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Citbank (for Sears credit cards)
Posted by Standup on 03/08/2006
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 dipute 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.


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Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2006-03-09:
You are confused about "disputing" a charge. The limit to dispute a charge with the credit card company is 90 days after it first appears on your statement. This is ideal for cases where you are charged but don't get the goods in a timely manner or the goods are delivered defective. Once the 90 days are gone, you owe the money to the credit card company no matter what. They are not a party to the sale and are not responsible. It's like not making car payments to 1st National Bank because you have a dispute with Ford. You need to work out payment terms with Citibank or the collection agency, as it sounds like they would prevail if this went to court. As far as Sears selling you a dud of a fridge, that's a separate issue and should be handled separately. If nothing else, file a lawsuit in small claims court against Sears.
Posted by Slimjim on 2006-03-09:
What Hugh said, stopping payments on your Citibank account isn't disputing a charge made 5 years ago. You'll killing your credit and getting flagged with late charges for nothing. Since Sears looks like they are offering a replacement afterall, I think you're in good shape. I also think you have no choice but to extend the warranty again if they don't.
Posted by standup on 2006-03-09:
I did purchase it from Sears and Sears credit card. Sometime down the road Sears sold their credit cards to Citibank. Sears sold me a poor quality refrigerator. They know this. After their persistent ignoring of my continuous requests for my right under consumer and their own lemon laws, I stopped payment. As for the replacement they finally (after I stopped payment) told me that yes we qualified (long ago) and I could get one that matched feature for feature, they then continued the run around for me to not be able to get this replacement until they then told me that the "One Source Dept." case for a replacement was closed after they would repeatedly tell me that a specialist , manager, etc, was not available for me to speak with but would call me back to assist in getting my replacement.
Plus, now there were added issues of extra fees and charges they put on.

Besides all that, here is what I found for information on this:
"*Credit card purchases are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This law gives the consumer the right to withhold payment on poor-quality or damaged merchandise purchased with a credit card. "

I have now have issues with Sears and the Company which Sears now uses for their credit cards -Citibank.
Also, I don't understand how any company can just ignore the process of dispute? From what I was told by the FTC and from what I read on the matter yesterday from a couple of sites, they have broken several different consumer laws.

