Home > Rant > Trials and tribulations with #chase #bank

Trials and tribulations with #chase #bank

October 7th, 2009

Yesterday I get an email that my account is overdrawn. I look online and see that I wrote a check for rent and forgot to transfer in the money to cover it. My bad. I freely admit my error and was fully expecting to be hit with a fee.

This morning I get an email that my account is overdrawn. I’d covered the transfer and I had about $13 left in my account, of which I spent about $10 last night but my unemployment insurance direct deposit should have hit. Confused, I go to the website. My balance is around $200, about half what it should be on dole day. I click to see account activity.

$136 overdraft fee.

One hundred thirty six dollar overdraft fee.

After I get over staring at my iPhone in shock I of course get angry. By the time I get home to my iMac where I can click the link (there’s a digression there about the Chase website, I’ll put it at the end) I’ve got a pretty good head of steam built up. Then I see that it’s rather four overdraft fees for four overdrawn transactions. Each one helpfully listed.

Three of these were not overdrawn yesterday. Because I looked. I monitor my bank activity pretty closely via the Chase website and these three transactions were already on my account when the rent check was processed (the rent check itself is the fourth overdrawn transaction). Today when I look, sure enough, every transaction within a day is now sorted in descending order by amount.

Which comes to one of the big screws of commercial banking. Chase, at least, processes big transactions first. Which they say is because big transactions are more likely to be important, car payments, rent, etc and it’s more important those go through. Baloney! When have bankers ever really cared about their customers’ convenience? Where did the term “banker’s hours” come from, because banks fall over themselves to help us out? Horse puckey! It’s so they can ding you for fees by overdrawing the account with big transactions first, then hitting you every time you get coffee or a beer or a taco. They know a lot of people lead cash-free lives and they work it for their bonuses and stock price. They also know this is b.s., because they’re stopping it. Some time next year.

So Chase is keeping $136. As I indicated above, I’m unemployed. Unemployment insurance has an expiration date and the job market in Portland is famously bad. I can’t just cover things out of savings when some day those savings might be all that’s keeping me from homelessness, or living with Mom again. All of this was caused in large part by Washington Mutual, now a part of Chase Bank! The screw has now come full circle.

Now another corporate screw, which goes beyond banks. The only way I’m going to get any satisfaction is to yell at some CSR. I hate yelling at front line employees. Give me a manager or partner, someone with authority and I’ll vocally add proverbial orifices to their body and smile afterward. But of course they hide behind their probably literally poor, overworked, overstressed pawns.

But they’re not keeping over a quarter of my weekly income. So I formulate a plan. First, I’d been a customer of WaMu for a long time, and I’ve stuck with Chase. I deserve better treatment than this. Second, three of these fees were because of your accounting shenanigans. The damage is far beyond my fault. Now, I want some of the fees refunded or I’m gone. I’m not going to argue, I’m not going to debate. Fix it, or you’ve got one less customer maintaining a decent balance. If you can’t do that, give me to someone who can.

It turns out Chase has a “goodwill” fee refund policy. What. The. (expletive deleted)? They know they’re screwing us, so they’ve come up with a policy to throw us a bone! But no more than once every twelve months. This “goodwill” refund is up to $70. I’d set my price at $100, but like I said I hate yelling at CSRs so I waffled and took it. I wonder now if that was planned, if they hired some shrink to ask how to defuse people like me.

But there’s more. Because of their fee I was overdrawn again, even with my UI direct deposit (I can’t see on their site what times those transactions came in but who wants to guess they process fees before deposits?). So there are more fees coming. The CSR couldn’t reverse a fee that hadn’t been assessed yet, so I have to call back tomorrow to take care of that. When I do I must talk to a supervisor because I’ve already used my goodwill refund and the CSR admitted whoever I get tomorrow will go to some lengths to avoid escalating my call.

I hate banks. I hate corporations. I hate corporate banks.

