Today I spent almost two hours on the phone with Chase Bank trying to get my money back. Being on the phone for that long is bad enough, but I had to call twice, because the first time, I was put on hold and abandoned for more than 30 minutes until I finally hung up.
I was calling to find out what had happened to two online bill payments to Molly’s former after school care facility, CDC. Both payments were for $664. The first payment was on 14 December and the second on 23 December. When I spoke to the folks at CDC, they assured me the payments hadn’t been received.
With a paper check, you write the check, seal it in an envelope and mail it to the merchant. If something goes horribly wrong and the postman assigned to deliver the mail is sucked into an intergalactic vortex and never seen by humans again, you can simply write another check and try again… because the money never left your account.
With Chase fuck-you!-customer Online Bill Payment, you schedule the payment, Chase removes the money from your account, magic happens, and the merchant is paid. In this case, the magic didn’t happen and the merchant didn’t get paid. TWICE.
There’s an important point to remember: before delivering the payment, Chase removes the money from your account.
So for the last 39 days, Chase has been gleefully earning interest on $1328 of mine to which they had no moral right. They had the original payment of $664 for a whopping 48 days. From what I was told today, they wouldn’t have automatically refunded the money until they received the misaddressed mail. And if the check was never returned by the Post? Well, it would be my responsibility to ask for the money back.
The first customer dis-service drone happily issued a stop payment on the two checks. She then informed me that Chase would continue holding onto my money for up to five more days. Perhaps they realised I would only spend it on frivolous things, like Molly’s tuition or replacement tires for the Mini Cooper. I expect Chase has far more important uses for my money. After all, they’ve become accustomed to having it floating around in their coffers for the last 39 days.
I asked, politely, for her to pass me along to her supervisor. She put me on hold for about five minutes — presumably to punish me for not accepting the moldy crumbs of comfort Chase Bank so graciously offered me. Her supervisor came on the line, she repeated the party line: no return of my money for up to five days. She was unmoved by my request that because Chase Bank had already had plenty of time with my money, I really would rather have it back immediately.
I asked, slightly less politely this time, for her to pass me along to her supervisor. She was very abrupt. She said her supervisor was in a meeting and she’d have to put me on hold. I waited on hold for more than thirty minutes before it became abundantly clear I was being punished once again.
I called back. This time I was livid, but I tried to continue being polite. After all, it wasn’t this new person’s fault I’d received such horrific “service” on the previous call. First I asked her to share with me my call tracking number.1 The new woman wanted to put me on hold while she consulted with someone; I explained how I’d been left on hold by the previous batch and I was unwilling to be put on hold again. She patched in someone from another department. I repeated my story, again. Again I received the standard response: up to five more days before my money and I could be reunited.
Once again I explained they had already had the pleasure of my money’s company for 39 days (48 days for the first batch), I missed my money and really felt it was time for it to come home. I reiterated that there wasn’t any conceivable reason why the payments wouldn’t have arrived at the merchant had they been sent. Clearly, the party at fault here was Chase Bank. It was therefore, rather unfair that after screwing up two payments in a row, they would be unwilling to refund my money immediately.
I think this new woman was cornered. It was abundantly clear I wasn’t going to accept Chase Bank’s gracious offer to continue hosting my money in their vast corporate coffers, nor was I going to hang up, nor could she put me on hold and abandon me there2. Finally, she relented and issued me an immediate refund.
I guess what I don’t understand is why Chase withdraws the money from my account before making the payment. They’re a bank for crying out loud. If they need to send a paper check, instead of printing out a generic check, put my account information on it. Of course, this would be obvious if Chase Bank actually gave a rat’s ass about its customers.
On 4 February, the CD we have associated with these accounts will mature. That’s when we’ll cease being Chase Bank customers. I don’t know where we’ll be taking our (meager) bushel of cash, but it won’t stay with those fuckers at Chase Bank.
In case you’re not aware, all customer “service” centers have software that assigns each incoming call an unique number. If you have this number, you can use it to link subsequent calls to the previous call. In my case, if I was put on hold and abandoned again, I’d be able to pinpoint by whom. ↩
Because I had the call tracking number, the next person I called would be able to look up who did it. ↩