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Tale of Two Refunds

Andrew Forsythe, 1:18 pm ET

A FEW DAYS AGO, I drove up to a JP Morgan Chase ATM to make a cash withdrawal. The infernal machine not only wouldn’t spit out the cash or a receipt, but also it was a struggle even to get my card back. I parked and went inside, expecting a quick resolution.

The teller told me that she could see on her computer that my account was dinged for the cash withdrawal. But she also told me that the ATMs are managed by a third-party vendor, so they couldn’t do anything to help me there at the branch. In fact, they couldn’t even hang a sign on the ATM warning that it was unavailable—even though another customer had had a similar problem earlier that day.

Instead, I was forced to go home and call Chase to report the problem. After an hour on the phone, including endless robot obstructions and a couple of disconnections, I finally got the customer claims department, where I could report the issue and initiate a claim. A few days later, I received a credit for the erroneous ATM debit.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been a customer, occasional seller and big fan of eBay since 2001. Around the same time as my Chase problem, I was having an issue with an eBay seller. There was no tracking information on my order. The seller stopped responding to messages. And then came the big one: The seller was now showing as “no longer a registered user.”

Even though my purchase was only a few days late, I decided this stunk to high heaven and I wasn’t going to wait. Unlike with Chase, there was no need to call and speak to someone. I just clicked a button to report a problem with the transaction. I requested a refund and provided a brief explanation of the problem. Ebay immediately created my “case” and then emailed me that it had been decided in my favor—13 minutes later.

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IAD
IAD
2 months ago

I can’t remember when the last time I went to an ATM was…or when I used cash last!

David Powell
David Powell
2 months ago

Ugh. Surprisingly poor service for a company of that caliber.

Andrew, I had a similar experience with an ATM that wouldn’t return a card without some persuasion. After that I started using NFC on my phone to log into my bank’s ATMs without any physical debit card. In the same way you securely present your credit or debit card when tapping your phone to pay somewhere, you can tap your phone to present your debit card at ATMs with the NFC payment logo. Enter your PIN and you’re in, with no rectangle bits of plastic at risk of a jam.

Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
2 months ago
Reply to  David Powell

David, nice tip. Thanks.

gregorit
gregorit
2 months ago

I haven’t been to an ATM in decades but your story reminds me why: High risk, low reward.

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