WaMu, Chase, And The Case Of The Missing Deposits

Dan’s fiancée mailed a deposit envelope containing $1,150 in checks to her bank, WaMu. Someone lost the checks, but nobody will take the blame, and they simply give her the run-around.

My fiance’ is dealing with a frustrating issue where she mailed 4 checks for deposit totaling $1,150 to WaMU three weeks ago. She used an envelope for deposits supplied by WaMU with a pre-printed address. The checks have been lost in space and after four calls to Chase customer service and three weeks passing, still no sign of the $1,150.

They keep telling her the checks were mailed to the wrong address b/c WaMU is now Chase, but the checks would be returned to sender by now or forwarded to the correct address. Each call, they tell her to wait 5 days and keep checking the account, if they don’t post to the account, call back. When she calls back, they can’t find any of the previous information given on her case and she has to hold for 10-15 min. In this economy or anytime, that’s alot of money to lose without explanation. Very frustrating. Any advice? Any other reports of this issue?

Has anyone else had a similar problem? This kind of run-around is ridiculous. Call Chase Bank‘s executive customer service.

(Photo: jmchuff)

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  1. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    Wouldn’t this be a USPS issue, not Chase or WaMu?

    One thought: The postage rate changed recently, did she put the right postage on the letter?

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I hope she gets her money back.

    I’ve never deposited checks by mail so can someone tell me why one would mail checks in a deposit envelope? Is it in case a branch of your bank is not physically near you? I’ve never lived away from a branch of my bank so I don’t know. Is there any other method?

    • rdm says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I was wondering this same thing. I didn’t know you could mail checks to the bank for deposit.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        @rdm: My cousin in Georgia does all her banking by sending the checks in or direct deposit. Local banks wanted social security cards and all sorts of ID’s in order for her and her husband to open one up in person, and she couldn’t because of her husband’s missing SS card. She uses Bank of America which is right over the South Carolina border, about an hour away from her. She doesn’t have a local branch.

        She said there is about a 3-4 day turn around before they show up in her account.

      • RandomHookup says:

        @rdm: It’s just like paying a bill. I used to do it all the time when I had an account out-of-town or was traveling all the time.

    • bibliophibian says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I use USAA, as do nearly a million other servicemembers, former servicemembers, or family members of same, all around the world. They have one location: San Antonio, Texas.

      Their outstanding service is well worth the occasional inconvenience of having to mail a check or two. I’ve never had a mail deposit go missing, and it’s usually in their system within 48 hours. Several times it’s been available within 24 hours, and I think only once it took 72 (that was a check for $10K+ so I was sweating until that one showed up. I sent it return-receipt requested and so forth, but still, that was nerve-wracking).

      They do have a service now called Deposit @ Home where, if you have a loan or credit card account with them (I don’t), you can scan your checks from home and process a deposit without ever leaving your living room. (Or Kinko’s or whatever, I suppose.) I’d probably go ahead and open a line of credit with them for the convenience if I ever had to deposit more than two or three checks a year.

      • Starphantom12 says:

        @bibliophibian: USAA also has an option (is it available to all members?) where you can scan your check, send the image to them through the website, and boom… money is in your account. You then shred the original check and go on with your day.

        I love USAA.

        • veg-o-matic says:

          @Starphantom12: Although I’ve never used it, my credit union (Digital FCU) also has this option – cleverly called “PC deposit.”

          Kinda makes me wish I still had a scanner, since I don’t think jankety Macbook Photo Booth pictures of a check will suffice.

          • Starphantom12 says:

            @veg-o-matic: Yes, I suspect they want a good quality scan… if only to keep people from going around taking phone photos of everyone’s checks and caching them via text message. o_o

            Wonderfully convenient though. I only have to deal with checks once every couple of years, so it works out great.

        • joshua70448 says:

          @Starphantom12: That’s the Deposit@Home service that bibliophibian was talking about. And yes, it’s available to all members that have a USAA credit card or loan, or who are pre-qualified for one. One note, though: I was told by a phone rep that it’s a good idea to save the checks (unvoided) for a few days to make sure they clear before destroying them.

