ING Direct: Oops You Don't Have Any Money

When Netbank went belly-up, all its customers and their accounts got converted to ING Direct customers, but reader Nate says they bungled his conversion and left him without funds, days before he was supposed to complete a cross-country move. He writes…

Dear ING Direct,

I’d like to explain my total frustration with the way your company is handling the transition of Netbank customers to ING Direct. When I first heard that Netbank had gone under, I was a little surprised at the news, but since I learned that our accounts would be taken over by ING, I was relieved. Up until this experience, I saw ING as a reputable bank, I was happy about the good rates, and virtually no fees. Here’s why my view of ING has gone sour.

First, ING informed us that our Netbank ATM/Debit cards would be deactivated on November 23, but our new accounts wouldn’t be created until December 8, a full two weeks later. I called customer service to ask what this was about, and a very friendly young woman explained to me that the reason for deactivating the cards on November 23 is because it is easier for ING to stop processing transactions before the holiday rush. When I asked her what she thought I should do about access to cash during the holiday rush, she suggested that I open another checking account before our ATM cards are deactivated.

Week or so later, I learn by a letter in the mail that my Netbank checking account, which I use as my primary checking account to receive and pay all my bills, will be converted to a Orange Savings account. My automatic bill-payment at Netbank will be cut off on December 7 and not transferred over, because of course you can’t pay bills from a savings account. ING will stop processing paper checks in March. C’mon ING, I know that you guys have a checking account product … it’s running an ad campaign right now … it’s called Electric Orange. Why couldn’t you convert my checking account over to that? I called the service line again to confirm that my checking & bill-pay features were really being yanked away, the rep, again very friendly, confirmed the bad news but didn’t offer any solution.

A couple days later, November 15, to be exact, I went online to open an Electric Orange account myself. I will definitely need a checking account after you close my Netbank account … and the Electric Orange features and rates look pretty good. I love the idea of an online, all-electric bank. I quickly filled out the application, got a confirmation email, two verification deposits in my Netbank checking account, and I thought things were good to go. I impatiently waited “3 – 5 days” for my new ATM/Debit card and welcome info. When it didn’t arrive, I called customer service again on November 20. “I don’t see any Electric Orange account pending, sir”

Apparently ING had no record of me opening an account online. Nothing was pending or waiting for verification as far as the service rep could tell, despite the fact that I got a confirmation email and received the verification deposits in my linked checking account. The rep was happy to open the account again for me on the phone. I go through all the questions, we almost get to the part where he gives me the account number, and rep exclaims “Oh? Some system error I have never seen before”. He was very polite an apologetic for the inconvenience, and told me that he would escalate it and someone would get back to me, probably at the end of the day or maybe tomorrow.

No call that evening or the next day. I call back later in the evening on Nov 21st. This time, an nice female rep. She again tries to open the account, and gets the same “system error”. She tells me that it would be 2 to 3 days for them to get back to me.

After the Thanksgiving weekend, November 28, I call back, and still ING has no idea of what’s going on. For some reason, I cannot open a checking account. I’m starting to panic about my financial situation. Not being able to pay bills or have access to cash is a BIG deal, and I need some answers soon because the December 7th deactivation date is coming soon. If this wasn’t enough, I’m changing jobs and moving across the country, from the East coast to West, December 5 – 9. The move is adding thousands in extra expenses to my budget this month, and my checking account in limbo is not making things any easier.

Today, a full two weeks after I originally attempted to open a checking account on Nov 15, and still without any resolution or idea of what the problem is, I have completely lost confidence in ING. Being left with no ATM card, check-writing privileges, bill-pay, or even direct debits, I have opened a checking account with another bank, and I will be taking my money elsewhere. I would have been happy to be an ING customer, had you been able to take into account the needs of your customers during this transition process. It seems like ING didn’t care about the customers in this financial transaction with Netbank and the FDIC, just the assets. And while ING’s support reps are very friendly, they don’t seem to be very good problem solvers.

Nate C

See now that’s just sad. Because none of your customer service reps would take responsibility for the problem, you lost a customer. Oh darn, we can’t get your account to work. Shrug, guess you’re just left without money. Twiddle-dee, twiddle-dum, is there anything else I can assist you with today?

At the same time, I don’t see in escalation in here. Nate is just sticking with the same, clueless, first-level reps. He should be asking for supervisors. Make some noise! Rattle the stick around in the bucket. Move up the chain. This is your hard-earned money you’re talking about, you need to be fighting for it.

(Photo: amanjo)

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