ING Direct Doesn't Care You Never Got Your $1400

Rob writes:

I was the recipient of an international wire transfer into my Netbank Checking Account for $1000 EUR (about $1400 US) on 2007-08-08. After I noticed the amount didn’t post to my account, I contacted Netbank and the sending bank in Spain. The sending bank generated a multi-page “proof of transfer” document and indicated the money had been transfered. Netbank never got back to me. This began the 7 month nightmare of dealing with an inattentive bank in the middle of it’s being seized by the FDIC that continues to this day.

Pictured: CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann perched atop his Harley-Davidson in the ING-Direct company lobby.

Before Netbank was closed by the FDIC, I had contacted them over 10 times via phone and email, and each time I was either told that the matter was being looked into, or my research request had been “accidentally closed”. Each time, the CSR was friendly, but unable to help in anyway other than request me to re-send documentation via fax. The last day Netbank was answering their own phones, the CSR indicated that she had “no idea” what they were going to do with the overwhelming amount of open tickets and complaints because, as far as she knew, most of the people were not going to be working on these problems the next day since they were closing their operations.

Since then, I have been dealing with ING Direct who took over the deposits for Netbank. In order to research my request, apparently the ING CSR’s have to refer the matter to one of several “Netbank research agents”. The friendly ING CSR I spoke to today for 45 minutes indicated that she couldn’t do anything but ask that I re-send all the documentation again since, despite dozens of contacts, requests, and re-faxes of information to various numbers on my part, no agent has left any documentation in my account to indicate they are working on my complaint or even that they have received any of my documentation.

Here’s my request to ING Direct: I simply want someone to get back to me to resolve this matter. I’ve been extremely patient and understanding considering the extenuating circumstances during your acquisition, but there is no excuse for your continued lack of communication and apparent disinterest in resolving this issue. If you value your customers and their money, when you lose some of it, you have to do better than this.

Sincerely,

Rob
Los Angeles, CA

That stinks! Try calling 302-255-3005. This is supposed to be the number for Barb, the secretary to ING Direct CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann. One reader says that after having a horrible time with ING Customer service on a Netbank mortgage issue he found this number and was actually patched right through to the CEO, who was reportedly, “very helpful.”

(Photo: Chris Mueller)

Comments

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  1. wring says:

    is this the same as the Orange ING? cus I’m trying to save money through their service :P

  2. badgeman46 says:

    I guess that picture is homage to Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher, who used to drive his Harley through the lobby.

  3. tange1 says:

    @wring: Yes, same company. Orange is just a name of one of there accounts.

  4. johnva says:

    HelpWithMyBank.gov says that in this situation you should get the sending bank to directly contact the receiving bank. Perhaps they would be more responsive to an inquiry received from the other bank?

  5. nightshade74 says:

    Complain.
    Standard EECB plus
    [banking.delaware.gov]
    [www2.fdic.gov]
    [www.occ.treas.gov]

    If that doesnt fix it… Why not a small
    claims action?

  6. Daniel-Bham says:

    @wring: I’ve been using ING Direct since 2005 and have had no issues. That being said, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of issues for former customers of Netbank who were switched into ING Direct accounts along with some ‘glitches’ in regards to accurate records transfer.

    I have heard no issues of people who deal with ING directly. ING is nice in that I set up a portion of money each week to transfer automatically to savings and it costs me nothing and I gain a lot of interest.

  7. humphrmi says:

    All of the above. Also, have you thought about sending the proof of transfer paperwork to them via regular mail, with delivery receipt required? At least then you’ll stop the cycle of them denying that they received it.

  8. IndyJaws says:

    IANAL (or even close to it, although I do watch Boston Legal), but how doesn’t this constitute wire fraud? I can understand short delays due to paperwork, system/user errors, etc, but after 7 months, it sure seems criminal to me.

  9. SchecterShredder says:

    ING sucks. Keep your money in a shoebox. Screw these “we’re better than you” investment shitholes.

  10. sneakerx says:

    Something similar happened at my credit union where I work in the wire department. Of course, our member didn’t ask where their money was until 6 months after it was supposedly transferred. At that point it gets a little difficult to track down a single wire. It couldn’t have been the European bank’s fault, because “they don’t make mistakes”. It finally showed up a full 8 months later after countless attempts on our part to get them to show proof it was actually sent.

