At least, they apparently hate me...
This is the kind of thing that absolutely sends me screaming!
I have been trying to close my personal checking account at CHASE BANK in downtown Boulder since late December. In fact, I was assured by Chase Bank Dispute Resolution that my bank account was closed by January 7.
What follows is a cautionary tale for the Electronic Age.
First, Chase tells me that I CAN'T close my checking account, because there are some Internet debit accounts. I say that the accounts, a credit card billin system I used before PayPal and a Yahoo Groups account have been notified that they can no longer ding my account. Chase Bank says TOUGH NOOGIES, I have to pay until I rot in hell and that's the way life is. I suggest that my attorney does not believe that there are any state and federal laws that require me to keep my checking account open.
WHOOPS, says the Chase Weasel, you need to talk to Dispute Resolution.
May I have your name, I ask?
No, the Weasel says, but you can be transfered to Dispute Resolution. That's TRIP ONE to my new pals at DR, who apologized profusely, said the Chase Weasel had "misspoke" and that ti was "not the policy of Chase to lie to our customers." She promised to close my account, refund the service fees and charges and, in general, make it all well.
Fast forward to the end of January, when Chase starts calling me about 5-8 times a day, from 7:30AM to 8:30 PM. I call Chase, who tells me — surprise! — my account not only is not closed, but it accruing penalties and service fees like crazy. I ask for a human being's name and start to expain and — surprise surprise!! — no name but an instant transfer to Dispute Resolution.
On TRIP TWO to DR, they once again apologize profusely for the "ignorance" of the people calling me; promise to refund all service fees, penalties, etc.; promise to close my account once and for all and fax me "within the hour" a statement for me to notarize that no one is authorized to debit my alledgedly now-closed account.
What about the Chase weasels calling me six and seven times a day? "There's nothng we can do about that," DR tells me. "Tell them you're talkig to DR and give them a claim number and they may stop." Tell them to stop, I say. It's harrassment. "We can't," DR replies. "We have no way of knowing who is calling you."
ROUND THREE...the weasels keep calling, telling me they're now prepared to ruin my credit, keep piling on the penalties and, I swear to God, CLOSE MY ACCOUNT if I don't pony up more money. I call yet again, and am told once (actually thrice) again that I can't close my account, there's nothing anyone at Chase can do to help me and that they will keep calling forever and ever...and so on and so on until I mention I have spoken to dispute Resolution...and I am summarily transfered to DR after the "Chase Customer Service Representative" refuses to give me her name, an employee number or the name of her supervisor.
DR once again apologies. I offer to pay the penalties if that will make all this nonsense end, and DR says absolutely not — "Mr. Bane, you have done everything right and this is Chase's fault. You shouldn't have to pay anything."
However — and it's a big however — maybe it would be better if I went to my branch, the downtown branch in Boulder, CO, and make sure the account was closed. And they didn't fax me any papers to sign because the amounts were so small i didn't need to sign any papers. "Don't worry, Mr. Bane," DR said. "You account is closed and no one can debit from it."
Before I could get to Boulder, I get a threatening letter in addition to my endless phone calls, which were continuing at the rate of 5-6 a day, to my home number (which I never gave them) and my business number. So I drop everything and head to Boulder, where I meet the first nice person I've talked to at Chase, Crystal Wiley, who is an officer in commercial banking, who proceeds to tell me that everything DR told me is a lie.
"Your account is still open,'Ms. Wiley says, because it can't be closed unless you have a zero balance. You don't have a zero balance."
I go through the whole song and dance, and she says nothing Chase can do. So I pony up $52 and change, which she assures me DR will refund via a check, because if they refund me the money to my account, it automatically opens my account...got that? "It's almost over," she says, "and I couldn't be more sorry flr your ordeal."
I will call you Wednesday morning, Ms. Wiley says, and make sure it's OFFICIALLY OVER.
Wednesday morning comes and goes.
Finally, at end of business day on Wednesday, I call for Ms.Wiley and get transfered to one Gayle Vaseman, an alledged customer service representative. Ms. Vaseman, who works out of the Boulder Downtown branch of Chase, is every bit as brusque — and rude — as the other Chase Weasels. A debit has come in, she says. I say DR has assured me that the account is closed and no one can debit it. Ms. Vaseman says she doesn't know anything about that, but in any case there's nothing she can do. I say any attempted debit is fraud. She says I'll have to take that up with my friends at DR. I start to explain, and she interrupts to say there is NOTHING she can do, so what do I want?
I say I want to speak to Ms.Wiley. After my 3rd request, she puts Ms. Wiley on the phone, who immediately begins appologizing for Ms. Vaseman's rudeness. She assures me that Ms. Vaseman is on the case and will, without fail, call me on Thursday to say whether the small debit has "posted" or not.
I say Im confused, as DR has assured me thatmy accountis closed and that NOTHING can debit from it. She says, well, I'm not sure, but if it "pists" and we pay it, you have to pay us, even though you insist it is an unauthorized debit and criminal fraud, because that;s the way it is. But I shold not worry, as Ms. Vaseman is an expert and good for her word.
Then Ms. Wiley leaves for vacation.
But as she is hanging up, I hear Ms. Vaseman, the expert and honest person, announce loudly thagt, "Boy I'm llooking forward to dealing with this one!"
Thursday, and the honest Ms. Vaseman doesn't call. In fact, I can't reach her in any way, and the honest Ms. Vasemen doesn't bother to return my call by end of business day Thursday. I have yet another call into my pals at DR. My account is still open. Chase is still charging me service fees and penalties.
EVERY WORD SPOKEN TO ME BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF CHASE BANK HAS BEEN A LIE.
I HAVE BEEN ROUTINELY TREATED BY THE "CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVES" OF CHASE BANK LIKE DOG CRAP ON THE BOTTOM OF THEIR SHOES...SCRAPE IT OFF AND HOPE THE SMELL GOES AWAY.
I strongly urge everyone to forward this post to anyone in the banking community. If anyone has a direct phone number or email address for ANYONE at Chase, please forward it to me...I have worked as an investigative reporter and am an expert on the Internet, but the people at Chase, who refuse to give their names unless you demand it to their faces, keep their contact information VERY secret...gee, I wonder why!