I’m frustrated and need your help (awful Continental debit card experience)!

This afternoon at around 3PM I finally got around to going to my local Chase branch and opening up a personal and business checking account to earn a total of 50,000 miles. I did this last year and it was among the easiest 50,000 miles I’ve ever earned, so I figured this would be an easy repeat.

I got to my local Chase branch and after waiting for about 30 minutes was helped by one of the “bankers.” I handed him my printed coupon codes for both the personal and business checking accounts. Over an hour later (yes, this agent was very, very, very slow) we had both accounts opened and the agent entered the specific coupon code that needs to be entered on each account to earn the 25,000 bonus Continental miles. Everything worked fine for the personal account and he printed out the receipts indicating that I’d receive 25,000 bonus miles. He did the same for the business account (using the business account coupon code) and it returned an error message on the screen saying the code couldn’t be used. Very strange. I assumed maybe the code just wasn’t right or had somehow already been used, so I drove home in rush hour to print off two more codes (he couldn’t just print them off at the branch for “compliance” reasons). He assured me I’d just need to bring the code by and he’d enter it and it wouldn’t take more than five minutes.

I returned at around 5:45PM, 15 minutes before the bank was supposed to close, with two more coupon codes (just to be on the safe side), and he tried to enter them again, but we got the same error message. He got on the phone to ring up someone at Chase, and after a few minutes was done. He informed me that since I opened an account last August, I couldn’t open another one, as I needed to wait a year. I referred him to the terms and conditions, which clearly state:

Limit one business checking account-related premium per customer per calendar year.

Per calendar year. He agreed with me. He got back on the phone and gave them another ring. After an extended hold and lots of nodding on his part, he hung up yet again. This time he informed me I’m only entitled to one premium, so I can’t get a bonus on a personal and business account. Bull. I once again refer him to the terms and conditions for both offers, which state that only one premium is allowed per type of account (meaning one for personal and one for business). He agrees with me once again. At this point it’s after 6PM and the bank is really closed, so I’m sitting there with him, as the manager sits at the desk across tapping his fingers wanting to go home.

He calls them yet again, and I think he started to realize I wasn’t going to take crap, so he better come up with a good reason for denying me. After talking on the phone with the agent for a few minutes the agent indicated you couldn’t get two of the same premiums. I asked where it stated that, and I knew it was total BS, as hundreds (if not thousands) of FlyerTalkers, including me, have opened up both personal and business checking accounts and gotten 50,000 miles. Anyway, after he faxed the agent the offer I had and argued on the phone for a while, he came back and said they couldn’t honor the promotion and there was absolutely nothing they could do.

He said if I wanted to close down the account I’d have to go back tomorrow, as the bank was closed for the night. Talk about brilliant customer service. Denying a customer an offer without any sort of explanation. Lovely. And I was actually planning on making Chase my primary bank this time around. But not so much anymore.

Any thoughts? Kind of tough to argue when they insist there’s nothing they can do, despite not providing a good reason for the denial. Do I just cancel my business account tomorrow? Go to a different branch instead? Anyone encountered a similar situation?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Last fall I was unfortunately the first one this particular branch had ever seen coming in with this offer so I spent nearly 2 hours training them on it and having to explain to the flunky I was working with and then of course her manager about the precise details of the offer. (“No, a direct deposit is NOT required,” …etc.) and even then they had to call their head office for verification. Quite an ordeal but not that bad considering it was just about worth a trip to Europe.
    As to your situation, you just got an unlucky draw. I would definitely just find another branch and try it again. 25,000 miles is worth it I think.
    This is maybe a good reason to always do the personal account online and then you don’t have to worry about the hassle of doing 2 in person.

  2. I’m eagerly monitoring this situation…I opened a personal and biz account in December and (once those miles post) am planning to do the same in 2010. If it happens to me I’ll likely try another branch. Good luck!

    Also, thanks for the Costco / Hyatt certificate tip. I’m going to get 1K worth as soon as I can confirm they are accepted in China.

    -Chontz

  3. from frg ricks blog:

    #4 Continental 25,000 Miles for Checking and Debit. Personal and Business Offers now Available

    Use this link to get your unique coupon code for this simple personal offer. Offer now expires 6/30/10. I have always been successful within the lower priced debit card and in the new terms and conditions they state it is OK with the lower priced debit card. They typical run one personal and one business account promotion per year. CO miles never expire. You must refresh your browser for a new coupon code. If you do not have a Chase branch nearby you can sign up by calling this national number: 1-800-935-9935 or Chad or Stephanie in Ft. Collins at 970-377-9599 to open a personal account only.