          • bibliophibian says:

            @joshua70448: Thanks; I was freaking out for a moment, wondering if I had only imagined putting that link in there. (On re-reading my post, I guess it might have sounded as if I were saying that people could scan their payments-by-check for USAA loans and credit cards, if s/he only skimmed the first part of that paragraph.)

      • Sys Admn says:

        @bibliophibian:
        ++On USAA. They’ve got great customer service, and they’re really, really good at handling things over the phone on both the bank and insurance sides. My Navy brother joked the only place he couldn’t reach them was on a sub; he had email access when he transferred to carriers.

    • AldisCabango says:

      I’ve been using State Farm bank for 5 years now with no problem mailing in my deposit. When it’s an unusually large check and I need the deposit in the next day, I use Fedex which State Farm provides a free label..

      My pay check is direct deposit and best of all. State farm has zero ATM fee and they refund you the fee’s charged by other banks.

    • kc2idf says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I bank by mail because of the one downside to my credit union: their hours. I opened my accounts by mail, took out loans by mail, have my salary direct deposited, get cash from an ATM, and only visit them in person when I have taken a day off for one reason or another.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: My credit union has only a handful of branches and other credit unions that would accept my deposit aren’t always convenient, so when I need to, I mail it.

      And they get credited fast.

    • OprahBabb says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I was wondering the same thing. After reach each successive answer, I now have a total picture. :-) Thanks!

    • kev313 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I signed up with a credit union north of Denver a few years ago – when I moved to south Denver, the closest branch was almost an hour away, but it was easier to keep my accounts there since direct deposit was all set up and everything and I rarely need to do anything in person. On the occasions where I have received a random paper check for something, I usually just mail it in with For Deposit Only and my account number under the signature – never had any trouble.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: You can mail checks to Capital One for online banking, too, which I’ve done on occasion — notably to open the account. Now we just do transfers from our credit union (C One has a high-yield money market we like; our CU doesn’t match), but you can mail to deposit. They send nifty envelopes. As does our Fidelity investment account, although they made transfers somewhat easier so I don’t think we’ve mailed any to Fidelity.

    • risottto says:

      @pecan 3.14159265:

      I refuse to deposit anything without getting a receipt in hand before walking out. I don’t really trust the USPS or ATM deposits.

    • mon0zuki says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I would have wondered this too before I met a friend of mine who has an account with Mechanics Bank (I think that’s the one). They have -no- locations in our area, so if he wants to make deposits, he HAS to fill out a deposit form and send it in.

      One could argue he should open a new bank account, but his entire family’s finances are in that bank, and he’s been with them for a long while (with good service). Not to mention that juggling another bank account for a college student is, to our inexperienced minds, quite a hassle. (:

  3. Jeff Hanna says:

    While I would never mail checks without a return receipt or other form of tracking I can’t really condemn someone else for doing it. If WaMu provides deposit envelopes with their address printed on them they are encouraging people to mail in deposits.

    Can the poster’s fiance just contact the four people who drafted the checks and ask them to cut new ones? To me that would seem a quicker solution than trying to deal with customer support at some mega-bank.

    • krunk4ever says:

      @Jeff Hanna: Even then, we’re talking about over $1000 here. Even with things that are $100+, I would definitely add tracking if not insurance.

      Even Delivery Confirmation is only $0.35 extra.

      • RandomHookup says:

        @krunk4ever: For Delivery Confirmation, the envelope needs to be 3/4 of an inch thick, so you’d have to bulk the standard check up quite a bit. I don’t think insurance would do much, since you can always get the issuer to re-issue the check.

        Delivery Confirmation now costs 70 cents (unless you do electronic labels and then it’s only 19 cents).

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Jeff Hanna: Good idea on the getting new checks, but that could cost her a lot. She’d have to cover the stop payment fee ($20.00 per check) and the bounced check fee if the originals show up at the bank at a later date ($35.00 per, usually). That’s $220 (potentially) to get her money.

