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 affect 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 dispute 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 agencies. 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 ignore 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 ignore/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 anyone's 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.
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).
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 losing 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 Citibank's 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, they 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". Nowhere in the ads does Citibank disclose the punitive interest rate punishment if you pay late one time and how they will report you to the credit 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 perception 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.
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.
DES MOINES, IOWA -- Citibank 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. Citibank 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. Citibank actually breached our verbal contract, which they also put in writing and mailed to me. Citibank uses dirty and unethical tactics to hurt people already in a difficult economic time.
P. O. BOX 6500, SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA -- I have been a Citi Card member since 1998. In fact it was the first credit card account I opened as an undergraduate student. In my entire history as a card holder, I have generally carried a small balance and have never (in my recollection) made a late payment. A highly desirable Citi customer right? Apparently not!
Last month, my wife (who mails off most of our bills) inadvertently dropped the payment envelope down between the seat of her car while at the post office. Consequently, the envelope was not discovered until after the payment due date had passed. Thinking we had already made the on-time payment, we immediately called Citi Card to explain the accident and to inform the company that the payment was en route but would be late. The customer service agent was pleasant enough, waived our late fee, and made a note on our account explaining what had happened. For the record, I believe our payment was officially 8-10 late.
Today, I received a notice in the mail from Citi Card explaining that, due to the late payment, my account (OF 12 YEARS) was being closed next month. Thinking that this was simply a misunderstanding that could be resolved, I called Citi Card and spoke with 2 senior account supervisors. I was told that the Notice I received was accurate and final, that there was no review or appeal process, and that despite the fact that I have been a valued customer for over 12 years with no prior late payments (and a good excuse for my one and only late payment), that this was a business decision by Citibank.
The fact that this is my oldest line of credit and that the closing of this account will negatively affect my credit score was/is my biggest frustration. I even asked the supervisor if Citi could simply freeze my account (i.e. keep it open but not extend another dime of credit) so as to not negatively impact my credit score, and I was told no. Consequently, a check paying off the balance for that account is already in the mail, and Citibank will not be earning another penny of interest from me. Thank you Citibank...you have just convinced me to boycott any and all Citi-related product or service until the end of time, or Citibank goes bankrupt!!
I don't complain much, but this really had me scratching my head. I have a Shell card and an zExxonMobil card that were issued by Citibank. Before the flood of "why did you need two gas cards" starts, I'll answer: one was for my husband when he had to travel, and one was for me since there is a Mobil station by my school. I paid the Shell card off last October. I carried a balance on the ExxonMobil card, but the limit is low, so it's not much-a few hundred bucks.
About three months ago, they decided to raise my credit limit. OK, didn't ask for it, didn't really want it, but OK. Yesterday, I got two letters in the mail from Citibank that looked like they were typed in my 8th grade computer class (I was in 8th grade back when a computer took up a room, if that tells you anything) and photocopied. Citibank's name doesn't show up anywhere in the letter until the very end, and only once in a footnote paragraph about the identity of the creditor.
They have decided to close both accounts for various reasons: not enough credit history, too much credit history, "unknown" deliquency (??), some other contradictory junk. Whatever. Creditors nowadays do what they want, I suppose. The part that really had me mad was that the closing date is March 18. Three days' notice? This is a valid question: are there any notice requirements for closing an account?
I paid these bills. I got a credit line increase. I have a loan with Citi, and the guy in the branch calls me every six months to ask if I want to refinance and save $5 a month while extending my loan 3 years. Uh...no. So I'm just a little irritated that they decided that, for whatever reason (I can't figure it out based on the laundry list they gave me), I am no longer good enough for them and that they are dropping me like a hot rock in three days. Now my credit report is going to show that they closed my accounts, and my debt-to-credit ratio is going up.
Everyone has their own experience, so I'm not going to tell you to run screaming from Citi. Just know that, in my complacency, I had no problem with them until they blindsided me with this little business. I'll pay my loan and the balance on the gas card and skip doing any business with them in the future. They won't miss me or my money.
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!
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.
HILLIARD, OHIO -- So this is some really shady business practices going on. Citibank raised my interest rate on my card from 8.24% to 25.99% for no reason after I have had the account open for 18 years. I have a 765 credit score. I accepted the rate increase because I don't want them to close my account which would negatively affect my credit score, and they know that. That would allow more creditors to raise my interest rates and lower my limits.
Needless to say, I am not ever going to use a credit card with a 25.99% interest rate if it will EVER carry a balance. But now that it has a $0 balance, if I don't use it somewhat regularly, they will close it for inactivity. So I get a letter in the mail yesterday that I can sign up for this "new program" where they will "reward me" with 10% of my finance charges back in the form of a statement credit if I pay just the minimum balance each month. How crazy are they?
So, hypothetically, say I have a $5,000 balance. Before they raised my interest rate I would have paid about $34.33 a month in interest (8.24% / 12 * $5,000). My minimum payment is $68.00 a month on a $5,000 balance. But now with their "new reward program" and the friendly interest rate increase, I pay about $108.29 in interest every month (25.99% / 12 * 5000). My minimum payment is still $68.00 a month. But if I pay just the minimum, they will "reward me" with 10% of my finance charges back. So I will get a statement credit of $10.83 a month. Woo hoo.
So by paying just the minimum, I get to give them $98 a month in interest and my balance will just continue to grow and that $98 a month will grow exponentially. Unfortunately there are probably many people that think Citibank is giving them a great deal. They are desperate. They should be imprisoned.