Friday, January 15, 2010

When Good Intentions Go Bad

I note once again I have belonged to credit unions for about 35 years; my Dad belonged to one for many years before that.  I believe strongly in the credit union concept.  This is why I am so disappointed.

A credit union I belong to, several months ago, started deducting $2. a month for identify theft coverage, from the basic "share account".  They did advise members of this but it's a negative option, in other words they started doing it unless you told them not to.   And if you do want it, you have to keep enough money in your basic share draft to cover this.  For example, if you have a small $25 share account and the rest of your money is in CD's, IRA's, checking, or whatever, this is going to run your small share draft account down pretty quick.  You must maintain this share account as a condition of membership so this isn't a small thing!    I suspect the poor employees there are going to be fielding all kind of complaint calls especially when their members' share accounts dwindle into nonexistance.  

When I complained they told me they had told people in a mailing this would happen- which was true, but again this should not have been a negative option.

My boss came to me the other day-he hadn't read the mailing.  He was mad as heck about all these $2. deductions he suddenly realized were happening and wanted to know if I belonged to that credit union, too.  Credit union #2...please rethink what you are doing.  I've always been so happy with you in my 24 years of membership, you've been such a help to me time and've always been there for me....but please rethink any "negative option" items.  We are all adults here, we can read our mail and decide for ourselves if we want identify theft protection.  And take our lumps if we don't take the coverage and our identities are stolen. 

Thinking again about "Dear John in Afghanistan"...are their members in medical situations, caretaking situations, maybe even in the military...going to notice this happening, until their accounts are eaten up?

I applaud the credit union for caring that our identities were stolen...but couldn't have this been done a different way?

The moral of the story?  Always read your mail.  Especially if it is a financial institution.  Even a credit union.

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