E*Trade Bank: Poor Customer Service?

Okay, so this has nothing to do with IT Conversations or perhaps anything else that interests you, but maybe blogging it will at least make me feel better. đŸ™‚

I’ve got an account with E*Trade bank, and I send deposits in by mail. I just noticed that none of the deposits I’ve sent in since late December 2004 have been credited, and I also just figured out why. They give you these postage-paid deposit envelopes that fit into the box of checks. The problem is, if you put a check and deposit slip into the envelope and fold it where it’s creased, the flap covers the postal address. Turns out, you’re expected to re-fold the envelope at a different point so the flap is shorter. Since it’s a pre-paid envelope, I never bothered to notice that the address isn’t visible. There’s all sorts of stuff on the envelope, and at first glance all looks well. (When I showed it to my wife, I had to point out the problem.)

Tomorrow I’ll try to get the sources to stop payment and re-issue the checks. That should be straightforward unless something else went wrong. I have no idea why the post office hasn’t found at least one envelope and opened it up. The checks have my address as well as the sources’. And there’s a deposit slip with E*Trade Bank’s address, too.

But here’s the stinker: It turns out that E*Trade Bank has known about this problem for some time. I’m not the first one to complain! So I asked the poor service rep why the bank hadn’t sent out a recall notice to eveyone who received these bogus envelopes? Of course, it wasn’t his decision, so he could only play dumb. He said that I wouldn’t be docked for any stop-payment charges (than you very much), but I asked, “What about the interest?” These are fairly large checks.

Since they knew about the problem and know (or should know) who received these bogus envelopes, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t inform their customers ASAP. Customer-relations 101 teaches you that one. Strange management style, I guess. It’s particularly strange since they need to convince customers that it’s safe to do business by mail instead of going to a local branch of a traditional bank and getting a receipt for the deposit. I think I’m now in that cateogry. These guys are going to have to work hard to keep my business.

If you’ve got an E*Trade Bank account, check those envelopes and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

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