  11. forgottenpassword says:

    I said a big “FUCK YOU” to ING direct when they stopped being competitive with the other high-yield savings account offers from other online banks & started focusing more on mortgages. Also… when they were dumping customers who used their customer service too much. I keep a whopping single dollar in my old ING account just to cost them money managing that account.

    FUCK YOU ING DIRECT! When you started out… you were fantastic, but you turned to shit when others wanted to compete! Shame on you!

  12. johnva says:

    @forgottenpassword: Yeah, they no longer are very competitive as far as interest rates. Stories like this sort of undermine the whole “but I stay with them for the great customer service” thing I always hear about ING. Of course, that’s probably unfair considering that it seems this problem was mainly caused by Netbank rather than ING.

    You can do better than their online savings account, though with the current lower interest rates there is less of a big difference in lost interest between different banks.

  13. forgottenpassword says:

    @forgottenpassword:

    Ps…. I am glad I screwed you multiple times by signing up my friends & family members and then closed those accounts just to get the $25 bonus referrals! You deserved it!

  14. redhelix says:

    Rule of thumb: When your bank goes belly-up or gets bought out by another bank, don’t just sit there and hail your new financial overlords. Pull your money out, for the love of god.

    I’m from Massachusetts, and the bigwig bank everyone has here has changed multiple times. We’ve gone from Baybank to BankBoston to Fleet to Bank of America, and none of the transitions have gone smoothly. Not really sure what your expectations are.

  15. forgottenpassword says:

    @redhelix:

    Yes, I completely agree! When a local bank [boatman's bank] (where my accounts were) was bought out/taken over by Bank of america (I think that’s the bank … I could be wrong though) & started charging fees on my previously fee-free accounts…. I got pissed & withdrew everything & closed all my accounts & moved to a competitor who offered fee-free accounts. Apparrently most of the other customers were doing this as well because it made the local news BIG time! When I went to close my account the teller was rude & pissed off from having to deal with angry customers all day closing their accounts. And when I went to my new bank (commerce bank [the midwest chain])they KNEW that I was from the old bank because they were getting new accounts like crazy from all those former customers. It was wild!

  16. B says:

    @redhelix: Switching banks wouldn’t have helped the OP, because the problem started when he was still with NetBank.

  17. DoctorMD says:

    They need to use the current exchange rate don’t they. Cuz they don’t exchange it until they put it into your account, right?

  18. jtheletter says:

    Don’t forget to add 7 months unearned interest to your civil suit. Be sure to choose the highest APY option that was available during that time, before rates dropped. You were *going* to put it in their highest yielding CD but alas, they never transferred in the money…..

  19. NoWin says:

    @nightshade74: Yup!

    The state banking commissioner is a good place to start, but as ING is a national bank, you may be required to contact the fed oversight for this.

    “Proof of transfer” doesn’t mean “proof of transfer to his account”, but “transfer to that bank”, and if his account was not “exactly” correct on the wire, it goes to a “non-post” account at the incoming bank.

    My guess is that something on the incoming wire did not match exactly with his account, i.e. 123456789 vs 00123456789

    Hopefully the OPs name is not on the Fed watch list for the Bank Secrecy Act, or other monitoring concerns…

    And I agree with some of the others, when you learn a bank that you maintain an account at may get bought, start looking for a local institution to use, asap.

  20. topgun says:

    @jtheletter:
    Excellent point about getting the interest. I’m sure he will get nothing for the grief, but the interest is definitely something he should get. A few years ago I had an ING online account. I too switched when they weren’t competitive. When I signed up I was told I would get $25 deposited in my account after 3 months for joining. A couple of CSR’s told me it was posted for deposit but it never happened. I still have 1 cent in the account that I will leave just for the aggravation it causes them. I switched to Emigrant and have been more than satisfied with the service, interest rates and simplicity.

  21. Geekybiker says:

    If this has been going on for awhile why not consider small claims? You have proof that the money was sent. They’ll either get off their ass and fix it when they get the notice, or you’ll win via judgement.

