Chase Manhattan Bank Complaint - Chase does not protect their customers from fraud
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- My husband and I have become the victim of fraud on our checking account. Chase, not only won't return our money, they are demanding payment of $400 in overdrawn funds. I apologize for the length of this report but felt the length is necessary to adequately explain our situation.
We opened an account with Washington Mutual over a year ago with $110. We then received $100 "bonus" for opening the account. Since that time there has been $210 in the account and we have NEVER used this account. The ATM cards sit in our desk drawer. As most everyone knows, Washington Mutual was bought by Chase. If my husband and I are guilty of anything, it's that we don't closely monitor this account because we never use it. We've been meaning to close it but just hadn't gotten around to it.
We then moved on May 1st. Through all of the chaos with moving and getting our mail forwarded several weeks went by before we opened any of our mail. All of our important bills are on automatic payment. On May 25th we opened our mail to find a letter stating that a hold had been placed on a recent deposit in the amount of $1500.56 on April 27th. This sent the alarm bells off immediately since we have never used this account. We then found our bank statement and found that there had been multiple deposits and withdrawals. Our initial thought was that our account had gotten crossed with someone else because of the deposits. We also found our ATM cards right away.
My husband immediately called Chase to find out what was going on. The representative on the phone was completely rude and actually told us, "How do I know you didn't do this?". He could not help us and told us to go into our local branch.
My husband went to the local branch the next day. It took two people to finally figure out what was going on, but it did in fact appear that someone was fraudulently using our account. Chase had switched from Mastercard to Visa and had mailed new cards on April 20th --- WE NEVER RECEIVED THESE CARDS. Now, we have a locked mailbox --- how someone got a hold of our cards and pin numbers I will never know. There was an initial withdrawal of $200, multiple balance inquiries (a tell-tale sign of fraud), multiple deposits, and withdrawals. We were able to obtain copies of all of the deposits --- all of the checks were clearly stolen and our signatures were forged for endorsement.
My husband filled out all of the paperwork to file a claim and was told that I would need to return to the bank to sign the paperwork as well as both of our cards were used. I went into the bank of June 5th and completed the remaining paperwork. At this time we also asked to see the ATM videos --- she told us that it was not us on the video (duh, I could have told her that) but they were not allowed to show us the videos unless we have filed a police report. We were assured that we had done everything we needed to do and that our money would be returned to us.
Later that we week we began to receive multiple letters from Chase. They had approved some of the claims but not all of them (each transaction required a separate claim). We received three cashiers’ checks, in the amounts of $14, $36, and $6. We then called the person at the local branch for an explanation. She contacted the fraud department for us. When she got back to us she explained that she couldn't get an exact answer as to why our claims were denied but she thought that the fraud department believed we had given our cards/pins to someone else. So here we are again, back to square one, still with no money! She then told us that there was nothing more that she could do and that we would need to contact the fraud department directly.
We then contacted the fraud department and asked to speak to a supervisor. We explained the entire situation to the supervisor and after a lot of pressure he finally agreed to review the case again. However, his attitude was nothing but appalling. He treated us like criminals! I nicely explained that we at least deserved an explanation as to why the claims were denied --- particularly because they had approved 3 of the transactions but none of the others. Clearly, if Chase believes our account was fraudulently used for three transactions they must believe all of the transactions were fraud. He then told me that I was wrong, and that Chase had denied all of the claims. I have the letter right in front of me and read it to him - "Our research indicates that the transaction was processed incorrectly or was not authorized" and I have a cashiers' check in my hand! He still insisted that I was wrong and that Chase had denied all claims and they would want that money back. Are you serious? Have I gone absolutely insane ?!?
The only answer he would give me as to the reason for denial was that research revealed that the transactions were processed correctly and that it was within Chase's policies and procedures. I asked for a copy of the policies and procedures. I was told that Chase does not share its policies and procedures with customers. Again, are you serious? What kind of company doesn't share its policies and procedures with customers? I was told that if I wanted to see a copy of the investigation I would have to subpoena the documents.
So here we are, six weeks later, and we can't get our money back. So at this point I'm ready to give up. We really only lost $200 and it's probably not worth my time to fight it anymore. BUT then, just when I thought this situation couldn't get any worse, the saga continues. The collections department is now calling me and my husband daily and they want the $400 in overdrawn funds on the account. If we do not pay, we will be reported to the ChexSystems --- this will impact our credit rating and our ability to establish an account with other financial institutions. This is absolutely ludicrous. We have done nothing wrong. I am NOT going to let this go and feel it is my duty to fight this unfair practice for myself and fellow consumers. We have since filed a police report for the initial fraud. I will also be reporting Chase to the Attorney General, the California Department of Financial Institutions, and will also file a small claims suit against them.
Two of my family members and one of my co-workers have already closed their Chase account since hearing about our ordeal. I warn all fellow consumers that Chase can't be trusted and your money IS NOT SAFE!
Stay tuned as this story unfolds....
Update: 8/1/10; Chase has responded to complaints through the Office of the Comptroller and BBB. They have again denied our claim, stating that we had to given our PIN to someone else. I have contacted several news agencies.