      • bibliophibian says:

        @Coles_Law: Every time I’ve had to put a stop-payment on a check, if there’s a valid reason for it (such as this), the banks (different banks and credit unions in various parts of the country) have waived the fees. Generally if there’s a legitimate reason for the stop-payment, and not just “I don’t want to pay that bill after all” or “I’m going to be overdrawn if that check hits,” they’ll put the stop-payment on without assessing the fee.

        Not following you on the bounced check fees – if she gets stop-payments put on the checks, the checks will never be processed, and thus will not bounce. What am I missing?

        @krunk4ever: While you can insure a check, I have been told that you cannot expect to collect on the value of the check should it go missing. (I asked about insuring the $10K check I mentioned upthread, and was told that it’d be a waste of time, as the only payment would be for the value of the paper.)

        • schmendrick12 says:

          @bibliophibian: Stop-payments are notoriously unreliable. If the teller at the bank doesn’t do the research, she can process (cash) the check in spite of the stop-payment. Also, stop-payments expire after a certain number of days. If the check turns up after the expiration of the stop-payment, it will get processed, potentially bouncing the check.

        • the_wiggle says:

          @bibliophibian: yes they will. with all the automation now, the stopped checked will get processed for deposit. then bounce due to being stopped. followed by fees all around.

  4. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Who wrote the checks to her? Can’t she call up the original check issuers and ask if they’ve been endorsed and cashed? When I had a bank question whether or not I cashed a check or deposited it, I got a copy of the check and showed them the numbers on the back which indicated it was deposited. Even if you can only get a copy of one check, that’s a clear indication that the checks aren’t “lost in the mail system” and maybe they can follow how these checks were processed by the endorsements on the back.

    If she plans on using this system of sending checks into the bank instead of in person, I would suggest scanning the checks into your computer before sending them. Even for her own personal reference on who wrote the checks and which banks they were using.

    If she doesn’t mind doing her banking over the mail, maybe she should try another internet-style bank that a lot of people on here seem to enjoy. I hear USAA accepts checks by scanning them in? (Please correct me if I’m wrong) and the process would probably be much easier to validate and fix than this. I know I certainly wouldn’t trust Chase after this, $1100 is a lot of money to my house.

    suggestions?

    • krunk4ever says:

      @verucalise: Yah, I’d definitely suggest contacting the people who wrote her the checks. If it hasn’t been cashed/deposited, to put a STOP on it immediately and issue new checks to her.

      From her email, it looks like she’s been waiting at least 2 weeks already, possibly a month.

      • Coles_Law says:

        @krunk4ever: I posted this above, but I’ll add it here too. She’d have to cover the stop payment fee ($20.00 per check) and the bounced check fee if the originals show up at the bank at a later date ($35.00 per, usually). That’s $220 to get her money.

        • stellarceltic says:

          @Coles_Law: You don’t get hit with a NSF or OD fee if the check that gets presented has a stop payment on it.

          At least not at America’s Most Convenient Bank…

  5. GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I understand WaMu is now Chase, but did the building WaMu used to receive checks at disappear? When BofA bought MBNA, they didn’t raze the buildings, they kept them and changed the signage. And let’s not imagine someone at the post office checks to make sure EVERY envelope is addressed to the correct person at each address. I have a rural carrier who can sell you money orders and lets you attach money to an envelope instead of postage, and even HE gives me mail to people who haven’t lived here for 8+ years.

  6. MonkeyMonk says:

    How does she know that Wamu/Chase lost the deposit checks and not the post office? What’s a bank going to do if they have no record of ever receiving the checks? It’s not like they’re just going to take her word for it and put $1,150 into her account.

    I’d recommend asking the original check writer to verify if the checks have been processed, and if not, ask them stop payment on the originals and write you new checks. It’s a pain in the ass but the only sure-fire way of getting your money.

  7. drdom says:

    On occasion, USPS loses a piece of mail. I don’t know if that is the case here or not. What I can tell you is that no bank, Chase, WaMu, or whoever, doesn’t just deliberately neglect to credit funds to a customer’s account.