Posted by Slimjim on 2006-03-09:
That law partaining to withhold of payment on poor-quality or damaged merchandise has an SOL, and I would believe the 90 days Hugh mentions is probably it.
Posted by standup on 2006-03-10:
I don't know a lot at this point, and I appreciate any opinions to help me get this resolved or in my taking any neccessary legal action. But what I do know is that Citibank Credit had not complied with the dispute laws. Also that Sears is guilty of breach of warranty.
Posted by wary-consumer on 2006-03-10:
WOW..You really screwed yourself buddy!!! You ruined your credit thinking you were getting back at Sears by not paying CitiBank- Brilliant move Pal!!....You need to settle your account with the collections agency NCS or Sherman, and start building up you credit again. Just so you know when you purchased the appliance Sears got all of their money from Citibank at that time, and CitiBank was the one extending you credit, not Sears. Some people think that the company adversrting on the card is who issues that card- not so. For exmple, if I have a Shell gas card, or Exxon card, AOL Card, JCPenny card, or Disney card, you get the point- it is NOT those companies exetnding me credit, it is an actual Bank such as CitiBank, MBNA, Discover, US Bank,Banks One, etc.... Now as for CitiBank not talking to you now, they cant becauce your account has been sold to a collection agnecy, and that is probaly where you were being transfered to. When you key in your account number their phone system automatically recognizes this is no longer a CitiBank account and automatically transfres you to that Company(outside CitiBank). The reason you have such a long wait time is because Sherman or NCS is swamped with deadbeats who promise to pay their bill or are arguing(they have a low staffing levels beacuse no-one wants to work at these places since everyone that calls these places are steaming mad)..As for the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the dispute law you are correct, but only to a certain point. By law you are entitled to dispute rights, but there is are some restrictions that each bank can impose- like it is not for an unlimited time. If you read your cardmember agreement you will probably find that these dispute rights expire after 90 days and are not unlimited!! So basically if you have it on your statemt and pay it one month and next month and so on,- then a year later decide to dispute it- you are SOL. By paying you bills in the first 90 days you are acknowleding this is a valid charge and the merchandise is recieved and undamaged-end of story and dispute rights are waived for those purchases. Now finally, as for your inital problem of the damaged fridge since so much time has passed and the lifetime of the fridge has amoritzed to a lesser value due to normal wear and tear you will probably not get a new fridge- but may be able to get a sizable discount on a new one from Sears (that is usually how these gimmick Warranty's work)- I never by them. As you have found out you would have spent less money and waited a shorter amount of time by looking in the yellow pages and paying an appliance repairman to come and fix it right the first time instead of having Sears put in sub-standard parts that beark to show you and trick you into buying an extend waranty, after extended waranty. I would see if Sears would sell you another fridge at a major discount since they should have your repair history on file as an act of Good Customer Service- (they are always interested in sales)- but dont buy the waranty this time- and be done with them...Hope this helps
Posted by standup on 2006-03-13:
Thanks for replies. I am going to call my attorney Monday since the FTC said this is what I should do now. What they did is wrong, and what they put us through is inexcusable. I can't back down to these kinds of games and tactices and must fight for what is right. I have really have no choice.
Posted by standup on 2006-03-13:
wary consumer- It was not Citi-owned when I purchased. I purchased from Sears and Sears credit card. I was told they bought it from Sears sometime later. Also, yes-I am entitled to a brand new refrigerator according to their own lemon law. Believe me, I will not let this go about their ruining my credit, along with all the other things they have caused!They went too far playing their tactics!
Posted by wary-consumer on 2006-03-13:
OK....Well its your time and money(lawyer fees) to waste. In the end I very highly doubt you will get an new fridge for free. SEARS has their basis covered(this isnt the first time something like this has happened)...In your case, too much time has passed since you bought it to have a fully valid claim under their so-called "lemon law". They have certain restrictions and qualifcations you must meet and now since so much time has passed you will most likely disqualify you for a FULL replacement. Let me put it to you this way. A lifetime warany on your car brakes does not mean YOUR lifetime so that you get free brakes everytime they go out for the rest of your life. It means the lifetime of the BRAKES, which the company offering the product arbitraily decides. You see it is play on words to trick the consumer into thinking that they are protected when in reality they are just being scammed into paying for a phoney lifetime warranty. As I tried to explain earlier your best bet is to see if Sears will give you credit toward a new fridge before any more time passes by amoritizing the remaining lifetime of the fridge(according to the manufacturer). And for goodness sake pay your bills on time too. It will take atleast 7-10 years of good spotless payment history to restore your credit rating. You were only hurting yourself, not Sears (or CitiBank for that matter since they got money when they sold your account to collections). They did not ruin your credit, YOU DID!! They did not prevent you from paying them, you decided to not pay them of your own free will. You just need to own up to it and not loose even more money in a hopeless legal fight that would probably cost more than a new fridge in the first place....Good luck!!
Posted by standup on 2006-03-14:
wary consumer??-Really? You sound as if you work for a credit collection agency or some anti-consumer group? What do you do? I don't like to question others motives but one needs to look and question such, right? Especially with some of your comments to me. You can be down right insulting like some of these companies we are complaining about. I looked at your other posts and you are here all the time making similiar comments to consumers who have a real complaint.

