I have had this savings account with ING without much incident for years. Yesterday (11/17/08) I called to link up a new checking account with this account. I was asked 4 security questions (not the ones I set up but ones based on information they pull from public records such as your credit report). 2 of the 4 question were regarding people I did not know. Other 2, I was confident I answered correctly. Next thing I know, the rep told me "Based on your answers, you no longer qualify to do business with ING and we will close your account".
The money? Well I had a good sum saved up in there. They told me I will have absolutely no access to it until their "investigation" is complete in 60 days. The thing was I needed part of that money to pay off a loan which was coming due before 60 days. I tried to escalate my issue and offered everything I possibly could to expedite their "investigation".
1. (Me) Can you ask me other personal information that I can verify? (ING) NO
2. (Me) Can i send you copies of my government issued ID or other forms of identification? (ING) No.
3. (Me) Can i show up at your branch and verify my identity in person? (ING) No.
Basically, for no good reason at all, ING decided they will hijack my money for 60 days. The real suspicious thing about this whole incident is this - I was told by their rep yesterday that I am acting suspicious and they cannot believe that I am the account holder. Therefore they will place a security block on my account. So why did they NOT ALERT the real account holder (which is me) to the fact that there has been this security breach and the account had to be frozen??? I received no phone calls or emails alerting me to this security issue.
Today, after calling them back twice, trying to reason with them, pointing out holes in their argument, letting them know I am pursuing all options available as a consumer to resolve this issue (including filing a formal complaint with the Office of Thrift Supervision, State of Delaware, and my state representative) - they suddenly agreed to wire my money out to another checking account I already had linked to their savings account.
I believe ING is abusing anyone who trips on the security questions to unreasonably deny access to their money. Do people sometimes get their security questions wrong? YES. Do people sometimes have erroneous information on their credit report? YES. Does that mean the bank can use this as an excuse to deny me access to my own money? NO!!! I've had a similar experience with Washington Mutual. With them, I was able to walk down to the branch and get everything resolved within 24 hours.
I am officially done with these online banks that do not interact with you face to face. You know, it's just a lot harder for people to screw you when they have to look you in the face.