Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Macy's and Chase FAIL

This post is totally about me venting...dirty laundry, enjoy your air!

So, I have a Macy's card, which I've found confusing since the get go; one card gets you both a Macy's Store account, and a Macy's visa, both linked to the same card...basically if you use it at Macy's, you're charging to the store account, if you use it anywhere else, you're charging to the Visa account. Wouldn't be so bad, except that they come with completely separate account numbers and all that...

Anyway, back in November I made a payment of $14.82 to my Macy's store account. Now, the key issue that starts this whole drama is the fact that this is the first payment I have made to this account since we moved back to NYC and opened a new bank account, and so, paying via the online bill pay as I do, I had to set up Macy's as a vendor. The only statement I had didn't list my full account number, instead listing it as a series of Xs, ending with a few numerals. I was skeptical, but it's what I'd been provided, so I entered it in and made the payment. This was on November 18th. The bank, Chase, processed it that day.

Fast forward to early December, when my wallet was stolen. During my conversation with the rep at Macy's to cancel my card, she mentions that they haven't received my payment yet. I double check and the bank says it's been processed, so she tells me not to worry about it unless it hasn't shown up by the time I get my next statement.

Fast forward again to early January, when, while traveling for the holidays I get a call from Macy's saying my account is delinquent and they need me to pay immediately. I explained that I was traveling, as well as being in the middle of a major move, (that's when we moved into our current place) and hadn't yet received my new copy of the card, but I would check with the bank and make sure they had made the payment. Despite explaining numerous times that because of the traveling and the move it would take me at least a week to get to a place where I would have access to my statements and personal records and be able to contact the bank, I got several bill chasing calls within the next few days.

Anyway, when we got home I endeavored to clear up the whole mess, and got the proof of payment chase automatically provides for any payment made via online bill pay, which includes transaction and check numbers, plus all relevant dates. However, I am told by several reps at Macy's that it isn't sufficient...and a rep named Linda tells me flat out that they will not accept it, and in fact the only thing that they will accept is a faxed copy of the check, both front and back, that comes directly from the bank, not me.


Great, ok, fine. At this point I start actually documenting my actions regarding this mess, because I sense that this is not going to be pretty. Keep in mind that each of these conversations, while I try to distill them down to what matters, actually took up several hours of my time, between phone trees and waiting on hold and being transfered and reps insisting that I'm calling for a different reason that I am. Hence the break in days...I am actually supposed to be working, you know, to get money, to pay bills with. Argh.

On January 25th, I called chase and spoke to a banker who assured me that he was sending the check copies that day. He gave me his name (Rafael) and said he'd put his name on the coversheet so I could give Macy's a heads up so they could watch for it. I called Macy's to let them know the fax was coming, and after a ridiculous conversation with a rep who just kept insisting I hadn't paid and didn't seem to get that I was already aware of, and disputing, the charge, I had to pretty much bully her into agreeing to make a note in my account that there should be a faxed copy of the check coming from rafael at chase bank: I even specifically asked her to include the fax number it was being sent TO, which I had been given by macy's.

Five days later, I get another bill chasing call. I asked the rep to look in the account and tell me whether there was a note about the fax from rafael. He says there isn't!! I asked to speak with a supervisor, who gave me his name at the start of the call (I think it was Brad?) but then refused to repeat it when I asked again later in the conversation. He told me that I needed to fax it again, but this time to a different fax number, and to put it to the attention of the corrections and research department. When I expressed my displeasure at having been lied to be the rep who 'took the note,' he brushed me off and told me that my bill was due by the next day.

I paid the 8.27 that I legitimately owed at that point, but not the 60 some odd bucks they claimed I owed in late fees or the initial $14.82 that I had already paid.

On the 6th, I got another bill chasing call from them, this time citing the fact that they'd only received a "partial payment." I explained that those were the current and valid charges, and the rest of the charges were the result of the nov. charge and were in dispute.

On Feb. 8th, I spoke to a banker at chase (francine or christine miller) who assured me Macy's would have the check copy by the end of the day. Then, well, I'll just copy & paste the entry I made in my log later that day:

2/8/10 Francine miller called me back to report that the [second number macy's had provided me with] was coming up as an invalid fax number. I had her retry the [first] number, and that also came up as being invalid. She said she'd keep trying until it went through. called macy's, where rep Mr. johnson gave me the [second number again]. since that was the same #, he tried it himself and said it seemed to be going through, but double checked with his supervisor that that was in fact the correct #, which it was. called chase back, rep mario garcia: transfered to telephone banking, rep Eric gave me crap about not having a tax ID and insisting that I needed to give him my business account number and all associated information like tax id, address, etc, even though it had nothing to do with this transaction (which was from personal checking)...said he didn't know who I would have spoken to before that wouldn't have grilled me for that info, or who would have bothered calling me back to report the invalid number because they submit it for faxing and have nothing to do with it after that so "it all sounds strange to [him]". He ended up 'submitting it for faxing' again and assured me macy's should have it later today.

