Payment Regulatory Insanity Two: A Dog Named Dash

Two weeks ago, we told you the tale of PayPal’s Venmo going overboard with compliance efforts, when it delayed any transaction that mentioned the word “Persian.” Not wanting to be outdone by any PayPal division, Chase has decided to top Venmo in the craziness department. Chase’s entry? It blocked the money transfer of a 55-year-old sufferer of muscular dystrophy, who was paying someone to walk his service dog and the dog’s name is Dash. Seems that the bank saw Dash as code for Daesh, the Arabic term for the Islamic State aka ISIS.

A few initial takes. First, Daesh may sometimes be pronounced “dash” but it’s never spelled that way. Secondly, really? If I pay someone to walk a dog named SPOT, it’s probably not an acronym for Special People Overthrowing Turkey. And third, let’s go again with “really?”

This story gets even better with the details, courtesy of The New York Daily News. The dog’s owner, Bruce Francis, tried transferring the $374 to his dogwalker at the beginning of March. “I called my bank, and they were kind of weasily and squirrely about why the payment didn’t go through,” the story quoted Francis as saying. Hmmm. Weasily and squirrelly? At least that authenticates he was talking with a legitimate Chase customer service representative.

Said the story: “When he logged into his account, he realized the bank had flagged the transfer for review by the U.S. Treasury Department, which posted a note on his account asking him to ‘explain what Dash means.'” The unit was the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

After Francis spoke with the feds, the matter was resolved and the payment was released. But his final quote is a keeper: “The idea that my dog is a terrorist is pretty funny. Seriously, the only thing Dash could terrorize is a roast chicken.”

Chase wanted to keep this story quiet, but concluded it was not worth the effort. After all, it’s never effective to Chase your own tale. (Running and ducking.)

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