    UPDATE Here is a link for the business debit card. Don’t forget to refresh the coupon

    http://frugaltravelguy.blogspot.com/

  4. Hey Lucky- I had the exact same problem. Since I work in IT at a financial institution, I pushed a little harder. They opened a ticket with 3rd level support and after a bunch of calls over about 4 weeks, I was told that even though the coupon said “calendar year” they would not honor that and instead would only honor “once per social security number.” I politely asked for the contact information for the legal department and informed them I would file a suit against them in small claims court. I thought that might do it, but still no response so I might actually have to make good on my threat and take them to court for the cost of the miles at whatever exorbitant price continental sells miles for.

  5. Chase has pushed back on me too, indicating that they cannot open a business account if I do not live in the state of the branch…There are no branches where I live! I think they clearly are cutting back on these type of promos for the Frequent flyer types….remember financial institutions are the next target in the current environment.

  6. I would suggest opening it online. I haven’t had too great of an experience with chase customer service before either. When I opened the continetal debit card online it didn’t ask for my OnePass account number. I emailed CS and the response was he added it to my account, but to reconfirm after I made qualifying purchases. A few emails later I’m getting mixed responses from the team saying that it’s credited to the chase account and no onepass number is needed. Blah blah blah.

  7. at chris #7,

    I am an attorney (Intellectual Property Law) admitted in NY but living in Pa and working internationally. I have a NY based chase business acct (several, in fact). Never had a problem, though the do want to see “business papers” such as incorporation or other filings and tax ids.

    I also have a Wachovia business account with a DC routing number and address.

    That excuse might sound good, but it is garbage.

  8. Lucky, just wait a week, and we will have a FT’er as a Personal Banker with them, who would definitely work to get you your promo over all that, if not get you an even better promo.

  9. I had experienced this, check your coupon code and look in google. You must have same coupon code from last year that you used? the first six characters must not be the same from what you used last year. Google this and you will find 2 versions of coupon for business.

  10. I would try another braanch and talk to a VP or PRes of the bank if necessary, or I would cancel the account and talk with mowogo’s friend whom will work with Chase in the future.

  11. The coupon I printed has a footnote that says “Chase reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time without notice. Attempts to ean multiple premiums may be voided by Chase, at its discretion.. ”

    That might give them 2 outs.

  12. Chase has intrepreted for others the day the pay the bonus as the calendar year. did you receive all your points for both promos in 2009 or did some of them post in 2010?” If you 2009 biz card promo posted in 2010, that will be their next line of argument

  13. I’m considering taking up this offer for the first time. Question: How long do you keep the accounts open? Have any of you closed the account shortly after getting the miles? I wouldn’t use the Chase account as my primary account, so I’m not really interested in maintaining a direct deposit or 5 debit card transactions a month to avoid the account fee. Thanks for any advice!

  14. @Jeff, a Chas csr told me the account needs to stay open for 6 months to receive the bonus offer.

  15. Thanks for all the feedback, folks! Both premiums posted last year, so it’s not that anything posted this year.

    @ Ann — That’s VERY interesting. Do all six digits have to be different, or just one or two of the first six digits? Might make another quick run to the bank…

  16. My suggestion…

    Send a letter to Chase customer service with a cc to their legal department (fax is best). If you don’t hear back or can’t resolve to your satisfaction, repeat a couple of months later however also send a copy to legal certified mail. Repeat a third time a few months after this. You have now given them ample time to resolve the matter.

    File a claim in small claims court. I’d suggest that you file for an amount equal to the value the 50,000 points would entitle you to towards a tickets. So if for example a first class ticket to europe costs $12k and 120k points file for $5,000.

    When you finally hear from Chase (and you will) explain the situation calmly and offer to settle for the miles plus your filing and serving costs. If they refuse go to court.

    Be prepared to show documents and be able to prove they are from the website, are genuine and the date printed. Carefully lay out your argument.

    You would probably sue from breach of contract. Do some research so you understand the meaning of offer, acceptance and compensation so you can assert you had a binding contract (offer is pretty clear, acceptance could be you went to open the account and compensation might be the time you invested but think it through).

    You might try and assert fraud, but that gets complex on the other hand a California court just allowed punitive damages for the first time in a case that didn’t involve personal injury which is a big deal. The fraud could be that they knowingly made the offer with no intention of keeping it. You could assert that if they continued to post the offer after telling you it wasn’t valid as written without changing it to what it really was so make sure to give them notice of the alleged fraud, when you write them. I doubt they will be aware of the California case so they will probably dismiss your assertion as coming from someone without much knowledge, but you could hold it in reserve. I certainly wouldn’t discuss the matter as part of any discussion over a settlement.

