Unfortunately my wife and I recently had an absolutely horrific experience with WaMu. It may have been isolated, but still, it’s worth sharing.
My wife recently opened a checking account with WaMu. She had the account open for about two months when we stopped off at an ATM to deposit a check for $5000 along with her normal weekly paycheck. She already had about $500 in the account at the time of the deposit.
Several days before this, she had sent out about 4 checks totaling around $250.
The bank, suspicious of fraud over the large check, put some kind of hold on the check. Then the corporate office, which, BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION, barely communicates with the branches, also put some hold on the check. How this resulted in negative funds in my wife’s account, WE STILL DON’T KNOW. But somehow, it did. They called it a “double hold,” and that’s about all they could explain about it.
Overnight, my wife went from having $500 in her account and depositing about $5500, to having a negative balance. She started calling the bank that day. The branch bounced her to corporate, who bounced her back to the branch, who sent her back to corporate. Both were able to recognize the error, but both were tasking the other with fixing it.
Corporate said “it’s the branches fault. Talk to them to fix it.” The branch said “Corporate did it, they’ll fix it for you.” This went on for about three days, with multiples calls placed by my wife every day. Then the checks she had previously sent out started bouncing. Mind you, the $500 that was in the account BEFORE the deposit should have still been in there, but WaMu managed to make it disappear. So now our checks to pay off electricity, a credit card, the phone, etc., are starting to BOUNCE.
My wife was so frustrated that she couldn’t even call WaMu anymore. I started calling myself, and not letting them off the phone until the problem was fixed. Finally finally finally, after one night of about two solid hours on the phone, someone was able to release SOME of the $500 that, mind you, should have already been in there.
So what now? WaMu, who was clearly at fault and didn’t hesitate to admit it, could just contact all the institutions where we bounced the checks and fix everything, right? WRONG. My wife and I spent countless hours on the phone over the next few weeks explaining the issue to customer service agents and trying not to pay fines on the bounced checks.
After more than considerable frustration, we were able to fix WaMu’s gigantic error. But not without causing us huge amounts of anger and absolute frustration. Plus, after all this, they still made us wait 10 business days for the $5000 deposit to clear. And, naturally, after 10 days the money was not there, so I had to call them again to get it processed.
Add to that, we never got any formal apology what-so-ever from WaMu. Nothing.
The whole ordeal was an absolute nightmare. We strongly considered moving my wife’s bank account again, but since she had just moved to WaMu from her previous bank, and that had been A WHOLE OTHER HEADACHE, we decided couldn’t deal with any more bank-related stress.
So our advice is to keep a close eye on your account. If you have online banking, check it everyday. If you see the slightest error, get it fixed right away before it snowballs into hours upon hours of frustration. And be wary of WaMu, apparently the branches and corporate don’t get along very well.