BofA Patents A Way Of Denying Overdraft Fee Refunds

from the best-not-to-infringe-on-this-one dept

theodp writes "Q. How many Bank of America inventors does it take to screw a customer? A. Eight, according to U.S. Patent No. 7,797,212, which was awarded to BofA Tuesday for its Refund Request Tool, an "invention" that aims to put an end to "refund shopping" by pesky customers who "drive over to a different bank branch in the hope of finding a more sympathetic [bank] employee" to forgive their NSF/OD or other fees. From the patent: "For example, if a customer refuses a refund initially offered, the bank employee may process the refusal as the distribution of a $0.00 refund. Thus, for subsequent refund requests, the server 101 may treat the occurrence as having already having distributed a refund, and might not allow this refund to be decisioned again. Instead, the server 101 may simply transmit a message corresponding to the 'No Refund Available' to the bank employee at the second branch terminal 151, indicating that no refund, not even the previously-offered refund amount, should be offered to the customer.""


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 10:31am

    All the power to them...

    So let's see... they have patented this and that means that other banks cannot do that... Sounds like they are doing their best to send the customers to other banks... Bailout!

     

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      Eugene (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

      Re: All the power to them...

      Exactly what I was thinking. I'm sure my local Wells Fargo is going to be doing some celebrating when they hear about this. Lord knows they loved it when BofA's "keep the change" shenanigans went down.

       

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    Mike42 (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Wow...

    Looks like a business process patent, with a computer thrown in to make it legit. Sick.
    If there was ever a poster-boy for killing software patents, this would be it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    So if they don't enforce this patent and my bank does this can I sue BOA?

     

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    mermaldad (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    If I were in charge of a rival bank, this patent would feature prominently in my next ad campaign.

     

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      Paul Renault (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

      Rival Banks, was Re.:

      Came here to say this.

      You should encourage your non-BoA bank, by specifically asking your bank manager about this. Then tell them that if they ever license the patent from BoA, you'll switch banks.

       

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    Logan, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    What

    Did the Bank of America just patent the number zero?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    I don't really understand why they would bother to patent this. If I were a bank I would just implement this without causing the possiblilty of any fanfare. I wouldn't care if other banks followed suit.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    What if...

    What if you could use the broken patent system in the US to actually fix the broken patent system? If you had enough money up front, you could set up a not-for-profit company that basically acted as a patent troll, but had as its mission statement patent reform.

    Step 1: Apply for and get a ridiculously broad patent.
    Step 2: Sue patent abusing companies.
    Step 3: Profit (of course).
    Step 4: Invest half the profit in applying for more ridiculous patents and the other half in lobbying Congress for patent reform which would eliminate ridiculous patents.

    Rinse and repeat.

    (BTW, I don't think it's wrong for BoA to try and prevent fraud, but what's ridiculous of course is this particular technique has been granted a patent. How funny would it be if some group sued BoA for infringement of a "nickle and dime your customer with lame service fees" patent?)

     

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    drew (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    How is this patentable?

    Seriously, how does this justify a patent?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    The funny part is calling those people filing for those patents inventors, geezuz those are bankers the right term is scammers.

     

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    AdamR (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    What I want to know is how much time and money was wasted on this patent and the A-hole who came with ideal is getting a rise or bonus for this stupidity.

     

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    ofb2632 (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    fail

    we should have let them fail and been done with them

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    Well they Don't Have to Charge and Overdraft Fee!

    I liked the brochure I got from BOA that offered a bunch of friendly hints on how the customer can save on fees. Well,if BOA is so concerned about the customer's welfare, as the brochure would imply, there is a simple solution. BOA does not have to charge these fees.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    I was writing "do not issue refund to customer" on support tickets back in 2000. My fancy "computer" would transmit that data to the "server" and other people using "computers" would receive the data when they looked up the ticket again.

    I guess I should have filed for a patent.

     

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      Danny, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 1:59pm

      Re:

      At my university we have been using a similar system to keep students from shopping advisors to get a course waiver.

      If obviousness hadn't prevented this patent from being issued, prior art certainly should have.

       

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    Don, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    Huh? You can patent that? That's the type of stuff programmers do to get around complex solutions sometimes. Not the best, but still done.

    I should patent some of the logic code I write.

     

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    Stoned Atheist, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 9:37pm

    Police State USA

    Why not just come out and say it BOA;

    "We took your money and you can all go FUCK YOURSELVES."

    "Have a nice day."


    Just another reason to look forward to the impending collapse. Thankfully all the money in the world can't save you from ramen fueled rage slamming a brick into a blue blooded face.

    Save the nation; burn down a bank.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 10:39pm

    Banksters vs Sheeple

    Why is everybody being so harsh on the banksters? They are just screwing the sheeple, like they have been doing for hundreds of years. Situation normal. They are entitled. They know they are entitled. Name any regulator who would dare say "boo" to them.

     

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    econobiker, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    Therefore, I will now apply for a patent to store paper and coin money in a locked vault within a financial institution.

     

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