Link to Merrill-lynch-do-you-really-need-188.html
Where we left off: Maura tried to pry her remaining $188 from a trust fund in Merrill Lynch, yet they put the kabosh on her. According to their Due Diligence and Compliance Departments, they claimed to have never received mandatory documentation, namely her mother's death certificate to allow for the release of her monies, 13 years after she had already drained the tiny account. Liars!
Merrill Lynch, those motherfuckers, sent me at least 20 format letters. An example provided below:
Since I initiated this investigation once more on October 3, 2012 (notice the November date of this letter?), by the time I received these format letters, I was rather preoccupied with the mess from Hurricane Sandy. I can only address one crisis at a time.
When I could get around to the format letter, meaning putting aside a few days for what I knew was going to be a clusterfuck of anguish, I realized there are no direct phone numbers to contact Angela Moore. Undeterred, I decided to find her anyhow to see what's going on.
Phoning, as repeat offenders of my blog know, is difficult for me, being neurologically deaf. Besides time-consuming, I've difficulty in hearing what people say. It's frustrating on both sides and takes way too much time. What would ordinarily transpire in five minutes is a 30 minute aural fuckathon.
Added to the mix was the time element. It took two full days to try to find this elusive Ms. Moore. Did you know there are no direct numbers to Merrill Lynch? Those 800 numbers can get you in a tizzy. Each branch operates independently so you'll never make any headway.
Which reminds me of when I analyzed broker/dealers and investment banks. Every year these organizations restructure. There's a reason for that: to keep people like me away.
Well, this demonstrated my determination.
Turns out no one in Merrill Lynch ever heard of this Angela Moore. Not even in the branch from which this format letter was generated. Which made me even more diligent and creative.
Persistence is one of my character traits. That, and stubbornness. Otherwise, I would've bailed on my career as a novelist years ago. I finally got her phone number which connected to a general intake voice-mail. Incensed, I phoned another department and got some poor shnook on the line.
"Oh, I've her direct number. Let me connect you."
Seconds later, a musical voice said, "Angela Moore."
Chirpy, I said, "Hello, Angela. My, are you a difficult one to find."
I heard a swift intake of air. AHA! NABBED!
"My name is Maura Stone and I'd like to know what's taking so long in trying to get my $188 from Merrill Lynch."
Obviously, I crossed a line. Or, rather a milestone for her. I guess no one else is as tenacious as me. Regaining her thoughts, she stuttered, "Oh, I'm not the one you should speak to. Your case officer is Kelly out of New Jersey." She gave me a phone number.
Within seconds, I dialed and got a general intake voice mail.
FUCKERS!! I got sucked into the vacuum of Merrill Lynch customer service again!
So, I phoned the SEC. They directed me to their online website. I spent the following fifteen minutes filling out forms.
I backburnered Merrill Lynch because they drove me crazy. Besides, I had other issues going on. My boyfriend and I broke up. Then, we got back together and worked on our relationship. Luckily for Merrill Lynch, I can only handle one dramatic theme at a time so the boyfriend issue got precedence.
During this time, I received a phone call from the SEC.
The woman said, "We're reviewing your case. So, you're telling us Merrill Lynch refuses to release your monies because they don't have your mother's death certificate?"
"So, go and get it. That's what I would do."
I sat there flummoxed. "Listen, besides the fact that I have to go through 35 boxes in the attic-"
She interrupted me. "Get it where she died."
"She died in another state far away from here. But, you're missing the point."
"The fact that Merrill Lynch allowed withdrawals from a trust account without proper documentation for 13 years."
"Oh, that," she sniffed. "Yeah."
Oh boy, I thought. This could possibly explain why Bernie Madoff got away scott free for 20 years even with documentation from people in the industry! More than likely, some person in the SEC gave these people motherly advice as well.
I did nothing other than receive format letters from Merrill Lynch until one evening at 8pm I received a phone call.
"This is Merrill Lynch. May I have your social security number and date of birth?"
"Who the fuck are you?"
"I'm Drew from Merrill Lynch."
"I'm not going to give you that information. You're calling ME! Also, I'm still the largest identity theft case in New York State. Give me your full name and your phone number and I'll call you back."
He gave me an 800 number which I googled and checked in the extensive notes I took while conversing with the fine folks at Merrill. Yes, I take notes. They're good for accuracy when I blog. Then, I phoned back and got him, after being transferred around several times.
Drew said, "Management at Merrill Lynch agreed to release the monies and close down your account."
"I wonder why," I said. "Could it be that I fought tooth and nail because you guys lost my documentation?"
He reviewed the notes to my account. "You know, you're not the first to have this problem with documentation. I spoke to someone yesterday who also claimed we lost their parent's death certificates."
WRONG THING TO SAY TO ME!!
He added, "There'll be a $35 fee for wire transfer."
"How about a check?" I realized at that moment it takes 10 days for Merrill to cut a check and the check will no doubt be issued from Delaware, giving them another 10 days of float. Then again, I waited six months, so what's another month?
Drew reviewed my address which was at my former residence despite my countless attempts to change it over 4 years.
"You do realize, Drew, outside of your format letters which somehow found their way to me, I haven't received any other documentation from you guys? Everything's done via email."
He transferred me to another department for the final address change.
The following day, another Merrill Lynch representative phoned me. "Okay. We got your $188 ready to be issued by check to your new address."
"Wonderful," I said.
"So, you'll receive $113."
"There's a $75 close-out fee."
Don't get me wrong. I'm gonna fight for my $75. The fuckers yanked my crank for six months in toto for releasing $188. Let me amend that, $113. I had to get the SEC involved, blog about these bastards to get them to conclude this most pressing issue.
Lord knows what else is going on in Merrill Lynch land. My attitude, as a former Wall Street executive specializing in analyzing companies and industries for 30 years, if I have a little problem, there's a HUGE one waiting to emerge. Which makes me recall my issues with BofA when they illegally foreclosed on my apartment while I paid the mortgage back in 2009. And we know what happened with them, right?
Yeah. They purchased Merrill Lynch.
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