The Debit Card Fiasco...

This is a letter Trina wrote to take to the bank explaining everything that went on in relation to our fraudulent charges on our account and what happened after that.

Sunday Feb 11th, 2007

My husband, Dave Feucht, and I, Patrina Feucht, stopped for gas on our way out of town. My bank card is declined. This seemed puzzling to us, as according to our records, we should have $300+ in our checking account. We stopped by an ATM to deposit a $200 check we had needed to deposit and the receipt tells us we have $500+ balance but our available balance is something like negative $480!

So we go home to look at our account online and cancel all our plans for the day. The online account shows the same as the deposit receipt, but doesn’t show any transactions that have posted yet, so Dave calls the customer service line. The woman confirms that we indeed have an available balance of -$480. So Dave tells her that seems very wrong and she let us know some of the charges that had not yet posted, but that were going to come out of our account soon. One was for $776.85, and was made using my card number. Dave told the customer service rep that we know we did not make this charge. She told him she couldn’t do anything until the charge posted. She did not offer any guidance or suggestions; she did not let us know what to do next or anything. She just said sorry and that she could not do anything until the charge actually posted. She asked if there was anything else. My husband said he guessed not and they hung up.

After getting off the phone he told me all that she had said, which was not much, and said to me maybe we should cancel our cards. (The service rep did not suggest this, mention it or suggest any course of action we should be taking to secure our account.) So he called back again, talked to a second person and asked that both of our cards be canceled as we highly suspect that we have fraud charges on our account. She did it and he was off the phone. We both immediately cut up our debit cards.

Monday Feb 12th, 2007

We check our account online and no charges have shown up. Our account is still positive on the website but we still have a negative available balance and so have no access to money from a bank or out of an ATM or use our debit cards, as we have cut them up and are waiting for the new ones.

Tuesday Feb 13th, 2007

The charge finally shows as posted in our account. We look over the recent charges and find one for $776.85 made at GAMESTOP #2866 VANCOUVER WA and one for $12.30 at TACO DEL MAR LYNNWOOD WA. We have never been to Lynnwood Washington, let alone eaten at a Taco del Mar there. And we DID NOT spend $776.85 at a video game store in Vancouver, Washington. So we called the customer service line again.

Dave talked to a woman, but we don’t remember her name. He explained to her the entire story from when it began for us on Sunday, and that we now see the suspicious charges had posted and we would like to file a dispute for the fraudulent charges. She told him she would file it for the two charges and he asked how long it would be until we would see money in our account, as the fraud charges had caused our account to become overdrawn and we had no access to any money. She said the investigation took between 5-10 business days but that we could see funds back in our account within two days. They finished their call. She did not offer any more information, did not tell us she would flag the account or suggest that we should cancel our cards.

I was concerned and a little confused by when exactly we would have access to funds, so I called back. I talked to a man but didn’t catch his name. He told me that the entire process took 5-10 business days but that they would definitely have money back in our account within two business days. I asked him if I didn’t see money by Thursday morning if I should call back and he said yes. We ended our call.

Thursday Feb 15th, 2007

Thursday morning I got up and checked online and saw that we still had no available balance and that in addition to the fraud charges, we had now accrued $210 in overdraft charges, bringing the total money we needed refunded from the bank to $999.15. I called the customer service line. The person I talked to told me I would need to call a different number for the office handling the dispute. (I don’t remember exactly what she called it but it was the department that handled fraudulent charge disputes.) I got off the phone with her and called the number she had given me and talked to a man named Joe. I told Joe the entire story from Sunday through the present. He told me that normally a fraud charge dispute took 10-14 business days, and it looked like the soonest we could see any money refunded to our account would be Feb 20th.

At this point I was very frustrated by the lack of help, information, care taken with us and our money and all the conflicting information regarding how long things would take and if we would get any money refunded. I told him all this and told him about all the things the other customer service reps had told us. I told him we were very close to taking our business to another bank. I told him I was not ok with the date of the 20th as the first time we would have any money. He asked me to hold and told me he would check with the supervisor handling my dispute and see when he had scheduled for us to have funds again.

He came back after a min or two and told me that by 6pm that night we would have money refunded. I specifically asked him if that included the two fraud charges and the $210 in overdraft charges and he said yes it did. I also asked him if 6pm came around and I didn’t see the credit of 999.15 in our account, whether I could call back and get the money put in right way. He told me yes, that if by 6pm the money was not showing up in our account to call back and someone would get it in there immediately. We ended our call.

At 4:30-ish in the afternoon my husband and I noticed that our account was positive again, but only the $789.15 to cover the fraud charges. I immediately called the number to the fraud/dispute office. I talked to a woman named Jolita. She asked for my account number. I read it off to her. Then she asked what she could do for me. I began re-telling my entire story again. Already frustrated by the total lack of help, continuity in service, and apparent lack of any kind of connection in service rep notes or communication, I also realize that this woman NEVER VERIFIED WHO I WAS. Outside of having me read my number to her, she never asked for my name, my date of birth, the last 4 digits of my Social Security Number, my mother’s maiden name, NOTHING. So I finished telling her about my last call and the fact that Joe had told me that the $210 would also be deposited and that I needed that to be placed in my account right away. She told me she was not authorized to do that and that she would transfer me to her supervisor.

She transferred me to a man named George. He asked what he could do for me. I told him I was trying to get the $210 put back into my account. He was quiet and asked me to elaborate so I then had to COMPLETELY RE-TELL MY STORY ALL OVER AGAIN.