    Enjoy. These guys think they can make offers they don’t intend to keep or be sloppy and change the rules and no one will call them on it. Fortunately its easy to prove them wrong. That is why we have small claims courts.

    And class action lawsuits.

  17. Well, I am not surprised as I am still trying to get half of the 50k CO miles for doing this last year. Back and forth with the Resolution team and last vm he left me was to call CO!!!!!!Yikes, back on the phone again Monday am…By the time I get the second 25k I may be dead or the company bankrupt or merged:-)

  18. Here’s the 2 business bonus certificate that you can use, both have the same expiration June 30, but then they have different link…

    https://www.chase.com/index.jsp?pg_name=ccpmapp/shared/marketing/page/Continental_Consumer_9938

    example coupon code:
    3678339000269442

    https://www.chase.com/index.jsp?pg_name=ccpmapp/shared/marketing/page/businessCoup&ID=0000009898

    example coupon code
    Coupon Code: 3546852000348103

    grab the one that you haven’t use above.

    good luck!

  19. Lucky, I had exactly the same problem with my business account (as well as my family members accounts) . You need to have your banker to call their marketing department and they will push it through with a special overwrite code.
    Good luck.

  20. @Ann and @Lucky – the solution that Ann presented will not solve our problem. The difficulty is that our social security numbers are already tagged as not being allowed to even attempt to enter a coupon code on the “personal banker’s” system. Therefore, even if we have another code, there will not be anywhere to enter it.

    Since I work in IT for a bank, the personal banker let me see the entire process on his screen. The coupon code field is “greyed out” and won’t let you enter anything, and has a side note showing the account# and date from when I opened my first business account.

    In my department we would have someone manually edit the SQL tables on the back end, but Chase doesn’t seem to be willing to do that. Since this is a flaw in how the software was coded, I don’t see any other solution.

    Thanks for the suggestion though.

  21. Well i opened my business checking last Dec 2009. I opened my new business checking March 30.

    Now, I don’t have the new miles on my account posted yet but i was able to open it at a branch here at UT.

    I even have the receipt of the bonus miles — Tracking number. As what Richard Ingersoll said earlier they might say that i had my bonus miles this year posted for business but at least i have something to show them that they did allow me to enroll. And i can go to the branch for them to follow it up for me.

    No harm in trying. 25,000 miles is 25,000 miles. I should have waited for the mileathon but then they just extended it the day i applied for the offer.

    again, good luck!

  22. I signed up for this promo several days ago. The banker I had wasn’t very good either. My boyfriend signed up for the same deal at another bank and his guy gave him all these papers confirming the miles, whereas my guy did not.

    One thing I haven’t seen anyone mention about this offer is that you have to make 5 or more non-PIN transactions with the debit cards every month or you are charged a small fee. (I believe this may be waived for 3 months for the business card only.)

    One of the accounts (I forget which one) says in the fine print that you must keep it open a minimum of 6 months.

    It’s going to be a PITA to have to remember to make 5 purchases with both cards every month.

  23. I posted on flyertalk about this just a few weeks ago. Here’s that:

    My husband and I each opened a personal and business account at a branch last weekend. I had done both last summer and he had done both last fall. Mine went fine, but when the banker went in to redeem the coupon for my husbands business account it didn’t work. She got into a huge arguement with me over the meaning of ‘calendar year’ (from the T&C’s). I spent a long time trying to point out the fact that a calendar goes from January to December and she insisted it just meant 12 mos. She was obviously wrong, but she wouldn’t budge and I wouldn’t give up. She eventually agreed to speak with her manager on monday. She finally called me back and said that the reason the system wouldn’t take the coupon code was that even though it was a different code from the account opened last fall it had the same first 7 digits, which the computer recognized as the same promotion even though it is a different calendar year. When I pulled up a new coupon code from the links here on FT and tried refreshing I always came up with the same first 7 digits. I finally did a google search and came up with a coupon with a different first 7 digits. Sent her an e-mail, she input it, and we are on our way to another 50k miles!

  24. @kelly–if you didn’t get the coupon receipts then you’re probably not going to see the bonus miles … i did this promo for the first time on 10th march 2010 and got both bonuses credited (-2,500 that’s supposed to come from continental, according to the coupon receipt for the 15000 bonus) were credited to my onepass account on the 29th of march. there’s quite a bit more time before they have to have credited everything so i’m in good shape.

    it’s easy for me to get five debit transactions per month–my office cafeteria takes cards, starbucks takes cards for small purchases, …

  25. Thanks Henry…. I scanned the sheets that my boyfriend got from HIS banker confirming the extra miles and just emailed them to MY banker telling him I need them for my accounts…. I think my guy is going to be clueless. not cool.

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