October 16, 2009
Chairman and CEO
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
270 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017-2070
Dear Mr. Dimon,
This letter concerns my Chase Visa card, account number **** **** **** ****.
I am writing to describe to you Chase’s recent abject failure to provide me and others with a minimally acceptable level of customer service, on the off chance that maybe, just maybe, there is someone at your company that cares enough about service to actually do something about my complaints. I will also be posting this letter, as well as any response I receive, on my popular consumer-advocacy blog.
On Friday, October 9, I received an email message from chase, with the subject line “You’re Protected Anywhere You are”, inviting me to enroll in real-time mobile fraud alerts sent to my mobile phone via text messages.
This sounded like a good idea, but I pay extra for text messages, whereas I get email on my phone for free. Therefore, I wanted to enroll in fraud alerts via email rather than text message. In an attempt to do this, I logged in at chase.com and browsed all over the site searching for information about fraud alerts so that I could enroll in them. I found nothing whatsoever on the Web site about fraud alerts via either text messages or email; it was as if, according to the content on chase.com, the service I was invited to activate did not exist. There are other account alerts supported on the Web site, but not fraud alerts.
Problem #1: Offering customers a service that you don’t actually document anywhere on your Web site.
I thought that perhaps if I activated fraud alerts via text messages, I would then be given instructions for how to find out more about them, including perhaps how to switch from text messages to email. Therefore, I went ahead and activated the service by clicking on the link in the email message. When I was done, I was brought to a Web page informing me that I should visit chase.com for more information.
Problem #2: The activation workflow for your fraud alerts service tells people they can find out more information from a site that, as noted above, actually has no relevant information at all.
Now I was enrolled in a service that I didn’t want to be enrolled in – fraud alerts via text messages – with no documentation anywhere telling me how to cancel my enrollment. At this point I made the mistake of trying to get help from your email customer support representatives through the Secure Message Center on your Web site. Here’s the first message I sent:
On October 9, I received an email message from Chase with the subject You re Protected Anywhere You Are , inviting me to sign up for real time fraud alerts.
The service sounded interesting, but I want the alerts to be sent to me via email, not text messages, since I receive email on my phone for no extra charge but pay a charge for text messages. I visited chase.com and searched high and low for some way to enable fraud alerts to my email address, but found nothing. In fact, I couldn t find any reference whatsoever to fraud alerts anywhere on chase.com.
Thinking that perhaps once I activated fraud alerts to my phone, I would then be able to get into a different section of the Web site where I would be able to reconfigure them to go to email instead, I went ahead and activated them. After doing so, I was told, Thank you for activating fraud alerts. Please visit chase.com for more information, or something like that.
I once again visited chase.com. Once again, I was unable to find any reference to fraud alerts whatsoever on the entire site. Worse than being unable to sign up for fraud alerts via email as I d wanted, now I m signed up for fraud alerts via text message, which I *don t* want, and I can find no way on your Web site to turn it off!
There are lots of problems here that I need you to address:
1. Do you offer fraud alerts via email rather than text messages? If so, how do I turn on this feature?
2. If you do NOT offer fraud alerts via email, please pass on to your product management / marketing / whatever people that you really should.
3. Is there any information on chase.com about fraud alerts? If so, please tell me where to find it I searched and searched and couldn t find a thing about it.
4. How do I turn off text message fraud alerts via chase.com?
5. If I can t turn off text message fraud alerts via chase.com, can you please turn them off for me? The phone number I registered for them was *** *** ****.
And here’s the response I received:
Dear Jonathan Kamens:
Thank you for contacting Chase regarding your account
ending in ****.
Set up free Account Alerts, and you?ll always have what
you need to know about your account.
Select from a variety of reminders, including:
* Payment reminders
* Account balance and available credit notifications
* Individual transaction alerts
It?s easy. Just go to http://www.chase.com/alerts to
activate your Account Alerts or learn more.
In regards to canceling your text alerts, and due to the
nature of this request, I am unable to assist you by
e-mail. Please contact us at the number listed below so
that we may assist you in resolving this issue.
Representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a
Email Customer Service Representative
Problem #3: This response did not answer my question 1, and instead parroted back irrelevant boilerplate text about alerts I didn’t ask about.
Problem #4: I asked the support representative in my question 2 to pass on my request for email fraud alerts to the appropriate department, but there was no confirmation that this had been done, and indeed I suspect it had not.
Problem #5: This response did not answer my question 3.
