Thursday, November 10, 2011

PNC Bank - It seemed like a good idea.... the time. When choosing a bank for Serenity Computers, I looked at the usual suspects. My current bank Wachovia was in the process of being absorbed by Wells Fargo. And Well's didn't offer any free business checking options. Not having had stellar experiences with them in the past, I nixed them from the contenders list. Next was Chase. While they had no local branches, they had a good rep for being to do everything online, and my experiences with them were good. But while trying to setup an account online (or even get some more info) I ended up with variations of "This service is not available at your location". Well....ok, guess they are cut from the list too. Next up was PNC...close to my house, a big plus - And it seemed you could set everything up online in just a few minutes! A winner!

Not so much. And so begins the string of screw ups culminating in this blog. And it's sad really. All the reps I have spoken to have been friendly, courteous, and for the most part knowledgeable. But PNC's technology infrastructure is so flawed that at this point I'm not even sure how they continue to operate.

And so from the begging - that initial sign up on line did just take about 10 minutes. 10 minutes until you arrive at a screen that says "Thank you very much for signing up for a PNC Business checking account....blah blah blah...please bring the following paperwork into a local PNC branch, and they will complete your account setup". Well that seems kinda weird to me, but this is my first Business checking, I guess they need to do some extra stuff, whatever.

The next day I receive a phone call from a PNC rep. He wanted to thank me for signing up. He also went through all my information again, but said I still had to go into a local branch. But not to worry, it would only take a few minutes because the bulk of the work was already done. Ok that sounds good I guess....whatever.

So the next day I go into my local branch. The woman who helped me was very nice, she spend a few minutes trying to pull up my info - but couldn't find anything. She then started me on some signature paperwork. Then called another branch for a manager to help. After much waiting, and a few calls back and forth, it was decided that I couldn't actually setup a business account at this branch. I would have to go to the 'full' branch just down the road. They were closing at 5 (it was about 4:45 at this point), but if I promised to hurry right there, the manager would wait for me and get me taking care of.

So I went on down the road to the other branch, not hurry too much because at this point I didn't really give a crap. If I got there and they were gone I was finding another bank. But the manager was instead there, and unlocked the door. She was very nice and helpful, and did indeed manage to get my account setup. When I inquired about online access, she said to just go online, and use the pin I had just created for the account. If that didn't work, she assured me, a pin would be mailed to my address in 5-7 days. Ok......

Naturally, my pin indeed did NOT work. So I patiently (read - not patiently at all) waited for this mythical pin to arrive. After too weeks I'd had enough and called them up. I managed to get a rep on the phone who agreed after some badgering to give me a pin over the phone. After trying for 20 minutes with the rep on the phone to setup the account, no dice. Finally he gave up, and said maybe I had to wait for the pin to come in the mail. Whatever, fine.

A couple days later it finally arrived! And it didn't work. Another phone call, another pin giving over the phone which also didn't work. "Was I using my social or my business EIN on the setup screen?" My EIN I assured the rep. "Try your social" he says. But I setup the account with my EIN....whatever... I tried it. Didn't work. "I'm going to send you ANOTHER pin, you should receive it in 5-7 days". YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FRIKKIN KIDDING ME.

Another week goes by, I finally got another mailer with a pin. Naturally, it didn't work either. Another phone call, another rep. This guy seems to know a thing or two luckily. After a couple of new pin attempts over the phone, and resetting my account - success! Online access! Something I had taken so for granted with all my other banks. It was mine at last. I was finally free to view balances, pay bills and bask in the glory of the slow trickle of money into my checking account.

All was well for over two months. Then came a day when I noticed a sign declaring "Deposit your checks from your mobile phone!" At last! Technology I had seen with Chase, but had thus far been denied to PNC customers. I quickly went online to PNC sites to see how to get this ball rolling. No information to be found anywhere. Perplexed, I thought to myself "well maybe it's in their mobile app, and I just need an update!" Searching in the Android market place, it seems I had the most up to date version (already months old itself). Getting frustrated, I did some quick googling. It didn't take long to learn that check depositing from the PNC Droid App was coming sometime...maybe. But it was available now with the Virtual Wallet App. What the hell? Whatever, I'll just download that and be set. A quick search and I had the app downloaded and installed. At last! No more making trips to the bank to make deposits! The holy grail of banking!

I fired up the app, entered in my PNC username. Next came the expected security question screen to register my device. It asked for my mother's middle name. Great! An easy one! I hate the ambiguous security questions that you have to rack your brain to remember how you answered them. I quickly typed it in only to be chastised that I had answered incorrectly. Bull! I tried it again, no joy. Ok, maybe I had made a mistake at put in my mother's maiden name, I could see myself doing that. Typed that in, no joy. Maybe no caps? Rejected. Your username has been suspended. SERIOUSLY!?!?

Quickly switching to my laptop, I found my username had indeed be suspended. An email that arrived at the same time confirmed it, and assured me I could access this notice securely via the my PNC message center once I logged into my account? "How the frik am I supposed to do that if my account is suspended!!!?!?" seemed to on the nose so I instead dialed the number on screen in a rage. The auto prompts asked for my username, which I entered. "That is incorrect" said the infuriating computer voice. "Lets try something else, please enter your social" - a few seconds of furious typing - "I'm sorry, your account has been suspended" - NO SHIT - "Let me connect you to a representative who can help you".

Said representative proceeded to ask me for my username, which I told her.
"That isn't correct, it is usually your social", she told me.
"What? Why would it be my social? I've always used the same username!" I replied, starting to lose it.
"Oh wait, it seems you have never completed your account setup and security questions." she declared.
"How can that be?", I asked.
She then proceeded to tell me, "My records show you have never created an online account."
"WHAT?!?! I've been using it for two months!!!!!"
"Is there another signer on your account?" She calmly inquired.
"NO, there isn't. And I'm sure you can clearly see that from YOUR RECORDS.", I replied.
"Well it seems you have never had an account, we are going to have to send you a pin in the mail, it will arrive in 5-7 days."