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Tuesday, June 18, 2024   

Chase Bank Tries to Pull a Fast One (Conversation 2)
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

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Part 2: Supervisor argues about the fee.

Rep: "Mr. Bilker thank you for holding the account supervisor Ms. Lett is on the line. You may go ahead."

Scott: "Thank you Ms. Beers."

Rep: "Mr. Bilker this is Ms. Lett, how may I help you?"

Scott: "Hi. Well umm, I called because I used a balance transfer offer from Chase and umm, I got charged an overlimit fee. Although Ms. Beers did waive that overlimit fee."

Rep: "Umm hmm."

Scott: "But I’m just a little confused because the letter specifically states that I can use my checks up to my available credit, and that’s exactly what I did. I followed the directions exactly, but yet I was charged an overlimit fee."

Rep: "Okay. You can use the checks up to that, but with each check written there is a fee."

Scott: "Uh huh."

Rep: "So according to the amount you write, you include the fee."

Scott: "It doesn’t say what you just said."

Rep: "It doesn’t have to say it, it’s telling you that there is a fee involved."

Scott: "Yeah, but it says, let me just read this really clearly, it says, ‘These checks may be used for any amount up to your available credit line.’ In fact it says, at the bottom in the fine print, ‘balance transfer check amounts may not exceed your available credit line.’ Check amounts, it doesn’t say check amounts and fees."

Rep: "Right, the check amount cannot exceed your available credit line. However, it also goes on to say, ‘With each check processed there will be a transaction fee.’ So included with the check amount there is a transaction fee that you have to include. If you are going to write three checks, you write three checks that are going to be up to whatever your credit limit is. But in those three checks, remember, there are three fees. So its just common knowledge."

NOTE: Step one of their defense it to insult the customer. Don't you just LOVE these people. Way to treat your valued customers who don't have common knowledge.

Scott: "Common knowledge? Well, even on the fine print on the back it says balance transfer check amounts… This is right after the fees, it says, ‘You will be charged a balance transfer transaction fee,’ and it gives the amount, and afterwards it says, ‘Balance transfer check amounts may not exceed your available credit line.’ It does not say balance transfer check amounts and fees."

Rep: "It doesn’t have to. It’s explained and it’s outlined for you. If you know your credit line is $12,500 dollars, and they tell you that you are going to be charged a fee. And you write a check for $12,500 dollars, plus the $50 fee, you are now over the $12,500, because that is all that your credit limit is."

Scott: "But it just doesn’t clearly say that. How could this be common knowledge? That’s my confusion. It says, the directions…"

Rep: "Because if we tell you that you are going to be charged a $50 dollar fee. If you write a check for $12,500 and we have told you that we are going to charge you a $50 fee, $12,500 plus $50, is $12,500 and $50. Which means you are now over your credit limit. That’s what I mean by common knowledge. It’s simple math."

Scott: "Well how come that common knowledge isn’t included in the statement? See, the statement clearly says these checks maybe used for any amount up to your available credit line. Common knowledge tells me that…"

Rep: "Well okay…"

Scott: "That I can use it up to my credit line. It doesn’t say, not up to my credit line, it says up to my credit line."

Rep: "And when you use that check you’re charged a fee."

Scott: "Yes, but it doesn’t say…"

Rep: "Well, that’s included with the amount of the check."

NOTE: The fee is not "included with the check" it's a separate charge.

Scott: "Well, shouldn’t it say not up to your available credit line, or close to your available credit line? Wouldn’t that be a little more clear?"

Rep: "I guess it’s the way you interpret it."


Rep: "It is your interpretation Mr. Bilker. Unfortunately, you did not read the entire thing, or did not understand it."

NOTE: Still blaming me for their deceptive wording. I wish I had that Citibank letter handy when I called so I could have asked Mrs. Lett to explain why Citibank clearly explains to keep the total of the fees and transfers under the available limit.

Scott: "Where in this thing does it tell me I cannot write these checks up to my available credit line?"

Rep: "It doesn’t tell you that you can’t. We can’t tell you what you cannot do."

