Citizens cancels the service (my gift cards) and has the nerve to keep charging a service fee!
RIVERSIDE, RHODE ISLAND -- I have an ongoing problem with Citizens Bank gift cards. The bottom line is this: they cancelled my two active gift card before their expiration date, but they continued to charge me a monthly 'service charge' for these cards, cards which were no longer in service. When I complained, they refused to reimburse me for service charges on the out of service cards. Doesn't a service charge mean that you are paying for a service? If Citizens cancelled the service ( i.e. use of the gift cards), how can the service fee continue to be charged?
I am just as angry about the very poor way I have been treated. Citizens could have made it easy to find out that the cards had been deactived, but they did not. I used the card and it didn't go through at one business. Odd I thought, so I tried a second time, different place, a few weeks later. Still no luck. I went to the citizensbankgiftcard.com website, typed in my card info, and all looked fine ( i.e. there was money on the cards). Figuring my website verification might have activated something on my cards, a few weeks later I tried a purchase again, and still no luck. I tried the 800#. There was no option to talk to an operator, and pressing 0 did nothing, but I keyed in my card info, and the system said there was money on the cards. I shopped again. No luck again. Back to the 800# to do the optional card registration, figuring this might solve my problem. I was surprised that this option lead to a human operator, who told me that citizens had cancelled the cards.
I was sent checks for the card balance LESS card service charges. The 800# person gave me a Massachusetts Citizens bank address to write to for service charge reimbursement. I wrote. Citizens ignored my letter. They didn't even respond! Am I not worthy of a response? I emailed Citizens customer service. They said they couldn't help me, but gave me an address, this time in Atlanta, to send yet another letter to. I did so. Once again, I never got a response! I am pretty shocked at this. Is this the practice now, to just ignore letters from customers? I wrote to the places Citizens told me to write to, and they just ignored me.
I didn't give up though. I wrote to the head of Citizens at their Providence HQ and I actually, finally, got a response. It was a short letter saying that Citizens was just following service charge policy as outlined in the gift card rules they had attached to the letter. They presented no justification for charging a service charge for cards that they had taken out of service, nor did their gift card rules address this situation. What I felt even more disappointed about was that Citizens HQ did not offer one word of apology for ignoring both of my previous letters, when I had sent those letters to the very people Citizens told me to contact in order to resolve this issue. Ignoring a customer letter once is bad enough, but twice is pretty rotten, and then failing to apologize when I told them about this says to me that the people at Citizens HQ care very little about their customers.
I know I share blame, as service charges don't start until the "13th month after issuance". I got the two $300 giftcards from my siblings. It was their way of thanking me for taking care of our 92 year-old mother as she needed 24/7 care, and my job had been outsourced to India, so I had time to do so. To be honest I felt guilty taking money from my siblings to take care of our mother so I just had a hard time using the gift cards. Weird, I know, but it didn't sit right with me. I did use one of the cards once, but after that I just put them aside.
I lost $45 in service charges ($2.50/mo for 9 months, on two cards). The 800# person told me that Citizens cancelled the cards on 6/3/2009, and I got my check, less service fees, in December 2009. Of the nine months of service fees, 3 months were while the card was active, and 6 months (June through December) are service charges on cards that had been put out of service. Those service fees bought me nothing but bad service! They made it so difficult even to find out why my cards were suddenly not working, and they expect me to pay them service fees for all this aggravation. It is beyond belief to me that Citizens would, when I have repeatedly presented them with these facts, all the way up to the very top of the corporation, would not make things right. I am really very surprised how little they care about doing the right thing for their customers, and it is obvious that this poor attitude is prevalent at the very top of the corporate ladder.
I am left to again ponder the question in Citizens online ads: âIs this how you define a good bank?â