Beware the WaMu

wamu_logo.gifIve banked at Washington Mutual for a while now. Ive even worked on some of their internal systems while employeed in San Francisco. I really thought that they were a solid bank.

Boy oh boy was I just proved wrong.

After about 7 years they have screwed me over for the last time. For those of you who bank at WaMu, whenever you go inside the bank to do a transaction you have to swipe you debit card and enter your PIN to verify you are who you say you are. All of you information is instantly on their screens as soon as you hit the green button.

Last month (January 31), after I got paid, I went into the branch to get some money out. I would have used the ATM but I wanted hundreds. Anyways, I swipe my card, enter my pin, hand over my withdrawl slip and get my money. I didnt keep the reciept as no one ever does.

The next day I check my account online and notice nothing out of the ordinary; the $6 at Carls Jr., $5 at Starbucks, and my withdrawl from the branch transaction. My balances work out OK in their sheet and within my MS Money software.

Skip ahead to last Monday. I check my account and notice that I am in the red by several large digits. The amount is exactly the same as the oen I did a month ago and is listed as a Withdrawl Correction. I search my history and find… not what Im looking for. Carls Jr, Starbucks, but the original withdrawl was not there anymore. The transaction that was there is gone now. OK, panic mode on. As I have several credit card transactions about to go through I go to the bank in an instant (they are just at the end of the block from where I live). I ask them the standard WTF questions and they said that they made a mistake. Youre dam right you did. They said that they accidently put in the wrong account number and took the money out of someone elses account by mistake. That person came in yesterday and asked about it. Then they corrected it.

OK. Fine, they made a mistake. Then why has the transaction that was there disappeared? They said that they have no record of that ever being on my register. I give them a print out from my Money software which has the transation in question on it. They said that they cant do anything as it is not their software.

Fine. I open up my laptop right on the teller counter and pull up my account online (god bless WiFi). I show them the spot is should be. They said that there is nothing there. Then I point out that the Running Balance does not even out from the transaction. The next transaction after the Starbucks was for Borders for $15. The running balance said that it was $300. The woman didnt know what to say. The manager did though. The manager said that they will look into it and get it corrected.

Yesterday I check my account and find that it was corrected. The $15 book I bought said that $15 was taken out. Great. When she said that it would be corrected I should have guessed that it wasnt going to be in my favor.

In the end, the figures balanced out correctly as all of the transaction were reset and the $300 was officially (according to WaMu) not taken until Monday. They covered their tracks well. However, the 2 transactions that went through cause NSF fees ($27 a piece) and these were adjusted as well. Not removed as I officially had money for them, but adjusted and marked as a debit on the account. This I just found out after checking my account, hence why Im writing this article now. Tomorrow Ill go down and bitch at them for it and hopefully get my rightful $54 back.

In the meantime, Im moving my checking account to another bank I use. If anyone in the Portland Metro or Seattle Metro area is aware of First Tech Credit Union, try to get an account with them. Find a friend, marry a member, do whatever, but these guys are way better than WaMu.

And, to the person whos account the $300 was mistakenly taken out of, I ask this: If you have enough money to not notice $300 being taken out of your account, why couldnt you have just wrote if off as a bank error? The least you could have done is waited a few days until I got paid again.


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