Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beware bonus coupons for new checking accounts; expiration terms strictly enforced

Although Chase Bank lacks a branch in the Cedar Creek Lake area, the ease of online banking and hefty bonus coupons of up to $300 can attract local residents to open accounts.

Residents with Chase credit card accounts get the offers in the mail and online.

The terms seem simple enough to collect the free cash. All you need to is go online and set up a direct deposit from your "paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government," the fine print reads.

The first deposit must reach the bank account within 60 days are the deal is off.

Unfortunately, what the statement from Chase does not reveal is that the Social Security

Administration moves slower than that. It takes more like 75 to 90 days to get the first check redirected to the new account.

In such a case, Chase refuses to honor the coupon, and it will assess checking account fees ranging from $12 to $25 to the new account.

A recent call to Chase customer service revealed that the 60-day expiration date will not be waived under any circumstances. You might be able to talk the representative into waiving the checking account fee, but you will get a stern warning that future waivers are unlikely unless all of the terms are met.

(UPDATE: Contrary to the statements of Chase customer service agents, a $300 credit in the referenced checking account appeared on Nov. 8 following the publication of this article.)

It is unclear whether Chase marketing experts knew how long it takes the Social Administration to redirect deposits when they designed the marketing materials.

Customer service agents simply say that they have many customers who successfully completed the terms and received their bonuses. Two agents repeated the statement verbatim so it apparently is a canned answer for unhappy customers who collect Social Security benefits and couldn't meet the terms through no fault of their own.

The agents also have another tool and their disposal. If the customer feels duped and gets hostile, they are headed for a recording that brands them abusive. "Please do not call us again," it says. "If you need to communicate with us, send an email."

How's that for friendly service?

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