Posts Tagged ‘Chase’

A study in contrasts: handling stolen email lists

Monday, April 4th, 2011

I try to make a habit of giving out “tagged” email addresses to web sites when I sign up for accounts / mailing lists / whatever. For example, when creating an account at, instead of just signing up as “”, I might sign up as “”. It ends up in the same mailbox regardless, and it gives me some visibility into who is sharing or selling or allowing my email address to be stolen.

About six months ago, I started getting spam from an email address that I had only used in one place: signing up one of my kids for a Scholastic, Inc. book club through their web site back in 2007.

I contacted Scholastic and told them that either they were selling my email address and it needed to stop, or they had suffered a data breach of at least customer email addresses, if not more.

In response, Scholastic’s CISO informed me that Scholastic doesn’t sell email addresses to third parties; their children’s book club business was sold to Sandvik Publishing in 2008; the email address in question was no longer in Scholastic’s database; and I should contact Sandvik if I wished to pursue the matter further.

I sent a reply to the CISO which read as follows:

I don’t recall ever being asked whether I considered it OK for Scholastic to sell my PII to another company. This is especially disturbing since at that point I was no longer a customer of Scholastic’s for the business that was sold.

Granted, your privacy policy gives you the legal right to sell any information you collect to anyone you want. The fact that you are legally permitted to do that doesn’t make it right.

Your privacy policy also says, “Scholastic ensures that all personally and non-personally identifiable information that it receives via the Internet is secure against unauthorized access.” Alas, you apparently do not consider it your responsibility to ensure that the third parties to whom you sell PII keep it as secure as you claim to do yourselves. That is rather disappointing.

I will contact [Sandvik] as you have suggested. However, if I were in your shoes, I would be extremely concerned that a third party to whom Scholastic had sold PII allowed it to be compromised, and I would consider it my responsibility to investigate the issue myself, rather than leaving the wronged (former) Scholastic customer entirely on his own.

I received no further response from Scholastic.


Bye bye Chase!

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Recall my recent letter to Chase, which ended:

As I see it, you have three options for what to do now:

  1. You can throw my letter in the trash. Result: I close my Chase account and get a new card from someone else.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Apparently they’ve chosen option 2.  Today, I applied for a new Citizens Bank Platinum MasterCard with 3% cash back on gas purchases and 1% cash back on everything else.  Once my new Citizens card arrives, I will be closing my Chase account.  I’ve also sent hard copies of this blog entry to the woman who wrote to me and to the Vice President to whom she carbon-copied her response.

The following is the text of the letter I received from Chase today, with some commentary: (more…)

One service offer from Chase, 16 problems, 3 clueless customer support representatives

Friday, October 16th, 2009

October 16, 2009

James Dimon
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.


Chase does it again (or not)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

I am not a big fan of Chase. I have blogged previously about why (see Late credit card payments: Citigroup good, Chase bad, “Bank error in your favor, collect $13,117.50.”, I just made some phone droid’s day). I continue to carry a Chase credit card only because I get cash back, it has no annual fee, and I pay off the entire balance every month, so Chase is probably losing money on me, and as far as I’m concerned it serves them right. One of the days I’ll find the time to shop around for a different cash-back card from somebody other than Chase.

Chase recently sent me an offer to open a Chase Premier One on-line bank account. They claimed that they would pay about three times the interest rate for local checking accounts, and they offered a $50 bonus for signing up for the account. I said to myself, “Hey, look, it’s another easy opportunity to stick it to Chase,” and decided to sign up for the account. I should have known better… as it turns out, of course, signing up for the account has been anything but “easy.”


Late credit card payments: Citigroup good, Chase bad

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Citigroup and Chase both offered as a deal recently where we could transfer balances to our cards issued by them and get a low interest rate until the transferred balance was paid off.  Due to either sloppiness or bank error, I managed to miss a monthly payment to both cards.  How the two banks handled the missed payment is a lesson in good customer service vs. predatory lending.


“Bank error in your favor, collect $13,117.50.”

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

In September, my Chase credit card offered me a deal — a good rate on a balance transfer with no transfer fee.  I wasn’t using the card at the time, so its full credit limit was available to me for transferring balances, and I had a pretty big balance on my home equity line, so I decide to transfer some of it over to the credit card under the offer.  I therefore wrote a check to Citizens Bank for $13,250 and sent it to them as a payment on my home equity line.

They keyed it in as $132.50.


I just made some phone droid’s day

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Chase keeps sending me these checks to get me to enroll in one of the various services they offer, like their “Chase Fraud Protector” service.  The deal is that depositing the check causes you to be enrolled in the program automatically, and then if you cancel within a month they don’t actually charge you anything.