Dear ABC News Fixer: I've been a customer of Chase Bank since I was 18 years old and it was called First Chicago.
Last August, my son moved from Phoenix to New Orleans to attend graduate school. He needed a new bank, and I suggested Chase. There was a branch within walking distance from his apartment, so it seemed perfect.
I transferred $1,300 to him from my account and he transferred $3,760 from his old account in Arizona. However, he soon realized he had an outstanding check and tried to stop the transfer. He couldn't stop it, so then he tried to reverse the funds once they posted.
His new Chase account was suddenly closed without warning. He went to his local bank multiple times and was turned away because he was now "banned for a lifetime," as a bank employee told him. His funds were seized (the money was ultimately returned after several weeks).
My son made a simple error that he tried to correct in order to avoid an overdraft fee, and now he has an unknown negative status at a major bank. I fear his math error will negatively impact his ability to get credit and possibly his employment opportunities in the future.
The banks make a mistake and we bail them out and a young man starting his life makes a mistake and he's banned without any explanation or option to appeal.
- Dionne Hart, Markham, Ill.
Dear Dionne: We suppose we can file this under "no good deed goes unpunished." All your son was trying to do was avoid bouncing a check when he inadvertently stepped into this mess.
Apparently, moving the money one way and then quickly sending it back set off some sort of alarm bells within Chase's fraud detection system. The Chase spokesman we contacted didn't want to divulge their top-secret security processes, but he said the "unusual activity" was the problem.
Of course, their fraud system couldn't see that you are a medical doctor employed by the Department of Justice and that your son is a law student at prestigious Tulane University with aspirations of working for the FBI – not exactly a couple of crooks. The trick here was to connect you with a human being at Chase, which the ABC News Fixer was happy to do.
After we contacted the bank, your son got a call from someone in their executive offices, who took another look. They invited your son to come in to his local branch and open an account – which he did, successfully, on Jan. 28.
P.S. Chase told the ABC News Fixer your son needn't worry about long-term repercussions on his credit report, because it'll now show that he's in Chase's good graces. Just to make sure, wait a couple months and then have your son order his free report from www.annualcreditreport.com. We've got more info about that here.
Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.