Dirty rotten scoundrels

Amy writes:

“First, I love that you have created a site like this, it’s the perfect place to vent AND serves a warning to people that haven’t yet been sucked in by WaMu’s claims.

I am a 25 year old female that works full time. I opened a credit card a few years ago with Providian. I loved the card, never had any problems, and was earning great rewards. Then Providian was bought out by WaMu. Up goes the limit (not by my request). Up goes the interest rate. Up goes the minimum payment.

Then, about a year ago, I made a payment using the bill pay service that is offered on their web site. I was told by the site that the payment would clear and be on time! Great, right? So I go out of town for the weekend. As I try to pay for my hotel, my credit card is declined. What? So I call WaMu. Well, my payment was one day late. And they lowered my limit to $1.00 above my balance. And charged me a late fee. Which put me over the limit, so I was charged one of those fees as well. And it was downhill from there.

Now, I’m over the limit (about $300, all in fees) and 46 days past due. And all WaMu can offer me is a 4 month payment plan. For 4 months they will automatically deduct $230 (that I don’t have, as I have lost my second job due to the decline of the economy) and the interest rate will be lowered to 14%. After the 4 months is over my interest rate will return to what it is now (I actually have no idea) and I will not be able to enter in to this type of plan for 12 months. Not an option.

I bet you’re wondering how I don’t know my interest rate. Well, there is no way to find out what you rate is on the website. I recently moved and changed my address through the site. Somehow, all my mail from WaMu (and WaMu only) is being returned even though I have verified my address over the phone twice. And everytime I ask over the phone what my rate is I get the run around… “Oh, I’m on the wrong screen, let’s just finish up what we’re doing here and I’ll pull it up.” They never seem to finish what they’re doing on that screen…

Back to the 4 month payment plan. I called once and was told they did offer long term payment plans but Icouldn’t commit to a dollar amount for a payment that day, so I called back 2 business days later. Then I was told that they don’t offer any kind of long term payment plan and was offered the 4 month plan. I was unwilling to commit to this, so I told Maria that I would consult with my financial advisor (aka my Dad! haha…) and call back. She said, “Well Miss Amy, I just want to let you know that the offers change every day and if you don’t agree to this today, you may not be able to get this great offer. ??? I told her that this practive seemed a bit shady to me… Well, she cut me off before I could finish my sentence and I ended up hanging up on her shortly after.

This is my problem: I want to pay back the debt that I have created. Washington Mutual does not want to help me do that, so my only other option seems to be just not paying it and paying that extra money on my other credit cards. Let them take me to collections. I can show a judge that I offered to pay money but they were unwilling to allow me to close my account and pay it off. By the way, I did this with my Bank Of America card and the experience was excellent! My account is closed, the payment is $16 lower than my minimum payment was before, and they lowered by APR to 10.25% from 28% without me even asking them to! Has anyone had any luck with WaMu, or should I wait and see if they will take me to court over $5500 on a credit card?

Thanks for reading my story,
Amy S.”

(My response)

Hi Amy,

I am equally shocked and not at all surprised that they would (a) lower your limit to $1 above your balance because you are late, (b) charge you a
late fee, and (c) charge you an over balance fee. I’ll be that somewhere in the find print they give themselves the right to do exactly that.

If you want to know why credit card companies do this, watch this video:


If the billpay thing that started this all is truly their fault, I would continue to call their customer service asking for managers and such and demand
that they accept responsibility for the mess and reverse all the charges. Do you have any printouts or email confirmation that can back your
story up? You could also try talking to their corporate customer satisfaction department; they were initially helpful when I contacted them. You
never know. Try calling their switchboard at (206) 461-2000 to find that department.

Incidentally, when I searched google for “washington mutual customer satisfaction department” my site was the first listing. Got a smile out of that one. 🙂

If that doesn’t work, I would just keep hammering on them for a more workable payment plan; keep asking for someone that has the authority to
do it if the person you are talking to says they don’t.

The danger with just letting them take you to collections is that WaMu will amend your credit report with some nasty information. It takes a long
time for that stuff to get off in my experience.

Good luck!


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