Citibank N A Complaint - Blindsided by Citibank’s “checkless checking account.”
WEATHERFORD, TEXAS -- In March, my husband and I opened up a new Citibank Access Account. I had researched banks and accounts, and this one had free online bill pay and the per-check fee did not apply. It was perfect. The only drawback is that it said it did not come with paper checks. Well, that is no problem because I order mine online anyway.
I opened the account online and then the next day went to the bank and asked the branch manager to next day air the debit cards to me since I found out that I couldn’t do any online bill pay without first registering my debit cards. During the process, I asked him for my new checking account and routing numbers so that I could order new checks. He gave it to me. The next week when I deposited, the teller asked me if she could order me any checks and I said no that I had already ordered them.
I proceeded to write a total of 8 checks in 1 month. Two weeks after I wrote the first 2 checks and I still didn’t see them post online, so I called customer service. The rep said that they cleared and that I had nothing to worry about. I asked why I didn’t see them on my online account, and she responded by saying that they have a new system that has some glitches. They are working on it and it should be fixed by tomorrow.
Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from the school district to which I had written 6 checks. It stated that they had been returned and that I would owe $25 per check in service fees and I was no longer allowed to write checks. I called customer service and was told by a RUDE rep that I had what she called a “checkless checking account.” When I ordered this online, I never saw anything that would make me think I couldn’t write checks. Apparently, instead of the account not coming with checks, you can’t actually write checks on this account! How can you have a checking account without checks? It’s an oxymoron! She said she could not fix it and was just so rude, so I demanded to speak with a manager. This did no good and he told me that they would not even talk to the merchants to explain how this happened for me. He said there is nothing he could do to help me.
In the morning, I went to our branch and spoke with the same manager who had given me the account and routing numbers. He said he remembered me and remembered giving that to me so I could order checks. I then told him that his teller had asked if she could order some checks for me when I was depositing. Then I told him what had happened and how I somehow have a checkless checking account. His response was that since I opened my account online he could not help me. I told him it was partially his fault since he gave me the information so I could order checks and they should be responsible for the fees. I told him that I am a bail bond agent and that I have to have a squeaky clean record in order to keep my job, and that in my county, checks automatically go to warrant. I told him I could lose my job for this and go to jail. He responded by saying that they have countless accounts at Citibank and that if he looked at everyone that came in, he would be here all day. He also said his tellers didn’t know anything, they just make deposits. I started to cry and he just sat there staring at me and was expressionless. He wouldn’t budge. When I started to leave, I saw that my husband was on his way in.
My husband came in and asked him to change this to a checking account that we can write checks on so that maybe some of these will clear. He then told us that he couldn’t do that because the new account will have a different checking account number on it.
This has been a nightmare so please beware, do not get an account with Citibank called Citibank Access Account if you are planning on writing checks. Better yet, just don’t get a Citibank account at all! Their customer service is horrible! We have banked with Wells Fargo for almost 10 years now, and have never had any trouble at all with them. My account with Wells Fargo also does not come with paper checks, I have to buy them, and the per-check fee does not apply either....but I am aloud to write checks because it’s a CHECKING ACCOUNT! Thank God I didn’t close out that account!
The only comforting news is that the owners of the bond company I work for have contacted the county judge (who they are friends with). In addition, my friend is friends with one of the Vice Presidents of Citibank, and she is calling on my behalf. My boss is a retired police officer who’s father retired as county judge, so they know enough lawyers and people in power around this town to get something done. I am actually thinking about fighting this. I am going to go pay all the fines on Monday, but I think I should be reimbursed for it. Sometimes it’s not the money that matters, just the principal of it. Thank God we didn’t write a lot of checks, because if we would have, this could have ruined us financially!
Oh, one more thing: About 2 weeks back I deposited about $300 in CASH about 4 pm on Friday. The receipt said the amount I deposited was “available today.” When I checked the account the next morning, it did not show up online. I called customer service and was told that anything I deposit, whether cash or check, when deposited after 3 PM on Friday will NOT be available until the following Tuesday! It took 5 days for my cash deposit to become available to me! That is just unacceptable!
It is my opinion that Citibank is a horrible bank and their customer service staff all should be retrained or replaced with more friendly customer service oriented employees.