8.14.2013

Why I Cancelled My PNC Bank Credit Card

My wallet is one credit card lighter this morning.  I cancelled my PNC Bank Visa that I've had since it was still National City bank.  Their business practice of charging exorbitant fees with zero grace period is not something I want to support with my purchase dollars.

The facts are these:  Back in January, my payment was sent in the mail and arrived a day late.  The next statement had a $25 late fee as well as $1.50 in finance charges.  I called PNC Bank to complain about this fee and they reversed it.

My July payment was due on July 20 (a Saturday).  PNC Bank posted my payment on July 22 (a Monday).  Boom, another $25 late fee and $1.50 in finance charges.  I called them this morning to ask them to reverse the late fee, as the payment was posted one business day late and $26.50 is a pretty ridiculous amount for one day.

I was told by the representative that he could not reverse the fee because they had reversed the late fee in February.  I asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred to Ralph.  Ralph told me that he could not reverse the fee, that it was "company policy" that they would not reverse more than one fee every 12 months.  I asked him if it was worth it to PNC Bank to lose a customer of over a decade over $26.50.  He apologized, but said that he could not reverse it and that there was nobody else I could speak to who could.

I explained that I didn't need to do business with a company who had those kind of business practices, that I have plenty of other credit cards and can get plenty more.

Then I had him cancel my card.

Apparently, PNC Bank has been making record profits on the back of increased fees.

Highlights for the quarter included higher client fees, larger gains on asset sales and larger asset valuations stemming from the rise in long-term interest rates.
It looks like I'm not the only person who is done with PNC Bank.

The bottom line is that PNC Bank is free to use whatever nickel-and-dime fees they want to bleed their customers.  But it's going to suffer the consequences as those customers leave for a bank that doesn't try to bleed them with fees. Just ask Bank of America how their $5 debit card fee went.

PNC Bank sucks and I would encourage you to take your business elsewhere if you agree. Vote with your dollars.  I will update this post if I receive a response from PNC Bank.

UPDATE: After posting on Twitter, I received a phone call from PNC Bank customer service and spoke to someone in their "Retail Escalation Department."  They told me that, under the new credit card law, they have to apply the same policy to everyone and so can't waive any fees besides one per 12-month period. Assuming that she was referring to the CARD Act, I read through the law and saw no such provision.

FURTHER UPDATE: Based on my reading of Section 106 of the CARD Act of 2009, the company is not supposed to count as late payments received on the next business day after a due date that falls on a weekend or a holiday.  As such, I've filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has been logged as complaint # 130814-00160.

8.04.2013

My First Bottle Bomb

August 3, 2013.  A day that will live in infamy in my house.  After over 15 years (off and on) of brewing, I had my first bottle bomb.

My peach weizenbock had some suspended peach bits in it when I bottled.  I was already using a higher than normal amount of priming sugar to get carbonation true to the Bavarian style and apparently the combination of the sugar and the residual sugar from the peach bits was just too much.

The laundry room was covered in shards of broken brown glass and still smells of beer.  Thankfully, nobody was in there when the bottle exploded.


Lesson of the day: when you brew with fruit, make sure to filter it out before bottling and maybe cut the priming sugar back just a bit.