Anyhow, as I stated before, they already admitted and have in their notes that Sears employees told us that we didn't qualify WHEN we 1st requested it 5 years ago and DID qualify for it and eveytime it broke down after that up until I recently stopped payment. They are not stating that we don't qualify for a new replacement. They already stated we DO. They are just giving the run around on collecting that replacement!! Plus, legally Sears/Citibank were not allowed to send this into a collection while in dispute,so not to ruin my credit while this was supposed to be investgated, period. Otherwise, why on earth have any consumer protection and dispute laws?! They both broke several different laws here from what I have found and been told. Do you know better than the FTC? I will get counsel on a contingency or look into other avenues given to me by other organizations.
What you, collection agencies, and these bad business companies want people to do is to never fight what is wrong and give in to their tactics. So what you are saying is to accept their wrong doing, (remember I tried for about 4 1/2 years to get them to do what they were supposed to)to shut up and not fight it. That kind of thinking is what's wrong today and why so many people give into wrong doing. I won't put up with that @$^*. People who don't stand up is why companies continue their bad business practices and break the law. It's not that I don't understand, but they are contributing to the problem. If I can stand up and do what is neccesary to fight these criminals with all that I have on my plate (you couldn't even imagine buddy) then anybody could...and should.
Posted by wary-consumer on 2006-03-15:
I do assure you I have no motive besides expressing my astonishment at what some people get themselves into and then try to blame a company for their mistakes. I hope that others will read and not fall into the same consumer trap. Also, there is always the hope that companies will change their tactics to not rip-off people, but I know that will never happen since there will always be someone out there to be conned. You see companies are in business to make money, not give stuff away. Where there’s a loophole to squeeze out of, they will exploit it.
In your case, as I tried to explain before, you were duped into buying worthless extended warranties (due to how the lifetime of the appliance is pro-rated). If they were to give away a new appliance every time there was a series of problems, they would go out of business in a hurry. For example people would abuse/misuse them on purpose just to get new ones, so you see it does have restrictions. They can only try to delay and delay until such time has passed that the manufacturer has recommended to be the lifetime of the appliance so then it is not fully replaceable under your “lemon warranty”- such as they are doing to you. The only thing in your favor is the fact that Sears has notes saying that you should have been covered back then, but the problem is you have been in possession and using the fridge up TO THIS DAY so the fridge has normal wear & tear which has decreased its value so as to not be the ‘same’ fridge it was back when the note was made (I know that may not make sense, but that has to do with the amortization of the lifetime I was trying to explain earlier). Basically, the fridge should have been replaced back when the note was made, not 5 years later after normal use & wear. The longer it’s delayed the less pro-rated value you will get for your current fridge. Thus the reason you are getting the run around: That was then, this is now.
And, finally I see that you still don’t understand how “the dispute laws” work. As I, and many others have informed you, your dispute rights must be invoked within 90 days of receiving the bill that the purchase appears on. Since you didn’t dispute it until years later, you have no dispute rights for this item so CitiBank WAS legally justified sending your delinquent account to collections and ruining your credit for non-payment.
You really need to look for these types of loopholes that companies exploit to take advantage of you and take your hard earned money.
In summary again, you have no case!!
They have broken no laws!! (Criminal or Civil)
No offense intended, but my sense is the FTC told you to talk to a lawyer to make you go away because they can’t deal with every frivolous consumer complaint. If you do speak with a lawyer maybe he/she can explain this better. Just don’t get taken for another ride by the lawyer who is also in business to make money too.
I Hope this helps and makes sense….
Posted by standup on 2006-03-15:
Thanks for your 3cents, really, but I did speak to the State office that handles these complaints and I was told they did break the laws in my case. If anybody else has a similiar problem with Sears & Citibank credit you can email me and I will try to help you with what I am being told by these organizations.
Posted by wary-consumer on 2006-03-15:
I don’t doubt that is what someone at the “state offices” told you. I imagine they told you this to make you go away and have an attorney completely look into it to break the bad news to you.
Don’t you think that if you really had a valid case the “state office” would have referred you to an attorney??? No, the State would prosecute/sue the companies themselves because that’s THEIR JOB!!
Just don’t be disappointed after you waste all your time and money fighting this battle and all you will get is partial credit for a new fridge.
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Posted by Irritated on 01/12/2005
WEST VIRGINIA -- January 12, 2005
I moved from Sierra Madre, CA in May 2004 and filed a change of address with the Postal Service. My Internet provider at the time was CompuServe. I notified CompuServe by letter, phone and email that I was closing my account and they had no further authorization to bill my credit card. In early December 2004 I received a call from Citi Bank collections stating that I owed Citi Bank $192.71 in late fees and for monthly charges on my internet account with CompuServe since June 0f 2004. This was the first notification I had that CompuServe had continued to bill me since I had closed the account in May of 2004. The credit card had been cut up, as the only thing I used it for was to pay the online service. I informed Citi Bank that the charges were fraudulent. They stated they would send me an affidavit to be filled out and that it would be handled by their fraud department and billing disputes.

Since then I have received daily calls from their collection department demanding payment which is now at $222.31. I have informed their collection personnel that the matter has been turned over to their fraud department and to stop calling me. They continue to harass me on a daily basis with four calls alone today. One of their employees Kara stated she didn't care if it was turned over to their fraud department that they would continue to call me daily until the bill was paid.

When I received the first call from them in early December I called CompuServe and informed them that they had no authority to charge my credit card as I had closed my account in May 2004. They advised that they would take care of it, which they have not done or I still wouldn't be having the problem with CitiBank. In mid December 2004 I completed their affidavit of fraud to all of the charges by CompuServe and prepared a letter of explanation that accompanied the affidavit that I mailed to them.

I have emailed them at universalcard.com on January 9, 2004 again explaining the situation and advising them to discontinue their harassment. They sent me a message back to call this number and I again end up with Mark in collections.

I am a senior citizen, disabled and any type of stress significantly aggravates my medical condition and Citi Bank and their employees are insuring that I get my daily dose of it.

I called the fraud department today to try to talk to a supervisor to complain about the harassment. I was told by Tracy after being on hold for some time that they were all on the line and someone would have to call me later. The charges are in dispute and I have complained that they were fraudulently charged against my account yet Citi Bank employees are continuing to use strong-arm tactics to get me to pay monies I don’t owe. The $222.31 is chump change however I have no intentions of paying for fraud committed against my account and Citi Bank and their employees have crossed over the line in their attempts at collection.

