Saturday, September 20, 2008

in which wamu attempts to balance its bankruptcy on the backs of the masses

I have had a minor credit card that I obtained through paypal for about five years now. WaMu took it over a few months back. Only a $500 loc, I use it only when I need to and pay it off regularly. Never made a late payment, never gone over limit. Never asked for an loc increase, or an apr decrease. After paying it to a zero balance this spring, I needed to use it for expenses related to the lmsw exam and rugrat's graduation. The balance as of July 11 was $476.

On August 6, the day before the monthly payment was due, I made a $20 payment online through their online site, just as I have month after month for five years. I even had a confirmation number. When I logged back on on August 14 to get the amount of the next month's payment for my budget, I discovered that the account had been charged a late fee of $39. This, of course, just put me over my credit limit, so the account was also assessed an over limit fee of $39.

Needless to say, I called and complained. They said the August 6 payment was 'returned' because they 'couldn't find the account' (that would be my bank account). They also said their system doesn't allow for fee reversal when it is over the limit. They said I would have to pay the $81 that was over limit, and then they would reverse the fees. I paid $20 on August 14, and $61 on September 8.

Then I logged on today to check the amount due for October, and much to my surprise, my balance was still $553 -- $53 over the limit. Turns out that they removed the first over-limit fee, but not the late fee. So once the $14 in interest was added in the new cycle, it put me over the limit, and then they tacked on another $39 over limit fee.

Let's just say I saw red, red, and then more red. I called customer service, explained the problem, and was told the same thing -- they can't reverse fees until the over limit is paid. After 25 minutes of arguing with the guy, I asked for a manager. While on hold waiting, the call was cut off.

So now I'm really angry, and I call again. Of course, they won't connect me with a manager until I spend another half-hour going around in circles with another customer rep. I, of course, state that I refuse to pay over limit fees when the account was only over limit in the first place because of their late fee, which I shouldn't have been charged in the first place because I made the payment on time.

After multiple circular arguments, I asked a couple of times for a manager, but this girl was good. 'You'll get the same response from a manager that you get from me, we simply can't reverse fees when an account is over limit.'

Well, clearly my anger had escalated over the last hour, and my voice had raised, but I'd held my temper and done really well at saying 'WaMu,' as opposed to 'you,' in an attempt not to personally attack the rep. And I hadn't sworn once, believe it or not. Until...

This rep told me that not only did I have to pay the amount over the limit, but also the monthly payment, and the over limit fee -- a total of $115 to get my account out of arrears and to avoid yet another over limit fee again next month, with none of that going toward the actual balance.

That did it. 'Now I'm really angry, and I need to speak to a fucking manager now.' Yep, I really said it. She put me on hold, a manager came on and tried initially to give me the same story. I bluntly told him I wasn't paying a late fee for a payment I made and received confirmation for, and I certainly wasn't paying any over limit fees based on that late fee.

He put me on hold for a moment, and five minutes after first being connected to him, he told me he had done a one-time reversal of the initial late fee and the most recent over limit fee, it would show on my account online on Monday, and my account would again be under limit.

But I thought they couldn't do fee reversals when the account was over limit?! HA!!

Now we'll see what happens Monday...

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