    The operations of all banks, large and small, are audited on a regular basis. In addition, disappearing deposits, especially if it happens with any frequency, would be noted in internal and regulatory audits, if the issue was reported to the bank, or state or federal regulatory agencies with any frequency.

    I’m not in any way bashing the person who sent in a deposit by mail, and if that has worked for them in the past, that’s great. But with all of the options available today, is bank by mail really your best option?

    I would consider a bank which is more convenient that I could make my deposits face-to-face or at least in a night drop or ATM drop at the bank. There are also lots of ETF and other options. I just don’t think it’s fair to blame the bank unless you can know for sure that they received the deposit.

    Whether the bank provides envelopes or not, they can’t, or at least shouldn’t be be held accountable unless we know for certain they received the envelope. As good a job as USPS does, they occasionally lose things.

    Contact the issuer of the checks and get them re-issued. Not an easy fix. But under the circumstances, not unreasonable either.

  8. ldnyc says:

    It’s far more likely that the USPS lost the checks, not Chase/Wamu. Unless you can confirm the bank actually received the mail you sent them, why would you accuse them? If you have proof of delivery, that makes it cut and dry. If you don’t – it’s just silly to assume they received the envelope and then lost it.

    At this stage, I’m hoping you made a copy of the checks or remember exactly who they were from because you need to contact those people to have a stop-payment put on the checks, given that they are most likely lost in the mail and then you can get the checks replaced.

    Next time you’re mailing a check that’s worth more than $5, spring for Priority Mail the very least (costs less than $5), which gives you a free tracking # and delivery confirmation. For larger deposits, check Chase’s website for the overnight deposit address (it’s rarely the same as the regular mail deposit address) and send them via FedEx.

    • sponica says:

      @ldnyc: just don’t put a prepaid envelope in a priority mailer…you get an ANGRY lecture about mail fraud and why you can’t do that. i’m assuming chase/wamu has prepaid envelopes though.

  9. Shandog says:

    I vow never to deposit cash into any Chase atm ever again. I deposited between $200 – $300 (can’t remember exact amount) and at the time I was only working a bar job and this money was a lot to me. The money was counted at least twice and the amount written down before I took it to the atm because I’m always very careful with my money (especially when I don’t have much). A few weeks later there was a $20 deduction from my account with some random description that did not explain why it was there. Even though it was not a huge amount I freaked and had to call Chase and could not get an explanation until I spoke to a supervisor. Then an envelope came a few days later with a hand written slip, in grammatically bad English, stating that the amount deposited in the atm was incorrect. I don’t believe this person one bit.

    To this day I disagree with this statement, I can never prove it because it was a cash deposit and its my word against theirs. I now make a trip to a branch any time I need to deposit cash even though its further away.

    • johnva says:

      @Shandog: Yeah, you should never deposit cash at an ATM. It’s really easy for workers to just steal from it and lie like that.

    • PLATTWORX says:

      @Shandog:

      Shandog,

      Did you keep the ATM receipt at the time from this Chase deposit?? It has a transaction number on it. You could have easily said to Chase “What was transaction XXX from this machine on X/XX/XXXX and their have reports that show what the transaction was, how much was in the envelope, what bills made up the deposit, etc.

      Twice in my life a bank has claimed to have a different deposit in their ATM than I made. My asking them to confirm the transaction number from the ATM receipt caused them to quickly find THEIR error and remedy it.

      • doireallyneedausername says:

        @PLATTWORX:

        Ditto. WaMu messed up a deposit by $0.10. But…it was an ATM deposit where coinage is not allowed. I called WaMu, explained the situation about how it couldn’t be possible to have a $0.10 discrepancy on an ATM deposit and they agreed. Prompt adjustment and an apology from some Fresno WaMu office that handles deposit disputes.

      • Shandog says:

        I’m in a university town so we just have the old envelope style atm’s. I always knew about how signatures and checks etc were scanned and recorded by Chase. It’s a shame about this cash thing because its something that I won’t forget.

