This story was originally sent in a couple of months ago. Chase Bank has been busted for some really shady things in the past, but this was something completely new and probably illegal so the facts needed to be verified before being published.
If there is a court ordered hold placed on your bank account for any amount, a special department called the Chase Bank Court Orders & Levies Department located in Columbus Ohio gets involved. No surprise there, but here is where it gets interesting.
Apparently it is the policy of Chase Bank to freeze double the amount of funds in the court order. In other words, if the state of New York for instance, claims you owe them $1,000 for something, they will send a court order to Chase Bank asking that they put a hold on your bank account in the amount of $1,000. Ok, no big deal so far. But then Chase will do a couple of things with that order that puts them into a gray area legally.
First, they will freeze double the amount being asked for by the court order. That money is still used by Chase Bank in their day to day business operations, so they will loan your “frozen” money out to other people and collect money on the interest. Therefore, they are financially benefiting by freezing more of your money than the court order demands.
It’s important to note that they have no legal obligation to hold that money, since the court order doesn’t allow for it, and they have no legal right to hold that money, since it goes against the terms in the agreement you sign when you open an account with Chase bank.
Second, they will freeze all ATM and online withdrawals. This is after the other money (x2) is already frozen. So let’s say you have $10,000 in your bank account and in the same hypothetical as earlier, the State of New York gets a court order to have Chase Bank put a hold on your account for $1,000 until the issue can be resolved. Not only will Chase freeze double that amount ($2,000), but they will prevent you from accessing the other $8,000 in your account through ATM or online.
It does not matter that the disputed funds have already been frozen or that you have more than enough to cover it, all of your funds are frozen from any ATM or online withdrawals. And the best part is, when you call to speak to the Chase Bank Court Orders & Levies Department to inquire, you will be lied to (by Chase Bank’s own internal policy) and told that the holds for double the amount were requested by the court order, and not the result of an internal policy that Chase has to increase profit.
[editors note - When calling in to Chase to verify this policy, I heard these same lies told by the front line call center operators as were told in this story. However, the truth finally came out as I went up the ladder and finally to the Chase Executive Office and Chase Legal Department.]
So that means that either all of the customer service reps on the phone are lying about the policy to the customers with account holds (unlikely, since they have nothing to gain), or they have been trained and continue to be trained by their supervisors and the Chase Legal Department to intentionally mislead and outright lie about this policy, blaming the courts that issue the orders, so that they can essentially steal account holders money for a time period and profit off of it.
When pressed for answers on why Chase is training their customer service reps to lie on the phone to the customers about these policies, the manager of the Court Orders & Levies Department – a man named Kleber Vilanova refused to discuss the matter any further. Although Kleber Vilanova acknowledged that the service reps under his watch were “giving incorrect information” (ie lying) to customers, he refused to say whether the employees would be retrained to correct the situation.
The next step was to contact the Chase Bank Executive Office where I spoke with a man by the name of Danneil Jackson, at (877) 658-5560 ext 1299031. He acted shocked and promised to get to the bottom of the situation with a resolution within 48 hours. However, once he passed it up the ladder they quickly got the Chase Bank Legal Department involved and cut off all communication regarding the issue.
Editors note: Several lawyers were contacted and the consensus is this is a good fit for a class action lawsuit against Chase Bank, provided there are enough claimants. Since this site gets over 25,000 visitors every month, many of which have been screwed over by Chase Bank, I offered to post this here to raise awareness of the issue.