please, please help me (Chase Manhattan screwing me)

I am sitting weeping over my computer out of sheet frustration. I don’t know what to do with this situation. Please, any advise would be helpful at this point.

I got a card from Chase Manhattan several months ago. I moved recently thereafter and immediately called to update my address. They would not let me change it by phone, I had to send it in writing. My first month’s statement never arrived and I did not know the end of the billing cycle.

I received a call about the situation and immediately called Customer Service. They refused to waive any fees because the account was overdrawn (it has a low credit limit). It was overdrawn because of the late fees that I was calling to protest!
They told me to send a payment by mail, which I did so, to the address that I provided. I spoke to a (very RUDE) supervisor who blew me off completely.

After only two days (keep in mind, the account is only one month overdue) I start receiving collections calls. I received about ten of these in a month. I repeatedly explain I have sent payment, but they keep calling.

Eventually shelled out for priority mail for a second payment, the original was not cashed, with delivery confirmation. I sent a long e-mail explaining that I would not be charged for the fees, this was ignored saying “call customer service”. I sent with the payment a long, written letter explaining the whole situation with the collectors and the general ineptness of the entire system.

Now, I received the initial payment BACK saying that they couldn’t locate my account! I call and yes, finally received my payment but they did not respond to my letter in any way. After much gnashing of teeth, they refunded me one overdrawn fee and one late fee. They refuse to refund any finance charges or the fee for the previous month. I talk to a supervisor, Kevin Brohm ext 2157. He was EXCEPTIONALLY rude. At this point I was in tears, but I explained to him the situation. He said I had to contact them in writing, this time at a different address. I have already sent 3 correspondences to this company (with both payments and by e-mail) at the direction of customer service reps! Now I have to contact at a different address? He additionally said that the situation was entirely my fault for not including my account number. I explained I had no statement and I followed the directions of the supervisor I had spoken to. He said it was common knowledge that it is the customer’s responsibility to include the card acct # and that the company had no responsibility to look up the account by name or address. I explained I included my phone numbers to contact me, he continued to blame me for the problem.

Furious, I told them to cancel my account. He additionally refused to do so unless they received a letter in writing. Of course, this is despite all the other letters I have sent being ignored.

I don’t know what to do. Needless to say I will be writing them and telling them that they can take their finance charges and fees to the grave. Should I call the BBB? My state attorney general? Their state attorney general? I will not take this lying down. I am tired of being harassed and marginalized.

Please help me with some information and, for your sake, do not get a card with Chase Manhattan. Ever.

Actually, Chase Manhattan has been one of the most understanding and accomodating banks I’ve dealt with through a major financial crisis where I had trouble paying my bills for several years. They never sent my accounts “out-of-house” and worked with me intensively month by month to keep the 5 outstanding accounts current and out of final collection efforts (i.e., garnishment).

Find the PERSON or department directly responsible for your account and only talk to that person. That will eliminate a lot of misinformation, and you will get a lot of misinformation talking to the many rather than the few. Chase has several layers of customer service and collections, all able to give you general information, but only one layer that is actually presently responsible for your account. These are the people you want.

Second, if necessary, admit your own culpability. Did you file a change of address with your post office? Look at your billing envelope - does it say “do not forward” or ask for a change of address to be sent to them? Taking time to understand policy and learning what you could/should have done to avoid the situation and thanking the representative rather than yelling at him/her can go a long way in having fees waived.

Your own naivety is responsible for some of the problem. Mailing in a payment without noting the card number is futile, especially if name and address do not match. The card number is the unique identifier of the account, not your name and address. You may have several types of accounts with Chase, not all handled by the same department (i.e., credit card, credit line, mortgage). They acted properly when they returned the payment to you as ridiculous as it may seem.

If you have a local Chase branch, it may be easier to visit that branch and talk to a representative. The branch personnel can take care of your immediate needs faster and easier than you can by mail or phone. They can send written notices by “overnight pouch,” process payments, find out which department is currently servicing the account and maybe help in getting some, if not all, of the fees waived.

You have just been unfortunate enough to get caught in a vicious cycle of events common for new accounts. A new account that is maxed out and goes delinquent is suspect and goes immediately to collections.

Most importantly of all, make sure that your payments remain up to date and not in arrears and insure the over limit is taken care of. If you are making the current monthly minimum payment, you will incur no further late fees. You can continue to contest the over limit fees and late fees, but you are meanwhile responsible for payments on your charges and the related finance charges.

You MUST contest the fees in writing and with specificity (date charged, type of fee, amount, “interest accrued thereon”). Once contested, the fees must be resolved before payment is demanded.


How do I find this out? I haven’t found a competent service person yet.

First, I do have forwarding on file.
Second, the previous address is a family member’s address.
It never arrived at either location.