Okay, the website digression. Chase’s website sucks. There’s no way to get additional information about particular transactions from the site. WaMu’s website (which was also bad) had it, the description of each line item was a hyperlink. It didn’t give a lot of information, but you could get some. Chase, nothing. Except for on checks and overdraft fees.

This might not be specific to the website, but I hate the way Chase does transactions, particularly ones with tips. WaMu would list such transactions as pending until they’d been finally processed by the merchant with the tips included. With some merchants this could take over a week, but WaMu showed it as incomplete until the merchant said, okay, I’m done.

Chase shows them as finalized, then goes back to adjust the amount when the tip comes through. Which, okay, who thought that was a good idea? You can’t monkey with transaction balances after they’ve been posted!!! What kind of audit trail is that? You fail bookkeeping forever! Good bye.

  1. Gloom
    October 7th, 2009 at 12:42 | #1

    Dude, seriously, I’ve been w-BofA since I went out on the road. Their CSRs are super helpful and friendly, they have a ton of ATMs (not A2M, like Chase is doing to you), and their website shows pending transactions clearly and keeps a running balance including those transactions. Sure, they’re the biggest bank in the country and therefore uber-evil, but they’re the biggest for some sound reasons, namely, happy customers. I’m not a paid spokesman, I’m an actual customer.

  2. Akemi
    October 14th, 2009 at 11:11 | #2

    Hey, did you ever get this all cleared up?
    What did you decide to do? Are you going the credit union route, or are you just going to start stuffing your mattress?!

  3. Wendy
    November 8th, 2009 at 06:33 | #3

    Chase Bank is evil. I have had several banks in my life, and have been fairly satisfied. I switched to Chase a few years ago because my mortgage was with them. I have come to realize that Chase is the most unethical and corrupt bank out there. They are thieves and preying on people especially in this difficult economy. Last week I was out of town and used my debit card at a cafe at the hotel we were staying at. My account was low but I was getting paid in a couple days and have direct deposit. I had more than enough to cover the two small debits at the cafe. I knew this for sure because the cafe had a computer for customers to use so I checked my balance. There were no other pending transactions other than the two small transactions at the cafe I had put through. When I got home that evening, I checked my online banking again and noticed that there was another transaction pending from later in the day from the toll authority. Apparently my transponder on my car was low on tolls so the toll authority put through an automatic debit without any warning. My account did not have enough in it that day to cover the toll authority debit so I knew I would be charged one fee. The toll authority charge was listed after the two small cafe debits so the toll charge was the last debit of the day and the only one that would have caused an overdraft. I accepted the one fee and had no problem paying it. But after my payroll check was direct deposited, I noticed Chase had charged me 3 overdraft fees for a total of $105.00. I looked again at my online banking account and noticed that Chase had rearranged the order of the debits and put the toll authority debit before the two small cafe debits. This switch in order gave Chase the opportunity to hit me with 3 fees instead of the one. I was furious and I called their customer service department. I told them that I knew they had rearranged the sequence of the debits which maximized their fees against me and they ADMITTED TO IT. They said they can arrange them however they choose without regard for the order the debits actually came through. I could not believe what I was hearing. I asked to speak to her supervisor and was told the same thing, that basically they can do this, it is not illegal and to bad so sad. I am closing my account and moving to another bank next weekend when I get my next paycheck. The new bank I called, which is actually a bank I used a few years ago, asked me what bank I was leaving. I told them Chase and she laughed and said they have tons of exChase customers coming over. Do not use Chase, they are thieves. I am also writing my state government to find out if what Chase is doing is legal and if so why! The greed of this bank is unbelievable between what they have done to customers in their application of fees and what they have done in changing the terms of customer interest rates on their credit cards. They are slime.

  4. January 31st, 2010 at 12:12 | #4

    They increased my business loan payments drastically when interest rates went up – as per `flexible loan’ agreement. But have refused now for 12 months to reduce them when interest rates have been reduced.

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