I received a very unusual submission for moderation for the “Your Rant Here” section of the ChangeInTerms.com site (time stamped at 11:37.m. last night, October 24, 2009). The email address given by the submitter was associated with Chase.
The numerous grammatical mistakes (and end of the message) made me wonder if it was from a low level customer service representative. I have little doubt in my mind that many of these individuals are at the mercy of higher-ups at Chase, and as such must do the “dirty work” of enforcing edicts by senior executives (which is what really “jerks my chain” when I note that Gordon Smith was off lecturing on “leadership” while his employees were implementing one of the most abusive acts against customers in the history of the credit card industry).
I have researched the name of the submitter as was indicated, and I found several links that were suggestive of the individual’s role with Chase (discussed below). I do not have the ability to determine the authenticity of the submission, but I do have the right to document what has occurred. Thus, here is what was submitted:
I am just writing to let your users know why we are treating you this way.
First understand that times are hard and people are having trouble payi,ng us back what they borrowed. This is a real problem.
As a bank we are expected to make a profet for our customers that invest.
Secondly, we really have already loaned more money to Americans than we feel comfortable about.
The economy in America is just not expected to rise any time soon. The employment rate is bottoming out and this affects our buisness. If people don’t have jobs they cannot pay us back.
So the bottom line is we want people to take their buisness elsewhere. Especially those of you that are not using your cards any more.
Please just transfer your accounts to another bank and leave me alone.
First, there does appear to be a “Kelly Hanick” with Chase. On the ComplaintsBoard.com site under a post entitled “Credit Card Gouging” I found several comments referencing this individual, including some with an email address and telephone number, along with personal (i.e., home) and corporate postal mail addresses.
As an aside, the aforementioned home address was presented with the suggestion that complaints should be sent there, and while I understand the anger, I encourage site visitors to maintain the moral high ground by corresponding to Chase’s offices. (This is also why I moderate the site. This is a PG-13 site, for instance, because I will not let Chase have the upper hand by characterizing customers as a bunch of financially illiterate fools who do not have the vocabulary to do anything other than spew expletives; this would aid Chase in justifying the twisted logic that, they — customers — deserve the treatment that has been bestowed upon them. I maintain this is especially appropriate given that smooth talking executives such as Jamie Dimon seem able to seduce Congressional representatives in Washington, with their “words of wisdom.”)
Kelly also has a profile at LinkedIn.com, a snippet of which is shown in the screenshot below:
Assuming for a moment the veracity of the comment itself, and that it indeed represents the views of the “Kelly Hanick” referenced above, I will provide a response (although I have saved the notification to moderate on the site, including the IP address):
1) Yes, times are challenging. Unemployment is rising, entrepreneurs are struggling (one of the major reasons unemployment is rising), and Chase is SQUEEZING consumers and small businesses HARD at a time when they are at a tremendous disadvantage. When payments are jacked-up so high that families and small businesses cannot pay, they default. Individuals in this predicament were not planning to default; rather, they were PUSHED INTO DEFAULT, by Chase (and other banks). Banks as a whole have acted in bad faith. Yes, Kelly, “this is a real problem.”
2) I have never advocated that Chase or any businesses should not make a profit. The problem is, Chase has attempted to do so by employing unethical tactics. Where’s my “proof,” you might ask? Telling me or customers at large that adding a so-called “service charge” that “is a finance charge” would not impact a promotional APR is a lie (I’m not dancing around with other possible word-choices such as “disingenuous,” “incorrect,” or “misleading” — anyone who knows the first thing about interest and amortization knows that adding a finance charge to an existing APR increases the overall rate).
3) Relative to item 2, above, Chase did rescind the finance charge (in a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office). However, it appears to have done so under pressure while admitting no wrongdoing. (And for me, personally, the damage and repercussions were already done — I’ve addressed that further below).
4) With regard to the “economy” and “unemployment rate bottoming out”: I have been advocating for small businesses as the major contributors to the economy that they are, for years. On October 12, 2009, I just presented yet another paper based on scholarly research, and I am well aware that approximately half of very small businesses use credit cards as a source of capital (over ten million very small firms). And, as can be seen in the SBA Office of Advocacy’s most recently published FAQs
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
• Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
• Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.
• Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic
• Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).
• Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
Hence, while Chase is worried about being paid, its policies are DECIMATING (in yet another way, besides squeezing consumers to the point of defaulting), the very entrepreneurs who are our only hope for an economic recovery, not just “anytime soon,” but ever.
5) Chase has already made it abundantly clear that its wish is to have people take their business elsewhere. We got that message. Unfortunately, that’s not so easy to do, for some individuals. This is especially true after having their credit scores ruined, lines of credit slashed, and in light of a credit card industry cartel which provides few options (in good times or bad).
6) If Chase is so worried about investors and profits, then it might want to keep in mind that engendering a sentiment of fear, disgust, and loathing among customers is not an effective long-term strategy. Rather, it is a short-sighted, imbecilic tactic, which will become a “textbook case study” in how NOT to treat customers (by the time I’m finished, here).
7) The submission concludes with the remark, “and leave me alone.” (Kelly) I’m afraid I’ve already made it clear what the conditions are for that to occur. Banks want customers to read their contracts; meanwhile, READ MY TERMS, CHASE:
- If Chase Wants Peace, it Can Issue a Press Release.
- Apologize for defaming us (after the first round of change in terms notices), and continuing to disrespect account holders with a PR spin campaign which portrays us negatively before members of the media.
- Now, for me to personally “leave Chase alone,” I’ll simply suffice it to say that Chase has damaged me in several ways, including, but not limited to the following:
- I was forced to suffer penalties and fees by prematurely withdrawing from a retirement account in anticipation of making higher payments;
- I am among those that Chase defamed (making payments on time, and in many cases paying more than the minimum);
- Chase did “steal Christmas” last year;
- because I knew of no other option but to cooperate with members of the media in order to defend my family, my personal finances have now been the subject of coverage in Business Week, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets (and I do not appreciate being put in such a position by virtue of Chase’s actions and its wherewithal to take advantage of customers, who can do little else to mount a resistance);
- Chase’s actions exacerbated an already horrible set of circumstances, causing undue stress and emotional hardship for a family that has already been suffering;
- As we speak, I have just learned that a rock slide on I-40 near the TN/NC border will block off that interstate for months. I already drive 305 miles each way to and from work every week, because our house has not sold after over two years on the market (the point being, we’ve got enough problems, and we’re not alone: Chase should work with consumers and small businesses, instead of “kicking us while we’re down”);
- Chase still sends change in terms notices to my wife and household (that is a very, very, very, bad idea) — I already told you to “leave us alone,” in no uncertain terms.
Accordingly, I personally have no plans to leave Chase alone until the damages to small businesses, customers at large, me, and my wife and family have been undone and rectified (to the extent that this is even possible after all of the pain Chase has caused to its previously identified “most valued cardmembers“).
I’ll admit, it is interesting that a SVP of Customer Service* at Chase would possibly submit such a request — to be left alone. However, I regret to inform you, Kelly, or any other site visitor that “Chase drew first blood.” There is no way in hell that I’m going to simply go away “elsewhere.”
Chase shouldn’t pick fights at all, but since it chose to start one (by trying to coerce customers via unethical actions), you can all count on this, until MY TERMS and conditions are met:
I’M (STILL) COMING AFTER YOU
AND I’M NOT GOING TO LEAVE CHASE ALONE
* Noting your previous HR background, might I respectfully recommend a career change, Kelly. “Customer Service” does not really seem to be a supported organizational role at Chase. I think most interviewers would understand your “reason for leaving.”