This week, Chase and Bank One merged their on-line systems. Birds shivered with glee. Stroboscopic dew drops danced on kittens claws in exultation. And Bank One customers got jacked like a cheap trick on Colfax Ave.
Read more, oh mein schadenfreudes, after the jump…
- “I have been a Bank One customer of long standing — actually, first an NBD customer, then a First Chicago customer, then a Bank One customer, and now a Chase customer. Remarkably, until now, none of the mergers really caused me any problem. Until now.
A little over a year ago, I started using Quicken. I hooked it up to the Bank One site, and was able to automatically download all of my transactions every time I started Quicken, in one step. I was also able to interface with Bank One’s bill payment service from within Quicken, which was particularly convenient, as it meant that I didn’t have to pay the bill online and then enter the payment into my Quicken register — I could do it all at once. Bank One never charged a penny for any of this.
Cue the merger …
The week that bankone.com merged into chase.com, Quicken stopped downloading my transactions. This was to be expected. However, the fact that a thorough search of the Chase site did not reveal how to fix this was a bit surprising. All I could find was a link to “activate Quicken or Money” for the low, low charge of $9.95 per month. $120 per year? For something that was previously free? I continued to investigate. Some Google searches led me to other customer dissatisfaction, a note that Chase takes the money out of your account for online bill payments earlier than Bank One did, and some online instructions from Chase on how to use Quicken for free … if I wanted to (1) go to Chase’s site, (2) download my transactions individually for each account, and (3) push them through to Quicken, one account at a time. This would not permit any interaction with the online bill payment system. This is also a pain in the ass. Note that in addition to the $120 increase for a service that probably costs them, on the margin, $0, to provide, they work the float even more shamelessly. Obviously, working the float in online bill payments makes banks MILLIONS of dollars. That’s why most banks encourage their customers to use it, and don’t charge their customers for the privilege of giving them some free money. For some accounts, Chase apparently charges for that service even without the use of Quicken. This is extortionate.
So, I called the number on Chase’s instructions. I told them that I had previously been downloading my transactions from within Quicken and using Quicken to access the bill payment service. The response from the outsourced, offshore customer service agent: “Yes, can you tell me ma’am, did you connect by going to the Bank One site, or directly from within Quicken?” Then they gave me a different phone number to call. Repeat three times. Yes, three more times, I told them how I previously used Quicken and that it didn’t work that way anymore, three more times I was asked to tell them EXACTLY what I had just told them, and three more times, I was given another phone number to another outsourced, offshore customer service agent.
At the fourth number, I found someone who told me that I needed to go through the “Activate Quicken or Money link” which requires your electronic signature on an agreement to pay $9.95/month and your choice of which account you want them to take the money out of. Not to worry, I was told. Chase charges its historical customers for this service, but since Bank One customers had never been charged, it would be free for me. Even though I was agreeing online that they could charge me. Their systems should know automatically not to charge me, but she’ll put a permanent record on my account, so that if I should accidentally be charged, I can just call them and they will reverse the charges. Right.
I’ve had my oldest account with them for 14 years. I’m sure that changing banks is a logistical nightmare. But, this charging legacy Chase customers and not charging legacy Bank One customers obviously can’t last. If they charge for this service, I will seriously take my money and run.
-Sharon in Chicago”