Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the return of the Lizzle rant...

What's that you say? It'’s been WAY too long since we've had an all-out rant… Well, hells bells... Today I've got a doozie for you! Get comfortable. Make a quick run to the potty, or to get a beverage now, because you're going to be here a while.

Once upon a time, I was an innocent college student, looking to open a new checking account in her new home city, so that she might have the convenience of not having to drive the six hours back to my hometown to get to a bank branch. Those sneaky bastards at Chase, (still Bank One back when I first decided to go with them,) suckered me in with some promotional ploy. They acted as though they were my friends and allies in the financial world. A lot of you out there are shaking your heads and saying, "Oh, Lizzle, you naive little girl! You should have known better! They were not your allies! They just wanted your business! They were only nice because they wanted control of your money!" Well, the truth of the matter is that back when they were still Bank One they really were my allies. They treated me well, and I was happy to do business with them. And then the EVIL mega-corporation Chase Manhattan came along. And. Chase. Ruined. Everything.

In the time since the hostile takeover, I have never been 100% pleased with Chase. I began seeing fees on my account that I had not agreed to. I began having problems with my internet banking services. Over the course of the many months since the buyout, I saw very little that pleased me. But nothing so severe to warrant needing to change banks and go through the hassles it would entail... And then my first payday at my new job rolled around. Payday was last Friday. And I'm still waiting to see my money. And to hear Chase tell the story, I will likely be waiting for at least another week before I see a dime. Never mind that I worked hard for my money, and that I earned it fair and square. That's clearly not important. Or more specifically, it's not important TO THEM. Because as someone who is trying to financially stabilize herself after 5 months of juggling and instability, I sure as hell know it'’s important TO ME!

Over the course of the last week I have seen my patience wear incredibly thin. And within the last few days, I have been driven into a seething rage. Oh yes, the Lizzle is seething with rage! Can you feel it? Can you feel the rage? It'’s palpable, isn't it?

You know that kind of laughter where you're laughing so hard that you go into "silent mode" and you are laughing without making any noise, and it quickly becomes hard to breathe? Ok well that was me... Only instead of laughter, substitute a deep, intense, furious rage.

Yeah, I made it all the way to rage-silent-mode! It has gotten that bad. BELIEVE IT.

It all started on Friday. I got my paycheck and headed over to the bank. "Hello, I'd like to make a deposit."

"Ok, here you go. Have a nice weekend."” ** Please take a moment to note that there was not any kind of special notice of any financial issues given at this time There was no mention of any kind of problem with my account, so I was under the impression that all was well.**

No rage present on the rage-o-meter. None at all. All was pleasant; gumdrops, rainbows, and ponies galloping in a sun-drenched meadow.

Fast forward to Saturday: Lizzle goes to the grocery. Lizzle shops for everything she needs. Lizzle goes up to the cashier. Cashier rings everything up. Lizzle hands over her debit card to pay. Cashier swipes and declines the debit card. Lizzle, now a little embarrassed and flustered asks cashier to try again, because that simply cannot be. Two tries later, Lizzle heads over to the ATM to see what's going on.


Staring at the ATM reciept, I audibly said, "“UHHHHHH... THAT'S NOT FUCKING FUNNY!"

The seed of rage is planted.

Lizzle calls Chase'’s number on the back of the debit card. Their automated system is being overhauled. Please try your call again later.


The seed of rage begins to take root... (And the rage grows quickly once the roots take hold!)

The Chase branch nearest to Lizzle's home is open for a couple of hours on Sundays. No doubt those operating hours are financed with the funds those bitches have been stealing from me lately, but I digress.

Sunday morning rolls around. Even though the branch was open, before bothering the busy personnel inside Lizzle tries the Chase ATM first, to see if there was perhaps something wrong with the card itself, or perhaps a problem with the ATM from a different bank at the grocery store.

A balance inquiry shows a measly little balance, but a balance none the less.

Lizzle examines receipt: "“This CAN'’T be right. I just deposited WAAAAY more than that on Friday." --Lizzle must consult someone about this, so she goes into the bank branch.

Teller: "Yeah, your account was overdrawn, you were charged the overdraft fee, and the negative balance, and that'’s what you have left."”

"You mean to tell me I had $400.00 in overdrafts and fees? UHH, NO. I'’m sorry, but NO."

Teller: "“Well, a manager could show you how that happened, but that'’s the balance."


The rage has been fertilized and begins to perk up a bit.

