Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Chase Bank: "your account is considered abandoned". Say what?

You can't make up stuff like this.

I have an account with Chase Bank. I logged in last night to check on a matter and noticed that my previous log in was 12/21/15, less than three months before. Keep that in mind.

Yesterday, March 15, 2016, I received a PAPER letter from Chase Bank dated March 7, 2016. It states in part:

Service Center: 1-800-935-9935

Your account is in danger of being transferred to the state. Please contact us immediately.

Please act quickly ...

... Under New York law your account is considered "abandoned" because there has been no activity (deposits, withdrawals, etc.) for some time. As a result, we must transfer your balance of $... to the state's unclaimed property division.

You can stop the transfer of your money to the tate - but you must act now

- completing the enclosed ... form ... and returning it to us by 04/07/2016
- making a routine monetary transaction ... deposit or withdrawal at a branch ...


Mark Gamble
Senior Vice President
Chase Telephone Banking

The address on the letter is in San Antonio, Texas. I thought that was a nice touch, collecting for New York State from Texas. Adds to the utter stupidity of this.

Apparently an online log in does not count as activity. One can only wonder what is meant by "etc." when it seems only two actions ("deposit or withdrawal at a branch") matter. Very 1980s.

Since the letter from Mark Gamble must have sat in the Chase Bank mail room for several days, Mark Gamble has effectively given me only three weeks to save my account. Mark Gamble must be an idiot.

There was no digital communication, despite the fact that I have an active online account with Chase Bank. There was no message buried in my inbox at NOTHING. Just a PAPER letter. One letter. No prior warning or indication of any kind. Nice, huh? The letter was the one and only notice. There was nothing in it that indicated, hey, we've sent you umpteen messages. No, just this one.

And what the heck is "for some time"? How the heck much time? Last night I tried to check. The New York State website was useless except for the happy state comptroller supplying information on how someone can get their confiscated money back but not the parameters for how the money can be taken. I looked elsewhere and sent this email message to the state:

from: Ken
cc: David Buchwald <>

date:Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 9:56 PM
subject:New York Unclaimed Property Rules & Time Limits

Five years? Is that the limit on bank accounts? ​What am I a mind reader? There was no prior warning to the absurd letter I received today from Chase bank.

Today, I received a PAPER (good thing I wasn't traveling) letter stating that my savings account would be considered abandoned April 7 if I did not take action.

I logged into my Chase account less than three months ago and again today. 

Even if I did not withdraw or deposit, why doesn't online access constitute activity? ​And why didn't I get more than three weeks notice? What the heck is that?

My New York State income tax has been filed regularly and paper letters from Chase bank are not returned. Why presume abandonment?

I ended with my full name, address and phone number.

Auto Reply:

date:Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 9:56 PM
subject:Re: New York Unclaimed Property Rules & Time

Important mainly because it was sent directly to you.

Thank you for contacting the New York State Comptroller's Office of
Unclaimed Funds.  Your email is important to us and will be responded to by
one of our Communication Center Representatives as soon as possible.  Due
to the increased number of e-mails being received, response time may take 2
- 3 weeks.  Thank you for your patience.


Three weeks. Gee, that's how long Chase Bank gave me. Suppose I was travelling, maybe to somewhere with no Chase branches. Maybe to Phoenix, AZ to attend the baseball analytics conference. If I retuned after April 7 I would have had no idea that my Chase Bank account had been turned over to New York State.

But wait, there's more. Last night I found that my "abandoned" account was missing when I logged in at What I could still see were two other accounts, which I share with another person. I then exchanged messages last night with a Chase person and was told that my account is:

currently in a "dormant" status due to inactivity.

To reactivate your account, visit your nearest Chase 
branch. If you're unable to visit a Chase branch please 
reply to this message or call us at the phone number 
below. We may need to send you additional information by 
U.S. Mail to complete this request.


Dormant and abandoned. My logging in last night made no difference.

I'll mail back the paper letter, which requires my signature, so it could not have been handled by another.

I'll also withdraw $20 from an ATM later.

I'll call and vent.

And I'll send the link for this post to:

And hope that the New York State legislature and Comptroller will fix this mess for all of us.

Note: I dumped Chase about 15 years ago as my primary bank because of unprofessional junk like this. I just spoke to a Chase person. She could not find Mark Gamble as an employee. Hopefully, Mark Gamble was fired.  Unfortunately, try as she might, nothing couid be resolved on the phone. My ONLY options are those in the PAPER letter;
- mail to San Antonio, TX the Chase form with my signature
- withdraw or deposit money at a Chase ATM.

Chase can/will NOT restore the online link from my account to the joint accounts until its status as abandoned and dormant is rectified.  Argh!

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