Problem #6: The correct answer to my question 4 would have been, “Text ‘STOP’ to 837439 to unenroll from mobile fraud alerts.” The support representative should have given me this answer rather than telling me that I had to waste my time calling Chase, navigating your telephone menu hell, explaining the problem again, and finding someone there who might actually know hot to help me.
Problem #7: I didn’t actually know that was the correct answer until half a day after I sent the message to your support department, because that’s how long it took for Chase to send my phone a text message confirming that I’d enrolled in fraud alerts and telling me how to unenroll.
Here is what I sent back:
Unfortunately, your answer is useless to me.
I looked extensively at the Account Alerts section of the Web site. There is absolutely nothing there about fraud alerts.
You have not responded at all to my question of where, exactly on chase.com I can find information about fraud alerts, and why, if there is in fact nothing about fraud alerts on chase.com, I was told to visit there for more information when I registered for fraud alerts.
You also have completely failed to acknowledge my request that support for fraud alerts being sent via email instead of text message be added.
If you are incapable of responding to these issues and questions in a useful fashion, and instead feel compelled to merely send me scripted answers that don’t actually address my concerns, then please tell me how I can contact someone who *can* respond usefully to what I have asked.
Incidentally, unsubscribing to text-message fraud alerts is no longer an issue, because about a day after I registered, I finally got a text message confirming that I’d registered and explaining how to unregister via text message, which I did. So now I am only looking for answers to the questions above, and not for an answer to the question of how to unregister from text-message fraud alerts.
And here is the response I received:
I apologize that the previous reply did not answer all
This is to inform you that Chase does offer fraud alerts
via email. Our Fraud Operations has launched a new
?interactive email,? a new two-way customer communication
channel, to confirm the legitimacy of purchase activity
with a customer directly from the customer?s personal
computer or PDA.
You do not need to enroll for such a service. An email
will be sent to your personal email address within moments
of unusual transaction activity and will ask you to click
on one of two choices embedded in the email: ?This
transaction was authorized? or ?This transaction was not
When you click on the ?authorized? choice, your account is
immediately updated with a ?verified? status that allows
you to continue spending. If you click on ?not
authorized? the account is immediately restricted and you
will receive a call from our Security Department. If you
answers the call, a Fraud Advisor comes on the line to
discuss the transaction and arrange for a quick card
replacement if fraud has occurred.
With regards to your inquiry of finding more information
on Fraud Alerts, you may visit the section “Your Safety
Online” which will help you in identify a fraudulent email
and how to protect your self while using the website.
I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to turn
off the text message for fraud alerts, but you can do it
by logging on to chaseinnovation.com. If you have any
question about this fraud service offered by Chase you may
wish to visit the Common Question feature on the website.
It was a pleasure to assist you today and I hope I was
able to answer all your questions.
If you have any further clarifications, please reply using
the Secure Message Center.
E-mail Customer Service Representative
Problem #8: Your support representative claimed that Chase does offer fraud alerts by email and that it was not necessary for me to enroll, but (a) there’s nothing whatsoever about this on your Web site, and (b) it appears to be a lie, because I received two automated calls from your fraud-prevention department this week, and I received no corresponding email messages.
Problem #9: The section of the Web site where your representative said I could find information about fraud alerts is actually about a completely different topic.
Problem #10: Even if it were the correct topic, I couldn’t actually find a section with that title anywhere on your Web site despite extensive searching, and your representative did not give any useful instructions about where to find it.
Problem #11: Your representative told me I could turn off fraud alerts by visiting chaseinnovation.com, but that’s not how I signed up for fraud alerts in the first place, and in fact access to that site has been disabled as of September 30.
Problem #12: Your representative said, “I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to turn off the text message for fraud alerts,” which was irrelevant, because I stated explicitly in the message to which he was responding that this was no longer an issue.
Apparently I am a glutton for punishment, because I tried a third time:
I’m sorry to say that you still have not addressed all of my concerns.
Just this week, Chase’s fraud department decided that there was a questionable charge on my account, and your automated system called my house twice to try to find out if the charge was legitimate. At no time was a fraud alert sent to me via email. Therefore, your assertion that such fraud alerts are sent and that it is not necessarily to enroll in them appears to be incorrect. Are these email alerts actually up and running RIGHT NOW? If so, then why didn’t I receive one yesterday? If they’re not up and running yet, then when will they be?
While we’re on the topic of the automated fraud prevention calls, you called my home telephone number twice but did not call my other number you have on file, ***-***-****, at all. Why not?