I know this now but did not at the time. Only one Chase account, thankfully. I followed the instruction of the CSR supervisor. I had never had a card from them before, other banks I simply enclosed the statement but I didn’t have that.

I enclosed: my name, both addresses, and two phone numbers at which I could be reached, as well as a written letter of complaint (the first one). Of course, they handily ignored any of that.

The company seems incapable of finding my account without my account number. One time I even called WITH the account number, and they couldn’t locate it, though they claimed to recognize the card as a Chase card under their jurisdiction. This seems to be the cornerstone problem here.

Thank you for the suggestion.

The second check was finally accepted, though the enclosed letter ignored.


I have already done so, twice. They simply keep changing their story and giving me different addresses each time I call. Apparently I was mailing the “billing address” (despite having said “I need to send a written letter of complaint to your company, and would like a physical address to send it to so I can have signature confirmation”). This is the only address given to me by every other CSR (about 5).

I will be sending them ANOTHER letter, this time carbon copying my state attorney general. I have already contacted them as well as the BBB and FTC via the Internet.

An additional note: Cillasi, you seem very tolerant of the fact that they have a lot of misinformation from customer service. I work in customer service, and I’ve found the treatment that I’ve received completely inexcusable. For example, I’ve called and spoken to a rep in Tampa, got her name and extension. Then, another customer service representative said they had no center in Tampa and that I must have called the wrong company, but gave me the same physical address that they did. This is bad and is a major training issue if they can’t give one answer.

This is IMHO but I would just like to say that in this day and age you should not have a company, let alone a bank, requesting that you send them an actual letter for verification. Lots of other institutions get along just fine doing it electronically.

Not Chase – their collectors even called my work number, and I’m not permitted to take personal calls at work. I called to tell them please not to do that, and they refused, saying I would have to write or fax. I don’t know why they insist on a fax when a call or e-mail won’t do…

Does anyone know if there’s a corporate office I could complain to? The representatives refused to give me that information, and considering the three complaints that have already been received and ignored, I’d like to contact someone who might actually be able to do something.

Are any of these different numbers than the ones you’ve been calling?

You can also try an end run: dispute a charge online.
Also, what state are you in? Many states have consumer rights representatives, usually working out of the State’s Attorney General’s office, who can sometimes help you with nasty problems like this.

Oh, Iowa. Never mind.

Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Advocate: 515-281-5984

I had previously tried to cancel a card with a different bank by phone and they, too, insisted that I write a letter. So I wrote a letter asking them to cancel.

Next month I got a statement anyway with a zero balance on it plus a monthly fee (no, this was not the best credit card in the world).

I called the company back and asked them why they didn’t cancel my card as instructed. They said they were waiting for a follow-up phone call, as they always confirmed cancellation letters by phone. I said, “I did that already and you told me to write a letter to confirm my phone call! Now you have to have a phone call to confirm the letter of confirmation? Just cancel the damned card!”

I figure they got two months of “monthly fees” out of me because of their own ossified procedures.

However, I can understand why a fax or a letter would be preferred, because those can contain a real signature (or a facsimilie of one). A phone call cannot be easily documented; an email can easily be forged. Faxes and letters represent a paper trail that has your (the customer’s) signature on it, which is as much protection for you as it is a pain in the neck. I imagine the paper trail makes it more difficult for low-paid wage monkeys to fiddle with your account.


:eek: You paid the monthly fees after your asked for cancellation???

Thanks, DDG. Went to that site earlier, actually, and I plan to cc them on my written letter to Chase tomorrow.

Also, none of the online systems will work with my card, including e-mail. It gives me an error and tells me to, guess what, call Customer Service.

Honestly, I work in customer service, and I’m just appalled by how I’ve been treated. They could have at least apologized for the problems that I’ve had, but nobody has ever offered an apology or empathized with me at all. The supervisors were both rude and declined me any help or assistance whatsoever.

Of course, while a scathing letter will make me feel better, I doubt it will do much. I’ll probably just end up paying out and feeling seething hatred for Chase for the rest of my life. At least I can get the satisfaction that posting about it and telling all my friends will deny them potential customers.

Do you have a friend at a TV or radio station, or newspaper? This American Life on NPR recently had a story about a woman who was getting a similarly horrific runaround from a long distance company. It went on for a year and a half. As soon as the show called the company’s PR department, a very helpful VP straightened up the whole situation immediately, and sent the woman a gift basket, as well.

If you know someone in the media who isn’t above doing a little lying for you, have him call Chase’s PR dept. and say he is a consumer advocate looking into your case. (Of course, if you really know a consumer advocate, all the better.)

If you don’t personally know anyone in the media, you could try calling the actual consumer advocates in your area and try to get them interested in your case. This, obviously, would be a little harder.

(BTW, don’t bother trying to have a friend fake this for you: the bank will want to call the real number of the TV or radio station.)

You might also consider having a lawyer send them a threatening letter on whatever pretexts he can come up with.