In addition to ad insult to injury they raised my interest rate on all of my other accounts to the max becsuse of late payments on a account I no longer use. When asked for this to be corrected the customer service rep said they couldn't until the other matter was resolved. I'm very lucky that I don't carry any balance on my credit cards because they would certainly be making one heck of a profit. This is how they treat a loyal customer that has been with them for forty years or more and pays there bills on time.

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Company Promoted Harassment
Posted by EmRo on 09/04/2007
I just got of the phone with a Citibank collections department manager. Several days ago my Mom called in on my behalf about a card I had canceled after I moved that was being charged late fees on a credit protector charge that was placed after I had canceled the card. They said she had no right to call them. The next day, my family was prank called five times by Citicard. We knew this because caller ID identified them and each time they answered the phone they'd hear a click. My family thought it was sort of funny but I was furious that Citibank felt it was acceptable to let an employee harass my family.

I called in today to find out information about the employee and file a complaint. After being transfered several times, I spoke to this manager who told me she could not give me any information about the employee, and that the calls were not in fact "prank" calls but that they were caused by a phone system that automatically calls a house and if it doesn't think someone is on the line, will hang up on them. She told me I couldn't file a complaint because this was just an innocent automated calling happening and there was nothing to complain about.

Tell me this is not completely absurd! I'm at the point where I am just going to pay whatever is left on my statement (although completely fraudulent charges!) to finally put an end to my Citibank experience.
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Posted by tnchuck100 on 2007-09-04:
You may have a legitimate complaint about the "protection charge". However, they are protecting themselves and your rights by NOT talking to your mother about your account. The phone calls, while they be annoying to you, were not "prank" calls.
Posted by trumania on 2007-09-04:
I agree with tnchuck100.

Do you know how many people could just call up and say, "Oh yea, that's my daughter, I was calling on her behalf". It happens ALL THE TIME. And as a CSR if you let that person just talk about that account that is invasion of privacy not to mention the first step to identity theft.

You should be happy that they didn't let her talk to them. If you want her to talk to them, then you can 3 way with them and your mom and tell them she has permission to speak about the account, otherwise privacy laws say NO.

As for the "Prank Calls", obviously you have not watch the Simpsons in their like 50 years of running. Prank calls is when they actually speak... lol.

The automated calls were most likely caused because you have that outstanding balance.
Posted by moneybags on 2007-09-04:
Put your number on the Do Not Call list and advise them IN WRITING that despite your previous business relationship, they are NOT to call that number. If they do, contact FTC. Keep a record of the calls in your caller ID. Do NOT erase! FTC can levy a fine of $11,000 PER INCIDENT!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-04:
The only thing 'absurd' is having your mother call for you. Pay your bills ontime every month and you will not have the bank calling you. And keep your mother off the phone.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-09-04:
You don't "grown up" until your mama and daddy are dead
Posted by trumania on 2007-09-05:
Putting her phone number on the Do Not Call list will not solve her problems. The Federal Do Not Call list does not protect a consumer from calls from companies which they have had prior relationships with.

If I register my number on the National Do Not Call Registry, will it stop all telemarketing calls?

No. Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all. Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you’ve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls. "

The simple solution would be to pay the debt and move on. The only reason they are colling her is because she owes money on the account. The can request that the company takes her phone number of their 'telemarketing' list BUT they will still call her, and have the right to call her, with regards to her account status and maintenance.
Posted by stuffedfishie on 2008-04-09:
yeah, if stop paying then you're just going to get more calls until you start paying, plus the balance will go up even more. As for the hang-up calls, it really is an automated dialing system, not a pranking employee. Employees aren't connected to talk to you on the outbound collection calls in early stages of deliquency until after bettween 1 and 30 seconds when the system has determined that there is someone on the line. This is done as a matter of efficiency to maximize each collector's contact. You can send a letter to cease and decist contact to stop the calls, but that also means that you account will be revoked (this shows up negatively on your credit report, "closed by grantor") and the account will be sent to outside collections for a more aggressive approach.
Posted by lawman123 on 2008-05-10:
They are almost certainly telling the truth about the automated calling system. This does not excuse their actions, but it does explain them.

Unfortunately, Citibank is collecting an account on its own behalf, so it is not covered by the federal fair debt collection practices act in relation to these calls. If it were covered by the act, you would have a decent argument that the calls are illegally harassing, and at a minimum you would be able to tell them to cease and decist calling you and have it be legally enforceable. Depending on what state you live in, you may be covered by a state law similar to the FDCPA, for instance, in California the Rosenthal Act would apply to Citi's calls.

If you can't afford to pay the card, tell them that, and firmly tell them to stop calling. If they continue to call, simply hang up on them. Adding a "f-you, stop calling" is recommended but optional. Keep in mind that failing to pay will damage your credit and they may eventually sue you, offset the balance against your checking account, or otherwise puruse the debt.

