Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This just in -- banks like money

Regular readers will recall my post last month about how I finagled my way to a free chequing account at RBC. Through their multiproduct fee rebate, anyone who holds an RBC chequing account and at least two other qualifying RBC accounts has their regular bank fees on the chequing account waived.

I thought I qualified because I have an RBC Visa card and my self-directed online brokerage is RBC Direct Investing, but alas, the latter didn't qualify under the program since it was a different division of RBC. Undeterred, I sat though a 20 minute phone call with RBC, and after eventually getting transfered to the right person and pleading my case, I was assured I qualified for the rebate.

Or so I thought. It's been more than a month since that call and I recently got my monthly statement where (surprise surprise) I'm still being charged monthly fees. I've called RBC numerous times trying to get it sorted out, but the response is always the same -- "anyone who said she'd bend the rules for you to apply shouldn't have said that, because I don't qualify for this promotion. Please buy one of our crappy GICs instead."

Bad move. I haven't quite pulled the chute on RBC yet (the logistics of transfering my Visa Card with tens of thousands of RBC points, not to mention registered and unregistered investment accounts to another broker make me queasy) but I have gone out and signed up for a President's Choice No-Fee Chequing account. I already park my savings in a PC high-interest savings account, so signing up was a snap. 10 minutes at the kiosk across from my office, and I was done. Free cheques, no monthly fees. Beauty.

At the moment, it's sort of an insurance policy. I want to be 100% sure RBC isn't going to play ball before I play the "close my account" card with them, but even if they accede there's no harm done. The PC account has no fees, so I'll probably just transfer some money into it and collect points when I buy groceries, since I go to Loblaws for groceries to begin with.

I suppose there' s a slim chance this is all a misunderstanding and the RBC's recent fee was simply the last month before they'll be waived from now on, but since I don't have the name or phone number of the person at RBC who said she'd credit my account, I have no way of tracking that person down to make sure that's the case. As I said, in all my dealings since then, I've been given the distinct impression that I'm SOL.

I still shudder at the thought of having to transfer all sorts of accounts and bill payments away from RBC, but the satisfaction I'd get in the end may be worth it. There's simply no reason to pay bank fees in this day and age and there's simply no reason to put up with crappy service when others are only too happy to do business with you.

I'll keep you all posted on how this plays out. And RBC, you're on notice.


nancy (aka money coach) said...

PLAN C --- another alternative to PC is Citizens Bank of Canada. They are fee-free as well, plus give 2.4% interest on any balance you keep. Plus, they're owned by a credit union (VanCity) so 30% of the profits go straight back to Canadian not-for-profits.

Anonymous said...

I switched to PC Financial 2 years ago after trying to convince BMO to give me a more competitive rate considering I held all my accounts (RSP, Credit Cards, etc.) with BMO. No deal. So I switched and have NEVER BEEN HAPPIER.

I think the major banks depend on the "hassle" issue to keep clients...rather than trying to be competitive. Switching was actually quite simple. I even moved my RSP to better, lower cost, investments (TD eFunds, iShares, and PHN Funds).

I cannot speak higher of PC Financial. I love not paying any fees for day-to-day banking. I can link and transfer to any of my other accounts via their system, and I can add and pay all my bills from this account as well...WITHOUT KEEPING A MINIMUM BALANCE. phew. Their high interest savings account is also very competitive.

I also switched to PC Master Card, and collect points which are actually usable!...unlike so many other reward systems.

On the other end, I do not find the PC Financial Customer Service consistent. Sometimes they are helpful, other times just abysmal.

In a nutshell, I'd recommend PC Financial to most people.

centsprout said...

sorry to hear you're getting such a run-around. but there's something to be learned from that, always get the name of the person who promises you a deal! it's a good habit to get into because you never know when it will come in handy.

Mike said...

Wow I'm dealing with this same hassel right now.

An RBC employee told me that the reason I couldn't open an E-Savings account, was because I needed to upgrade my savings account from the youth one, to their day to day chequing account. Which would charge me 4 dollars a month.

She said not to worry though, since if I get a VISA, they'll give me a refund of 4 dollars, so I won't have to pay the monthly fee (since I already have my RRSPs with Royal bank). Which was fine by me since I really don't plan on using the VISA that much if at all.

So I do that, then wait a few days before opening the E-savings account. Still can't. So I call Royal bank again asking what's up. They say the reason why I couldn't open the E-savings account, was because I hadn't inputted this code they sent me a while back (access code). So he sent me a new one which should be arriving within the next few days.

Then yesterday I go online to check my recent transactions and boom... Nov 23rd I'm charged 4 bucks.

There's a little more that RBC has done to annoy me (during one of the calls they tried manipulating me into starting to contribute money to my RRSPs again. telling me false information)... but if one more pain in the ass thing happens within the next couple months with them... Then I'm defintiely going to start demanding they give me the 4 dollars back.

Mike said...

Just a little update for GiV.

I called RBC today because I received my online activation code, and was STILL unable to make the e-savings account.

The lady on the other end explained to me why I couldn't do it. And guided me the long way to getting it done(Which apparently I could've done weeks ago). Very odd system.

Anywho, after getting the e-savings account set up, she asked me, "Is there anything I can help you with today?"

So I very briefly mentioned how I was charged 4 dollars to my account even though I've opened a VISA, regular account, and have my RRSPs with them. She put me on hold for a minute, then told me that she's put in the form to credit my account 8 dollars!

So I was going to let the 4 dollars slide, but brought it up, and made 4 extra bucks haha(I checked accounts online and it's already been credited with the 8 dollars)!

Krupo said...

TD (and a few others I've noticed) make a BIG deal about bragging about their "easy switch" programs. They really want to get people with heavy accounts to swap and say they'll automatically do all that tedious swap work for you actually.

Worth considering whenever, but especially during TD's yearly iPod giveaway season, where you get the iPod if you shut down a bank account and transfer the balance and all the pre-authorized activities to them. Good luck.

Frugal Canadian Living said...

I think you should check your statement again. RBC credited you $8 not because they gave you a free money. They must have already charged you $4 for the month another month (either the one before or the one we are on).

Speaking from experience.