered, passed me on to a weird little group called Visa 911, who could help me figure out if I could use my credit card, which I still had, as a debit card.
Of course, the person at Visa 911, a dirty liar as it turns out, told me that it was not an option. So that same day I called Bank of America back, asking if I could somehow have them send me an ATM card in Peru. Of course, they said. They´d be happy to help me. But when they looked up my account history, they found that the first woman I talked to had already had a new card sent to the address on file without asking me, to my parent´s house in Portland, Maine. Which wasn´t so helpful.
So the witch on the phone grumpily canceled that card, advised me to change my address to Peru, one of the worst pieces of advice I´ve ever gotten, right up there with my father´s advice to watch Night of the Living Dead at age eight.
So I changed my address to here in Peru, and the lady assures me that my card will be there in 4 to 16 days. In the meanwhile, I can use my credit card to get cash out of a bank to the tune of 3% of the amount I withdraw, wich turned out to be about $70. Worth it in order to have money for 16 days while I wait.
Fast forward to yesterday, February 20th, 16 days after my mistake. Of course, the card has not arrived. So I get on the phone and call up Bank of America again (which is not cheap to do, especially when you can actually watch your money tick away while listening to muzak on hold). After getting cut off twice, a nice man named Arthur tells me that the wonderful associates I had talked to 2 weeks ago had entered the address incorrectly, leaving Portland, ME 04103 in the address below Cusco, Peru. So not only did the card never get sent, but Bank of America neglected to tell me that it never got sent.
Not to worry, however. Visa 911, my old friend, can apparently send me an emergency card in 2 days flat. Why the psychopaths at Bank of America neglected to tell me this 16 days ago still keeps me awake at night. No point in getting mad (yet), I just have them transfer me over to Visa 911 to get my emergency card.
Yes, of course they can help me. They just have to verifty with Bank of America that I´m eligible for an emergency card.
Since I had talked to over 5 different employees at Bank of America about my issue, of course my request would be verified and approved.
Except it wasnt. Why? Because I changed my address. Thanks to the advice from none other than Bank of America itself, my request was denied by Bank of America. No emergency card for me, at least not for another 90 days. At this point, I had 2 representatives from Bank of America and one from Visa 911 on the same line, not to mention at least 10 other hostelers in the courtyard listening to me screaming, then crying, them screaming and crying.
“There are three people on this phone with me,” I said, “Which one of you is going to help me get money while I´m living in a foreign country?” Dead silence. No one wanted to help me. Finally it came down to just one representative, my dear Aruther, whose voice had become so soft and apologetic it was melting through the phone receiver.
Arthur read me the address to which the card was being sent 5 times, and read me his computer screen that declared the card was on its way. Another 16 days of waiting. Let´s hope Arthur doesn´t let me down. I have my worries…
Anyway, happier posts are coming up soon.