It seems there’s a grassroots movement going on this week to boycott Bank of America. So far, according to Clark Howard’s website, some $18M worth of accounts there have been withdrawn. Clark Howard, for those who don’t know, is a consumer advocate, and has taken up the call asking BofA customers to back a fellow customer named Matthew Shinnick of San Francisco who earlier this week had a nightmare of an experience at Bank of America with no recourse of action.
Shinnick was arrested, put in jail, and paid $14K out-of-pocket due to the incident because BofA called the police when he tried to verify and cash a check he’d received for $2,000 for a pair of bikes he’d listed on Craigslist. It turned out that the account at BofA was real, but the check was fake. Before signing the check, Shinnick had asked BofA to verify that the funds were available, which they did, but as soon as he signed the back of the check, he unwittingly become not a victim but the second party to the crime. Shinnick has been trying to get BofA to cover the $14K in expenses he paid, but a 2004 Supreme Court case shields institutions from liability when reporting a suspected crime, and legally, BofA has done no wrong.