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LINCOLNTON, NC (WBTV) - Marisol Rodriguez and her husband, Luis Arguedas, wanted something very simple -- the money deposited in their savings account.
"Every time I walked into the bank, it was more aggravating," said Rodriguez.
It's not a lot of money by big bank standards, but for this Lincolnton couple, $455 could come in quite handy.
"It's a lot of money for us," said Rodriguez.
The problem started in late March. The couple is originally from Costa Rica. They have been in the U.S. legally for several years. However, Arguedas had never built up his credit. He decided to start the process by applying for a secured credit card.
He visited the Fifth Third branch in Boger City and did all the necessary paperwork. The couple, as required, deposited the $455 dollars in a savings account to insure the card. The application was accepted and the card arrived in the mail a few days later.
Arguedas took the card to the ATM machine at the bank to activate the card.
"He (Arguedas), by accident, pressed the wrong pin number to activate the card," said Rodriguez.
Instead, he used his checking card's PIN and not the temporary one issued for the new credit card. Fifth Third, to protect against fraud, blocked the card.
The couple said they visited the bank to try to sort things out. They were told they would need to contact the corporate office. They said they were told the card would not be activated. A few days later, a letter came in the mail. It said the account was being closed because Fifth Third was "unable to verify identity."
"That is not true," said Rodriguez.
Arguedas said he provided the bank with his passport, his permanent resident card, his North Carolina Drivers License and his social security card.
"I don't know what else they needed to see," said Rodriguez.
The couple said it gave up on getting the card. They told the bank they just wanted the money they had put in their savings account. Fifth Third told them they would have to wait 90 days to get the $455.
"We called again and again trying to get somebody to give us a good answer," said Rodriguez. "No answer from anybody."
WBTV contacted Fifth Third Bank. The company said it can't speak about an individual customer account, but said it will free up the money. Arguedas and Rodriguez will be getting their money back.
The Better Business Bureau offers basic steps for consumer having trouble with their bank.
It says start by contacting the bank's customer service department and ask for a dispute resolution specialist. Customers can also file a complaint with BBB. It has specialists who deal with the major banks. A final step can include filing a complaint with the North Carolina Banking Commission.