If you are having persistent problems paying your debts, you may want to consider bankruptcy. A qualified attorney can advise you on that.

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Citibank "Simplicity" Visa - Buyer Beware - Watch Out For Hidden Interest Rate Penalties and Consequences if You Pay Late
Posted by Discoverhater on 04/21/2006
The latest trend in the credit card industry is to offer cards with no late fees. Credit card companies have done surveys and learned that people despise late fees. More credit card companies are sending out solicitations that scream, "No Late Fees". The latest and most prevalent offer of this type that we see heavily marketed in both print and TV media is the Citibank "Simplicity" Visa card which promotes "No Late fees as long as you make a purchase each month with the card". What people do not realize is that instead of charging you late fees the companies are hitting you with punitive interest rates if your payment is late by 1 minute or more. Therefore, you will immediately see your interest rate jump from 13 or 14 percent to about 30 or even 40 percent in some cases. You are automatically reported to the credit bureaus if you miss a payment so other creditors can now implement the Universal Default Rate.If you receive one of these offers in the mail, toss it immediately, as the offer is too good to be true.

Beware of Citibank's strategy behind this "No Late Fees" Visa. Here is what Citibank is trying to do to consumers to rope them in and hold them hostage since they are loosing revenue and market share to home equity loans as consumers use their homes to get loans and dump their high interest rate credit cards.

Citibank's ad slogan goes something like "No late fees! Hey, look we know you're only human. No one is perfect. So why should you get stuck with late fees just because you're a few days late? Go ahead, pay late. No problem. We'll waive the $39 late fee."

What does offering no late fees say to you? To me it says that paying on time is not critical and it's an invitation with permission to pay late.

In the fine print of this Simplicity MasterCard application, CitiBank makes it clear that to get your late fee waived you have to make at least one purchase or cash advance each billing period.

Next "and this is huge" even though late fees are waived for regular chargers, cardholders are subject to Citibanks punitive interest rate of 30.74 percent APR if they fail to make a payment to Citibank when due.

So let me reiterate: Citibank lures you in with promises of no late fees and implied permission to just go ahead and pay late but when you exercise your new feature that attracted you to this card in the first place, yhey bump you to 30.74% interest, report you to the credit bureaus and your credit score falls to depths unknown.

They lure you in with a promise of no late fees and then when you take them up on the feature, they slap you down with an obscene interest rate. This is a complete bait and switch tactic and constitutes misrepresentation and potential fraud. I am going to have this investigate and will let everyone know what I find.

The ads promote the card with the slogan "Pay no late fees as long as you make a purchase each month with the card". The ad markets the card with the implied message "As long as I make one purchase a month with the card I can be late with my payment and not be penalized". No where in the ads does Citibank disclose the punitive interest rate punishment if you pay late one time and how they will report you to thecredit bureau. Citibank wants the consumer to have this perception and not read the cardholder terms, as most people don't, because once you do pay late one time then Citibank has ruined you and now has a customer who has no other options except to pay what they charge you.

You have now made a late payment based on the pereception of the ad you saw and you did not read the cardholder terms before accepting and using the card. Citibank has placed you in default and your interest rate now jumps to 31% because the default rate is 24.99% plus prime if you make one late payment. Citibank is also going to report you immediately to the credit bureau as late. Your FICO score now drops to a sub-prime level and you cannot get approved for another card so you can dump Citibank and transfer the balance because you have a late payment on your credit report. Citibank has won and they now have you where they want you so they can exploit you.

The moral to this is to not fall prey to Citibank's advertising and do not apply for this card because Citibank will ruin you if you do and it may be intentional, like posting your payment one day late so they can place you in default. Citibank's strategy is well thought out and most people will not see the hidden agenda that Citibank has planted with this card.

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Posted by Ponie on 2006-04-22:
It's all in reading the fine print.
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Lying and Stealing
Posted by Shaman51 on 09/17/2010
DES MOINES, IOWA -- Citi Bank made me an offer to settle my account balance of $7131.35 for approx. $2100. Citi Bank sent me the agreement for 3 separate payments. Citi Bank proceeded to charge my account 3 weeks prior to my agreed payment date. I then demanded my money be refunded as it caused me overdraft fees as I was not ready to make their payment yet. Once they refunded the money due to their mistake, they terminated our agreement stating I broke the agreement by having my money refunded, which I was not told when my money was being returned. On top of that, they added the refunded money of $1000 to my credit card balance, making my balance approx. $8100. This company has been not pleasant, leave you on hold for 10-20 minutes while they check with "management". Then they tell you that they have done nothing wrong and it is all your fault. They lied about our agreements, essentially stole my money by taking it out of my account without authorization and are very defensive when I call.