As I finished telling my now lengthy story of all the reps I had talked to, all the different things they had each told me and how frustrated I was, there was just silence. For at least 10-20 seconds there was no noise whatsoever. It was so quiet I thought we had been disconnected and had to say “hello?”. He responded with, “oh I’m still here.” I said that it had gone so quiet, I wasn’t sure if I had been disconnected, and he told me it just gets very quiet when no one talks. Then it was silent again, for a VERY LONG TIME. Finally I said, “oh, and by the way, as of now on this call, no one has verified who I am. The first woman I talked to only asked for my account number, never asked for my name or any other verification and neither have you so as of right now you don’t even know who you are talking to.” He was silent for a few seconds and then just said “oh”. Then there was more silence.

After the long silence he says to me that he sees on my account that there was a deposit of $789.15 made today. I told him, yes (I am now having to completely re-tell him things I JUST told him less than a few minutes ago in our “conversation”) and that I just told him that I saw that deposit, and that I had talked to Joe at this number earlier and specifically asked him if both the fraud charges and the $210 in overdraft charges would be refunded to my account. I told him again that Joe had told me yes and that if I did not see the money by 6pm to call back and someone would get it in there right away. Then there was more silence.

Finally he spoke again and told me that the soonest he could possibly get that $210 in to my account was sometime tomorrow as the department that handles those requests closes/stops taking requests at 3pm and as it is now after 4pm there was nothing he could do for me. I then told him that since Joe had told me that all the money would be in my account by 6pm, and Joe had also said that if by 6pm it was not there I should call back to this number and that someone would get all the funds put into my account tonight, that I wanted to see those funds deposited right away. He interrupted me and said, “what you don’t understand ma'am …” at which point I interrupted him and said, “what you don’t understand is that I was told that money would be refunded to me tonight and It needs to be. Oh, and also YOU STILL HAVE NOT VERIFIED WHO I AM. SO YOU STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO.”
At this point he asked if I could hold for a moment and he would go talk to his supervisor and see what he could do. I was on hold for maybe 20 seconds, when he came back and told me his supervisor was walking the request down to the department right now and that I should see a credit for $210 show up momentarily. I told him if I did not see it within 5 minutes I would call back and ask for him. We ended our call. He never verified my identity. I refreshed the page and the credit was there immediately, in less than a minute.

Friday Feb 16th 2007

Dave received his debit card in the mail but mine did not arrive. We decide that if mine does not show up in the next day’s mail we will call again and make sure that mine was in fact canceled as Dave had requested on Sunday Feb 11th 2007.

Sunday Feb 18th 2007

My card had not shown up in the mail so I call in to the regular customer service line to verify that my card has been canceled. The woman I talk to verifies who I am. I tell her and explain that my husband called on the 11th and requested that both our cards be canceled and new ones sent as we had fraudulent charges made on our account and since we only received his in the mail, we were concerned that mine did not get canceled as we specifically requested, especially since it was my card number that the fraud charges were made on. She told me it didn’t look as though mine got canceled and then asked for my card number. I told her that since we thought they were canceled the first time we requested it we had cut them up. So she asked for some other identifying info and proceeded to cancel and re-order a new card for me. She told me it would be to me in 5-10 business days.

She asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I asked her if there were any notes on my account from all of the other 7 calls and reps I had talked to through the fraud process. At this point I have expressed how frustrated I am that this whole process is going so badly and that we are getting no help, and she apologizes quite a few times.

She looks on our account and tells me that she sees that I made a call on the 15th. I ask her if there are any notes about the call(s) on the 15th. She looks and tells me there are no notes. After that we end our call.

We have never made a purchase of such a high amount on a debit card. We have a monthly charge of $775 exactly made for our rent, but it is always by check, never by a card. We live in Portland and may have been to Vancouver, Washington, where the charge was made, maybe 5 times in our lives. When this charge happened, no one called to verify that this was our charge. We have had our credit card company call us to verify on smaller amounts when it looked out of pattern for us – for instance in a city we don’t usually make charges in, high dollar amounts, etc. But you are the bank where our actual physical money is kept, and no one bats an eye or lifts a finger to offer any help.

I AM LIVID! ABSOUTELY LIVID. Through the whole process we have had no help offered AT ALL. Not one rep has volunteered any information about your procedures or our options or things we should be doing unless we ask and pull out answers. Not one person has explained the process to us unless we ask what will be happening next. Not one rep has made any notes on what is going on with our account. Not one rep flagged our account. Not one rep relayed any info to the next person I would talk to when transferring me around. AND on one call, to the department that handles fraudulent charge claims/disputes, no one verified my identity AT ALL! EVEN AFTER I REPEATEDLY TOLD THE SERVICE REP THAT NO ONE HAD! For all he knew I could have been the thief, calling, getting money put back into the account, and then going out to use the card yet again, as at this point no one had canceled my card, even though we had requested that my card be canceled. Through the entire process not one rep suggested that our cards be canceled.

After this entire experience we have found out from 2 other friends of ours that they have had similar experiences, one when dealing with fraudulent charges the other when moving from one state to another. We are closing our account with you. Our two friends are also considering closing their accounts because of this. We are also reporting the entire story to the Better Business Bureau.


  1. oh my goodness. i'm livid for you! i hope it's all taken care of now.

    love you guys. oh, and by the way, trina's letter ROCKS!!!

  2. The only reason why some people are still alive is because it is against the law to kill them!

    That is horrible customer service; I have had similar with banks but the worst was with the federal Government, having gotten handed off 11, yes Eleven times and the 11th person was the first person that answered. They were clueless, completely using up oxygen and groceries!

    BTW, you never mentioned with Bank this was, I assume WAMU?

    Love you guys!