American-based Chase Bank is bowing out of Canada's credit card market, and it has an unusual parting-gift for its customers: The bank is forgiving all outstanding debt on its two Visa cards in the country. Paul Adamson feels the weight of the world has come off his shoulders.
He owed more than $1,600 on his credit card. Last week when he went to make a payment, he was told he no longer owed anything.
"I don't believe that," he told CBS New York. "So I actually checked several different sources besides the customer service rep I spoke with, and sure enough they forgave the debt. I was amazed."
"We would expect the banks, as banks are very good at doing, to chase very hard every last dollar they possibly could from the people that had those credit agreements," Luke Sheehan, vice-president of marketing at Ratehub.ca, told CBS New York.
"Their very abrupt exit, I think, is something that has puzzled a great deal of people," he said.
Sheehan works for a website offering financial rates for mortgages and credit cards. He said if you have a credit card, don't count on this ever happening again.
"It's probably up there with winning the lottery or discovering an inheritance from a rich billionaire uncle you didn't know you had," he said.
The Amazon and Marriott Visa cards were retired in Canada last year, but many users were still paying the cards off. The provider, Chase Bank, won't say how much it's writing off or how many customers will benefit.
Chase could have sold its outstanding debt to a third-party, which could have gone after the customers but chose not to.
Adamson said he's elated. He socking away the windfall and putting it toward buying a new house.