Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

Stoopid 'R Us

I accidentally became a Bank of America customer a couple of years ago when they bought MBNA, with which I had a Visa card. I prefer not to do business with megacorps, and especially when it comes to banking, where I have always been very happy with my small local bank. But BoA has been fine as a credit card provider; their website has failed to conspicuously suck; and I have occasionally considered opening a checking account with them for the convenience of always having a no-fee ATM within spitting distance.

So when I signed on to look at my credit card statement the other day and saw they were offering me $75 to open a no-fee, no minimum balance checking account, I decided to go for it. screenshot of the link to the offer
A few clicks and a couple of checkboxes later, I get to the application form (image reduced to 2/3 size):

screenshot of the application form

Now the first thing I noticed was the "We also recommend" section, with the savings account checkbox conveniently pre-selected. I also noted that the savings account is not no-fee, no minimum balance. So I unchecked it, filled out the rest of the form, and clicked submit:

screen shot of error page

The resultant error page has, you will note, a big red exclamation point next to my email address fields.¹ Fields that were pre-filled by the server in the first place, with the email address of my existing account. You may also note that, without drawing any attention to it, the error page has the savings account checkbox, which I had unchecked, auto-checked again.

I uncheck the savings account checkbox, carefully type my email address, copy-paste it into to both fields, click submit again.

And hey, what do you know, I get exactly the same error. Lather, rinse, repeat, and by now I'm pretty sure I know what's going on: My "error" isn't my email address: it's that I'm trying to take advantage of the offer as stated, for a free checking account, without also signing on for the fee-if-you-don't-jump-throuth-hoops savings account.

Nickle-and-dime sleaziness form a megabank? Say it ain't so!

It ain't so.

I decide that for $75 I'm willing to go to the hassle of complying with the minimum requirements to make the savings account no-fee, so I resubmit without changing anything.

The error page comes back. At which point I remember Hanlon's Law:
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
I try a shorter email address, at error page.

I try a address: success.

I can only assume that BoA has hired programmers so stupid that they only consider .com email addresses valid.

¹ Since this is a public post, I've erased my phone number: the email address is disposable; my phone number isn't. Aside from scaling, that's the only change I made to either screen shot.
Tags: flame
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