Citi Bank acutally breached our verbal contract, which they also put in writing and mailed to me. Citi Bank uses dirty and unethical tactics to hurt people already in a difficult economic time.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-09-17:
Ok..it's not fair to assume the OP spent more than they had, we don't know why the balance is as high as it is, it could have been for something unexpected. It does happen.

That said, this review doesn't make sense. If your payment was refunded, why did they then add it to your balance? That's not a refund, that's theft. Also, if you have written documentation outlining the terms and conditions of the payment plan and agreed payoff amount, dispute it. You'll win.
Posted by Slimjim on 2010-09-17:
Sounds like Citi just bungled the whole thing. I'm thinking Citi isn't going to see much in the way of any payments for their prize.
Posted by leet60 on 2010-09-17:
If you truly have a copy of the agreement in writing, hold them to it. Be very cautious of these agreements as there are several drawbacks. #1. Any amount they settle for that is less than the actual balance is usually reported to the IRS as income - you have to pay taxes on this. #2. Unless SPECIFICALLY written in the agreement the creditor is not prohibited from selling the remainder of the debt to a collection agency that will then hound you to death for it. #3. It is a BIG negative on your credit rating to "settle" a debt.
Posted by Eaj on 2011-07-20:
I was on a payment plan with Citi and could no longer make the payments so I cancelled the payment plan. Citi proceeded to go into my checking acct and still take out the payment AFTER the plan was canceled. After a month back n forth with them to get my money refunded, they sent me a check which I cashed. One week later, I get a letter stating they are putting a stop payment on the check (no reason given) and applying the money back to my credit card acct until they further review my acct (which is overdue as I'm going thru a bankruptcy at the moment). My issue is that I canceled my payment plan with them and they still went into my acct with no authorization and STOLE my money and are refusing to give it back. I will now have a -$200 balance in my acct if the stop payment goes thru before I can close my bank acct (which is a new one as I had to close my old acct to avoid them going in and stealing more money!) Citibank is pure EVIL!
Posted by Jane Doe on 2012-05-29:
Citi is good about saying one thing over the phone and doing something completely different. I was on a payment plan and was told I would not be able to use my card for six months, which was fine, since I was not using it anyway. I had to go out of town and was denied at the car rental agency because, Citi closed my account. I called the next day, they refused to reopen it. I was told that I was more than welcomed to apply for a new account, but I would not get approved. I hate citi, I will never do business with them even if they are the only bank in town.
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I'm at the "penalty APR" and have never been late on a payment
Posted by Momsey on 11/13/2009
A few months ago, I was informed my APR would be raised to 29.99%!!! I was shocked, and made plans to pay off the card as soon as possible and then close the account. Unfortunately, as these things go, I haven't been able to pay off the balance and I'm still stuck with the card.

The other day, while paying my card online, I noticed a "late payment warning" link (I was paying my card online a week before the due date, as is typical for me.) I clicked on it for the heck of it, and it said if a payment is received late, that could result in my interest rate being raised to the "penalty APR" of 29.99%. Well, isn't that funny? I'm at the penalty APR but haven't ever been late with a payment, AND I've had the card since 1995!

As soon as I can get rid of this card, I will!
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-13:
Momsey you might want to check your credit profile with one of the credit bureaus. If any of your other creditors reported you late then Citibank may have moved you to the default rate because of it. Definitely fight it. Citibank is getting desperate, like a lot of the other credit companies.
Posted by goduke on 2009-11-13:
I think Citi has raised just about everyone's rate.
Posted by momsey on 2009-11-13:
ProConsumer...thanks for that info. I actually did get my credit reports last week and I confirmed that I have never been late with Citibank (at least I could confirm as far back as the different bureaus keep records to). I didn't think about the fact that they could raise me for anything I've done with other creditors (and yes, I have been late on another bill - grrrrrrr.)
Posted by MaggieMcT on 2009-11-13:
My husband's been with Citi for years and years. But we're opting out because of this jump to 29.99%.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-13:
That really stinks momsey. It's one of those little tricks to get more fees and interest rate hikes that are hidden in the fine print.