Scott: "Listen, it says...‘These checks may be used for any amount, up to your available credit line.’ It doesn’t say these checks and fees. These checks may be used for any amount. And listen, again, at the bottom, balance transfer check amounts, it doesn’t say balance transfer and fees, just balance transfer check amounts, may not exceed your available credit line."

Rep: "It doesn’t have to say ‘and fees’ because the fee is already included with the amount that you write."

Scott: "Hmm, really it sounds like some kind of trickery to me."

Rep: "And again that depends on your interpretation."

Scott: "Hmm, I wonder what a legal interpretation might be? Like disclosure interpretation."

Rep: "We have a lot… Everything we submit goes through a legal ramification before it is ever sent to you. So, obviously it must be legal. This is a major bank. And they have a lot of lawyers…"


Rep: "When it says to me that if I write a check up to my limit and I am going to be including a fee, and I know that my limit is a certain amount. If I’m going to be charged a fee, I know already that I’m going to go over my limit. If my limit is $10,000 I’m going to be charged $50, I know my limit is $10,000 and my balance is going to be $10,050. I already know that."

Scott: "So, all those extra words you just told me should basically be included in this letter?"

Rep: "There is nothing extra that I told you. I added it."


Rep: "If you can add, then you don’t have a problem with that."

NOTE: The blame-the-customer-defense continues, now I can’t add.


Scott: "But it does not tell me, if you write the check up to your limit, then you will go over you limit. You cannot write your…"

Rep: "It doesn’t have to."

Scott: "It doesn’t have to! How do you…"

Rep: "We give you your credit limit, if we tell you that your credit limit is $12,500. We tell you that you have $12,500 that you have $12,500 to use, you can do whatever you want with it. You can write this check if you want, but when you write this check there will be a 4 percent transaction fee with a maximum charge of $50. Now if you sit down and write a check for $12,500 and know you are going to be charged $50 you have now gone over your limit. If you add the amount that you wrote your check for, plus the $50 fee that you are going to be charged, you are now above $12,500."


Scott: "Well, I think that they ought to change the wording here because it’s really confusing people."

Rep: "Well Mr. Bilker you can write in and tell the bank that you want them to change the wording."

Scott: "They should definitely change the wording. I think this is quite confusing, since when you say, ‘You can write your checks up to your credit limit,’ and you do that, it doesn’t anywhere, anywhere in this letter, say that if you write your checks up to your credit limit you will go over. Is that true that statement?... it doesn’t say anywhere that if you do that, you will go over your limit because of the fees. I think that should be in there that would make it quite clear. Don’t you agree Ms. Let?"

Rep: "I don’t agree with you."

Scott: "Okay. I just don’t understand how you can’t see it."

Rep: "Well, you see it your way and I see it my way. We can look at the same thing and see two different things and I guess that’s just the point where we are."

Scott: "You’re seeing a lot of extra words that don’t exist in the letter."

Rep: "No, I’m just seeing that if I add how much I wrote a check for and add the fee that the bank is charging me I have now gone over my credit limit. That’s all I did."


Scott: "Well you see, communication is the responsibility of the communicator. And this wasn’t communicated very well."

Rep: "Well, I am very sorry that you feel that way. But that is the way that the bank sends their information. They do advise you of any fees up front."


Scott: "When I have my credit card, my physical card, and my limit is $12,500, and I go into a store how much can I spend? How much?"

Rep: "If you pay your balances in full, $12,500."


Scott: "So you’re telling me that Chase tells me that I can use my credit card up to the limit, right?"

Rep: "The credit card, yes."


Scott: "So, in that case up to the limit means up to the limit. But in this case (the credit offer in the letter) up to the limit means not up to the limit. Even though the words are the same, you’re telling me that when they say up to the limit then…"

Rep: "The words are the same, however, it says up to the limit. These says up to the limit including with a fee."

Scott: "No."

Rep: "Yes it does."

Scott: "No, you said it."

Rep: "You’re going wrong."

Scott: "No, that’s where you are going wrong. You said to me, just a second ago, up to the limit including the fee..."

Rep: "Okay, and again it’s your interpretation. I cannot continue this."


Rep: "Thank you for calling customer service."

Scott: "Bye, bye."

Rep: "Bye, bye."

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