What started as several frustrating phone calls to TD Bank's customer-service line ended with some surprising online payback from one of the bank's employees, according to a small business owner in Toronto.
"The whole thing is like a total privacy breach," said Brandon Grenier, 30.
Grenier, who runs an events company, made several calls on Oct. 28 to EasyLine — the TD phone line that promises "convenient automated service or friendly personal service," according to the bank's website.
But the exchanges were far from friendly, says Grenier.
He called hoping to resolve a problem with e-transfers, but instead got "irate" and argued with the same representative twice. At one point, he says, the TD employee hung up on him.
Eventually, Grenier says he went in person to a branch and thought everything was settled.
Then he got a Google notification about a bad review that had been posted online about his business — written by someone with the same name as the TD employee.
"He couldn't let it go," said Grenier.
The review referred to Grenier as an "extremely rude owner" who "swears often at people."
It went on to say that prospective customers would be "better off paying someone else who respects others/themselves."
Grenier says he immediately contacted the bank. A manager later called and apologized, saying the review was taken down within an hour, and that the employee would get coaching, he says.
But coaching doesn't cut it, says Joanne McNeish, a marketing professor at Ryerson University in Toronto who studies consumer trust.
"This response is completely inadequate — the thought that you would have to tell people that this information is confidential," said McNeish.
Customers, with Uber or Airbnb for example, may sometimes agree to be rated. But banks, McNeish says, simply know too much about our private lives.
"I think for all of us now, we need to consider as we talk to our banks being far more cautious with what information we share with them."
And that's Grenier's concern. He's told the bank he isn't satisfied with the apology, and he wants more assurances his information will be protected.
"I think TD needs to assess … how private information is accessed from employees," said Grenier, who also believes the employee shouldn't be dealing with customers.
"The fact that he took privileged company information and vindictively went after me, I can't believe it."
In a statement to CBC Toronto, a spokesperson said TD "take[s] these types of concerns seriously and we are reviewing the matter … While we're not able to comment on specifics for privacy reasons, ensuring our customers have a positive experience is a key priority for us."