Ugh. So, now I've had the derned copy faxed three different times to two different numbers, and I want to make sure this is over and done with. The morning of the 11th, I call Macy's to make sure they've received the stupid thing, and have another inane conversation with a rep who (at first claims I have a $0 many of them have when I first call...they see the visa account with no balance, then get confused and ask if I have any other accounts with macy's, or if this is my husband's account...yea, because my husband and I share a name and social security number. ugh. remember that thing about the card being confusing because it was linked to two accounts?? anyway:) just insists that I didn't pay them instead of actually listening to my request. I finally get a supervisor, Andrew Johnston, on the phone. He tells me that it takes 4-5 business days for it to show up in the system if it has been received, so I should call back on monday to verify that they've received it...there is nothing they can do before monday.

Note that: Nothing will be happening with the account until Monday, February 15th. Which is why I chose not to answer the phone when macy's bill chasers called me 8...yes, EIGHT times between saturday the 13th and monday the 15th.

So, on monday morning, when I call them to verify...well, all hell breaks loose. Observe:

2/15/10 macy's rep (name unknown) check has not showed up in the system. Spoke w/supervisor @ macy's: andrew johnston I requested to have a fax # for an individual who would be able to personally accept the fax and credit the account. Andrew said he could give me yet another fax number to try. I found this unacceptable, and asked to speak with HIS supervisor. Was told that he was in india and the indian office has no ability to receive faxes, so even his supervisor would not help. Said the billing dept is the only place that can help. I asked to speak with someone in the billing department, he said he didn't have the capability to transfer to that department. gave me their fax number [which is a THIRD number and a different attention] and a 'callback number' to follow up after sending the fax.
called chase: rep tried to get me to update my statement settings to include check copies before they would fax check. after several failed attempts to locate the nearest branch, which they claimed doesn't exist, I demanded to be connected directly to bill pay. Bill pay rep claims they can't send check copies to third parties at all, asked to speak with suervisor. rep would not connect me but said she spoke w/them and 'would fax it as a courtesy". wouldn't connect me to a supervisor or tell me why this is the first time I've been told they can't fax it to the vendor. said can't guarantee it will go through, can only verify tomorrow evening by calling [different chase number.]

AAAGH!!! So, I ignore a few more bill chasing calls (lost track of how many...4, 5, a million?), because I am working three jobs and being a mom and know that there is nothing I can do until the stupid fax goes through and my psyche can't handle another "you didn't pay" "a fax is coming" argument...

So, this morning (wednesday, february 17th) I call chase to verify that the fax went through and...guess what?? :

2/17/10 called chase. online banking specialist johnna: says they "can't do that". The proof of payment is the only thing they can provide, I can also try sending in my statement that shows the money left my account. It's illegal for macy's not to accept the banks proof of payment, if they continue to refuse it I should stop in a chase branch and ask for assistance from a manager.

OK, that's all well and good...and makes a lot of sense, really...but why the hell is this the first time I'm getting this information (the previous rep just said "no" and then ended up doing it anyway, supposedly) when I've been calling for weeks?? And why did FOUR different chase reps - on separate occasions - assure me that Macy's would be receiving the fax within a day? If they truly "don't do that," then I was lied to. SHADY.

So, turns out I've been giving Macy's a hard time about not figuring out how to take the fax copy, research it, and apply it to my account, when in reality I should have been giving them a hard time about illegally refusing to accept the bank's proof of payment in the first place.

(Oh, and to add insult to injury? Macy's called me again this morning, and then HUNG UP ON ME. Really???)

So now I'm kind of back to square one. Macy's has reported me to TransUnion, and is demanding nearly $100 in late fees, while Chase wasted nearly a month of my time lying to me about what was happening with my account.

I guess the moral of this story is not to play by the rules. I paid on time using the account number as they provided it to me, the money left my checking account but was never posted to my charge account, and following instructions has solved nothing and gotten me deeper into trouble. All this over a less than $15 charge which I paid, on time, months ago!

To that end, I started a twitter account (you can follow me at ) as a way to vent...I've had friends get more help via twitter than by following the rules, so if I can get some attention that way, awesome, and if not, at least I have an outlet to vent my frustration. Hopefully this whole mess will be over with soon...honestly the stress that it has caused is above and beyond what I find reasonable for anyone...especially a customer in good standing with a clean credit history! I don't understand how any of this has been warranted. I'm just ready for it to be done.

If there is any Macy's rep out there that is willing to take the proof of payment and properly credit my account, waive the erroneous late fees and remove the complaint from the credit bureau...please help me. I would be extremely grateful.

A note to Macy's management: Dude, seriously...more communication between employees would do wonders for your ability to assist customers! Even just being able to review notes in an account so you know what's happening before repeating the entire argument from the would save you time, and , I imagine, money. and consistency!! 3 different numbers and attentions for sending a fax? Inability for customer service to transfer to a department that's actually capable of helping? WTF?

And Chase...I don't even know what to say. Thanks for making a yucky situation even worse? Perhaps taking a look at the infrastructure would be useful...either your reps don't know about your policies, or they don't care enough about customer care to bother explaining them and chose instead to 'submit for faxing' knowing it won't go through...aka, lying to the customer. Not Cool.