Do Not Confuse The Chase Bank ATM With Your Weird And Scary 'Checks'

Tom and his wife got married last year (congratulations!) but still have separate checking accounts. Tom never had a problem depositing checks also made out to his wife in his Chase checking account, so he didn’t foresee any problems with depositing their joint $2,000 tax refund check in that same account. But this is The Consumerist, not Satisfied Chase Customers Weekly, so you can guess how that turned out. Now Tom and Mrs. Tom get to wait patiently and hope that the check doesn’t get lost in the mail on its way back to them.

My wife got a sweet tax refund check from the US Treasury for about $2k. This is our first year of marriage, so the first year we filed jointly.

We both have separate checking accounts still, and since my name is clearly displayed on the check, we figured it would be okay to deposit the check in my Chase account and withdraw her half.

We used the ATM deposit feature that I’ve used many times, and even with check that have both of our names on it. The ATM accepted the checks, I see the money go into my account, and withdraw $1k for my wife.

This is where this story should end.

Flash forward 5 days with no indication that anything is wrong. Note that I keep most of my money is savings, to gain interest, and keep only what i am budgeted to need in checking. So I am shocked when I am suddenly hit with a “dr due to atm/dep error” and the $2k of tax refund is ripped from my account, nearly draining it.

After freaking the freak out, over money that was already spent, I hastily find the customer service number and eventually talk to a claims representative. Turns out that the ATM declined the check, after initially accepting it, due to the “pay to” not matching my account name exactly. This was because my wife’s name also appeared on the check.

Note: my wife’s name being there hasn’t been a problem in the past. All of our wedding gift checks cleared just fine with the same or similar “pay to” value on the check.

So, one would think I could solve this over the phone. Well guess what, an automatic process has mailed the check back already, so Chase no longer has it. I was told to wait 7-10 days for it to come back to me, or ask for another copy of the check from the issuer (the U.S. Treasury). Once I had the check I would then have to walk it to a bank branch and talk to a teller. Boo, so much for automated technology.

So I’m now stuck between a rock and a debt place, waiting for my check to hopefully not get lost in the mail on it’s way back to me. I told the claims representative that this is the reason I am going to close my Chase accounts at my earliest convenience. Am I out of line?

Well, at least a regional bank would have a shorter distance to mail the check when (if?) a problem like this occurred.

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