Bri Manning

Hi Simple, Customer Service Isn’t Only Being Nice

July 28, 2017

A subheading to this post could be “Why I’m Closing My Simple Account.”

I recently bought a house. I mentioned in that post that my online bank dropped the ball hard. It’s time to explain just what I meant by that.

I’ve used Simple since 2013. In 2012, I signed up for notifications of when I could join. At the time they only had an iPhone app, so as an Android user, I would have to wait. Even so, I was all about it. Since then, everything has been pretty smooth. Not being able to write checks and instead having them written and mailed for me was a bit of a hassle. I thought I could deal with that.

In looking at buying a house, I found out that I can’t do wire transfers through Simple. They can accept them, but not send them. That means I need to get a bank check for the big transactions.

They told me how that worked. If I filled out a form and sent a picture of that form to an email account at Simple, I’d have my check two days later. It would have to be before 2pm Eastern, but that was no problem. The day after they got the form, they’d process it and mail it overnight to get it to me the next day. These are business days of course.

Let’s ignore that filling out a paper form and sending a picture of it is pretty ridiculous. Especially for an online bank when this is a pretty standard bank offering.

My issue started when I had to fill out the form twice. They somehow missed the first one. It only became worse.

When they had processed the second form, they sent me the FedEx tracking info. I should’ve known immediately that I was screwed and needed to delay the closing. The shipping was not overnight. It was a standard “Express Saver” and would take 2-3 business days.

Now, had I known this, I would’ve pushed to get the final closing amount I needed for the mortgage days earlier. But as it was, these things all came together at once.

Over the next 36 hours, I called Simple at least 8 times, sometimes spending over an hour on the phone with them. The representatives were nice and repeatedly told me that it was “weird” that it wasn’t overnight. After contacting FedEx, I found out that the shipper can upgrade the delivery speed. Simple said they would contact the underlying bank who handles this aspect as they don’t handle it in-house. That bank is BBVA Compass. They never heard back from BBVA, and I never heard back from Simple. Not once did I receive a call.

I was also promised multiple times that they would send a letter saying that it was their fault. Little good that would do me. I still haven’t gotten that letter.

After delaying the closing, I resorted to calling BBVA. I was still concerned it wasn’t going to get here in time. I managed to get through to their checking department. This, despite the people at Simple saying they had no way of contacting anyone or any way of escalating the situation. While I was talking to them, someone at FedEx called me. I had requested for them to hold the package and it had arrived a day early.

FedEx saved me from having to delay the closing a second time.

Ultimately, did it matter? No. We still bought the house. The seller didn’t feel the need to change anything. The mortgage broker rewrote things very quickly handle the date change. Every party was flexible.

I’ll still be closing my Simple account.

Customer service isn’t about being nice to someone when they have a problem. I got a lot of “oh, I can see why that would be so stressful” and “yes, it makes sense that you’re concerned.” No one actually did anything.

During the ordeal, I escalated to a supervisor. He said he’s never had to contact BBVA and doesn’t even know how. He tried to steer the conversation away from my criticisms of how they couldn’t handle anything for me. He wanted to talk about me trusting him when he said he was doing his best to help me. I knew that his best wasn’t going to get me anywhere and I told him as much. It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t about him. Simple’s customer service isn’t set up to have any power to actually help you. There was no one else I could escalate it to. A pretty app and website don’t count for much when your bank is involved.

The only thing their customer service could do was wait and hope the issue resolved itself.

Even if it didn’t cost me money, it cost me a couple days for the closing and hours of hair pulling. That’s enough for me to vote with my feet and my wallet and close my account.

Goodbye, Simple.