        @PLATTWORX: I didn’t know about that. I’m pretty sure I still have the receipt because I tend to keep all atm receipts. It was about 7 months ago though so I’m not sure how successful it might be now.

    • juri squared says:

      @Shandog: The new Chase ATMs (the ones without envelopes) will scan your cash like a vending machine, so the machine itself will count and verify the amount you put in. If you’re still with Chase, it’s worth a shot.

      They also scan and print copies of checks on your receipts. It’s positively freaky.

  10. Riff Raff says:

    Why can’t she cancel the checks, and try again*? I’m pretty sure you can call any bank and have them void those check numbers from being cashed.

    * Personally, I would have visited a branch, but I don’t know if that’s possible for her.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Riff-Raff: It costs money to do that-usually $20.00.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      @Riff-Raff: She didn’t write the checks. They are checks to her from other people. I can’t imagine mailing those in – its like mailing cash. At least with your own checks you can cancel and try again.

      It’s just as likely a post office problem as a bank problem.

  11. Joseph Beck says:

    Send in a deposit by mail?

    Heck, I won’t even deposit checks in my bank’s ATM machine.

  12. East_Coast_Midwesterner says:

    Maybe it’s just because I am painfully hungover thus I’m really crabby, but I want to punch people in the face when “in this economy” is part of a statement.

  13. milk says:

    When I had a Chase account, they would regularly not credit my account for checks I deposited in the ATM if I didn’t include a deposit slip. Their envelopes contained all the information as a slip, and I always included my account number on the check. Not to mention I’m using the debit card linked to my account. I suppose they must discard the envelopes, but I wonder why they’d request that information and not use it.

    It happened several times with my boyfriend’s rent checks, which were coming from another Chase account. Being able to see his account activity, I discovered the money was being withdrawn from his account but never showing up in mine. When I contacted Chase, they said it was because I didn’t have a deposit slip, and the money was deposited into a holding account. These hundreds of dollars had been taken from his account and just sat in Chase’s account for a week, and they didn’t notify him. I intentionally didn’t use deposit slips thereafter (still including all info on the envelopes and the check itself), just to experiment, and it happened two more times. I asked the branch manager matter-of-factly why his branch felt the need to embezzle, which was apparently the magic word considering how heavily he groveled. It only happened with those high-dollar deposits.

    I’ve since switched to a credit union, but I deposit money into my parents’ account at Chase monthly. Now their ATMs don’t even use envelopes or deposit slips, so I wonder how they manage.

    • TShK says:

      @me and the sysop: Most new chase ATMs have imaging depositers which scan checks or count cash and immediatly begin processing the deposit.

    • Mina_da_mad_child says:

      @me and the sysop: Seriously?! While you may not agree with the system, it is a system that they had in place, clearly written.

      So you know they require a deposit slip in addition to the envelope, and you purposely deposit large amounts without a deposit slip. When you realize that doing so will result in the checks not going to the correct account, you do it again and get mad when the results are the same. You do know the definition of crazy don’t you?

    • doireallyneedausername says:

      @me and the sysop:

      Wells Fargo, ftw! Check and bill scanning and images on your receipt!

  14. quirkyrachel says:

    Why on earth would you mail checks like that? I mean, surely there’s enough time somehow to walk into a bank, deposit them, and get a receipt?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @quirkyrachel: The point is, the OP probably couldn’t do that if there wasn’t a branch near her. People move all the time, it happens.

    • bibliophibian says:

      @quirkyrachel: My bank is 800 miles away, is the only branch in the country, and offers better services and customer support than any other bank or credit union I have access to locally.

      And as Pecan said, people move, go on vacation, etc etc.

    • nakedscience says:

      @quirkyrachel: I was waiting for the firt blame the OP!

      The branch allows it. Period.

  15. flyromeo3 says:

    Thats what being lazy gets you. I’ve NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER mailed a check for deposit to my bank. how stupid are you to do that?

    Whats so hard about walking to your local branch for deposit. People are so stupid!.

  16. jacromer says:

    I’m sure this may have been mentioned by previous commentators, but here are my two cents.

