Bank of America loses $50 million from customers upset by false arrest

UPDATE: So far, dozens of Boing Boing readers have emailed me to let me know they are closing Bank of America accounts totaling over $947,000 because of the way Bank of America treated a fraud victim like a criminal. Details below.

In August Matthew Shinnick sold a pair of bikes on Craig's list for $600. After shipping the bikes, he received a check for $2000, not $600. The buyer explained that the extra money was for shipping costs and for his "trouble."

Shinnick was suspicious, so when he went to a San Francisco branch of Bank of America to deposit cash the check (which was drawn on a Bank of America check), but expressed concern that the check might not be good. He asked the teller to find out before depositing cashing it.

"The teller contacted the business and was informed that no check had been written to Shinnick for $2,000 or any other amount. She immediately passed the check to the branch manager. "I saw him talking on the phone and staring at me," Shinnick said. "A few minutes later, four SFPD officers came into the bank. They didn't say a thing. They just kicked my legs apart and handcuffed me behind my back." The police report for Shinnick's arrest says he was taken into custody "for the safety of the bank employees as well as the bank customers." -- SFGate

Shinnick was hauled to jail, stripped of his clothing and put into an orange jumpsuit. His father posted $4,500 bond to spring him. Shinnick ended up spending $14,000 to get out of the mess Bank of America caused.

Bank of America refused to reimburse Shinnick, and so Shinnick took his story to a consumer advocate radio show host, Clark Howard. Lots of Bank of America customers were disgusted by BofA's callousness and have closed their accounts with the bank. Howard says they've pulled $50 million from B of A.

I almost wish I had an account with BofA so I could close it in protest, but I closed my account with them long ago because their service sucks. If you close your BofA account because of this, please email me and tell me how much you pulled from the account (I will not reveal your name, of course). I will keep a running tally.

This is Broken has the full story, with relevant links. Link


A Boing Boing reader emailed me to let me know he is closing two BofA accounts totaling $2,300.

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

I just opened an account with them about three months ago after moving to a new state. Between savings and checking, I have about $40k with them at the moment.

Living on precisely the opposite side of the US, this is the first I've heard of this; thanks for posting it. Despite the hassle of opening up another account so soon after opening this one, I'm leaving them this afternoon and I'm going to make sure they know exactly why.

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

Granted, I've been thinking of dumping Bank of America ever since they bought Fleet, but this seems like as good a "straw that broke the camels back" moment as any. Lets put another $6500 US onto that amount.

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

Add another $5,000 to that. I'm going to start looking for a new bank here in Tallahassee as soon as possible.

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

Closed $45K of accounts yesterday. Don’t know if you can count it in your tally, but they screwed up their online banking…again. This was sort of the straw that broke the proverbial back for me. I hate them!!!

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

I've pulled my $10,000 credit card account with BoA.

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

I closed a savings account. $2200

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

As of an hour ago you can add another $8200 to that figure. Though my experience of them has not been too bad up to this point, I can't tolerate this kind of behaviour. However I'm sure my new primary bank has probably done something equally stupid I haven't heard about it yet.

A Boing Boing reader and BofA customer says:

I've got an $80K mortgage with BoA, and while I've been thinking about refinancing for a while, your story has made me decide get that ball rolling and NOT use BoA. I'll also be closing out the $3K in my checking account.

I've gotten many emails from people who told me they're closing their accounts. The total is over $900,000!

Picture 2-21 Don't miss this video of a BofA employee singing at a business meeting. Link (Thanks, Mark!)