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    14 Replies Latest reply on Nov 9, 2008 9:43 AM by DomainDiva

    Taking Advantage of Youth - A Business Ethics Question

    chuckgallaghe Wayfarer
      As a business ethics speaker...I am stepping out with this posting. Check out this blog entry and feel free to comment. I honestly would love the feedback: http://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2008/11/06/bank-of-america-taking-advantage-of-youth-is-that-ethical/
        • Re: Taking Advantage of Youth - A Business Ethics Question
          DomainDiva Ranger
          FWIW Dad, YOU dropped the ball.

          You give a 'kid' an account and don't teach them how to keep a register? Use Quickbooks? Seems to me that with a Masters Degree in accounting you should have been able to sit down with him and discuss all of the pros and cons as well as how banks post. Even better when the account was opened, there should have been a meeting with a banking representative to discuss HOW important it is to manage each financial account as well as 'terminology'.

          Your son did not set up online banking? Online banking gives all the details, what the total balance is, what is on hold and what is AVAILABLE as well. I am assuming that your son is internet savvy how did this ball get dropped? He could have set up the account to be accessed by his cellphone as well. Who in their right mind depends on an ATM machine for current account information?

          " +POINT OF INTEREST: For any readers, if your children have checkcards - do they maintain a check register? My guess is NO! Most of them have never written a check in their lives and don't connect with the "write it down and keep the balance" mentality of adults. +

          This statement above shows that you could have cared less about sharing your adult mentality with him, maybe if you would have, he would not be in the mess he's in. You need to fork over 350.00 and then teach him some accounting skills to go with that check card and credit card.

          These days people on both sides of the fence '*assume'* that just because they have something, they 'understand' it. Thats not how the world works. The Bof A rep assumed that your son knew what was going on. Your son assumed that he knew what was going on. To tell you the truth, I don't believe either one of them knew how the credit card thing would work out in the end.

          My kids had checking accounts and a small credit card each at 16. They knew how to keep a register, we discussed overdraft, posted balances, available balances as well as interest rates on credit cards and how buying something on sale and NOT paying for it in full when the bill came in caused that purchase to go up in price. I sat down with them at the home and at the bank. We spent time with registers and calculators every month and looked for the .02 when the account did not balance.

          Seems to me theres enough blame to go around on both sides. Too many assumptions...NOT enough information.
            • Re: Taking Advantage of Youth - A Business Ethics Question
              chuckgallaghe Wayfarer
              Great post...love the banter.

              Facts are he had online banking...but what kid in the middle of the day after stopping at an ATM to check a balance goes to "online" banking?

              There certainly is plenty of blame and I share my part. At the time, I lived in Texas and he in North Carolina. He thought he was taking care of it and felt that by doing so he would be pleasing his dad. I had no clue what was taking place...other than monitoring his account through "on-line banking" and trying via the phone to help him when he first over-drew his account.

              Who would have "thunk" that it would have turned out the way it did.

              My question is - why not refund the $250 (the extra charge he would have not incurred had the card been linked in the first place)? Better still, why can't a card issued for that purpose be automatically linked? The charges can damn sure automatically happen, but the account can't be linked?

              Hum...something doesn't add up...
              • Re: Taking Advantage of Youth - A Business Ethics Question
                chuckgallaghe Wayfarer
                Points of clarification:

                1. My son did have on-line banking. That said how many kids when they make a purchase in the middle of the day and go to the ATM to check their balance - go to "on-line" banking? They assume the information from the ATM is right. While that may be inaccurate, ask a kid and that's the answer you'll get.

                2. The account was set up on line - there was never a meeting with a bank representative. I lived in Dallas, Texas my son in NC. Who goes into the bank to do such a thing these days?

                3. DomanDiva...your right...I must be the problem. You see I don't keep a check register...as I do on-line banking and have sufficient funds to avoid an overdraft. While I had the discussion with my son, it wasn't till it happened that it became clear to him what I was trying to convey. If you have children, I would suspect that you know that kids (like adults) learn from mistake much more effectively than they do from their parent providing wisdom from adult experience.

                4. You state: *They knew how to keep a register, we discussed overdraft, posted
                balances, available balances as well as interest rates on credit cards
                and how buying something on sale and NOT paying for it in full when the
                bill came in caused that purchase to go up in price. I sat down with
                them at the home and at the bank. We spent time with registers and
                calculators every month and looked for the .02 when the account did not
                balance.* First...that's impressive. You must have accounting training. I was partner in a CPA firm and I can promise you I never looked for .02. It wasn't material and was too boring for me, but then that was me. I had people work for me who did and I was alway in awe. I am in awe of the approach you have taken with your kids. CONGRATULATIONS! I say that with a spirit of true appreciation.

                Nice post on your end and appreciated.
              • Re: Taking Advantage of Youth - A Business Ethics Question
                DomainDiva Ranger

                "Perhaps the last question: Am I the one off base here?

                Oh...per the Bank of America Web Site related to their Code of Business Ethics the following is stated: The code, in effect, explains what we mean when we say one of our core values is "doing the right thing." Somehow I can't think that charging unsuspecting newly turned 18 year olds is "the right thing" - but perhaps I am off base? " \\ Domain Diva: Yes you are, you are requiring only one party (BofA) to adhere to an 'ethical standard', while you failed in your 'ethical standard and responsibility' to your son by not providing him with the guidance he needed.
                • Re: Taking Advantage of Youth - A Business Ethics Question
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  Sorry, Chuck. I'd be willing to bet anything that the bank officer gave your son a 10x7 folder with that disclosure you mentioned packed neatly inside, along with the bank officer's business card and an invitation to call with any question about those terms. If not, her bad.

                  Was it her job to verbally explain all those terms and conditions to an 18-year-old? I don't think so. First of all, it probably would have been a waste of both of their time. Second, 18-year-olds drive, vote, defend our county (and other countries, as well), and are treated as adults in many jurisdictions for most legal purposes. If a young person (old person, or ANY person) can legally sign-up for something, then that person should be responsible finding out what he/she needs to know about it, and then be held accountable for fulfilling the terms of the deal.

                  A couple of years ago, I was on the jury panel for a case where the defendant's two children were caught shoplifting -- not once, but SIX times from the same business before the owner and the police finally got fed up and filed charges against the mom. Her defense was that the store owner put all this attractive stuff out on the shelves, and that kids (which in this case were 10 and 14) couldn't be expected to understand that it wasn't just there for the taking, that it had to be purchased -- and that she couldn't be expected to keep track of what they were doing the whole time she was in there shopping. Was the store owner ethically obligated to educate her kids on how a retail operation works, and to let them keep $250 of merchandise if he didn't?

                  I can't recall a case in the last thirty years or so of a major bank providing a financial or credit-related service for FREE without advertising that fact. Like a retail store, if a bank has something good to offer, it's going to cost us (probably a lot) unless there's a big banner hanging off the side of the building that says it's FREE.

                  You sound like a sharp person and nice guy. Perhaps this experience will help you and especially your son avoid what could be some far more costly lessons down the road. Best wishes.
                  • Re: Taking Advantage of Youth - A Business Ethics Question
                    puzzleman Tracker
                    No sense repeating all of the good advice above. I agree that the parent should have given more instruction and follow up to the child.

                    Jim