As promised, this is the end of the story about the man who received a letter in the mail from a Mr. Victor Milligan of Cambridge, MA, instructing him to cash a check (that turned out to be bogus), purchase gift cards, and then to send the gift cards to Victor Milligan for a supposed commission.
The check bounced, and the victim’s Bank of America account became overdrawn, which prevented the man from having funds to pay rent.
So here’s what happened as a result.
I spoke with the branch manager directly on the phone on behalf of this 84-year old man. I expressed my horror and dismay that a customer service representative would cash a check from a third party that was greater than the funds available, and without holding the check to clear first. I said BOA had to take part of the responsibility.
I also expressed my unhappiness about the assistant manager confiscating every last dollar the man had, including the cash he had in his wallet, so that he was unable to pay rent for April. I asked the manager to make this right by releasing funds to the man in the amount due for rent.
I have learned that the best way to negotiate a settlement is to go to the top. What a customer service representative won’t or can’t do, a top executive will do.
For those of you working on negotiating settlements, I would like to point out that the assistant manager was only interested in helping the Big Bank–not the victim of the crime.
I’ve learned that the higher up you go, the nicer the person is.
The ending of this story is that the Bank of America manager wrote a cashier’s check to the man for his April rent. It is a loan of sorts, to be paid back at $300 per month. I thought that was fair and very decent of the manager.
The BOA manager showed himself to be caring, merciful, and ethical. I hope he also trains his customer service representatives on how to handle an odd, uncharacteristically large out-of-state check that is 600 percent higher than the balance in the account.
This incident, along with a copy of the letter, has been reported to the local police in California who is coordinating with the police in Cambridge, MA. I hope this scam is shut down pronto!
If you have experience with a negotiation, I would be very interested in hearing about it.
Stay safe from scams out there, everyone! The criminals are working overtime now.