Citbank (for Sears credit cards)
PENNSYLVANIA -- I've been a "Sears Best Customer", as they refer it, for over 20 years due to the large amount of items purchased and the money I've spent
there. I purchased a top of the line Sears Elite side by side refrigerator with the additional warranty protection a little over 5 years ago. To try to make a long story shorter, this refrigerator was a lemon breaking down constantly, (with problems starting within the 1st year) especially parts that effect the refrigerators cooling abilities. Well, that's pretty important for a refrigerator. Over the years we have had to throw away enormous amounts of food. My husband and I are both severely disabled and as I repeatedly told Sears, we can't chance eating
dangerously warm foods with our conditions and weakened immune systems nor could we keep going through the whole stress and hassle of cleaning
and re-stocking the refrigerator along with the expense. Besides this, it was evident that this expensive refrigerator was a lemon and we wanted it replaced. For the past 4 1/2 years they refused a replacement stating that we didn't meet their qualifications for a replacement and insisted on continuing to repair it. This could go 2-3 weeks waiting for repair to come and investigate, their ordering the broken part, and another scheduled call to actually repair it. Imagine this happening
again and again. Each time we requested a replacement (as we had a purchased extra protection agreement and Sears has their own
satisfaction promises along with their own lemon law for customers)we were told we didn't meet the replacement requirements. Each time they
told us the requirements it changed (so to make sure we didn't meet their requirements)!
This last time it broke down,(2 bad parts at once this time...including the same part that broke 3-4 other times effecting the cooling abilities)I had enough of this and again demanded a replacement as our added protection agreement would soon be over and we had a definite lemon on our hands. Again I was told we didn't qualify. I got a call from a person wanting to sell me another protection agreement since our initial one would be ending soon. I found out from this person the actual requirements of Sears lemon law. I was repeatedly lied to and had qualified years ago when I initially requested! Of course I got on the phone right away but was given their typical run around.
I had stopped payment as I felt I had no other way to get them to address this. When you pay for an expensive item (plus a pricey extra protection warranty service for it to boot) and you get junk, and not the service promised that you are entitled to, do you keep paying on it when they don't make it right and just ignore your complaint? No, you
stop payment right? This is what those information tv specials tell you to do when you don't get what you are paying for. Well stopping payment did get Sears to at least refer me to their "One Source" dept. which after going through the entire story again including that I now do know their actual requirements for a replacement, I was told that indeed I had qualified a long time back for a replacement. I thought finally I was getting somewhere. They told me that I could pick a replacement but all the features had to match (this top of the line had sooo many different features. After trying for hours online to search Sears hundreds of refrigerators to match the same features, I gave up in bad pain from my condition and very frustrated. I called back and was told a specialist would call me back to assist with this. I never got the call. I called back and was told there was no record of this. I asked to speak to a manager and was told that the manager would
call me back that day. No call back. This continued. I am now getting calls from Citibank who said that they own Sears credit and I owe them the money but they could not do anything about my
complaint. My complaint now was just not about the refrigerator as they charged extra fees and interest and I wanted this taken off. I was told that all my complaints had to go to Sears and not Citibank. When I would call Sears they would say that they could not do anything and that I had to deal with Citibank. They played this game back and forth and I became very ill and stressed out with my condition worsened.
I was told at one point by a Citibank rep that I needed to write a disput letter. I did this...3 times with the same run around! At this point they now have ruined my credit and I was told by a bank that I was turned down for their low interest offer to replace my higher mortgage loan due to my Sears credit card costing me thousands of dollars!
The other night while still in dispute, as I never received any verbal nor written info of the status of the dispute or any findings of investigation into,(they never did investigate but only continued the run around)I got a call from a man representing himself as an attorney for my Sears bill. Into this call I questioned this from his behavior to me and he then said he was NCS but would recommend to them that they take it to legal. I replied that I could do the same and then he tried to be insulting and with raising his voice and in a bully tone trying to intimidate me persisted in saying to me that I can't afford an attorney! How would he know?! He also called me a liar by persisting to say in an abusive manner that I had no purchase warranty agreement. He was arguing with anything that I said just to upset me which was even after I told him that I live in severe pain with my disabilities and that this whole thing has caused worsening of my condition.
I found some info that stated that the company is required by law to send you a written notice after an investigation of a dispute and that you had 10 days to reply before they could send you to a collection agency and before they could report you to the credit reporting agenies. Sears nor Citibank told me nor sent me any such notice. I couldn't even get them to address my dispute and the 3 dispute letters except that they
acknowledged getting them. (I don't believe after everything that Citibank credit ever intended to address the issue and just wait until 6 months had past so they could say that their policy is that they automatically sell the account out no matter what after it has been in credit for 6 mo. and that they no longer will talk with me since it is
owned now by some other company...which is what a Citibank supervisor
told me today)
Sears National Relations told me last night that, again, they could do nothing about my complaint and dispute since Sears doesn't deal with credit and that Citibank owns it. This still amazes me since I purchased it through Sears and before Sears sold my credit account to Citibank. I
entered into a purchase agreement through Sears but now that I have a complaint/dispute and refuse to continue to pay for until it is made right, they can just say it's not their problem since Citi bought my credit?! But it doesn't stop there. Today Citibank credit tells me that they sold my account to Sherman, a Collection Recovery Co.! I asked how they were able to do that when this was in dispute with them and they have not sent me any notice or any info whatsoever on my dispute. I was
told by this supervisor that dispute was not her dept. and that there was no one higher than her, adding "that will take your call" that you can talk to about it. I asked what she meant by "that will take my call" and she would just repeat herself. I was told that nobody ever from Citibank would be talking to me about my dispute of this matter. How can they just decide to ignor a dispute and just sell it to a collection recovery company?! This is insane! I asked if this call was being recorded as I could hear an Echo of my words. She replied that it could be. I told her that I wanted a copy. She told me that I could not have a copy nor could I have anyone legally get a copy for me since it was for quality control purposes.
Oh, I don't want to forget this....Just so you know, if you are suspicious that Citibank credit is not answering your call because they don't want to deal with your call and making you unknowingly hold for nobody to answer, you are probably right. Today after giving my account number to the automated message request I held for 34 minutes before I hung up. During this long hold a message would state that the calls were being routed on a "priority basis" to the next available representative. When I called back and did not put in my account number a message came on and said one moment please and someone came right on! This rep asked for my account number and after I gave it said he must've put it in wrong as no such number exists. When I gave it to him the 2nd time he said that he'd have to transfer me to another dept that was handling it and again I was put on ignor hold and hung up after 5 min this time. So
I again called the number and didn't give my account number again and sure enough I got right through to someone. This should not be allowed
either!I can't believe all that I've been forced to go through and how these Nationally known Companies get away with their practices and ignoring of laws put in place for consumer protection!I found at these same info sites that penalties can be just $50.00 to a company for not complying. However it also stated that a "group" of people can result in a $500,000 penalty. I'm worried that I may have a difficult time finding an attorney for a relatively small disputed
amount (except now for the added damage they have caused us) and a slap on the wrist penalty fee, but would be easier to find a good one if there are several others.
I appreciate anyones sincere responses to my post and any help I can get from others knowledge or experience. I have no idea at this point how long this post ended up being or my spelling errors so please excuse. Thank you for being patient in reading it.