WaMu Doesn't Understand The Concept Of Fraud

Reader Todd says that WaMu issued him a provisional credit after he was ripped off by a fake online merchant, but reversed the credit because he didn’t supply the bank with “a product description, cancellation policy, and cancellation number.” He can’t get a cancellation number because the transaction was fraudulent (he never received the item he ordered.) No matter who he talks to, he can’t get WaMu to understand that he’s been ripped off.

We join Todd as he attempts to report the merchant…

I disputed the charge. However, the dispute didn’t go through until March 1st. That is because I spent several days trying to get through to WaMu’s debit dispute department. I waited on hold for a total of 8 hours, including one stretch of 4 hours. It wasn’t until I had a customer service supervisor sit on the line with me that I was able to get through to the dispute department.

Once I got through, I thought everything would be okay. They sent me a form out, which I immediately sent back. I can send you my copy of the letter I sent them if you would like. They issued me a provisional credit. Since I did not hear anything for three months, and the company is fraudulent and no longer exists, I thought the problem was over.

Yesterday, I returned home at 8 pm from vacation to find my checking account was in the negative. I never bounce checks, and was shocked. I looked my account online and found out the original charge had once again been placed on my account. I was freaking out, but when I called WaMu, they said that the debit dispute department did not open up until 7am Pacific time this morning.

I called back in at 9. I waited on hold for an hour before being dropped. Once again, I had to get a customer service supervisor to stay on the line with me, and this time, someone from disputes did pick up.

I asked why I hadn’t received any information on the charge or why it was being reinstated. I was told that a letter was sent to me on the May 30th, Saturday, the same day the charge was reinstated. I have not received this letter. I was also told that in order to receive credit, I would have to provide an item description, copy of the cancellation policy, and a cancellation number. I tried to explain that the charge was fraudulent, the company no longer existed, and that I had never received anything from the merchant. The debit dispute person, who was very rude, and kept interrupting me while I was talking, said they could not issue me a credit without a product description, cancellation policy, and cancellation number. How are you supposed to provide such things on a fraudulent charge?

I have called WaMu executive customer service and left a message for Rosie. However, I have been unable to reach her. I also sent out an executive carpet bomb, but have received many of the emails returned.

Todd, its time to get out the big guns. You’re going to need to file a formal complaint with WaMu’s regulator.

Here’s how you do that:

1) Contact WaMu with a formal complaint. You can do this in writing, or by email. Keep a copy of this complaint for your records.

2) Figure out which agency regulates your bank by calling or using FDIC’s Bank Find. We happen to know that Washington Mutual’s primary regulator is the Office of Thrift Supervision.

3) Write a formal complaint letter to the bank’s regulatory agency. Follow the FTC’s instructions for writing a complaint. This document also has the correct contact information for the various regulatory agencies. Keep a copy of this complaint for your records.

By filing a complaint, the regulating agency will investigate whether WaMu’s incompetance actually violated any banking regulations.

You should also file a complaint with your state’s attorney general about the scammy retailer that ripped you off. Keep a copy of this complaint for your records.

(Photo: stirwise )