Circular reasoning

WaMu denies returning a valid check that they returned.  What?  Yea, read on.

Kelly writes:

“I am currently dealing with a Washington Mutual customer service nightmare. Since I have an account with their bank, I naturally pay all my bills through snail-mail so that I can receive all the cleared checks and have hard-copies on file. So on August 24 2008 I sat down and wrote a bunch of checks out to my creditors. On September 14 I received a statement from one of my creditors (one that I almost had at 0 balance) with new charges on it for returned check fees (due to a frozen account) and late fee charges. I immediately called the creditor and disputed the charges because my account was never frozen and all the other checks I wrote on that particular day cleared. Since my creditor was adamant about the returned check I called Washington Mutual who assured me that this particular check was never submitted to them therefore was never returned to the creditor, so I called the creditor again. I went back and forth between my creditor and Washington Mutual for about 3 to 4 hours this particular day (which was very stressful due to the fact that I have two young children at home who constantly need my attention). After hours on the phone with both companies I am convinced that my creditor is wrong. Washington mutual is denying ever receiving this particular check and certainly would of never returned it because my account is in good standing.
So here I am ready to do battle with my creditor. On the day of September 24, 2008, I request the creditor send me proof of a returned check (some kind of hard evidence i.e. copy of check). On September 19, 2008 I receive a letter from my creditor stating the facts of what they already told me. Since Washington Mutual is denying what the creditor is stating, and my bank statements don’t show any charges for a return check, I am inclined to believe my bank is being truthful.
Another payment is due to my creditor on October 3, 2008 which include the unsubstantiated charges (in my mind, due to the creditors grave error). So I call the creditor and tell them that I am paying the original 16 dollars to bring the account to 0 balance, because I am not responsible for the unsubstantiated charges. I had recently again asked for proof back on September 25 2008 (because a letter from my creditor wasn’t concrete proof), and they had so far not produced proof so they were obviously in the wrong. So I make my last payment of 16 dollars and wait for proof from my creditor.
On October 10, 2008 I receive another letter from my creditor reiterating what they say happened, but still no real proof. On October 14, 2008 I receive a statement from my creditors with new charges (late fee charges) because I did not pay what they say was the minimum amount. Now I am really fired up, because I now owe 94 dollars on an account that should be 0 balance. So I am getting prepared to do battle, I have written a letter to my creditor, which I still request proof, I have copies of bank statements confirming the dates they say the account was frozen showing activity. I am really on a role prepared to go to court over this matter. Just then my husband says lets call Washington Mutual and have them provide proof that they never received the check in question. So we are on the phone with the bank, they are still telling us that they never received the check in question and certainly would never return it. When asked if we could get proof we were informed that they just don’t do that. So my husband asked to speak to the employee’s superior and when he was speaking with the superior they discovered that they may have returned the check in question but couldn’t remember the details because it was so long ago (a month) and they don’t keep records that far back. The bank never notified me of a returned check (they actually even denied it) there are no charges on my bank statements for a returned check, my account has money in it and has never been frozen. So when we start to realize the bank may be at fault and not my creditor, my husband ask the customer service rep what they intend to do to make amends, she pretty much told them nothing, it wasn’t the banks problem. Of course my husband became angry and the phone call ended (due to poor word choices on my husbands part).
After this phone call to Washington Mutual Customer Service Line, I decided to call the bank branch that I had originally opened the account at. The person I spoke with couldn’t find submission of the check in question or evidence of any item being returned. She said she would have to research it and get back to me in 48 hours. Meanwhile I know owe my creditor 94 dollars on an account that should be 0 balance. All this time Washington Mutual may be (probably is) at fault and they so far have told us it is not their problem. What do I do now? Is it wrong to ask Washington Mutual to pay the balance? After all it is their mistake that created the balance. HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks, Kelly”

WaMu’s subprime credit cards

A Business Week article reports that more than 45% of WaMu’s credit card debt is subprime. Just another data point on why they failed.

Small consolation

From the small consolation department: WaMu customers can now use Chase ATMs for free. (article)

WaMu & predatory lending

Carole writes:

“I have had a terrible experience with WAMU – September 2007 my husband became unexpectedly and totally disabled and we lost his income overnight. We had, as most Americans do, credit card debt. We had a WAMU credit card along with several other cards, gas card, store cards, Wells Fargo etc. We did not want to file for bankruptcy we wanted to pay what we owed but we needed our interest rate reduced and a repayment schedule we could live with. We decided the best course for us was a non-profit credit counseling service. All of our creditors were very cooperative and understood our situation EXCEPT WAMU. WAMU would not work with the non-profit group, they would not work with me, they increased our interest rate to 33% and started tacking on late fees and over the limit fees. I contacted them on numerous occasions to try and work something out, the President of the Non-Profit Counselingng Service tried to talk to them and they would not work with them either. All of this has been documented. I had even written to my Congressman about WAMU. I have been paying our other creditors on time every month since December 2007 with no problems and our balances have been going down and the creditors are getting their money. WAMU has done nothing except added more & more charges to this account. Now, I don’t know who to pay and what, I have not received a bill since August.”

Was WaMu siezed too quickly?

Was WaMu siezed too quickly? Senator calls for investigation. (article)

Radio WAMU

How odd that Washington DC’s NPR station is called WAMU (link)

Wamued, the story

Wamued, The Story is a great read and a must see resource if you are a burned WaMu shareholder. (link)

Disputing a charge = cancelled card

Matthew writes:

“On October 6, 2008, I called the WaMu 800 number to speak to a representative about how to dispute a charge which appeared on my account as “Debit without PIN” from an organization in Denver Colorado whom I’ve never done business with in person or online.
After fumbling through their menu system which gives no clear way to speak to a representative for disputing charges (I had to go to the department that handles lost or stolen cards just to get to a live person) and also doesn’t offer a “zero out” ability to just speak to a live person to get to the right department, I finally reached a message that asked if I wanted to take part in a survey after my call was done…of course I selected this option to rate their phone system functionality as substandard.

Finally routed (after 15min and multiple attempts) to the disputed charge claims department (after being told I could have the direct number in case of being disconnected but then being told the number was not releasable) I spoke with Helene and proceeded to tell her that I wanted to dispute a charge on my account for the $50.00 in question. While on the phone with her, the automated survey called me and left a voicemail thereby preventing me from engaging in their survey.

In my conversation with Helene, I explained that I did not do business with this company and wanted to dispute the charge. She then told me that to dispute the charge a new card would have to be sent to me and the existing card would be cancelled. Since I have a business trip in the upcoming week, I asked her if I could postpone the claim until afterwards so that I had the card available for the trip, then then proceeded to tell me that because of my just telling her that I wanted to dispute the charge, she went ahead and cancelled the card because “that’s their policy”. Without any pre-recorded message/warning, nor any verbal warning from her in advance, my card was just cancelled without my indicating I wished to do so. I was told that it was “their policy” when I indicated I had to dispute a charge with Bank of America several years ago and they did not cancel my card as a result of dispute resolution.

This is an unacceptable business practice for banking entity to hold their clients and their client’s money hostage in this manner without warning.


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