Arlene got behind on her mortgage payments and had been trying for 6 months to contact her lender, Washington Mutual, to see if they could work out a deal. All she found was disconnections, non-returned phone calls, contradictory information, and no answers. After reading my article in Reader’s Digest about ways to get customer satisfaction she sent me an email. She was ready to try the “town crier” method, where you stand outside the business passing out copies of your complaint letter, but we gave her some executive contact info to try first before wasting any money at Kinko’s. Arlene says that thanks to the phone numbers we gave her, “They are going to suspend the foreclosure for 60 days and work with me on the payments for a set period of time which is all I ever wanted them to do.” Once again, the almighty power of executive customer service has been revealed. Arlene’s original email, inside…
Dear Mr. Popken,
I recently read with great interest your article entitled Satisfaction Guaranteed in the recent May edition of the reader’s Digest.
Since November I have been living a nightmare in trying to contact someone in a position of authority at the Washington Mutual Bank in regard to my mortgage, to no avail. Apparently you can go into any of their branches and fill out paperwork to get a mortgage but if you run into a problem you are just out of luck.
Over the past six months I have been disconnected more times than I can count while navigating their 866 “customer service” number. No one in their company has the presence of character to sign a name to any form letter correspondence never mind give a direct phone number to personally speak to. I have written letters to the members of their Board of Directors without any response. I have contacted officials, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen whose attempt to contact the bank on my behalf have also gone ignored. Correspondence I have received from Washington Mutual is sporadic and schizophrenic at best.
I received a request to inform them of any hardship I may be experiencing and promptly replied with an explanation and a proposal that would benefit us both only to receive a denial of my request (in a timeframe too short for them to have properly reviewed it) one day and literally another letter the next day asking for additional information because they want to work with me.
After six months, I recently received a phone message with a first name and extension to call. Upon calling the number (you STILL have to navigate the 866 “customer service” AND the probability of being disconnected is high) I reached an answering machine with a message that says you can ONLY leave one message and you will receive a call back within 24 hours…not so. I have found myself going back and forth waiting for a reply call to actually talk to a human only to receive another denial of the proposal I resent. This latest letter (received today, Friday) was dated BEFORE the recent phone call.
After finally getting through the “customer service” for Wa PU I spoke to a loan person who basically told me my file was closed in Feb. and everything I had sent after that was for nothing and oh by the way they are selling my house in June……. I guess that was supposed to be a surprise…..
I understand that Washington Mutual is on very shaky financial ground (AND SO IT SHOULD BE!) and it is my hope they receive NO outside financial support because their business practices are DEPLORABLE.
…I truly appreciate your help. I am at my wits end, it has been a VERY stressful six months…If it was just me to worry about it would be one thing but I do have three children who will also be affected.
If bombarding their board members has no results, I may type up my complaint and stand outside one of their busiest branch offices and bring my plight to their entering customers. How can they not want to work with people to find a solution?
Thank you for your article and some direction.
Here’s the contact info we gave her:
Executive Response Team
Customer Relations Manager
Washington Mutual Bank
(800) 225-5497 Opt. 1 Ext. 467
Fax (206) 965-3082
There’s also (206) 377-8196, (206) 461-2000, (206) 461-6414, or (206) 461-8779. Try asking for Ms Cindy Modica, VP of Quality Service Management.
Also check out this post for additional tips for dealing with executive customer service: http://consumerist.com/consumer/howto/be-a-customer-service-ninja-177811.php