    Contact the Payer of the checks and place a stop on those checks due to a lost reason. Generally, this is a fee that may possibly be waived because it was due to an issue beyond your control. It could have been lost in the mail?

    Which leads to…. $1000+ is a lot of money. Did you certify delivery with a return receipt?

    In any event, I hope that the checks either surface, or that the checks are cancelled and reissued towards a deposit that would be satisfactory.

    I have experience working for a financial institution and in a nutshell, that’s how I would look at and resolve it… because WaMu/Chase really isn’t.

  17. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I AM STUNNED. The bank offers a option where you can endorse the back of a check and then stick it in the mail? How is this any different than mailing cash?

    • TShK says:

      @IfThenElvis: write “for deposit only” on the back and they can’t be cashed

    • bibliophibian says:

      @IfThenElvis: I’m sorry – truly I am, I don’t mean to be rude, but I am giggling my ass off at the number of people who are all “OMG you can MAIL a DEPOSIT to the BANK? How does that even WORK?!?! OMG WTF?! Is this NEW?!?!”

      OF COURSE you can mail a deposit to a bank, just exactly the same as you can mail a payment to the electric company! It’s been that way for practically ever – I’ve never heard of a time when it was NOT possible.

      The only thing that “stuns” me is that people who (presumably) have bank accounts don’t know about this – mail-in deposit envelopes have been included in the “Welcome To Our Bank” packet of every account I’ve ever opened in any bank or CU, in the US *and* overseas.

      And yes, there are risks involved – the check not making it, as in this story; checks being stolen and/or misrouted; etc. But there are risks with face-to-face transactions* too, and simple errors, and glitches.

      Seriously, I don’t mean to pick on you specifically, but it’s simply *hilarious* that so many people are so baffled by this.

      *The only time I’ve ever had a deposit misrouted was during a face-to-face transaction. Oodles of mail transactions, including international mail and APO/FPO mail, have gone off without a hitch.

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        @bibliophibian: If the check I write to the electric company gets lost in the mail then I have to eat the late fee and just write another check.

        In the OP’s case he has to contact each of the four check writers, get them to cancel the old checks and issue him new ones. Good luck if one of those is a rebate check from Best Buy or a check from a large corporation. The possibility of the bank losing a client’s check is too great given the time, bureaucracy, and embarrassment of getting a check reissued.

  18. mbz32190 says:

    I really don’t see why anyone would deposit checks by mail. I belong to a credit union and their nearest branch is almost 2 hours away, but that doesn’t stop me from banking. I am able to withdraw money at most other CU’s and 7-11 locations, and I can put my checks in most other banks ATM’s without charge (including the fancy PNC one that scans and prints out images of the checks).

    • nakedscience says:

      @mbz32190: ‘Cuz your life is like everyone else’s life….

    • sponica says:

      @mbz32190: my bank is in San Antonio, TX but I live in NH. Am I really supposed to fly to TX every time I have to deposit my checks? I mail in a lot of checks and have NEVER had an experience like this.
      Oh and they don’t let you put a prepaid envelope in a priority mailer. So if you’re sneaky and can do it before you get to the counter, or at the APC, that works…but if you do it at the counter, you get an angry lecture on how it’s illegal…

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        @sponica: “my bank is in San Antonio, TX but I live in NH. Am I really supposed to fly to TX every time I have to deposit my checks?”

        There is no mechanism to bank locally and do bank-to-bank transfers to Texas?

        The US needs a system like Canada’s INTERAC Email Money Transfer. You can go online and transfer funds from one bank to another with less than an hour’s processing time.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I had to mail a check for $3 from canada (where i live now) to close my wamu account. It hasnt posted yet, but hopefully it will arrive and not dissapear in the mist. I called and spoke to a representative to get the correct address. Hopefully they have been brought up to speed.

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      @AileenTeucer: Unfortunately WaMu will charge a $7 international processing fee since your payment arrived from Canada, and will result in your account being overdrawn as well!

