Public Comment

Chase Bank Customer Complains of Mistreatment:
Deposit Missed, Checks Bounced and Worse

By Judy Lackey
Tuesday January 04, 2011 - 04:36:00 PM

My husband and I (Berkeley residents) were recently treated terribly by Chase Bank, as I briefly describe below. I think that this story is of interest to many of your readers because Chase is a new bank in California. We, along with thousands of other Californians, had our Washington Mutual accounts become Chase accounts after the buy-out. I've heard many stories of people being mistreated by Chase, whereas Washington Mutual was known for their customer service -- my husband, a Seattle native, had his Washington Mutual account since he was a child. 

My husband Ethan's grandma wrote us each a check for $100 for Christmas. She is going blind and she could only find a red pen to write the checks. My husband went to deposit these checks at our local Chase branch ATM last Tuesday (12/28/10). Apparently the red ink did not show up well on the scan that the ATM took of the check, so Ethan had to manually enter the amount of the checks. We went out of town for New Years, returning on Sunday (1/2/11). On Monday, I went to pay our mortgage (held by a different bank) online and realized that neither of our paychecks were direct deposited in our account, so we didn't have the funds to pay. I called Chase and was told that the direct deposits had been refused because our account was "restricted," had been closed by Chase due to "fraud," and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it. They said that they would send us the funds remaining in our account in 10 days. I then went to my local branch in downtown Oakland and spoke to the branch manager who was sympathetic, made some phone calls, but could do nothing about the situation since Chase had already decided to close the account. She confirmed that the "fraud" concerned the checks from Ethan's grandma which they said were "blank'. Clearly no human every looked at the checks, as they were decidedly not blank. They made no effort to find out what had happened, instead just immediately closed our account. 

The letter informing us that our account was closed arrived only today (Monday 1/3/11). Meanwhile, not knowing our account was closed, we sent a check for our car registration to the DMV last week and gave our day care a check today. Per Chase's (unconscionable, I think) Account Agreement, they will not honor these checks, likely resulting in many fees, which they are not liable for according to this "agreement". Not to mention, we have no bank account, do not have access to the funds from our paychecks, and cannot pay our mortgage or other bills. We might have fraud reported to credit agencies and our credit will likely suffer because we will inevitably be late on some payments since we have no funds or bank account. All because no one at Chase bothered to actually look at the checks from Ethan's grandma, showing the ultimate disrespect to their customers and causing us completely unwarranted and unnecessary hardship.