LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) — John Reiter put away U.S. Savings Bonds for his grandson after he was born and added them to the Treasury account on birthdays and holidays.
But if he knew then what he found out this year.
“It’s been frustrating,” Reiter said. “It shouldn’t be this hard.”
When his grandson asked to use the money for college tuition earlier this year, Reiter made a mistake on a security question.
“I answered what was my favorite movie,” Reiter recalled. “I now know I misspelled one of the words. That actually was my fault. I should’ve spelled it correctly.”
What happened next spells nightmare after Reiter was locked out of the account.
What followed was six months of ringing in his ear during countless unanswered phone calls to Washington. Reiter could not get a human being on the phone to solve what seemed like a simple issue.
“I had very little confidence that the call got through and that anyone was going to answer,” Reiter said. “And frustration sets in really quick.”
Reiter went to Congressman Gus Bilirakis’s staff six months ago, but they did not have the key to unlock the money.
“So, with nothing else to do,” Reiter said. “I reached out to [8 On Your Side.]”
8 On Your Side called and emailed the Treasury and reached back out to Bilirakis’s office on Reiter’s behalf.
About three days later, Reiter got a call from a Treasury agent.
“Within three minutes and 30 seconds total,” Reiter said, “the issue was solved. Done and dusted. Access to my account and problem solved.“
But Reiter holds on to some of the frustration he felt for the last six months, wondering how many others are stuck on the phone. Waiting.
“I’m sure eventually I would’ve got some resolution but how far down the road? A week, months, years?” Reiter said. “I don’t know. There needs to be something done. They can no longer continue to operate this way.”
The Treasury has not responded to New Channel 8’s requests for comment.