Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Caveat Emptor -- ING Direct

ING Direct – Let the Buyer Beware

Here is a my very unpleasant experience with ING Direct.

ING Direct, a U.S. branch of ING Group based in the Netherlands, advertises on its web site,, if a customer refers a friend to open an “Orange Savings Account” or an “Electric Orange” account with $250 or more, the friend would get $25 and the existing customer would get $10.

I referred someone to open an account at ING Direct but never received my $10. It is not the $10 that caused me to post this blog, it is the principle and the false advertisement on ING Direct part.

Here is the story:
When the referree got the invitation from me, she was ready to open an account. But the disclosure statement about the Savings Account mentions terms pertaining to an Orange CD account. Concerned that her money might actually end up in a CD, she called ING Direct. The ING agent told her the Orange Savings Account is not a CD and assured her her funds would be liquid. The ING agent proceeded to tell her that an Orange CD account pays at a higher interest rate. When tasked about the $25 bonus, the agent told the referree she wouldn’t get the $25 bonus unless she opens an Orange Savings Account. That was fine and dandy. But the agent continued to tell the referree she should open an Orange CD right away to lock in the interest rate and could open an Orange Savings Account afterwards and still get the bonus. She did.

She opened an Orange CD to lock in the interest rate and then tried to open an Orange savings account later that same day but could not. Another phone call ended with the assurance that only one account can be opened a day and that she should open the Savings after the CD is assured. In the meantime, she was assured there would be no problem about the bonuses if the agent gave the incorrect information as the research department would go over the phone calls to make the determination.

A few days later after the CD was established, the referree called back to open the Savings account and was given the $25 credit instantly but was told I had to call to receive my $10.

When I made the call, another ING Direct agent said the referree was not entitled to the $25 and I was I not entitled to the $10 bonus because she was an existing customer when she opened the Orange Savings Account. The agent threatened to remove the $25 from her account at which point the referree asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred to Mark, the floor manager, employee #702144, located in Delaware. Mark was rude on the phone and asked many unnecessary personal questions. Those questions had nothing to do with $10 bonus and ING policy. I decided it’s not worth dealing with him or ING Direct anymore. I will be closing my account with them as soon as interest is posted this month.