  22. Radoman says:

    Well @NoWin: this guy obviously knows his stuff. Banking industry perhaps? It appears there could be lots of issues with transffering accounts from an old bank according to this info.

    It’s unfortunate that this went badly. There’s not much incentive for a bank to speed up it’s processes for one customer when they have many screaming at them. Not sure what to do about this one, though the small claims suggestion might get their attention more so than a strongly worded email or phone call.

    I feel sorry for the folks in the thread who were with banks taken over by Bank of America. My advice: get out now.

    As far as being competitive goes, as of this posting, the Emigrant Direct Savings Account pays 3.6% while the ING Direct Savings Account pays 3.4%. That sounds pretty competitive.

    There’s a reason that ING can afford to pay less. ING is a huge multinational bank that’s been around for many years. They’re the bigger bank and that’s a lot of security. Emigrant has to pay more to compete, so they do.

  23. rob_ says:

    Thank you very much. That number got me in touch with Carolyn. When I mentioned that Ben from the consumerist, a popular online consumer website suggested I give you a call, she assured me that the want to resolve the dispute ASAP and directed me to Laura. Laura was very helpful and briefly looked into my situation and apologized on behalf of Netbank and Ing Direct. She said, from looking into it, it looks like the situation has simply gone “round and round” on their end and she will personally look into resolving this with the appropriate people quickly.

    She gave me her direct line and fax number. I’m re-sending the documentation to her as we speak. She indicated that she will be calling me on Monday with either a resolution or more information so that I can have the confidence that this will be resolved.

    Thank you very much for the contact information and letting me drop your name. It seems to have gotten the ball rolling and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on any updates.

    Thank you consumerist!

    Rob

    P.S. As many people have noted, this is really a Netbank issue that ING has inherited. It doesn’t excuse the delay, but it does help to explain it. I’m hopeful for a resolution now.

  24. johnva says:

    @Radoman: “Security”? As long as you’re in an FDIC-insured account and under the limit, the size of the bank shouldn’t matter much. You’ll get your money if the bank fails. The real reason ING pays less is simply marketing. More people know about them, so they don’t have to pay as good an interest rate to attract deposits.

  25. Michael Belisle says:

    That sucks, but shit happens when a bank fails. The Netbank CSRs were probably too busy shredding the evidence to get back to him.

    Prepare for battle.

  26. Michael Belisle says:

    Although it seems Rob chose the worst possible time to transfer money into his Netbank account:

    NetBank delisted from NASDAQ
    08 Aug 2007
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – According to a regulatory filing, NetBank Inc., the former parent of NetBank Payment Systems, has been pulled from trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market. On Aug. 3, NetBank received a notice of delisting. NASDAQ suspended trading of the NetBank’s common stock on Aug. 7. [www.atmmarketplace.com]

  27. firefoxx66 says:

    Just as a note, “$1000 EUR (about $1400 US)” doesn’t make any sense. Either it’s $1000 worth of Euros (in which case it can’t also be $1400), or it’s €1000. The $ sign does not mean ‘money’ – it means ‘dollars’. Please either use the right symbol or leave the symbol off completely and just write ’1000 euros’.

    Just a pet peeve.

  28. goodkitty says:

    +1 on a lawsuit. They will immediately fix it then. That is too much money to leave on the table for someone to play the “I’ll get back to you” game. Sue them, and get damages, your time, and interest. I bet it takes them all of 20 minutes to magically “find” your money then.

  29. codexile says:

    FWIW, I’ve had nothing but awesome Customer Service experiences dealing with ING.

    In fact, I’ve consistently felt as though I was dealing with real people who cared about my problems.

    Sorry to hear about your trouble, though!

  30. NYBanker says:

    I have always enjoyed dealing with ING CSRs. They have always been knowledgeable, helpful, and polite. ING also has a “plain english” Privacy Policy that is the best (and funniest) that I’ve ever seen. My guess is that your issue will be resolved quickly.

  31. SexCpotatoes says:

    @firefoxx66: I think “euros” = “Euro Dollars” dude.

  32. firefoxx66 says:

    @SexCpotatoes: There’s no such thing as a ‘Euro Dollar’, dude. Euros are euros, just like pounds are pounds, and yen are yen. (And dollars are dollars.)