Paul opted not to sign up for Chase’s overdraft fee trap–oh wait, they call it “protection”–but Chase happily ignored this fact and approved a transaction anyway, which led to a $34 overdraft fee that they refuse to reverse. The loophole they’re using to get around Paul’s opt-out is that the vendor was someone he’d authorized in the past, and therefore this new transaction isn’t protected from the bank’s “protection” fee.
After a previous instance of an overdraft problem, which Chase settled to my complete satisfaction, I made sure to sign the form stating I did not want the overdraft protection. If the money was not in the account, I made it very clear I wanted the charge to be declined.
So I was very surprised to see my daily email summary showed a $110 deficit after an $84 charge (which was unauthorized and later corrected) and a $34 overdraft fee.
Perplexed, I ventured out to my local Chase branch for an explanation. After some discussion with the customer service rep and a call to corporate, here is the explanation I received: since the unauthorized charge was from a vendor that I had dealt with before and had authorized in the past, they went ahead and authorized the current charge, even though the funds were insufficient and I had declined overdraft protection.
So I questioned, theoretically, every vendor I have ever dealt with could put through a charge and it would be paid whether I had sufficient funds or not, refusal of overdraft protection be damned? And the answer was yes. So I asked what was the point of having the option of declining the overdraft protection if Chase was going to ignore my decision anyway? I got a nice, blank stare in return.
I asked if I got the unauthorized charge corrected, would Chase refund the overdraft fee? The reply was since it was the vendor’s fault, they would have to refund the fee. It was at this point I asked to speak to the branch manager and was told she was gone and would not be back until Monday.
Rest assured, once I speak with the manager, whether the fee is refunded or not, I will be firing Chase and taking my banking business elsewhere.