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Customer says PNC charges him a late fee for their ‘glitch’: Money Matters

September 19, 2018

Customer says PNC charges him a late fee for their ‘glitch’: Money Matters

Q: I have a recurring problem with my PNC home equity loan. I have automatic withdrawal for the payment, and I also make an additional payment per month. The problem is that, since the spring, when PNC “updated” its system, the automatic withdrawal is NOT taken out. On top of that, there has been a late fee charged. This has happened three times.

Each time I call, I get transferred several times and then someone says it’s a system error and it won’t happen again. Then I have to go to the local branch and pay the regular payment by check.

Also, when I pay the additional payment, it is through PNC’s online banking, and I am absolutely positive that I click “additional payment.”  I can’t understand how an automatic withdrawal is not taken out AND I get charged a late fee.

Is this something other PNC customers are experiencing?

W.D., North Royalton

A: You definitely should not be getting charged a late fee for an automatic payment that PNC set up but isn’t debiting from your account. You’ve been very patient. After three months, it’s time to step up your efforts and get this resolved once and for all.

After we talked, you said you went to your local branch and talked to the assistant branch manager, who guaranteed you weren’t being charged a late fee. You still made a formal complaint and got a reference number. I think this was a good idea.

You got a follow-up call the next day and were told that since you are making an additional payment (two weeks later, after the regular payment is made), it confuses the new system that went online in February. You told the representative you do the extra payment through online banking and click “principal only.” And she replied, “that’s the glitch they’re trying to work out.”

When you asked whether there was something you could do to stop getting a late notice, like paying at the branch, she said no, even paying at the branch would still be the same.

You also said the customer service rep told you this computer system error is affecting a lot of people.

PNC spokeswoman Shannon Mortland said, “We take all customer concerns seriously and are working with the customer to understand and resolve his issue.” She added that no late fees have been assessed.

Until your issue is resolved for good, my advice:

First, if you’re going to the branch anyway, I would take the late notice with you every month and ask the teller or branch manager when the problem is going to be fixed. Second, I would check your statement every month to make sure the late fee isn’t getting charged, or is getting credited back, and that it isn’t getting added to your principal.

I’ll throw your question out to other readers: Is anyone else encountering this issue?

Q: May I suggest an alternative to handling robo calls: One problem with formally reporting robocalls is needing to know the incoming telephone number, which costs a buck and a quarter to learn.

When I get a robocall, live or automated, I merely lay the telephone down and in a minute or two the caller disconnects. I like to believe or at least hope this is a meaningful waste of the robocaller’s time.

Since I don’t run a business, this telephone down time is cost-free, other than a minute or two of my telephone use.

R.E., Cleveland

A: I’m not a fan of your approach. Primarily, answering the call lets the robocallers know they’ve reached a real person at a working number. Then they sell your number to all of their sleazy little robocaller friends. Then you get even more calls.

You said it gives you satisfaction to think you’re wasting the robocaller’s time.

Meanwhile, you’re wasting your own time. The robocalls are made by computers. The computers don’t care. As for the time you waste, you’ll never get that back.

I still say you should avoid answering calls you weren’t expecting or from numbers you don’t recognize. It’s clean. It’s simple. It’s easy. And you don’t run the risk of accidentally increasing the number of annoying calls you get.

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