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WaMu Gave Grandma's Money to Crooks

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New York Times Reporting on ICT

The article appeared on May 21, 2007.

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Monday, March 27, 2006
WaMu's response to my letter
Below is the response my grandmother received last week from Andrew Samuel, Quality Service Manager, to my letter to Fay Chapman, Senior Executive Vice-President and General Counsel. I apologize for not providing a larger, better quality image for those who wish to read, but I tried to conserve bandwidth as much as possible. Click on the image for an enlarged version of the letter.

A summary of the contents:

1. Washington Mutual accepts no responsibility for the protection of its customer's account.

2. The two phone-authorized checks we cashed against your account were valid "negotiable instruments" according to what is defined as a "demand draft" in Uniform Commercial Code 3104. Under this code, any check presented by a third party under your "purported authority" will be cashed.

3. A demand draft can be authorized by nothing more than one of our customers stating yes and confirming the city in which their account is held.

4. Washington Mutual's Forgery Department's responsibility is to place as much liability as possible on our customers. The Forgery Department is "very familiar" with telemarketing companies such as the one that defrauded you, yet Washington Mutual still unquestionly processes checks from them.

5. Washington Mutual is no different than other financial institution in accepting checks of this nature.

I give Washington Mutual and Mr. Samuel credit on two counts:

1. He wrote out a personally signed letter within 2 weeks of receiving my letter.

2. He answered each of the questions I raised.

I'm not satisfied by the response. In fact, I'm even more outraged by the grounds upon which Washington Mutual defends their acceptance of these checks. And his letter raises as many questions as it answers.

Mr. Samuel provides a phone number: 1-800-225-5497, option 2. I am going to write down my questions and contact him sometime in the coming week.

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comments:

they won't "correspond with someone who is not on the account in question" but they will accept a check from them. perfect!
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