This probably won't win me any friends here, but truth is truth, and my intention is sincere constructive criticism.
There's a short piece posted this afternoon at NC Policy Watch that disappoints me. You see, I expect accuracy from those claiming to report on such important matters as my state legislature, etc., but on this one they seem to have dropped the ball in a pretty big way. Here's what was reported.
Just when you thought you have seen it all with the big banks, they come up with even more obnoxious ways to make money, in this case with the full cooperation of the State of South Carolina.
The Charlotte Observer reports that taxpayers in South Carolina who are due a refund on their state taxes and don’t specifically request a check from the state will receive a Bank of America debit card instead.
You can withdraw money from the card at ATMs, but that will cost you $2.50 every time you do. You can close the account and get all your money from the card if you would rather, but that will cost you five dollars.
South Carolina worked out the deal with Bank of America to save money on processing and mailing paper checks to taxpayers who are owed a refund.
The result is that citizens will have to pay a bank to get access to their own money.
Anyone who's ever spent more than thirty seconds reading Thurman's Notebook knows I have very little use for banks, and none whatsoever for the big ones. To say I despise Bank of America would be an understatement, but I value truth and accuracy in reporting more than I hate big banks, so today you'll witness a rarity: Thurman defends the enemy, Bank of America. (How's that for fair and balanced?)
Notice that the snippet above cites a story in the Charlotte Observer, but there isn't a link? That's bad blogging for one thing, but it gets worse. I looked up the Observer story, and I hate to say it, but almost everything in this report is inaccurate. It will not cost you $2.50 every time you access your money, unless you get completely stupid about it, and it will not cost you $5 to close out the account unless, again, you do some really bonehead things on your way to the cash.
Here's what the Observer reported, verbatim.
Bank of America says use of the tax refund card is free for a purchase from a merchant and for cash back from a purchase at many grocery and convenience stores.
The Charlotte-based bank, on its website and on the S.C. Department of Revenue's website, said it will charge an ATM fee of $2.50 per transaction for withdrawals at non-Bank of America ATMs and $2.50 per transaction at ATMs outside the United States.
The bank and the revenue department websites also said one replacement card is free and, thereafter, a replacement card will cost $5. The sites also said express delivery is $15 per request and withdrawing cash from a financial institution that accepts Visa cards is free once, but $10 afterward.
Do you see a discrepancy between those two reports? I do, and it really kind of pisses me off.
NC Policy Watch is, "a progressive, nonprofit and non-partisan public policy organization with a simple mission: to change the way elected officials debate important issues and, ultimately, to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians," and that's why I subscribe to their feed.
I've been reading items posted at NC Policy Watch for quite some time now, and it's pretty unusual for something like this to slip through, but the fact remains that it did.
I've been factually wrong about things I published on my website before. When it was pointed out, I've taken my lumps and tried to make it right. We should expect no less from a professional organization like NC Policy Watch.
I subscribe to their news feed to stay informed because I've trusted them as a reliable news source, but after this slip of the pen I'll be taking everything they publish with a large grain of salt for a long time to come.
I despise the big banks and greedy corporations as much as the next person, but I hate being lied to even more, and whether this was an honest mistake or a deliberate deception is beside the point. Ultimately it makes all progressives look foolish and gives knuckle-dragging conservatives the kind of ammunition they need to discredit us.
NC Policy Watch, we hold you to a higher standard, please fix your mistake. It's one thing to play dirty, and we on the left need to do a whole lot more of that, but it's another thing entirely to abandon the standards of decency and good reporting.