Chase Freezes Long-Time Customer's Accounts With $9.9 Million Overdraft Fee

Chase froze Micah’s checking accounts with a $9.9 million overdraft fee after he took the ultra-suspicious step of opening a joint checking account with his girlfriend. Rather than merely freeze the joint checking account, Chase decided to freeze all of Micah’s assets until they could verify that their customer of thirteen years was really whom he said he was. Not even a letter from the Social Security Administration, handed to the local Chase branch and sent to Chase’s fraud unit could stop Micah’s debit card from being canceled. Now Micah has no access to his cash, a $9.9 million charge to his name, and still no joint checking account with his girlfriend.

Micah writes:

I have an incredibly frustrating story about Chase that’s been unfolding for me this week. To give you a little background, about 13 years ago I opened up a Great Western bank account, which got bought by Washington Mutual, which got bought by Chase, so I am a long time customer with a Chase checking and a Chase credit card. Over the holiday weekend I opened up a joint checking and savings for my girlfriend and I online. Tuesday morning I wake up to find an overdraft notice for a $9,999,999.00 debit on my checking account. Turns out this is the way Chase freezes your accounts, all of them. I call Chase and they tell me I need to go into a branch to verify my identity. The next morning I go into a branch, the branch calls the main office, and the main office tells them I need to verify my social security number by getting a letter from the social security office. I go into a social security office, get the letter, bring it back to the bank, they fax it in. I’m informed that my account will be unfrozen withing 24-48 hours. Today I try to use my debit card and it gets declined. I call the bank and get transferred twice before someone is able to tell me that my debit card had been canceled on Tuesday. Not only that, she can’t order me a new one because my debit card is still frozen. When I was in the branch office they were apparently supposed to call another number to verify my identity with another department. Needless to say I am infuriated and I’ll be writing Chase an angry letter and taking my business somewhere else.

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