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CONSUMER ALERT

Credit card was stolen, but Chase keeps sending bills

Q. I am hoping that you can help me with a problem that has been going on since last year. I am still receiving bills from Chase for a credit card that I reported stolen in April 2012. I have made too many calls to customer service and their supervisors being told it would be handled and taken care of. It is now January 2013, and I am still receiving bills with interest and late fee charges affecting my credit. I do not know what else to do. At the time I reported this card stolen, I paid the entire balance that was due. Somewhere along the line, Chase mistakenly took my payment and applied it to another credit card — leaving the stolen card with a balance. Thank you for any help that you can give me.

A. You have a right to be frustrated when you are continuing to try to resolve a problem for nine months. It’s pretty obvious that consumers can fall ­into cracks when dealing with big companies, particularly when your situation doesn’t fall exactly into the neat little categories most customer service folks are trained to deal with. You would think that some ­supervisor would be able to sort it all out and resolve it. Still, that clearly didn’t happen.

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So, I contacted Chase to see what could be done to get to the bottom of this and close it out once and for all. While Chase said it could not discuss your case specifically, spokesman Steve O’Halloran said, “Customer service is a top priority, and we continue to make enhancements to provide the service our customers expect and deserve.”

Good news (could it have been one of the enhancements?), your account situation is now all straightened out. There’s still some work to be done — making sure all the credit bureaus are notified by Chase that the late charges and missed payments they ­reported were not your fault. But they seem on board with that.

For others dealing with conflict with a credit card company, consider complaining to the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And remember to escalate your dealings with the company — to the CEO if need be — when you can’t overcome what seems obvious. Meanwhile, at least this conflict ended with a successful resolution.

Mitch Lipka has been helping consumers out of jams for the past two decades. He lives in Worcester and ­also writes the Consumer Alert blog on Boston.com. Mitch can be reached at ConsumerNews@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @mitchlipka.
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