[linux-elitists] Bank of America doesn't want our business?

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sun Nov 25 00:51:12 PST 2001


on Sat, Nov 24, 2001 at 09:07:22AM -0800, Ben Woodard (ben@zork.net) wrote:
> So what do you guys think of this should we make a stink about it?
> I go to pay my bills online today and BofA's online banking which I've
> been using successfully for literally years won't let me in:
> 
> > We have determined that you are using Netscape 6 as your
> > browser. Online Banking does not currently support this browser.
> > 
> > Online Banking supports the following browsers for IBM compatible
> > users:
> >
> >    * Netscape Navigator 4.x
> >    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x
> >    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x
> >
> > Online Banking supports the following browsers for Macintosh users:
> >
> >    * Netscape Navigator 4.x
> >    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x
> >    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x
> > 
> > We recommend that you use one of the following browsers:
> > 
> >    * Netscape Navigator 4.08
> >    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5
> >
> >
> > To access Online Banking today, please select either the Netscape or
> > Microsoft link below to download one of the recommended browsers. 
> 
> Now if it was just that they wanted me to use a closed source browser,
> I guess I could consent to using Netscape 4.7 from time to time. I
> still have it around from the days when mozilla wasn't as reliable as
> it is now. However, when you try to log in to Online Banking you get
> this message:
> 
> > ONLINE BANKING ELECTRONIC DISCLOSURE AND CONSENT  
> > In order to continue using Online Banking you must consent to receive
> > all notifications about Online Banking in electronic form and to meet
> > our minimum system requirements. 
> > 
> > By your consent below, you agree that we may provide you with all
> > disclosures, notices and other communications about Online Banking,
> > including your Online Banking Service Agreement and any future
> > amendments, in electronic form. We will provide all future notices by
> > posting them on Online Banking for a period of at least 30 days. You
> > may download or print the notice from your computer if you have the
> > hardware and software described below. 
> > 
> > At your request we agree to provide you with a paper copy of such a
> > notice. You may request paper copies of required notices by calling us
> > at 800.792.0808. Online Banking Customer Service is available from
> > 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week, excluding bank holidays. 
> > 
> > You have the right to withdraw this consent, but if you do, we will
> > immediately terminate your participation in Online Banking
> > Services. To withdraw your consent, please contact us at
> > 800.792.0808. 
> > 
> > 
> > YOUR SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS 
> > 
> > In order for you to access and retain records in connection with
> > Online Banking Services, your system must meet the following
> > requirements: 
> > An IBM or Macintosh compatible computer 
> > Internet Access 
> > An Internet Browser 
> >      - Netscape Navigator 4.08/Netscape Communicator 4.7 or later
> > versions 
> >      - Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or later versions (4.51 for
> > Macintosh users.) 
> > To print or download disclosures you must have a printer connected to
> > your PC or sufficient hard-drive space to save the disclosure. 
> > 
> > To agree that your system meets the requirements, and that you consent
> > to receive all notices regarding Online Banking Services in electronic
> > form, select the I Agree button. 
> 
> The things that really bother me is that they catagorically deny
> access to non-windows platforms except Mac and they require people to
> use closed source browsers. 

GNU/Linux on x86 counts as "IBM Compatible" in my book.

Mozilla or NS 6 counts as a Netscape 4.7 or later browser.

> So what do you think? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill or is
> this a cause celebre?

This is quite a legitimate beef IMO.  Proprietization of the Internet by
restricting what cleints are allowed to use services is creeping facism.

I'd do the following:

  - Send a message to the bank, email or snail, regarding the issue.
  - Drop a line to Jakob Nielsen (http://www.useit.com/), who collects
    stories of similar stupidity.
  - Drop a line to the editor of your local bank.
  - Make inquiries to competitors of BofA regarding their Internet
    Banking requirements.  If you find a competitor who has sane
    policies, advertise same loudly, and switch.
  - Send a second note to BofA informing them of why they're losing
    their business.

Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             Home of the brave
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                   Land of the free
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA! http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                     http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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