WaMu: "It Is Not My Problem If You Did Not Plan To Pay Your Bills On Time"

WaMu goes out of its way to convince you that it is staffed by friendly, outgoing people who want to help you if something goes wrong. Their “About” page on the WaMu website says: “We’re informal, friendly and fun. We take our customers’ money seriously, but not ourselves.” We suspect that reader Drew would disagree with the whole “friendly” part of that sentence. He arrived home a day late from a business trip to Europe and was in a rush to pay his rent before it was due. He made it to the WaMu branch 5 minutes before it closed, but it was already locked.

He called WaMu’s customer service to ask where to find a branch that stayed open late and/or to request that his ATM limit be raised just for the day. The WaMu CSR wouldn’t transfer him to a supervisor, accused him of making terrorist threats, and lied, claiming that her supervisor was on vacation. Yikes.

Usually I am not one to complain about customer service. I am the kind of guy who understands that everyone has an off day, and I will usually roll with it. This however mad me so mad, I felt the need to share it with Consumerist.

I recently moved from the West Coast to Florida for work. With a new job, and new apartment, I decided to make from BofA to WaMu. One of the best decisions of my life. Or, so I thought. For work, I travel in Europe, a lot. Anywhere from three days to three months. I am pretty good about making sure my landlord has my rent if I am going to be out of the country. On a recent trip, I had to stay a day longer with a client, thus arriving back into the US later then I planned. The next day my rent was due. I tried to get out of my office for a few minutes to run down to the local WaMu branch which is close to my office. Unfortunately I was unable to. I got to WaMu that day at 5:55 PM. WaMu say they close at 6:00 PM. What they mean is that the doors are locked and you cant speak with a teller or Supervisor from 5:45 PM. So, I used the ATM. I was only able to withdraw ½ of my rent. That’s fine, I’ll call up WaMu, and see if there are any open Branches around. If not, then maybe they can increase my daily limit today.

The first person I spoke with said that there no branches open, and the SHE couldn’t increase my limit. So, I politely thanked her, but asked to speak with a Supervisor. When the Supervisor came on the line, she informed that there was nothing she could do. Ok. I explained the situation to her again. Her response was “It is not my problem if you did not plan to pay your bills on time.” I have a pretty quick temper, but I kept my cool. I said I did not feel it was her place to judge how I handle my business with my landlord, and I would like the name of your Supervisor please. She gave me the name of her Supervisor. When I asked to be connected, I was informed that the Supervisor was on vacation.

Now, I didn’t think this person would give me the name of a Supervisor who was on vacation. I was shocked when she said she did. I proceeded to inform her that, this was unacceptable and I would like to speak with a Supervisor. I proceeded to inform her that if she called my office, looking for my Supervisor, I would find one that was there, and not one that was on vacation. At this point I am extremely irritated, steaming mad, but remain collected. Until she informs me that I am making terroristic threats, and she is going to get HER SUPERVISOR on the phone. Needless to say I was stunned. Instead of pleading ignorance, this CSR HAD ACTUALLY LIED TO ME.

When the Supervisor came on the line, I explained what the situation was for my original call. At this point however, I am actually pulled over on the side of the FREEWAY, and explaining to the Supervisor what has transpired from my side. I did not even care that I could not get an increase on my daily limit. I explained as calmly as I possibly could, that this CSR comments were unprofessional, rude, and inappropriate. I again explained that if this Supervisor were to call my office, and ask to speak to MY Supervisor I would make sure she spoke with one, and not be given the information for someone on vacation. I further explained that this was THE WORST experience that I have ever had with WaMu.

Total time spent on phone with WaMu customer service: 97 minutes.
Total frustration experienced: incalculable.

Total time with WaMu from first deposit to this incident: 16 DAYS.

Terroristic threats? What? From the tone of your letter, it sounds as if you might want to switch banks. Bankrate had a great tool for comparing checking accounts with local banks and credit unions.

If you’re just looking for an apology, here’s some executive customer service contacts for WaMu.

(Photo: stirwise )

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.