Chase Bank closed my account, retracted my bonus

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Jan 9, 2019
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#1
Within the last two weeks, Chase Bank closed all my accounts due to unspecified "suspicious activity" on one of my Chase credit cards. Among the accounts closed is a checking account opened over 5 months ago.
I received a 300 dollar opening bonus for this account after meeting requirements. There is a condition that the account remain open for six months, otherwise Chase will take back the bonus money.
I've been informed by two Chase representatives via phone, and by one in person, that Chase will take back the 300 dollars since they are closing the account before the six-month anniversary.
Although it is well within their rights to close my account, it seems wrong for them to use that as an excuse to take money which I already earned. I have done all I can to satisfy the conditions and would gladly leave the account open. I don't think that their closure of my account, due to something unrelated to this checking account, should enable them to take back the bonus money.
 

Neil Maley

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Staff Member
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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
What is the suspicious activity they are taking action for and is it a legitimate issue? That’s what you should be fighting if they are wrong.

The $300 is their money and if whatever you did on your credit card affected any checking account requirements, they are within their rights.

We need the full story to be able to tell you if you have a case or not. And if you can provide us to a link to the terms and conditions of the $300 we can read it as well.
 
Jan 9, 2019
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#3
They refuse to elaborate, all the reps I spoke with said it is an internal decision, and that the department that deals with such things does not talk to customers. In fact, a branch manager told me that she herself would not be told what the reason for the closure is if she asks.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#5
Did you happen to buy a lot of Amazon gift cards? I'm just trying to come up with some reason Chase would cancel all of your accounts.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jan 9, 2019
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#8
Like Neil I am puzzled why you are focussing on the lost bonus and don't seem to be concerned about the suspicious activity.
Thanks all for your replies. I looked at the letter from Chase again, and the term they used was "unexpected activity" and not "suspicious activity". Sorry for the error..
I have not bought any Amazon gift cards, but I have made a lot of purchases from Amazon. However, it wasn't an unusual amount relative to prior months.
I am focusing on the bonus rather than the closure because I don't think they need a reason to close my accounts. Taking back the bonus, which they had already deposited in my account, is an actual loss to me and something for which I think I have a valid claim.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Do you credit card churn for points, buy a lot of money orders, do any “manufactured spending”? Chase has been cracking down on that.

Chase still has a $300 bonus promotion with the following disclaimer

“Account Closing: If the checking account is closed by the customer or Chase within six months after opening, we will deduct the bonus amount at closing.”

https://www.chase.com/personal/checking/chase-checking-coupon.html#disclaimer1
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#11
Well, Sam, you've run into the infamous "Chase syndrome". Chase has been on a tear to eat American Express' lunch for several years with credit cards and checking/savings accounts. They seem to be striving to be THE bank for all of us. So far, I am very happy with Chase and all my cards and checking/savings accounts and all the lovely bonuses. I think their Ultimate Rewards is the best thing ever. But the bloggers I follow have repeatedly done stories on how Chase is not to be trifled with. I don't do anything wild and crazy with my accounts, but apparently lots of people do.

However, my husband signed up for a new InterContinental Chase Visa months ago, and before the card arrived, we got a letter stating "suspicious (or something like that) activity" and they were closing the account. We called, we got a fraud person on the phone, we went round and round for several days. She never would tell us what the problem was. And, really, what problem could there be with a card we hadn't even received yet? We told her to just cancel the account; my husband was really annoyed. About a year later, we applied again, got the card and the bonus and everything is fine. So you will perhaps never know "what" happened, but follow my colleagues' advice and see if you can get them to reopen everything. It's worth a shot ... $300 is nothing to sneeze at.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#13
Accounts are not normally closed because of ‘unusual activity.’ Those accounts are usually assigned a new account number, PIN, etc. One year we had three different account numbers assigned to our NFCU VISA card. It was difficult to deal with. Sometimes all of our recurring charges were just transferred to the new number and sometimes we had to do it ourselves.
Unusual activity used to mean that someone else was using your card in a fraudulent way.
I can only guess that they must think you are somehow part of the fraud activity.
I have experienced the ‘we can’t tell you who or where the activity occured’ Line. It is frustrating.
I’m not sure there is anything you can do but contacting the FCRA (Fair Credit Reportig Act)website might be an avenue. They might be able to help you with your rights in regard to Chase closing your account with no information.
This act can’t look good on your credit reports.
Oops, they are probably not there due to govnerment being ‘closed.’
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#15
Yes, I agree - write as suggested by Neil. I wrote Chase about one year ago re: a fairly inconsequential issue and had a response almost immediately, plus a follow up call and then a letter via snail mail asking if I had been satisfied with their response, etc. It was the most activity and response over something that was a simple question (not even an inquiry about my account or any account) that I've ever experienced - so, who knows, maybe you will reach someone who can shed light on your situation.

I do know that when any of my cards over the years had to be killed due to fraud, they will not ever tell someone the results of their investigation about the fraud. They will simply close that card and issue a new card.

I don't have a clue what "unexpected activity" might be - if nothing else, maybe you will learn what they mean by that and it will help you understand what occurred.

As ever, keep your email simple (as advised by this website). Personally, I would never accept my accounts being closed without any explanation whatsoever. It is entirely different than a card being shut down due to fraud.

This is a mysterious situation and one I would be concerned could have longer term unexpected consequences as mentioned above. If you have written here absolutely everything you know, then I can't imagine not being more concerned about their actions re: your accounts.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
Yes, I agree - write as suggested by Neil. I wrote Chase about one year ago re: a fairly inconsequential issue and had a response almost immediately, plus a follow up call and then a letter via snail mail asking if I had been satisfied with their response, etc. It was the most activity and response over something that was a simple question (not even an inquiry about my account or any account) that I've ever experienced - so, who knows, maybe you will reach someone who can shed light on your situation.

I do know that when any of my cards over the years had to be killed due to fraud, they will not ever tell someone the results of their investigation about the fraud. They will simply close that card and issue a new card.

I don't have a clue what "unexpected activity" might be - if nothing else, maybe you will learn what they mean by that and it will help you understand what occurred.

As ever, keep your email simple (as advised by this website). Personally, I would never accept my accounts being closed without any explanation whatsoever. It is entirely different than a card being shut down due to fraud.

This is a mysterious situation and one I would be concerned could have longer term unexpected consequences as mentioned above. If you have written here absolutely everything you know, then I can't imagine not being more concerned about their actions re: your accounts.
A quick search of “unexpected activity” “Chase” and “account closed” tends to turn up people who used their credit cards to buy large gift card purchases (ie thousands of dollars, not the $50 card for a friend), or reloading prepaid cards, buying high value money orders— these are tactics of manufactured spending and churning— being a victim of fraud is not the same.

I am not implying that the OP did any of the above, but one can see that Chase has taken a hard line for years.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#17
Hey @Sam93 - watch out.
I just got a 1099 for the $300 I earned last November which calls the funds ‘Interest Income’.
And here I was thinking it was a Gift.
Hopefully they won’t be sending one to you after retracting the $300.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
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#18
Hey @Sam93 - watch out.
I just got a 1099 for the $300 I earned last November which calls the funds ‘Interest Income’.
And here I was thinking it was a Gift.
Hopefully they won’t be sending one to you after retracting the $300.
This would never be a gift. Miles would be a gift but not real money.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 3, 2018
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#19
If it is interest income, then the revocation would be an early withdrawal penalty and would be deductible (line 30, does not require itemizing but does require the long form 1040).