Showing posts with label Chase Bank. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chase Bank. Show all posts

Sunday, October 10, 2021

No reply: What to do when the corporate office won't respond to your complaint

This happened once before
When I cam to your door
No reply
They said it wasn't you
But I saw you peep through your window

                                                                                                                        The Beatles 

Have you ever tried to resolve a dispute with a corporate entity: a bank, a car rental agency, a credit card company? How did it turn out? Most times--I'm guessing--you just gave up without getting your problem solved.

A couple of years ago, Chase Bank flagged a fraudulent transfer out of my checking account.  Three thousand dollars of my money slipped into the account of a stranger through Chase's Zelle digital payment network.

Chase admitted that the transfer was unauthorized and that I was not at fault. But it refused to return my money. The word came down from on high: Once money is transferred through Zelle, it cannot be recovered.

My wife and I happened to be Chase Private Clients at the time because we had some retirement savings with Chase. Made no difference

I emailed the Chase broker, who was supposedly handling my money. He called me on the phone and asked me not to communicate with him by email because it could cause him problems with the SEC.

I made numerous phone calls to Chase representatives, and I spoke to a different person every time I called. No satisfaction.

Then I switched tactics. I made a phone call to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. To my surprise, someone answered my phone, took my complaint, and assured me that Chase would be notified that same day.

Then I filed a complaint with the Federal Banking Commission and the Louisiana Banking Commission. I also discovered I could file a lawsuit against Chase in a Louisiana small claims court. The cost? Only $25, and I could file it electronically from my home computer.

I was typing up my lawsuit when a Chase representative from "Corporate" called.  His voice sounded like James Earl Jones--in other words--the voice of God.

"Mr. Fossey," he intoned in a deep, stentorian voice,  "we are going to return your money."

We all know that big, multinational corporations have insulated themselves from their customers. You simply can't get through to someone who has the authority to fix your problem.

Here's what you need to do:

1) Be dignified. Don't curse, yell, or threaten the human-robot you talk with on the phone. 

2) Be patient and persistent and keep records of your communications.

3) File complaints with any federal or state agency with regulatory authority over the corporation that is stonewalling you.

4) As a last resort, sue the offending party in small claims court. 

I haven't actually had to file a small claims suit against a corporate entity. So far, I have gotten my disputes settled through persistence. But I think it can be a handy tool for confronting a recalcitrant corporation.

You can represent yourself in small claims court. You don't need a lawyer. And in Louisiana, you can sue a corporation doing business in the state through the Secretary of State's Office. Your state probably has a similar process for getting service on corporations.

Our soulless corporations get more greedy, more arrogant, and more indifferent to their customers with each passing day. If you get stiffed by one, you should fight back.


"Mr. Fossey, thou shall get thy money back."



 


Monday, January 25, 2021

Neal v. Navient Solutions: A simple student-loan dispute ends up in 12 years of litigation

 Trey Neal took out a private student loan with JP Morgan Chase Bank in 2008.  Neal and Chase signed a promissory note agreeing that interest on the loan would be governed by Ohio law. 

Later, Neal concluded that he was being charged interest at a higher rate than Ohio allowed.  So he sued Chase for damages.

Mr. Neal ran into two problems in getting this dispute resolved. First, he had difficulty determining the proper party to sue.

Chase sold Neal's loan to Jamestown Funding Trust, which assumed Chase's interest in the loan. Jamestown is "related" to Navient Credit Finance, an affiliate of Navient Solutions. Navient Solutions then became Neal's loan servicer. Apparently, Neal was uncertain about who owned the loan because he dropped Chase from the lawsuit and added four Navient entities as defendants to his suit.

Neal's lawsuit had a second problem: he had agreed to arbitrate any dispute over his student loan rather than litigate.

The Navient entities asked a federal court to order Neal to arbitrate his claim under Neal's credit agreement with Chase. A federal district court rejected Navient's request, concluding Navient did not have the legal right to enforce the arbitration clause.

But Navient appealed that decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court's decision.  The appellate court ruled that Navient did have the right to compel arbitration under Ohio law. So Neal must submit his interest-rate complaint to an arbitrator, and Neal will probably be required to pay half the arbitrator's fees to get the matter resolved. 

A couple of points. First, Neal's complaint about the interest he was charged on his loan is a simple dispute, but it wound up before a federal appellate court that did not rule until 12 years after Neal took out his loan.

Second, Neal's private student loan became ensnared in a web of entities: 1) Chase Bank, 2) Jamestown Funding Trust, 3) Navient Solutions, 4) Navient Corporation, and 5) Navient Credit Finance Corporation, and Navient Private Loan Trust. No wonder Neal had trouble figuring out whom he was dealing with.

So Mr. Neal must submit his complaint to arbitration. 

One thing seems sure. Whether Mr. Neal wins or loses, his transaction costs will likely be far greater than the sum of money at stake. 

Thus, Neal v. Navient Solution teaches us all this message: Don't mess with the student-loan industry because it won't be worth your while.

References

Neal v. Navient Solutions, LLC, 978 F.3d 572 (8th Cir. 2020).