WaMu Snookers With Scary Letter

For a direct marketer, nothing is infra dig as long as it gets a sale.

Washington Mutual sent Mr. Woods a scary letter. Enclosed was what looked like a bill, odd because Woods doesn’t have a WaMu account. He brought it to his wife, KT, and asked her, “What the fuck is this?”

“On initial inspection, I too got that sinking feeling…it looked exactly like a bill!” KT wrote. How were they going to pay it? Visions of coupons and soup kitchens dashed across her eyes.

Then, a closer look revealed the letter was just a loan solicitation in a cheap suit. The trickery didn’t stop there, however.

Along with the bill came a blank check. $1, $100, $1,000,000, whatever! The sky’s the limit. Pay off the national debt!.

If you cash it, the mouseprint says you agree to a loan at 3% interest. Not too shabby for zero collateral, eh? And then after the “promotional period” passes, the APR shoots up to a ruinous 25.24%.

“My husband has poor eyesight and dyslexia; although he’s a smart guy, he might not have figured out that this wasn’t a bill and who knows how many unnecessary hoops he would have had to jump through before discovering that it was just a deceptive marketing ploy.”

You stay classy, WaMu!

Scans of the fell letter, inside.

Blank check.


Misleading letter.



Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    It was a fake bill for $0.00. If he had actually gone through with it, how much would he have paid?

    I have one simple rule about business mail from companies I don’t do business with. It goes in the trash without opening.

    I know who I should and shouldn’t be getting mail from.

  2. Bokonon says:

    Blur out those account numbers too. I bet it’s unique.

  3. If I got one.. I would write it up for 10,000,000 and leave the country for Jamacia with my wife and kid. :)

  4. SpamFighterLoy says:

    Read the fine print, folks. That’s a 3% one-time service fee PLUS 25.24%APR revolving.

    I get this constantly and I shred them, disposing of half the shreds one week and half the next … just in case the account numbers are unique.

  5. In the “we want your blood” vein (ha ha), I got a charitable solicitation from the Muscular Dystrophy people mimicking local court mailings that said “A WARRANT IS OUT FOR YOUR ARREST!”

    For their “jail lock-in” where they invite executives to sit in fake jail cells and call their friends to beg for “bail money.” But my heart about stopped — it was a darn good mimic of what the county sends. NOT FUNNY TO DO TO A LAWYER.

    Amusingly, I got “got” again two weeks later; one of my friends did participate, and called me around 5:30 in the afternoon and said, “Eyebrows, I’m in jail.” I was putting on my shoes on and grabbing my briefcase before he got to the part where it was FAKE jail and he was begging for money.

    After two heart attacks, they’re so not getting my money.

  6. thrillhouse says:

    Ug. Just more deceptive marketing in the name of debt-mongering. A ‘blank check’ and misleading letter, now thats a bank that I want to do business with… They’ll do anything to find those dumb enough to sign up for 25%+ interest.

  7. FLConsumer says:

    As far as the checks included in some of the credit card bills go, just call up the bank and complain. MNBA stopped sending those as soon as I had requested they do so. I was too afraid of someone stealing my mail out of the box to keep having those blank checks in there each month.

  8. Asherah says:

    This just looks like a Visa statement to me, albeit with no outstanding balance…owing to the fact that the 16-digit account number begins with a 4, and the it looks like a regular ole’ credit card statement. Perhaps Mr. or Mrs. Woods inadvertently applied for a WaMu Visa in the past and this “fake bill” is just an excuse to send a convenience check to allow them to draw from the credit line. Also, as everyone probably knows, those APR terms are pretty standard for “cash advance” checks. I would recommend that either of them phone WaMu and confirm whether or not this is an active Visa account.

  9. Pelagius says:

    Judging from the make-believe statement, the most you could put on the make-believe check is $3500 – or maybe only $105 (cash advance limit).

    I wonder if they’d hit you with overdraft charges…

  10. RandomHookup says:

    This is right in line with the “not an invoice” letter that magazine publishers love to send to the office. They hope you (or your admin) aren’t paying attention one day and accidentally pay it.

  11. CaptainRoin says:

    Along the same lines I received a check from Chase (I have two accounts with them) for $15 and almost cashed it till I realized it was to get me to sign up for Fraud Protection and the check was giving me the first month free. It seems like this is false advertising and shouldn’t be allowed.

  12. Sheik says:

    Will there ever be a bank that simply uses good customer service and low rates to attract customers? Seems like everyone has a trick up their sleeves.

  13. billspaced says:

    I bet Mr Woods had a Providian account. He tore up a legitimate statement that came from an account he opened back when WaMu didn’t have offer credit cards.

    WaMu merged with Providian a year ago. I bet he didn’t read any of the notices stating that he’d get a bill with a new look and feel…and those checks at the bottom of his statement — it seems all credit card companies do that nowadays.

  14. Demingite says:

    I hope Washington Mutual loses, rather than gains, business from these tactics. That would be fitting. Consumers need to rebel against attempts to trick us.

    Washington Mutual also tried very hard to build a “new city” with 10,000 people on open space (Ahmanson Ranch) west of the San Fernando Valley in California — this is within a region (Los Angeles and environs) that is already shockingly beyond being sustainable (traffic, etc.). NOBODY in the community wanted this development. The only people who wanted that development were Washington Mutual and others who stood to make big money off of it. There was, fortunately, a happy ending: Eventually the project was cancelled, and the land was turned into a preserve. But Washington Mutual behaved despicably in pushing that project. It had to progress from being “hugely unpopular” to being “extremely unpopular” before they would even budge.

    I will not give Washington Mutual one penny of my business and encourage others to do likewise.