I closed my account with Franklin Synergy Bank in June. Their automatic bill pay chose to pay one of my bills in August, then sent that to collection.
On August 19th, 2014, I received an email from Franklin Synergy Bank stating that my online automatic bill payment to ******** **** was declined due to my account with Franklin Synergy Bank being closed. As a "courtesy" they paid my bill to ******** Consumer Loans in the amount of $300, then proceeded to tell me the account is now in collections, since there was insufficient funds in the closed account to cover the bill that they paid. I did not authorize this payment, I have, in fact, closed my account with this bank, and to state that I may have my credit affected for failure to pay back the $300 immediately is absurd.
When I attempted to contact the customer service number provided in the email I received, I was told the bill had already been paid to ********* and I was now responsible for that payment since my account did not have the funds available to cover the payment. Following is a copy of the initial email I received:
Greetings from Online Payment Service!
Your financial institution has informed us that the electronic withdrawal from your ******* ********* account could not be completed for the following reason: Account Closed. You may wish to contact your financial institution to clarify the reason for the denial.
As a courtesy to you, we have covered this payment to ******** Consumer Loans. This payment was scheduled to be delivered by 08/15/2014. As a result, you now have an outstanding balance of $300.00 due to Online Payment Service. Please contact us at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX to arrange for payment.
Go to the link below to view your account:
If you have any questions, please contact us at ***************@billsupport.com or call us at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Online Payment Service
Document Reference: (XXXXXXXXX)
When I refuted this issue, the following was what I received in response:
Dear Mr. *******,
Thank you for taking the time to e-mail us about your $300.00 payment to ******** Consumer Loans.
The payee has received this payment, as we used our funds to process your payment on your behalf. However, we were unable to successfully debit your funding account for the funds; therefore, you now have an open collections item. To resolve this, please contact our Recoveries Department.
Please call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Our Recoveries Department is available, Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm CST. When you contact us, please offer the representative your payment reference number XXXXXXXXX.
Once this is resolved, your account will be activated within three business days.
For assistance with your bill payment service deactivation, please contact the customer services department directly at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
If you need further bill payment processing assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us at XXX-XXX-XXXX. We are here 24/7 to serve your bill payment needs.
August 18, 2014
Franklin Synergy Bank Support
I want the payment to ******** to be returned to whomever paid it on my behalf. I already have this bill set to be paid from my current bank, so there is absolutely no reason why Franklin Synergy Bank should have made a payment after my account had been closed. I cannot afford to pay $300 to prevent my credit from being ruined, especially since I closed my account and there should have been no further bill payments made whatsoever. This "courtesy" payment was not authorized.
The customer set up a recurring monthly payment on May 2, 2012 from his Franklin Synergy Bank checking account to ******** for the 15th of each month. Franklin Synergy Bank uses an outside vendor for bill pay services.
On June 26, 2014, he closed his Franklin Synergy Bank account and cancelled the upcoming recurring payment to ******** due on July 15, 2014 but did not close the entire series of future payments still scheduled for the 15th of each month through the Bill Pay system.
Subsequently, our Bill Pay vendor made the next scheduled payment, which had not been cancelled by the customer and then attempted to collect the funds from the customer's Franklin Synergy Bank account, which had been closed. This resulted in a collection issue.
On August 20th, the customer notified the Bill Pay vendor that ******** **** has agreed to send him a check for the $300 payment and that he will then send the Bill Pay vendor the funds to resolve the collection issue.
Franklin Synergy Bank is in the process of implementing a procedure to closely check our Bill Payment system upon the closing of accounts to prevent another scenario like this one.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
"In the process of implementing" is not the same as actually providing a safeguard to prevent this issue in the future. There is no reason why this should have ever been sent to collections in the first place - my account had been closed. I'd like to know the justification to why FSB finds it appropriate to allow their Bill Pay vendor to continue to draw upon a customers closed account, especially without notifying the customer. Had I known when I opened my account that the bill payment system had the potential to go rogue at any time, I think I would have gone someplace else for my banking needs.
At this point in time, I will not accept this response. Since this issue with their Bill Pay remains open on my end and continues to be a thorn in my side, I will need to insure there aren't further issues with their vendor before I accept any response from FSB. However, I am certainly appalled that my attempts to resolve this issue before needing to enlist the aid of the BBB fell completely on deaf ears. FSB seems to have absolutely no remorse for the hassle they have caused me, and I am curious to how any others this particular issue has occurred. A quick Google search for the Bill Pay company's phone number revealed that this is something that particular vendor does consistently and regularly. Even when an account has been closed, this Bill Pay vendor causes customer after customer to go through the same issues as I have. So, no, the response from FSB was not satisfactory. Closely checking the bill payment up on the closing of an account is not the same as making sure their bill pay vendor is instructed to make no attempt to pay a bill on a closed account. This can and will happen again, and that is what concerns me. FSB has taken a stance that this is a trivial matter, not even meriting so much as a phone call to the customer at the start of everything. I say unacceptable. I'd like to hear the justification behind how this is allowed to happen in the first place. Tell me - what makes it appropriate for a Bill Pay vendor to pay a bill on a closed account and then notify the customer 3 days later of the account dropping into collections, with absolutely nothing in between? That's the true issue here. Closing an account should be a simple thing, not a monumental ordeal that needs to involve the BBB.
Final Business Response
Franklin Synergy has contacted the customer to explain what happened with our third party vendor. We told him that we have instructed our bill pay vendor not to contact him again. We reviewed all the actions taken by the bank to address the situation and provided him with a direct contact at Franklin Synergy Bank should he experience any further problems. We apologized to the customer for the difficulties he has had with this situation.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
FSB's representative was very sympathetic to my situation, and although it was already too late to do much, has made it clear that he will do what he can to prevent this scenario for occurring again in the future. I am satisfied with this resolution, as should the bill payment trouble me any further, I have a contact in FSB that I may call to act as a mediator.