The “Your Safety Online” section of yoru Web site has NOTHING TO DO WITH MOBILE FRAUD ALERTS, and therefore that part of your answer is completely irrelevant to the problem I’m trying to get you to solve. Can you please actually pay attention to what I’m actually asking? And by the way, I’m digging all over your Web site right now, and I don’t see any link or Web page with the title “Your Safety Online”. If you’re going to tell someone to visit a section of your site, perhaps you might tell them where to actually find it?
As for what you wrote about chaseinnovation.com, it does not address my concerns for two reasons:
1) As I’ve already pointed out, twice, when I enrolled in fraud alerts, the confirmation page told me to go to chase.com for more information about them. WHY DID YOUR SYSTEM TELL ME TO GO TO A SITE THAT DOESN’T ACTUALLY HAVE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT IT SAID IT WOULD HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT? This is a BUG, an ERROR, SOMETHING THAT IS BROKEN. I’m just looking to have someone at Chase actually CONFIRM THAT THIS IS BROKEN AND THAT SOMEONE AT CHASE KNOWS ABOUT IT AND IS GOING TO FIX IT. Is that too much to ask for?
2) When I browse to chaseinnovation.com, here is what I see:
“The Mobile Extras from Chase pilot program is coming to a close on September 30th, 2009. Once the pilot concludes, the ‘txt4help’ text message call abck rqeuest, the #147 dial code, Mobile Extras text alerts, and the www.chaseinnovation.com and www.chasemobileextras.com site(s) will no longer be available. You will however still receive fraud alerts if you have enrolled in that feature.”
Furthermore, when I try to log into the site, it tells me that I’m not allowed to, nor does it let me sign up as a new user.
In other words, either you told me to visit a Web site which is obsolete and useless to me, or the message on the Web site claiming that it is obsolete is lying. Which is it?
And here is the response I received:
Dear Jonathan Kamens,
Thank you for contacting Chase about fraud alerts and a
call from our Fraud department.
I have reviewed your account and do not show you are
enrolled in our Chase Fraud Alert service. You are
enrolled in Chase alerts to notify you of an international
transaction or if no payment received.
In regards to the automated fraud prevention calls, you
will need to notify Fraud department and address your
concerns about the phone number.
We do offer our Fraud Detector that provides you with
enhanced monitoring of purchases made on your account and
notifies you when high-risk transactions occur.
Membership benefits include:
� $5,000 insurance per policy period
� Case manager and identity theft benefits extend to all
accounts, not just Chase
� Program monitored by Chase, not third party
� Provides credit report if fraud occurs
� Offers fraud prevention tips and suggestions
� Chase monitoring and notification of risky purchases
such as cash advances, Internet transactions, and
purchases above $1,000
A membership fee of $7.99 will be applied to your credit
card account each month.
For additional information, please contact Fraud Detector
directly at 1-800-***-****. Representatives are available
to assist you Monday through Saturday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
We hope that we have answer all your inquiries.
Email Customer Service Representative
Problem #13: The representative obviously did not bother to read the message to which I was responding, because if she had, she would have understood that the reason why I was complaining about not having received an email fraud alert was because the previous representative had claimed that I would.
Problem #14: When I ask, “Why didn’t the fraud-prevention department try to reach me at both phone numbers on file,” I do not expect to be told, “You’ll just have to call them and ask.” That’s just stupid. I expect the customer service representative to actually provide customer service, i.e., to find out what the problem is and either tell me what it is or fix it. Buck-passing is simply not OK.
Problem #15: Do you realize how astoundingly stupid it is to tell a customer that s/he will have to pay $7.99 to be alerted of fraudulent transactions via email, when such alerts protect you, not the the customer? I’m not liable for fraudulent charges to my account, you are, so if you want to make me wait until my monthly statement arrives before I notice the fraudulent statements, rather than notifying me by email so that I can let you know immediately whether the charges are legitimate, it’s you that’s getting hurt, not me. Congratulations on making a stupid business decision.
Problem #16: The representative again ignored my complaint about being told to visit chase.com for more information about mobile fraud alerts, when no such information is actually available on the site.
As I see it, you have three options for what to do now:
You can throw my letter in the trash. Result: I close my Chase account and get a new card from someone else.
You can send me a useless, boilerplate response that does not address any of my concerns, and then throw my letter in the trash. Result: I close my Chase account and get a new card from someone else.
You can use my letter to help you identify opportunities for improvement within your company and take advantage of those opportunities, and then send me a substantive response describing what you’ve done in real, concrete terms. Result: You restore my confidence and I stay a Chase customer.
So, what’s it going to be? I suggest you take a look at how much money you’ve made from the nearly $100,000 I’ve charged on my card in the past three years before you decide.