Chase Manhattan Bank Complaint - How Hard Will They Really Try To Scam Someone?
I've been a Chase customer for 22 years. It's been a long road, mostly downhill unfortunately.
I've closed my accounts with Chase twice when they went years without offering competitive products. The first time my branch manager was apologetic that they had nothing competitive to offer me. The second time I left, however, the branch manager spent his time explaining why I should be charged fees even though I'd already tried closing the accounts and the balances had been zero. 45 minutes later he gave in and reversed the fees, but I knew things really had changed for the worse.
In the mean time I'd gotten an offer for a no fee credit card with a 3.99% interest rate on balance transfers "for the life of the balance" and a 2% minimum payment. I transferred a home-improvement and grad school student loan over to this card and paid a balance transfer fee to do this. I've been happily paying this balance on time ever since.
Last week I received a threatening letter telling me Chase was going to increase my monthly payment to 250% of what it had been unless I agreed to let them charge me 7.99% interest instead of the 3.99%. I Googled and found out that Chase spokespeople were referring to me (as a type of customer) publicly as a "deadbeat". Apparently a customer who accepts their offer and pays what's due on time every month is a deadbeat!
This week I realized on the due date that although I’d just been notified, this increase applied to THIS month! I had already paid my "regular" amount due, but not the 250%, so I called Chase to pay the remaining 150%. I called at 4:30 New York time. They told me that after 4pm the payment was late, even though it was still business hours in New York, where Chase is located, and branches were still open. They charged me a $39 late fee!
The reason I'm a "deadbeat" is because the card I signed up for was a scam, but I didn't fall victim to it. "Deadbeat" to Chase means I'm not someone they were stealing from. Fraud is theft, and selling someone something one way when you know it really will work a different way is fraud. Since I read the fine print and I understood what I was agreeing to, I wasn't scammed, so I'm a deadbeat.
The scam is this: they call and offer a great balance transfer so you can move your debt to a great rate on a card that offers purchase rewards. What they don't tell you, but the fine print does, is that if you have any purchase balance you cannot pay it until you’ve paid off all lower-interest balances. By getting you to move other debt over, your former installment loans now need to be paid-in-full before you can touch the purchase balance, which is being charged 18% interest. They collect extortion-rate interest on the purchase balance while you scramble to find another loan to pay off the whole thing and get you out of the mess. Truth is, most cards do exactly the same thing with balance transfer offers.
The difference with Chase is they're trying to have their cake and eat it, too. The deal had to be done legally and had to offer something that seemed useful. So people who read the fine print understood that they couldn't make purchases, etc. without getting into immediate trouble. Most companies would take it on the chin -- you rob some people blind but to keep it all legal you give others what you said you would. But not Chase: having scammed most of the people, in desperation they now want to screw the rest of them.
Online some are saying "people running credit card debts aren't being financially responsible.” Let me clarify: Chase told people to move student loans, car loans, small-business loans, and home-improvement loans over to these low-interest accounts. These are NOT "credit card balances" that customers are carrying. Most were never revolving credit purchases to begin with. Most people would not say that financing a car, a kitchen, or an education is irresponsible. Responsible people figure out what they can afford to pay monthly and live within that.
Chase, by threatening to increase this monthly payment to 250% of what it was, is not punishing people who have broken their agreement -- they've already been kicked off the plan. It's not punishing people who abuse credit cards -- they've already been caught by the hidden fraud in this deal. No, Chase is trying to cause pain to those people who have held up their end of the deal because the one aspect of the original deal that made it legal they do not want to be tied to any longer.
The laughable thing is that the spokespeople claim most customers paid off their balances within 2 years. Of course they did -- those are all the people that got scammed by Chase and had to frantically find some other loan to get them out of the 18% hell Chase put them into by promising a 4% rate.
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