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REALLY ANNOYED December 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Salem Five has $100 of mine and they will not give it back.
I tried to open a high yield savings account to get the 1.25% advertised in early December , 2012. The first attempt was aborted because they would not give me an account number for me to fund it (with close to 200k) from my Vanguard account. They told me I needed to open a checking account with them to fund the account; I told them to skip the whole thing and delete my information.
A few days later it occurred to me that I should have tried to open the account and fund it with my USAA checking account. So I went through the whole enrollment process again, but this time was able to fund it via ACH transfer s with USAA. I attempted to fund the account with $100. I then printed out the signature form, signed them and mailed it in. I then verified the online ACH test transactions. This was on Friday, December 7th.
The following Saturday I received a voice mail message from a Maureen saying she was from Salem Five and asking me to call back. The number was not the same number on the website that I used to apply for the account.
The following Monday I returned the call. The test ACH transactions had been completed, so I was sort of perplexed; what, if anything was wrong? When I spoke to the person she asked that I verify my USAA account information. I informed her there was no way I was giving out that information because I had no idea who I was speaking with. She then told me that there was no way she could grant me the account. I told her that was fine by me and that furthermore this is exactly how scammers phish for personal information to assume other people’s identities. I also said I was going to report her phone number and name to the FBI, and then hung up.
I was annoyed at this point, so I took a deep breath to relax and take a moment to make sure I was not over reacting. It occurred to me that I should call Salem Five to tell them someone is calling me, claiming to be from their bank, so I called the number from the website 800-850-5000. A woman named Maureen answered. DOH!
I confirmed that it was the same person, and then she wanted me to give her my USAA information again. I refused again, because I was annoyed and because it was a lousy process they were putting me through. They had the information! They did the transactions! Then they call me from a foreign number and ask me to give out account information from another bank? I don’t think I want to park 200k there!
Maureen then told me I would not be able to open the account without giving her the information. Fine. I had seen enough to skip the great rate. I had just a few months earlier opened an account at TIAA-CREF with the same rate and had zero problems. Before I hung up, I ascertained that she understood that I was trying to GIVE THEM money. She said she did. That was Monday, December 10th, 2012
I thought I was done with it and started to look for somewhere else to put the money. On December 19th I happen to be reviewing my USAA account and noticed a transfer on December 10th for $100. I had to call USAA to verify that the transfer was to Salem Five because the transfer was noted differently from the ACH test transfers. They confirmed after looking further into it that it was Salem Five.
I had received nothing in the mail, no emails and no phone contact since I had been told my account would be denied. I called Salem Five to point out the problem and asked them to return the money. They offered to send a check, but I requested they return it the way they got it because I would be traveling over the holidays. They said it would be done and apologized for the inconvenience. Fine.
Two days later, December 21st the funds were still missing, so I called back. This time they tell me the account is open, but they cannot give me the account number over the phone. I retorted if the account is open, no one told me. I said get the money to my account by Monday or I am going to make trouble for them. A little later I get a voice mail from Martin at Salem Five. He explained that the issue has been escalated. Of course he starts asking for ssn and then mother’s maiden name, which really pisses me off because I am not a client of theirs.
They should not have accepted that money if they denied the account. If the money had been accepted when they decided to deny the account, they should have returned it immediately. Now Martin is telling me I need to write them a letter to close the account and then get my money, but he can’t give me the account number over the phone. I decided to write this review instead.

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Ben December 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I don’t think the rate is fixed actually. Not sure how soon it changes, but I have confirmed with the bank that it is not a fixed rate beyond the first month.

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