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On the whole, I’m a fan of Chase. I’ve never really had any problems with the bank and I’m a big fan of a number of its travel-related credit cards which I’m very happy to hold. Just recently, however, I’ve had one small but annoying issue with Chase that I thought I’d share.
I’m currently “sheltering in place” in the UK so the majority of the transactions I make using my US-issued credit cards are being processed in British Pounds but, as I spend almost half my time on this side of the pond, this is something I’m more than used to dealing with and, on the whole, it hasn’t ever really caused an issue.
On 30 April I made an online purchase totaling £2,140 and, 1 hour and 19 minutes later, the same vendor issued me with a refund of £214 (this was a 10% discount that was omitted from the original order). Both transactions were made on my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.
A few days later both transactions appeared in my Chase online account:
As I’m a little OCD when it comes to my credit card spending I keep a spreadsheet of all my transactions which automatically shows me the rates at which all my foreign currency spending is converted…and something stood out.
- £2,140 – converted at 1.2644 = $2,705.82
- £214 – converted at 1.2423 = $265.85
Considering these two transactions took place just 79 minutes apart, these conversion rates are surprisingly different. More importantly (to me), neither rate was in my favor – the cost was converted at a higher rate than the refund.
I’m well aware that transactions are not necessarily processed on the day they actually take place and, in this case, even though the transaction appears as a 30 April transaction online (the date I made the purchase and received the refund), further investigation shows that both transactions posted on 1 May.
If both transactions were made on the same day and if both transactions were processed on the same day and if the transactions took place just 79 minutes apart, why is there a difference in exchange rates?
I checked the official Visa Exchange rate calculator to see what rates Visa was using on the days in question and these were the results:
- 30 April – 1.248898751
- 1 May – 1.264398736
This helps…but only a little.
My larger transaction appears to have been converted at the rate on 1 May while my smaller transaction (the refund) appears to have been converted at the rate on 30 April…but how is this possible considering the smaller transaction took place over an hour after the larger one?
There are two ways to look at this:
- Both transactions took place early enough to be processed using the 30 April conversion rate, in which case I’ve been overcharged by $47.30.
- Both transactions took place too late to be processed on the 30 April so the 1 May conversion rate was used. In this case, I’m only out a highly inconsequential $4.74.
Logic would dictate that if the second transaction was made early enough to be converted at the lower rate in place on 30 April (which it was) then the first transaction should be converted at that rate too but, right now, that’s not my main issue with Chase.
My issue with Chase is that it has been entirely unhelpful ever since I asked for an explanation.
The first response I got from the bank only proved that whoever looked at my secure message hadn’t been able to grasp the simple issue at hand – I got a reply telling me that the merchant hadn’t overcharged me. They may as well have told me that the sun sets in the west!
All of Chase’s subsequent responses have essentially said the same thing – “this has nothing to do with us, call Visa and discuss it with them.”
That’s simply not good enough.
As I’ve pointed out to the bank, I don’t have a direct relationship with Visa but I do have a $495/year direct relationship with it courtesy of my Sapphire Reserve Card so, as far as I’m concerned, it’s up to Chase to deal with Visa and to give me an explanation of what’s going on.
Since when are customers expected to deal with middlemen with whom they have no direct connection? Would a retailer expect me to deal with a courier company if something they sent me was damaged in transit? Of course not.
This really, really annoys me.
If Chase had come back to me and said “we’ve looked into it and discussed the matter with Visa and discovered that, due to the difference in the size of the transactions, one took longer to process than the other and so the conversion rates are correct” (or if they came up with some other plausible explanation) I’d probably have accepted it and moved on (even though it still wouldn’t explain why both transactions show as having posted on the same date). But telling me that it’s not their problem and that it’s up to me to figure things out with their processing company is like a red rag to a bull.
All Chase had to do was to appear reasonable and to provide a bit of customer service but, now that that’s clearly not happening, I’m going to keep escalating this until someone takes ownership and gives me a proper answer. It may be a colossal waste of my time but I’m taking a little solace from the fact that I’m wasting Chase’s time too.
Has anyone else had bad or annoying experiences with Chase customer services recently?