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I opened a bank account in response to a promotion in a big bank (I'm in the US). Originally it was saying "if I keep my money (50K) for 60 days, I get $600". The agent at the branch didn't say anything more. Then they said I get my bonus after a month after requirement was met. And now still nothing happened. I called customer service and they say different things. One says, "they just processed my eligibility this morning"! And next person says, "you will get your bonus after 90 days". Even if I take my money and keep the bank open, they say it is not free and I will be charged monthly.

I planned accordingly and bought a house, and need the money for down-payment. We all plan based on the information we are given. A lot of lies, wrong information, and deceiving in this case. I request for my own application and promotion package, and they say, "we can not provide you that".

I'm getting tired of all these. What should I do? Can this be a base for a lawsuit?

UPDATE:

I was so far communicating with the original banker who opened the account for me. She was deceiving me numerously. She was not responding to my emails, instead calling me saying "it is illegal for me to answer emails"! (her email is written on her business card. She was an Asian lady with accent, so also I prefered email). My customer service calls were all the same, all super dishonest (maybe it's a lie culture in that bank). Even a supervisor was the same. The more I was becoming upset, looks like they are more enjoying it!

Finally today I went to a physical branch close to me, cool and relaxed, asking to downgrade my account. Looks like there was a basic account with a minimum of only $1500 required. The banker was very helpful, and even gave me a copy of the promotion, and said the promotion should be deposited within 90 days of when the requirement was met (and told me a case is opened in my account following my call for customer service!)

Interestingly, now the original banker somehow got notified (how?! maybe the case was escalated to her?). She emailed me CC'ing her branch manager, saying "you can convert your account to a $1500 basic account", which was what I just did. Now that my task is done, she is trying to show herself helpful.

UPDATE2:

The branch after my customer calls and my complaints, keep sending me emails asking to send my GREEN CARD. I'm not sure why that is needed. They say it is needed for investigation and bonus payment, which looks deceptive to me (especially that they copied it when I was opening my account). Any reasons why they might need it?!

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    Practically speaking suing a bank over $600 in a situation where you wouldn't get attorneys' fees doesn't make sense. Also often you would have to arbitrate based upon provisions in your customer agreement. I'm deleting the U.S. Constitution tag as that isn't implicated by this question. – ohwilleke Feb 7 at 20:15
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    @only_pro: What high-yield savings account is returning 7.4% APY (1.2% of principal every 60 days)? You should compare rate -- both the magnitude of the payout and the investment time are important. – Ben Voigt Feb 7 at 21:07
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    @BenVoigt OP only gets this payout once... – only_pro Feb 7 at 21:09
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    Wait, $600 from the bank was the deciding factor on if you could buy a house? I'd have to imagine any court would be awfully skeptical of that claim... – kuhl Feb 7 at 21:45
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    @kuhl:Reading between the lines, I think the 50k was needed as (all or part of, we are not told) the house down payment, at some point after the 60 days. We are told that, having used the money for its planned purpose, the account is no longer free (reading between the lines, there's a monthly fee which is waived if the minimum balance is maintained). OP is upset at having to pay this fee. Instead of suing, OP should ask to downgrade the account to one with no monthly fee. Especially if the bonus terms doesn't specify the account tier required when the bonus is paid, only that it is open. – Ben Voigt Feb 7 at 21:57
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It is unlikely that you could successfully sue the bank for breach of contract, but of course the first thing you should do is carefully read the agreement and see exactly what they promised. It is understandable that you would like to get your money right now, but that isn't necessarily guaranteed under the agreement. Assuming there is no statement in the agreement as to how long it will take them to deposit the reward once requested, they would have "a reasonable time period". I located on of those agreements, which says that it will be deposited 90 days after completing the requirements. If that is what your agreement says and after 90 days still no money, then you should speak to the branch manager and request timely compliance with the agreement. It would cost more than $600 to sue them, and the court won't punish them extra for missing a deadline (assuming this was not a deliberate and willful refusal on their part).

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    They say up to 90 days. Their killing approach is usually to deceive a customer with hidden terms. – Tina J Feb 7 at 20:15
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    I don't think it is deceptive, since the terms are visible in the agreement. I assume you didn't carefully read the agreement before signing – not a criticism, just an observation about the way people normally deal with seemingly simple agreements. – user6726 Feb 7 at 20:30
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    @user6726 Something doesn't have to be a straight-up lie to be deceptive. If you say one thing that has a clear, simple, easily-understood meaning, and then there's something hidden in the fine print that says "actually we mean this other very different thing that's technically somewhat similar," that's still deceptive. – Mason Wheeler Feb 7 at 21:01
  • How hidden can the terms be? They have to give you disclosures, many of them say "this is the entire agreement"... – Harper Feb 7 at 23:27
  • @MasonWheeler, what specific deceptive claim are you referring to? There's no evidence of "technical redefinition" here. – user6726 Feb 7 at 23:36
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It would be unproductive to file a regular lawsuit for so small an amount, but you might want to consider small claims court, assuming that's available where you are. $600 should be well within the limit, and it's relatively inexpensive to file. You will have to show up on your assigned date or automatically lose, so make sure you can take any arbitrary day off from your job or studies.

I don't think it's a good idea to file without having decent evidence that you should have gotten the bonus, but that's up to you.

  • Actaully it's a good learning experience. I never filed any lawsuit. How do they define "small courts"? For up to how much? And shouldn't the loser pay for all fees, including the lawyer fee?! – Tina J Feb 8 at 0:28
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    @TinaJ Check with your local county civil courts (Google will probably find them). Most if not all "small claims" systems disallow attorney fees. The intention of "small claims" is to make exactly this kind of case feasible because otherwise you would have no effective recourse. As you say, it will be a good learning experience. – Paul Johnson Feb 8 at 9:35

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