I'’ll compress the conversation with the manager. Suffice it to say that one of my student loans was on an automatic payment plan, and the payment had gone through and put me into the negative a little while back, but I had overdraft protection that for some unknown reason didn't kick in, and they had since been charging me $30 a day for being overdrawn. (THIRTY DOLLARS A DAY!) It was their fault the overdraft protection was not in effect, so they put the $400 worth of fees back into the account. ** Again please note that I talked directly to a person who physically sat across a desk, not three feet from me, and again there was no mention of any kind of problem with my account, other than to say that they screwed something up and were willing to put my money back. This is important.**

Sunday evening, a few hours after dealing with the bank manager I go back to the grocery. I'’ll condense this too. Suffice it to say that this trip went EXACTLY like the last trip. That means that I have been to the grocery and done all my shopping TWICE now, and I still don't have anything to show for it aside from a massive slice of humble pie with a thick slathering of embarrassment meringue. And that particular kind of pie is not very filling, I don'’t mind telling you.

I figured that since I had made the original deposit on Friday evening, that there was a chance that it wouldn't post until Monday. Fine. I'’ve got just enough cash to get me through until then.

Monday comes and I go to the ATM after work to get cash because I'll be damned if someone is going to turn my card down at the grocery again. The ATM spat out not money, but a receipt. INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. Balance $0.00


Rage is getting in some time at the gym...

Rage is seriously considering a career change into body building...

And since it was after work on Monday the bank branch was closed. So I call that number on the back of my card again to see exactly what's going on. I talk to a very nice woman who tells me that yes, while I had TECHNICALLY made the deposit on Friday, it was dated with Monday'’s date, so it would go through with the over-night transactions and it would be available to me on Tuesday. ** ONCE AGAIN, note that there is no mention of a problem with the account.** I am confused as to why the money didn'’t go into the account during the work day on Monday, because lord knows I'’ve been at work all damn day, what the hell were the bitches at Chase doing? After all, that money has been there since FRIDAY. FUH-RYYYYY-DAAAAAAY.

Rage is present, but stable because of halfway rational explaination.


Tuesday: Noon. I call the automated number to make sure that my money is there so that I can buy myself a lunch. I am getting the run around from the recording which at no point will tell me my account balance.

Rage turns a burner on low-simmer.

I dial the operator extension. A woman tells me that my account has been closed.






RAGE IS CURRENTLY FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS. (Rage is simultaneously tempered by utter disbelief.)

She transfers me to another department. "“Uhh, yeah, that account was closed because you were overdrawn for a while."

"“Well that's really funny, because the overdraft and subsequent fees were YOUR FAULT, I had overdraft protection which you all didn't seem to care about, I made a deposit on Friday, I had the assorted bogus charges removed on Sunday, and now you'’re telling me that my account was closed?"


"Well where the hell is my money, because I know I didn't withdraw all of it and close the account myself."

"You'’d have to go to a branch to find that out ma'’am."

On my lunch break, I go to the Chase Bank Building. A mere block from my office. The perpetual three year old that resides somewhere in the nether regions of my brain clicked on. I am fully prepared to throw a screaming, crying temper tantrum. I go to a teller. Teller tells me "Yup the account is closed." She doesn'’t know where my money is. I'd better try a customer service rep.

So I stand in another line. I explain my situation once more. Customer service rep tells me, "Yup, account was closed. Nope, I don't know where your money is, but hang on, I'’ll make a call and find out." FINALLY! Someone who can at least get me a definitive answer.

She calls the national headquarters. They tell her to inform me that they will be holding my money hostage until the paycheck from my office clears. This can take anywhere from a week to ten days. Once the check clears they will issue a check to me at their convenience. I should call next Thursday to find out when I should expect the check.

Rage has boiled over, and robbed me of my dignity. I know this, because I proceeded to walk outside and then spent the next 15 minutes of my lunch break standing on the sidewalk outside of the Chase building, IN TEARS, snivelling, and calling my mom. I am not kidding you when I tell you I was such a wreck that a homeless guy offered me a napkin to dry my tears. (I politely declined.)

After a brief conversation with momma, I regained most of my composure. I then literally walked right across the street and opened a new checking account with a competing financial institution using the last of the money from the first checking account I ever had, all the way back in my hometown. And my new bank was so happy to see me walking across the street from Chase, that they gave me a $50 gift card just for the hell of it. (And because I set up direct deposit... But I like to think it's just because they love me, and I'm pretty even if I had been crying mere minutes before.)

I then proceeded to go back to my office and use the last 5 minutes of my lunch hour eating a piece of buttered toast, which was all that I had available to me because I wasn't counting on eating at the office, but rather being able to pay for lunch elsewhere, but as we all know, that didn't happen.

And sometime next week I should, emphasis on SHOULD see my money.

Moral of the story: Chase Manhattan Bank will rob you blind, and they won't do you any favors or make any apologies about any of it.

Second, yet equally important moral of the story: Just because you don't know the faceless masses behind a corporataion personally, don't ever underestimate their ability to make your life hell for a while.

Here endeth the story.

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