Surrey man claims bank tricked him into wrong account
Zuojie Xu poses for a photo in Vancouver, B.C. on Thursday March 13, 2014. Zuojie Xu says the Bank of Montreal won't reverse merging two accounts into one with lower interest. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
A retired Surrey man is alleging he was misled into signing a deal that merged his two bank accounts and now his complaints are being ignored.
Zuojie Xu, a former University of Toronto researcher, moved to Vancouver in 2008. Last year, he arranged a meeting with the Bank of Montreal in Guildford Town Centre mall in Surrey to discuss his retirement and plans to buy a condo.
At the initial meeting, Xu alleged a bank employee told him he should blend his two unlocked Registered Retirement Savings Plans into one account “for simplicity.”
The 68-year-old said he had questions about such a move and expressed he was having trouble reading the document because of his age. He was told by the employee to trust him.
“The last few minutes (of the meeting) someone knocked on the door and said ‘Oh, there’s no time, I’ll do this for you,’” Xu said.
After the papers were signed, Xu noticed changes to his account and that his $140,000 was put into a one-year income fund at a lower interest rate than what the RRSP accounts were paying and locked for two years.
“It’s a kind of cheating,” he said.
When he approached the bank about the matter he was told he signed the agreement and that was that.
In another meeting with branch managers, Xu said he was told he needed an interpreter by the bank manager who kept saying he was merely confused about the deal and he had only lost a few days interest.
“What sentence am I saying that you don’t understand?” Xu responded.
Even after his request to reverse what had been done, he said the bank still refused to undo the accounts.
Xu said he’s now been waiting more than two months to hear back from BMO managers higher up the chain about his complaint.
BMO spokesperson Laurie Grant told 24 hours she can’t talk about individual cases, but said such complaints are taken seriously.
“I can assure you that everything is done, in a professional way to provide clear information,” she said in an email. “From this point, if the customer doesn’t agree with the resolution, they can contact the BMO ombudsman’s office.”
Meanwhile, Xu said the case raises questions about how banks deal with seniors.
He has reported his situation to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.