I think you are right goduke. And those that don't get the rate increase are having their cards cancelled.
Posted by druu on 2009-11-29:
You must have scared the hell out of them with a high balance. In today's economy, the last thing these big banks want are high balances on unsecured lines of credit, even if you've been a perfect customer with them.
Posted by dee dee 67 on 2009-12-30:
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They cancel whole classes of credit cards
Posted by CoonCatOne on 11/09/2009
THE LAKES, NEVADA -- My husband and I were in Home Depot and a floor manager asked us to sign up for a Home Depot Mastercard. In exchange, he gave the small purchases we had in our cart free. A year or so later, we tried to use the card and it didn’t work. We had a small balance and made our payments on time.
I called the number on the credit card bill and it turned out to be Citibank… yes, the same Citibank that has received vast federal government giveaways. The woman told me that Citibank decided to discontinue all of the Home Depot credit cards. She would not give me an answer as to why. I called Home Depot and spoke to a manager; she said “it was a corporate decision” and that the local managers were not privy to why. I called the corporate office. The customer service person didn’t know why either, but she said she would call me back. I probably will never know why. I only had two cards… Discover which I can’t use in a lot of places and this card. Now, back to the drawing board… try to get a card that won’t cancel low interest cards, won’t raise interest rates, and won’t do whatever else they decide to do to make it hard for consumers. I can’t recommend doing business with Citibank or Home Depot.
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Posted by goduke on 2009-11-09:
It happens. Sometimes the company isn't getting the payback they expect on the branded credit cards or the participation they need to make it profitable, so they pull the plug on it. A lot of times they switch the participants in the program to a different card (a generic bank card).

Try going through you local bank. They probably have the best deals right now.
Posted by CoonCatOne on 2009-11-09:
I have already checked with my bank and the rate was higher than Citibank. I think I am going to wait until the new legislation takes effect before getting another card. There are all sorts of weird things going on right now with credit cards. Does anyone reading this have a credit card company that doesn't raise rates or cancel cards?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-09:
You've got me blocked, so you won't see my comment anyways... but, I have a checking account and credit card with Wachovia... and they have yet *knocks on wood* to raise my interest rate. They do dealings with Visa.
Posted by Mrs. V on 2009-11-09:
Information on Home Depot CCs:

Home Depot had 2 types of CCs (both through Citibank).

The Master Card is the one that has been canceled store wide (due to customer complaints with Citibank Master Card to Home Depot Corp). They will have a new CC starting the mid to end of January.

The Consumer CC (the one that can only be used at Home Depot) is still in service and in good standing.
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-11-09:
Trying to find "a card that won’t cancel low interest cards, won’t raise interest rates, and won’t do whatever else they decide to do to make it hard for consumers" is like trying to find a boss who never reprimands, never bird-dogs you, and never denies a raise request. Good luck finding that.
Posted by CoonCatOne on 2009-11-09:
Your comments were helful, Mrs. Y. How do you know about this? No matter, it is useful info. If customers were complaining about Citibank, I would think that Home Depot would have been exceedingly eager to tell me that. The Home Depot customer service person told me that there were other complaints about the canceling of their credit card. It is also possible though that Home Depot has such a secretive corporate culture that no one know what is going on, particularly the customer. I find Home Depot difficult to shop within. It is hard to find things, difficult to get help and has long cashier lines. We have had better in-store customer service at Lowes.
Posted by Mrs. V on 2009-11-09:
Coon, I have a friend that works in Home Depot Corp. Talked to them over the weekend.

Also, each store is a bit different. The store in Laurel is Gosh awful, but the one in Edgewood is the best I have ever seen.

Sometimes you just need to shop around until you find a store that you like.

Good luck!
Posted by CoonCatOne on 2009-11-09:
Someone wrote: "Credit is a privilege that can be revoked at any time. It is not a right, it is a luxury." I am sure that in the fine print you cannot read without a magnifying glass, the credit card said just that, in legalese. But, it is also my right as a consumer to complain with there is a ruthless or anti-consumer action. Fortunately, there are sites like My3Cents that are easily available so we can check on what is being done by companies before instead of after we do business with them.
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-11-09:
How is canceling your card either "ruthless" or "anti-consumer action" when it is just business according to the contract you signed. When banks were competing and offering 1.99% balance transfers, were the customers that took advantage of those offers being "ruthless" and "anti-business" for not staying with their long-term credit card company and paying higher interest? Of course not, it was just business.

People would be much happier if they would accept these credit card relationships are business, and are not like borrowing from your mother. We have borrowed as much, for as long, and at as low an interest rate as we could. Banks try to charge as high an interest as they can, and prune their customer lists of those persons or groups who are bad risks or on whom they do not make money. It is not personal.
Posted by CoonCatOne on 2010-03-10:
JR: per usual, you are pro-company. Hmmmmm. Companies are ruthless. Customers are irrelevant. We can't change their behavior but we can report it and "ruthless" is appropriate.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Trying to get extremely high interest rate reduced
Posted by Hartmut on 07/16/2013
SIOUX FALLS, ILLINOIS -- I just had an online conversation to get my extremely high interest rate of 22.99% reduced. Stay away from Citibank as far as you can. If you carry a balance on your card even when you pay as required and more they are not willing to reduce your interest rate from this unethical 22.99% (with a credit score in the 700s). Here is the conversation I had with representative and it was not pleasant and build your own opinion on those blood suckers:

