It Takes Two Subpoenas And A Contempt Threat To Get A Response From WaMu

Washington Mutual will give you a copy of the check that you’ve been requesting for a year, but first you will need to subpoena them twice and attempt to have them held in contempt of court. That’s what one reader experienced when her employer, a law firm, needed a document from the megabank. As she puts it: “If a law firm with the power of a subpoena behind them can’t get WaMu to cough up a document in a timely manner without a massive amount of headache, I’d hate to see what the average consumer has to deal with.”

Our reader writes:

I work for a law firm and recently we had about a year long go around with Washington Mutual.

One of our clients needed proof of a substantial loan they had made (>$30k) via cashier’s check, but could no longer find their slip stub as the loan had been made a few years earlier. She called and wrote to WaMu requesting a copy of the cashed cashier’s check for proof that the loan had been made. They sent her a letter saying that the cashier’s check would be sent under separate cover in 15 days. A month later, no copy.

We then sent a request on our letterhead requesting a copy (with a signed permission from the client allowing us access to the document). We received a similar letter stating we would receive a copy of the document in 15 days. Again, three weeks later (to allow for possible mail time), no check was received. We sent three separate requests, all of which were responded to with the same form letter stating 15 days, but no copy of the document ever appeared.

Finally, we resorted to subpoenaing WaMu to produce the document. We went around and around with them attempting to get a copy of the document with WaMu admitting that they couldn’t find it and that all traces of the loan were gone. Later, they produced an electronic print out showing the deduction from our client’s account, but not to whom the money was paid. We needed a copy of the document that reflected who had been paid. After many, many phone calls, mostly from their subpoena intake group attempting to get out of having to send someone to personally appear in court (one of which showed up at the courthouse on a trial date WITHOUT the document) and WaMu insisting the entire time that they did not have a copy of the document, a SECOND subpoena, AND threats to hold them in contempt of court, they coughed up a copy of the document.

If a law firm with the power of a subpoena behind them can’t get WaMu to cough up a document in a timely manner without a massive amount of headache, I’d hate to see what the average consumer has to deal with. I’ll be sticking with my credit union.

The subpoena is certainly a powerful alternative to the EECB, but for those of you who don’t have easy access to an attorney, here’s some executive contact information, and here’s some more.