56

Background

I closed a checking account over 40 days ago at a large national bank in the US. I was told I would receive a check for the remainder (>$1000) in one to two weeks. I still have not received the check.

I have called their phone support and visited my local branch several times since with no success. Each meeting ends with a vague reference to "sorting things out with the back office". My last meeting was with a branch manager who said he would handle the issue personally and contact me when I could come in, sign an affidavit (that I hadn't received the check), and be paid out by the local branch. This was over a week ago now with no follow-up.

Question

What are my options? I'd like to get the check with as few trips/calls as possible from here. Is there a way to put some pressure on them to take this more seriously? Is there a length of time before I can report the money as stolen (I'm sure that isn't the correct term in this case)?

Additional Info

My original plan was to close the account in person to receive the funds immediately. Chase's tellers do not have the authority to close an account and there were no bankers available to help me that day so I was referred to the phone support which I used. The only drawback of the phone method appeared to be a 5-7 day delay on receiving the check.

Why did I not withdraw the money before closing the account on the phone? Chase charges a $10/month fee for allowing your balance to fall below a certain minimum ($1500). I did not want to find myself arguing about a $10 charge afterwards for having a 0$ balance for a day between the bank visit and the phone call.

UPDATE:

I have taken JohnFx's advice and filed a complaint with the OCC. The process was very straightforward and involved including contact information for all relevant parties and, in my case, an issue summary and timeline of my contact attempts with Chase (with confirmation numbers, names, etc). At this point, OCC will contact the bank on my behalf who will be expected to respond to me and copy them on the correspondence.

  • 47
    what we learn from that is to take all the money out in cash before closing. – Aganju Apr 13 '16 at 21:50
  • 7
    Which bank is keeping your money? Why didn't you get a bank draft/cashiers check for the balance when you closed the account? – wilsotc Apr 13 '16 at 22:50
  • 12
    @TOOGAM we have to take the OP's in good faith. Not everyone would come to a public forum asking how to get their laudered money out of the bank. Throwing random accusations won't help the knowledge base the site aims to build grow both in size and quality – Mindwin Apr 14 '16 at 12:37
  • 4
    My apologies if this seemed like an accusation that OP committed a crime. I can see how my comment could easily be interpreted that way; that was not the interpretation I was intending. I recognized some strong parallels with a scenario I know of where local police used a very similar technique to rope in someone with maximum convenience. I've also heard about how law enforcement work with ISPs. My comment was simply intended to be a warning. If such a comment isn't useful in a particular scenario because that scenario isn't what's actually happening, so much the better. – TOOGAM Apr 14 '16 at 13:33
  • 2
    How did the OCC complaint go? – Dean MacGregor May 19 '18 at 15:29
74

The best way is to either file a dispute (or threaten to) with their regulator. They do NOT need negative attention from a bank regulator, so it should get their attention if you show that you are aware of and willing to contact them. They take this extremely seriously.

You can figure out who the regulator is using this helpful page on the Office of Comptroller of Currency's (OCC) website.

If the OCC itself regulates the bank you can file a dispute using this web page.

  • 26
    And worth noting, this isn't just a threat of red tape - the entire point of the regulator is to ensure things like this don't happen. Otherwise you might as well have a mafioso in there "Shame about that deposit... I'm sure dem back office guys will get it sorted out..." – corsiKa Apr 13 '16 at 21:50
28

JohnFx is right: banks hate visits and attention from the regulator (both positive and negative). I would not threaten to file, just file away and let them get in contact with you.

The local branch is stalling you. Do not play their game.

Since you already went through the first level of support (local branch, phone support), get the bank ombudsman contact and file a complain. It is a major bank, most of the time getting a high level complain will be routed from the upside down through their structure, and hit them. Remember I said they are stalling you? Probably something went wrong, and they are buying time to try and fix it.

Also it is worth noting that the ombudsman is usually a line of support above the phone customer support.

If going through the ombudsman does not work and/or if you are not willing to wait anymore, file a complain with the government central bank, or similiar institution (trying to be broad here, even if you tagged USA - JohnFx has the link in his answer for the USA's regulator).

You can even file a small claims lawsuit, though I do not know the cost of doing it in the USA (in my country small claims court is free for private citizens). Do not report your money as stolen; banks are bureaucratic institutions by nature, and they can silver tongue out of this claim.

2

“Chase’s tellers do not have the authority to close an account…”

That’s a “truthy” bit of bullshit. Yes, a teller themselves do not have the authority to close an account. But if you are the owner of the account and you state to the teller that you would like to withdraw all of your money into a cashier’s check so as to close the account they cannot refuse you.

Since they fed you this nonsense, they might play some delaying tactics like calling a manager and having them talk to you tough the window and such. But just stand your ground and state you would like to close the account and withdraw all funds.

Now if they were extra slimy and if you were to withdraw all funds but they let the zero balance float for a bit so they could claim a fee on you, bullshit once again. You should take any notice of fees coupled with a dated receipt showing the date you withdrew funds, go to the branch and complain to the manager right away. State clearly you will not pay any fees and you would like written verification that your account is closed.

Also—and this goes without saying and is implied above—but be sure to keep copies of all if your receipts and transactions. If they state they want to hold onto something, demand they make a copy. And for your own safety/sanity keep your own backup copies somewhere safe at home.

All of that said, I have seen modern consumer bankers really act like a bunch of slimeballs in the past decade or so, but generally this has still been an exception to the rule. The reality is if you do not want to have your money in their bank it’s in their best interest to let go of you as soon as possible; especially if you have a small amount of money such as $1,500 at stake.

Remember your rights as a consumer, remember it’s your money and remember—and remind them—that you can report them if they deny you reasonable access to your funds.

  • 3
    While good information, this doesn't actually answer the question.... – Tim B Apr 15 '16 at 10:21
0

If your local TV News has a Consumer Assistance reporter, contact him/her. If the report makes it to the news website, spread it by social media. Banks don't want to be shamed on the 5:00 news (and online) as keeping someone's money.

Alternatively, if you don't have a day job, make a poster that the bank is unfair and they are keeping your money. Stand in front of the bank, make sure you are on the sidewalk -- public property holding your sign. If you set foot on bank property they could have you trespassed and/or arrested. Also, let the local news know that you will be protesting the bank at that time.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .