Original review updated by user Feb 08, 2021
This year has been trying time for everyone. The pandemic has increased online purchases and consumer fraud. I used my debit card often as a customer of the first bank located in the costal area of Maine (thefirst.com) I had a couple purchases that I never received. After discussing my options with thefirst.com) I was told to file a debit card dispute. I was told my disputes were viable/ actionable/ I was told to provide any supplemental information that would support my claim. The bank provided a provisional payment while the dispute was investigated. Weeks latter these disputes were denied and the provisional amounts deducted. There was no explanation or warning that any amount was being deducted from my account . Not having any information or context of course I called and complained. Further, I made a purchase of furniture where I did not get what I paid for (it was a fraudulent purchase) There were numerous people experiencing the same fraud and the police were involved. The bank again, suggested I file a dispute. The bank again provided a provisional amount of $1750 pending the investigation. I was told that the police involvement would give my dispute some positive context. I was told again to provide supplemental information/ evidence, which I did. A few weeks later the provisional amount was reversed without reason and notice. I called to complain. This time a manager called to tell me that no dispute would ever prevail unless my card was used without authorization. She stated debit purchases do not have the same protection as a credit card. She stated all my disputes suggested by the bank were dead on arrival because of the nature of the charge. My obvious response was why did the bank not provide this information. Why would the bank waste their time and mine. The bank had no answer. Lastly, in the mix of the disputes I had a refund back to a closed card (closed because of the disputes) where I was told would be fine. A refund would come to a closed card and manually put in to my active card. This refund three months later could not be found. The sending bank/ merchant showed proof of the completed refund. An investigation with visa showed a completed refund sent to my debit card. The bank informed me it was not their problem it was mine. After raising the concern of how would anyone have faith in the debit card if a refund could be lost, misplaced or having it floating in debit heaven without any tracing or answer? Why would the consumer eat the loss if their was proof of the completed transaction . The bank opted to pay this amount with the caveat my accounts would be closed. I asked why the bank would take punitive action for acting on advice from the bank. No dispute would of been filed if I had been told that a debit card transaction is not protected unless it is for unauthorized use of the card (a little information) would've prevented any dispute. Further, should a bank not be responsible for a refund completed and verified by visa as being sent and not returned be paid by the receiving bank. It is clear . Having direct contact with the disputes department was more than the bank wants or can handle. There is some personality going on in this department. A bank should be judged based on how they handle disputes, challenges and complaints. There is nothing that was done that merits closing of my account. The bank made it clear. We can close anyone's account for any reason. This is true. However, any consumer can post honestly and as a matter of fact to inform consumers. Losing your bank after many years is like being dumped in a relationship. Do not challenge this bank if you not in the mood to be dumped. To add, there is no questionable deposits or transactions. I have no history of over drafts. I have no warnings or expressed concerns from this bank. I had no request form the bank to correct anything. Thefirst bank dumped me because I dared to challenge the dispute department. I was not producing any income and would not of been viewed as a profitable customer. This bank decided it was to their advantage just to dump me. I requested a formal letter explaining their reasoning of forcing me to another bank. I was told a letter was forthcoming. That letter never arrived. I believe their action was punitive. Clearly, banks do not want to be contacted directly, they do not want to be the focus of any dispute and in my opinion that do not want to be bothered. It was easier to dump me then to consider the experience as a learning tool. More information would of prevented a need for any dispute.
User's recommendation: be aware of the facts. The bank will not provide them.