Report: Some banks charge fees to frequent callersMay 14, 1997
Web posted at: 6:00 p.m. EDT
(CNN) -- Some of the largest banks in the United States are charging customers fees for frequently calling customer service lines, including computer-operated account information lines, USA Today reported Wednesday.
The fees range from 50 cents to $2 a call, the newspaper said.
According to USA Today, First Union -- the sixth largest bank in the nation -- lets customers discuss accounts with a service representative twice a month for free. After that, customers pay 75 cents to $2 a call, depending on where they live. Customers who use the bank's automated system more than five times a month pay 50 cents a call.
NationsBank, the fourth largest U.S. bank, charges similar fees for those who make more than two personal or eight automated calls a month, the paper said.
Bank customers typically are informed of such policies when opening an account. Brochures also detail bank policies.
Consumer advocates told the paper that the fees are just another way to boost profits, and that it's only a matter of time before other banks follow suit.
"Once a bank comes up with an idea like this, other banks will copy it," said Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
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