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Added Jun 11 2012

Several months ago I wired money through the PNC branch on Western and Fullerton. They lost over $500 through a bank error. They refunded half of it right away but now I am getting the most incredible runaround. The last straw was last week when someone at the bank called me and, by way of explanation, said it was my fault because I signed the wire transfer authorizing them -- to do what? -- steal my money?! It's very clear that the mistake was that they put a secondary bank (Bank of America) in the middle of the transaction. The branch manager has washed his hands of this so now I need to take it to some consumer complaint agency. Does anyone know of such an agency, or a newspaper or radio program that investigates these problems?

  • Mike

    You can start with the BBB.

  • Try to speak directly with the district manager. Bank managers try to wiggle out as to not absorb a large loss and lose their job. We switched to a credit union after dealing with PNC's lack of service. Good luck and there is always the Tribune problem solver!

  • West Town 42 Noble Square/West Town neighbor

    Chicago Sun-Times column, "The Fixer" by Stephanie Zimmerman, helps frustrated consumers.

  • Kym

    Send a message or call the State's attorneys office. I've had good responses from them there and they do a lot of work with consumer protection and bank fraud. If nothing else, it adds another angle of pressure on the bank when they get the call from the SAO.

  • Susan S. resident

    PNC is subject to Federal bank regulations. Write a letter thoroughly explaining the circumstances and problem to the right bank regulator ( They will be forced to respond, though be aware there's no guarantee you'll get a proper resolution.

  • Really sorry you're having wire transfer issues. Never fun. Just so that you're aware, depending on the wire, having a secondary bank in the transaction is not necessarily a mistake, nor particularly unusual. (For international wires, it's actually extremely common). But it definitely adds another layer of things to go wrong and people to blame.

    Good luck!

  • Have you called PNC's main line to try and speak to someone higher up?

  • Try the Consumer Protection Bureau

  • I second the BBB. I have had issues with TCF Bank more than a couple of times and the BBB helped resolve the issue (including a refund and the collection being taken off my credit report). Just make sure that you have taken really good notes about who, what, where, when, and why before submitting the complaint including who you spoke to, what they said, and when they said it. And don't take the first "no" response - you may need to go back and forth a few times before it is resolved.

    And when all else fails, submit a complaint to the IL attorney general. That REALLY gets results as I found out. The IL attorney general does handle complaints like yours.

  • Liz

    Happened to me too. Thanks for all the info here.

  • Liz

    @Marmite, I got a similar runaround at that same branch. I had unauthorized ACH debits against my account, and filed a dispute with PNC. The vendor that debited me eventually did return those funds, but PNC kept racking up NSF fees while my account was negative (which was not my fault, of course).

    I went in to talk to them at the Western branch and the manager said they would refund 2 of the 8 NSF charges, but that I should talk to the vendor and ask them to cover the rest of the fees because they were so slow in reversing the ACHs on their end. So, because the vendor caused my account to be negative for four days, it was their responsibility to pay me back, not the bank.

    The more I thought about it, the more I realized that NSF charges are just numbers arbitrarily created by PNC. Why should my vendor pay me so I can make my bank richer?

    The branch at Western and Fullerton was clearly desperate for those funds, and they tried to convince me that I should pay their arbitrary fees so they can keep their monthly income levels up.

    Screw that.

    I called PNC and asked for the Customer Retention Department and explained that I shouldn't be charged any fees for something that was not my fault. I sat on hold for a very long time, but when they got back to me they credited all the fees back. Phew.

    When you're having problems with companies, ask for the Customer Retention Department. It costs more to get a new customer than to retain a current one.

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