The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 March 2006

The blind leading the blend

I wrote a lot of checks this week.

This is not because I'm particulary fond of writing checks, but my standard bill-paying routine calls for the bills to be paid on the weekend following receipt, and this past weekend was the moment selected to phase out the Bank One online-payment system in favor of Chase's, and I had a feeling that the process might be something less than seamless early on.

Although I didn't imagine it would be this bad:

I told them that I had previously been downloading my transactions from within Quicken and using Quicken to access the bill payment service. The response from the outsourced, offshore customer service agent: "Yes, can you tell me ma'am, did you connect by going to the Bank One site, or directly from within Quicken?" Then they gave me a different phone number to call. Repeat three times. Yes, three more times, I told them how I previously used Quicken and that it didn't work that way anymore, three more times I was asked to tell them EXACTLY what I had just told them, and three more times, I was given another phone number to another outsourced, offshore customer service agent.

At the fourth number, I found someone who told me that I needed to go through the "Activate Quicken or Money link" which requires your electronic signature on an agreement to pay $9.95/month and your choice of which account you want them to take the money out of. Not to worry, I was told. Chase charges its historical customers for this service, but since Bank One customers had never been charged, it would be free for me. Even though I was agreeing online that they could charge me. Their systems should know automatically not to charge me, but she'll put a permanent record on my account, so that if I should accidentally be charged, I can just call them and they will reverse the charges. Right.

And eventually, I have to assume, they will be sending out amendments to the account terms which will enable them to start charging everyone.

But this is the bottom line:

I've had my oldest account with them for 14 years. I'm sure that changing banks is a logistical nightmare. But, this charging legacy Chase customers and not charging legacy Bank One customers obviously can't last. If they charge for this service, I will seriously take my money and run.

My current account was opened in 1975, two or three mergers ago. And I (see above) am obviously a creature of habit. Still, my part of town is simply awash in banks, and not all of them, when something goes awry, require you to call someone in the Eastern Hemisphere who's been given a stack of scripts.

Update: Chase has a fix for this specific issue.

Posted at 9:50 AM to Common Cents

I went through similar hell with Boatman's Bank through their several buyouts. I worked at Fleming who had an agreement that tehir employees wouldn't be charged for ANYTHING. After I left Fleming I still had that account but now the bank had changed owners twice. I had to call every year to get a temporary pass on all of the charges. I finally went with Midfirst. Local people running a bank the right way.

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 10:05 AM on 30 March 2006

I bank there too Charles but I use Microsoft Money and I had no problem at all with the changeover. I was surprised at that but it continued to connect to and d/l my account lickety split. I have never done the bill pay via Money though. I do it at the bank site. I noticed that Chase's Bill Pay gives a -one- day rather than Bank 1 and their two day as the shortest interval.

Posted by: ms7168 at 10:41 AM on 30 March 2006