Monday, March 19, 2007

Its not me, its you. Believe me, its you.

I have used this blog to complain about stupid, horrible things evil credit card companies have done. After writing these blog entries, I cancel the credit card. Call it a ritual of purification if you will.

This is another one of those blog entries. The culprit this time, the card on the chopping block, is my old Citibank card.

I’ve had this Citibank card since college, you know, back when you could send any credit card company a form stating that your annual income was $0.00 and they would send you a card with a $12,000 credit limit.

What happened after I got the card is typical – I ran it up and spend years paying it off, telling myself that the Simon and Garfunkel box set was totally worth that 20% interest compounded daily. I reached a crisis/breaking point, sold that extra kidney, and got out of debt.

There was a time period shortly before I got married when I got rid of a bunch of old credit cards, but I held on to the ol’ Citibank because I had a recurring payment for my Childreach kid and I just didn’t want to make the call to get them to charge another, better credit card. The hold music there is just so depressing…

Anyway, I have paperless credit card statements, so once a month, I log into the account and see the balance.

I logged in December and saw a balance of 0.00.

I logged in January and saw a balance of 0.00.

I logged in February and saw a balance of 0.00.

I logged in March and saw $51.48 in late fees.

So I call them, and was told there was a charge for $66.00 in December that I never paid. This makes sense, because I make quarterly Childreach payments of $66.00, but what doesn’t make sense is the fact that IT NEVER SHOWED UP ON MY STATEMENT UNTIL THREE MONTHS AFTER IT WAS CHARGED. HOW CAN I PAY FOR SOMETHING IF I'M NOT BILLED FOR IT?

This is the disadvantage of going with paperless bills – when you call the credit card company with a complaint like this, you have no proof. It is just your word against the word of the evil credit card company. And since the person on the other end of the phone is employed by the evil, evil company, your chance of winning the argument is about the same as getting struck by lightning 47 times in a row.

So I told the guy on the phone my issue and asked for him to waive the late fees. He couldn’t do that. I told him, fine, I wanted to pay off that rotten $117.48 balance on my account and close it. He said I could only do that if I was willing to pay a $14.95 processing fee.

“So what I’m hearing is that if someone wants to make a fast payment, you charge them extra.”
“That is our policy.”
“Doesn’t it make more sense to not charge as much since you get the money sooner?”
“That is our policy.”
“Ok, CallCenter Robot. I’m closing the account. You’ve lost my business and you’re already getting a blog entry. Could you transfer me to someone who will at least listen to my complaint and at least attempt to make things better before I tell everyone I know that Citibank is evil?”

To their credit, there was no hold music on the transfer. And my call did not mysteriously drop, like it has before when calling them.

The new person was a customer service person. He looked at my account and told me he knew what my problem was.

It turns out in December they closed my old account and transferred everything over to a new one. I don’t remember asking for or even wanting this, but lo and behold it happened. And they never changed the website so it pointed to the new account. For three months when I logged into my account, it would bring the old, dead account up by default.

Somehow, though it was totally my fault that I didn’t go digging through the incomprehensible Citibank website, looking for the new account I didn’t know existed. And, because it was somehow my fault, there was no way I could get out of the late fees or have the “pay immediately and be done with you once and for all” fee waived.

So I ended the call. I told them I wasn’t happy, that they had lost a customer, that I was going to blog about it like the big whiny goober I am, and that one day when I become a multi-millionaire, maybe, just maybe I would buy out Citibank just for the sheer maniacal pleasure of firing everyone there.

Dare to dream.

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