  20. farcast says:

    New Chase ATMs are envelope-less and deposit slip-less. You just stick the check in the slot and it reads the amount automatically. You can even get a picture of the check on your receipt. Pretty neat.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      @farcast: I’m currently with WAMU so I don’t know how all the Chase stuff works yet.. but when you do this at these new ATMs is the money you deposit this way availible right away? Or is there a 2 or 3 day hold on it like at the normal ATMs?

      • farcast says:

        @Kimaroo: As far as I know, the normal waiting period still applies. Things like paychecks from banks tend to be immediately available but personal checks take longer.

        • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

          @farcast: Well, I was asking because the teller at my WaMu branch told me not to put my deposits in the ATM because they put a two or three day hold on them. I think he said it was because they can’t actually get the checks out of the machine until then or something. Whereas if I give my check to him, it posts right away.

  21. skycrashesdown says:

    I work for a small-ish bank where we have several customers, usually elderly, who do most of their banking by mail and telephone. Every time we’ve ever had a deposit not arrive, it’s because USPS made it disappear somehow. We’ve had deposit envelopes arrive empty and open, we’ve had envelopes arrive a few weeks after they were postmarked despite being mailed in the same neighborhood where we’re located, etc.

    On the other hand, while it’s thankfully never happened at my branch, I can see how it could potentially be lost at the Chase branch somewhere. We get our mail early in the day, but if we’re busy, we often don’t get around to opening and processing it for several hours. The envelope could have fallen behind something, or under something, or the teller put the deposit slip in their work and the checks in wherever Chase puts their checks at the end of the night, without actually processing it.

  22. I Love New Jersey says:

    They might want to contact the postal inspector. There is a high chance the checks were stolen out of the mail system.

  23. Duckula22 says:

    Use the Vincent Ferrari approach.

  24. PLATTWORX says:

    “but the checks would be returned to sender by now or forwarded to the correct address.”

    UM, NO.

    Dan needs to check his facts before saying such things. I have had the USPS take up to TWO MONTHS to do a “return to sender” on something. 3 weeks would be nice!

    BTW, who MAILS deposits in to the bank?? Does anyone at the Consumerist write the OP back asking them questions like that before posting their letter? WAMU has been “dead” for a while. Who would use one of their envelopes to mail a deposit and assume that WAMU address is still in use???

    Their merger with Chase and the closing of offices has been well reported.

  25. Anonymous says:

    This exact thing happened to me in December. I called and called and was finally told “We must have lost it.” I was advised to put a stop payment on the checks. I did. Then 6 weeks later, dinged for $24. Why ? They “found” the checks and tried to deposit them. $12 for each check. I used their email feedback system to try and dispute it and was told “You are responsible for making sure the checks are good.” I explained that they were responsible for not losing my deposit, and I did what I did because I was told to do so by Wamu ( Chase ), still no go.
    Thanks for the phone number as I tried to call the Wamu and they no longer respond.

  26. bbb111 says:

    I agree with the people who suspect it is the Post Office that never delivered the deposit. If this is true, then there is nothing the bank can do.

    A few years ago I had mailed five payments at the same time at the Post Office. None of them made it and I was assessed late fees. I didn’t blame the companies – I blamed the Post Office (which of course didn’t care and said that if it is important I should be sending it registered and insured.)

    Three of the five waived the late fees because I had never missed a payment before.

    About 5 weeks later two of the companies received the payments and posted them to my account.

  27. Bs Baldwin says:

    3 weeks? those checks are long gone. after a week you should have called whoever gave you the checks and had them placed stops and issued new checks. Next time, either go to a branch or deposit them through an atm.

  28. MikeVx says:

    To add a bit of detail, when endorsing checks, use a four-line endorsement in the following pattern:

    For Deposit Only
    Your Signature
    Your Institution Name
    Your Account Number

    This makes it impossible for someone who steals it to deposit it anywhere else but your account unless they have ink-dissolving chemicals. Also, if it blows away or something and gets found by a weirdo like me, it provides enough information to find an address for your bank and mail it to them. I’ve never actually done this, having never found a lost check, but I did once mail someone back her lost medical insurance card, which for some reason had her full address on it.