The consumer advocate at your local newspaper or TV station is still the best way to get big organizations like Chase to do the right thing. For some reason, negative publicity still bothers them. Take this exchange for example:
Dear Greg: In 2009, Chase Bank sent me an advertisement stating that, with the opening of a new checking account with a minimum $1,000 deposit, they would give me — yes, give me — $100. My first deposit was $1,064 on Dec. 16, 2009. Then the proverbial other shoe: They deducted $25 of the $100 on Dec. 23 for what they called a “Leisure Rewards” program annual fee, plus another $25 under the same charge code. In plain English, they had taken back $50 of the so-called $100 “incentive” to open an account. I figured it was only a matter of time before they deducted the remaining $50 for something else and went smiling into the sunset. I closed the account to a zero balance on March 26, 2010. On Jan. 1, 2011, they billed me for the last $50 of the account — a difficult transaction since the account had been closed for nine months! This did not stop Chase. They simply charged a “negative” balance to my non-existent account. They added $27 for account overdraw, bringing the total to $77. Their collection people have been calling us morning, noon and night.
Dear Donald: It was so much easier when banks gave new customers a toaster! But let me cut to the chase. I donned a pair of oven mitts and handed off your scorching hot letter to my contact at the bank. According to Chase, the deductions from your account were the result of your enrollment in the Leisure Rewards program — even though you say you never heard of the program until you were charged for it. In the interest of moving on, Chase has applied a $77 credit to your account, marked it “closed,” stopped all collection efforts, and confirmed that your credit record has been muddied.
I suspect that they won’t be enrolling people in Leisure Rewards anymore as that program is going away, at least for debit cards, but this is very similar to how they’ve been enrolling customers in overdraft protection without asking for years, until the government made them stop.
As for the rest of it, like billing the closed account for a $50 fee that no-one at Chase is likely to be able to figure out, well that’s just how Chase is, if you’ll believe the 1,000 or so stories we’ve posted here since 2005.