WaMu Presents Random $1500 Check On Someone Else's Account, Then Calls It Fraud

[Update: WaMu has returned the money.] Bill’s small business account was hit with a $1500 check written by an unrelated third party to another third party—both completely unconnected with his account. He was also penalized with an insufficient funds fee, although the money was debited from his account. Now WaMu’s saying they have to investigate for fraud before they can return Bill’s fees.

I received a returned check notice from Washington Mutual last week. Not unusual for a small business — until I opened it.

The check in question was a $1,500 private party check written to another private party. The check wasn’t written by, or issued to, my business.

Simple mistake? I visited the WaMu branch across the street from my office and got the stunning response from the branch manager that they’d have to do a fraud investigation. I raised hell again today, and the money, plus a $7 returned check fee, still hasn’t been returned to my account.

I’m considering going to go to small claims court — or swear out a theft complaint against WaMu — to get my money back. The only fraud is that WaMu or KeyBank (the check in question was written on a KeyBank account) screwed up and they’re taking it out of my hide. I’m the innocent bystander.

Maybe WaMu is trying to cover its losses by randomly reassigning bounced checks to accounts that have money in them and hope no one notices.

Why can’t WaMu assume the $1500 loss while they investigate what was probably a clerical error, instead of forcing the problem onto their customer? Maybe WaMu should amend their new ad slogan to “We’ve got your back… unless we’re covering our own asses.”