This was recently sent in to us by one of our readers, Tim T. This is a letter he sent to Mr. Hagler, the Consumer Editor for the New York Times. Since we’re not sure if the New York Times is going to risk pissing off one of their major advertisers by publishing this, we decided to piss them off instead. Here is the story as told to Mr. Hagler, about recent practices by Chase Bank in New York.
Apparently, Chase Bank considers Mega Millions to be illegal Internet gambling.
On 7/15/10 I charged a annual subscription to the New York State Lottery Mega Millions game on my Chase MasterCard in the amount of $98. On 8/9/10 I received my monthly statement and was surprised to see a $10 cash advance fee and a $1.24 interest charge for that cash advance fee along with the $98 charge to the New York State Lottery..
When I called Chase, I was misled into believing that the New York State Lottery had incorrectly processed the charge as a cash advance instead of a regular charge. I called the Lottery and spoke to the manager of their office in Albany, Vince Guiliano. He told me that they had not processed the charge incorrectly. He said that what was happening was that Chase was taking advantage of a new law that was passed on June 1, 2010 that allowed credit card companies to handle charges for illegal Internet gambling in this fashion. The idea behind the bill was to stem the tide of illegal Internet gambling.
He said that it seems that Chase, which was the only bank that had interpreted the law in this fashion, saw fit to include the New York State Lottery and legal horse betting in the State in this category. He said that they have attorneys looking into this matter.
I called Chase back and told them that they had not represented the incident in a honest fashion and that I wanted the charge for the cash advance as well as the interest charge on that cash advance removed from my bill. I told them that I have been a Chase customer for 30 years and have all my personal accounts as well as many commercial accounts with the bank and that I would close the account if they did not remove these charges. They refused. I closed the account.
I’m sure that they took this action (mistreating a 30 year customer) on the premise that by the time anyone stops them in this unethical practice that they will have made millions in these fees.
Attached please find a copy of the Chase statement showing these charges. I don’t mind sharing the account number as the account is closed.
(last name and address withheld for anonymity
Every attorney we’ve spoken with says that this appears to be an illegal money grab by Chase Bank, but the amount of fines they’ll end up paying down the road pale in comparison with the amount they’ll rake in from this scheme in the meantime. If you have similar stories about fraudulent activity by Chase Bank, send them to me through the contact us link, or post them freely in the Chase Sucks forum.