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

By | November 22, 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 called the bank and asked them to fix it.  They did, and shortly afterwards, the $132.50 payment on my home equity line disappeared and was replaced by a $13,250 payment.  I assume that they resubmitted the check to Chase as well.

It’s been a month and a half since then, and Chase still thinks I wrote a check for $132.50.  That is, the amount by which my home equity line was reduced is $13,117.50 larger than the amount which my credit card has been billed.

I tried by telephone today to get through to someone at Chase who might be able to fix the problem.  After being bounced around a few times and waiting on hold for quite a while, I was finally told by someone in their “specialist services department” that they were going to have to assign the case to their “correspondence department,” from whom I would be receiving a letter in 7-10 days.  I asked if it might not be faster for me to simply send them a letter, and I was told that if I wrote to Chase through their Web site, it would end up going to the right people.

This morning, I sent a letter to them them through their Web site explaining what had happened and asking them to fix it.

I got back this answer: “Unfortunately we are unable to make any changes to the balance transfer once it’s been processed. The only option you have is to process another transfer check.”

Here’s what I wrote back:

I think you missed the point.

I’m telling you that you’ve paid me $13,117.50 for which you haven’t billed me. I don’t need to do another balance transfer — I already have the money. If you would prefer not to correct the error, and thus lose $13,117.50 and all the interest that would accrue on it if you billed me for it properly, that’s your choice. It’s no longer my problem, now that I’ve notified you about it.

We’ll see what happens.

Did you know that bank errors in your favor are considered income and you are required to report and pay taxes on them?

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

  1. marilyn casanave

    Wells Fargo Bank, Tucson Rincon Branch, erroneously deducted the amount of my rent payment for billing by Tucson Electric. This payee receives a written check and transforms it to an electric check which is sent to the bank for payment. Noting the error on the 8th of this month, I immediately notified Wells Fargo of the error and was told that it should be corrected in 3 business days. I called Tucson Electric to see what they had recorded as my payment; it was correct; they were notified that Wells Fargo made payment credit to them for $640 rather than $50.62 which they had recorded as paid in full. Call to Wells Fargo on Tuesday, 6-12-07 to see when I might expect to see the correction, resulted in speaking to a number of bank employees who first, could not find any record of my call, reported that no claim had been made and finally that they were checking on it and had, in fact, reversed the $24 OD charge they’d made. Each individual was keen on reporting that the fault lay in an outside source that had to be contacted for correction. In the interim, the bank is making interest on my overpayment and delaying refund to me.

  2. jik Post author

    No balance transfer fee, and they claim that the rate on the $13,117.50 charge is 4.99%, although this month’s statement doesn’t make that completely obvious, so I won’t know for certain until next month’s statement arrives. In any case, it appears for the time being that everything is straightened out.

    They sent me a copy of the check. It turns out that this whole debacle is at least in part my fault, since I wrote “13250” in the digits box on the check, when I probably should have written “13250.00”. I did write “Thirteen thousand two hundred fifty” below that, but of course checks nowadays are processed either by computers or by droids who don’t bother to read the written out amount, so it’s not surprising that it was keyed in wrong the first time.

  3. jik Post author

    They finally put a charge on my account for the missing $13,117.50. I’m waiting for my next statement to arrive to find out whether they charged a balance transfer fee on it or set it at the wrong interest rate. If so, I’ll have to complain again, I suppose.


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