Chase Closes Bank Account, Hold Money Hostage

What makes the next story about reader Pavel trying to get satisfaction from Chase executive customer service so interesting is that Pavel himself is Executive Assistant to the President of his company. He knows how executive customer service is supposed to work. As he puts in, he has the ability to “walk on water” within in his company. Which makes his experience with Chase, where they closed his account for having a zero-balance for less than a week, and then held his money hostage, all the more frustrating…

Pavel writes:

I’ve been reading your site daily for over a year and I get a pure kick when people expose the inner filth of corporate America. As of yesterday I have my own story to share.

I’ve been with Chase for several years now. I have a checking account, a savings account, an Amazon Visa card and United Visa card with them. I carry small balances, pay my “non-chase ATM” fees, my “Online Bill Pay” fees, the occasional “Overdraft protection fee” for when they transfer money from Savings to Checking… in other words the average customer who never creates trouble and generates revenue.

About a month ago I decided to open a second checking account and use it only for direct deposit of my payroll check. Then every other Friday I’d go online, transfer some of the amount to savings and the rest to checking.

Until yesterday morning, when much to my surprise not only was my direct deposit not there, but also the entire account was missing. As in GONE. There was no trace of this account whatsoever. I called Chase customer service right away (it was about 7:30 AM) just so I can hear a totally brain-dead teenager tell me that my account had been closed a week ago for carrying zero-balance for too long. “WHAT??? You have got to be kidding me. I have a direct deposit going there every other Friday, you closed the account a week ago, so you’re telling me a zero-balance for a week gives you a reason to close the account? Despite the fact that every two weeks there is a rather sizable deposit from ADP” Her totally expected dumb answer was: “Sir, it’s the system that closed your account, not us. There is nothing we can do to prevent this from happening”. Evidently, in her pea-sized brain “The System” is an almighty creature with an evil behavioral twist rather than a piece of computer software that 99.9999999% of the time does exactly as instructed.

Escalation to Little Miss Braindead’s Supervisor got me nowhere either. I was told that they can not reopen my account and I’d have to go to the branch that opened my account at, where the manager is the ONLY person who can make this happen, despite my repeated attempts to explain that the branch had been bulldozed two years ago along with the Dominick’s store it was in. Oh, and get this. Even if with the help of the Almighty I somehow managed to get the account reopen they wouldn’t be able to deposit the amount they were holding before midnight on Tuesday. Now I’m not going to start crying that I have bills to pay, checks that were going to hit my account and so on… I’ve got plenty of dough in both checking and savings to cover expenses for months to come. But that’s not the point. So, naturally, I request an escalation to Executive Customer Service (800-242-7399). I get transferred to a Michelle Crabtree (713-262-3866). She tells me pretty much the same story. My simple answer to her was along the lines of “Dear Michelle, if I don’t have my account reopened and funded by noon today, I will take extreme pleasure in writing about this to our our local newspapers (those happen to be Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times) along with spending $25 on a Small Claims Court filing fee.

She promises a prompt resolution and I tell her she has about 4 hours to deliver on her promise. I get a call back midday saying that they will be able to reopen the account (but not until midnight) and create a “credit memo” on my old checking account, but I’d have to go myself and move the funds to savings or the credit memo will fall off at midnight. It didn’t make much sense to me, but hey, this is a specially trained professional who has been entrusted with handling sticky situations on behalf of the office of the president. Or maybe not.

Of course the credit memo disappeared at midnight. And of course my checking account was not reopened, and of course there are overdraft protection fees on my account which currently shows negative balance. And of course, the only people who can fix this are Executive Customer Service but that’s not open on the weekend.

Now let me say this… I work as the Executive Assistant to the President of my company and I CAN WALK ON WATER! Moreover, my attitude is that if 40-some years ago we were able to land on the Moon with a help of a computer that had less processing power than my cellphone… nothing is impossible. If these people really work for Executive Customer Service, Chase has to either redefine what that means and admit it’s just a bunch of glorified idiots, or train them better.

My 2 cents.

Cheers and keep those stories coming!

Pavel G.
Chicago, IL

(Photo: Ben Popken)