You are now chatting with 'Ronnie'
Ronnie: Good afternoon, welcome to Citi Live Chat. How may I help you today?
HARTMUT: Hi Ronnie, I would like to investigate the possibility to reduce the extremely high interest rate you charge me on this account
Ronnie: Are you referring to the APR on the account?
Hartmut: yes I do
Hartmut: this is basically as high as default rate and I did not default on this account at all
Ronnie: Have place a request for a lower APR over the phone any time earlier?
Ronnie: The APR on the account is totally base on your account history.
Hartmut: it almost looks like that you overcharge your paying customers to make up for the losses you have from your bad customers which is not right
Hartmut: oh so tell me why do I pay this extremely high interest rate??????
Ronnie: If you are not making the payment of the statement balance for each month you will be charge a interest according to the APR on the account.
Hartmut: you know what I do not need a lecture what an APR is
Hartmut: I know that but you charge me an extremely almost unethical high interest on this account
Ronnie: I am just pulling up the account to have a check on it.
Hartmut: I never defaulted on this account and always paid at least the minimum amount due the last several months I even paid well above the MAD
Ronnie: I have just gone through the account and see that your current APR is at 22.99% and there was no payment of the statement balance for the last 6 to 7 months.
Hartmut: I have not paid the entire balance yes that is true but has that to with how much you charge for interest? You are the most unethical bank in the United States and I as soon as I have paid down this balance I will close all of my accounts that have to do with Citi and will never do any business with your bank again and will make sure that this information how you treat customers will be published on the different message boards on the internet. Thanks for NOT helping here.
Ronnie: You are most welcome.
Ronnie: Thank you for the opportunity to assist you today. We appreciate your business. Have a great day!
Chat session has ended. Thank you for contacting us.

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Posted by BigAl on 2013-07-17:
When you told "Ronnie" you did not need a lecture you lost any chance of getting a reduced rate on your account.
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Deceptive Business Practice
Posted by Jwi919 on 03/07/2013
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA -- In North Carolina there are over 700 open and active investigations at the consumer affairs protection division of the NC Attorney General Office. They cut credit lines on people even though their credit report and debt load has not changed and customers have never miss a payment.

Avoid this company, when I ask for a written explanation I got a false form letter. They are just as bad as the Discover Card. I was able to pay off one account the day I got the email. My second account had a zero balance. I was sent over to customer retention where they offered to raise the limit on the zero balance card and reinstate the former line of credit. So how did I go to not worth to more than worthy? I closed both accounts, I hope this company gets investigated by the Federal Government.

Jeff Inman
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Posted by trmn8r on 2013-03-07:
What actually happened to your accounts? It sounds like there was some issue with your credit limit being lowered, and something having to do with a line of credit. More details would be needed to understand how the bank acted inappropriately and deserves to be investigated.

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Credit card rate hike
Posted by Carol219217 on 06/15/2011
Citibank raised my interest rate to 29.99% for no good reason. This all happened just before the Obama Credit card act passed and went into affect. I was a long term good customer and paid each month on time and more than amount required and had a rate of 12.99%. A Little high but, oh well, I paid. Then for no good reason, they raised my rate and closed my account. The only reason they will give me is that I am a "potential risk". So I refuse to pay anything at all to them!! and have told them so!!! My credit is borderline any way because of them. They call me every other day asking for payment and I tell them no way until I have in writing a better rate than 29.99%. So far no one from Citibank will help me. It's outrageous that banks can get away with this. Alot of good the Credit Card Act did consumers. It just gave the credit card companies the time which they used to review and raise rates.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2011-06-15:
There is a reason your interest rate was raised to the max amount allowed, and you would have received notice with an explanation.

Why in the world would you want to risk your credit rating going down even further by not paying anything at all? If the account is closed now, call them up and work out a payment arrangement. Refusing to pay and doing nothing doesn't hurt them, it hurts you.
Posted by bcd on 2011-06-15:
Refusing to pay on the account supports their claim that you are a risk. You may want to reconsider that decision.
Posted by bob93 on 2011-06-15:
bcd is right, the last thing you want to do is stop making payments.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-06-15:
"My credit is borderline any way because of them."

This statement is revealing, in that you state your credit is borderline (regardless of why it is). This is probably why your rate was increased.

The original rate of 12.99% is as outrageous as tthe 29.99% figure. 12.99% was appropriate back iin 1982, but not now. If I had a 12.99% rate, I'd pay down my balance to 0 so I no longer paid any interest.

If you are going to refuse to make payments to the bank, they will stop calling you and the collection agency will start calling you. This will trash your credit even more.
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