Thursday, May 19, 2011
Open Letter Thursday: Too Many Fish in the Sea to Do Business With a Shark
Dear Citibank (and each of your 394749107463 employees, who all seem to be from either Dubai or South Carolina),
I have been a loyal card-carrying member of The Citi Empire since 2005ish. That's longer than I've done a lot of things in my life...including marriage. Over the years, you have jacked with my payment due date, reluctantly refunded service fees that should have never been charged to begin with, and raised my interest rate to obscene levels (fortunately, Neal has a zero tolerance policy for carrying a balance). The only aspect of my account that has been executed successfully is the reward points. Although you basically have to buy a medium-sized island in the Pacific to garner enough points for a wrist watch, the points are easy to redeem and the item ships quickly. So...there's that. I guess.
But let's talk about the rest.
Last month, I received a letter from Citibank. Congratulations! You've been upgraded to Preferred Status! Your new card is on the way! Which would actually be fairly fantastic news...except that you canceled my card when you shipped my new card. How did I discover this, you ask? I was trying desperately to pay for gas at Sam's with my Citibank card. Ordinarily, I would just whip out the AmEx, but it's Sam's and they are Discover or debit. We are not Discover people (because even though it seems like no one takes AmEx, NO ONE takes Discover. Except for Sam's). Had it not been for my debit card, that I just happened to still have with me, I would have been hoofing it to the nearest gas station to get gas for my car...at the gas station. And thus the CitInsanity began.
The next day, I began receiving emails of accounts that were in default due to a declined card. And I received one nasty phone call from a company who thought this was my sly attempt at dodging a payment. They also did not take American Express.
Fast forward to last weekend...approximately 4 weeks after the entire debacle began. My credit card payment was due and I was babysitting a fully decorated wedding reception hall, which was located across the street from the ghetto and had no keys for any of the doors. I needed to pay my bill in a bad way. So, like any red-blooded American, I called the customer service number. First I got the lady from Dubai (who I had to ask several times to please, for the love of God and all that is good and holy, please slow down) and then I got the lady from South Carolina. Oh! A southerner! I speak this language. Except what I don't speak is Rude because somehow it went down like this:
Genteel Southern Belle: How many I help you today, ma'am?
Me: Oh I just need to pay my bill.
Scarlett: I would be happy to help you with that. Can I get your account number?
Me: Well, that's the problem. I don't have it because you all sent me a preferred card and canceled my other card, so I shredded it. But then I never received the Preferred card. So I don't have my account number.
Golden Girl: I'm so sorry you never received your card. I would be happy to take your payment over the phone and I will waive the $14.95 service fee.
Me: $14.95? For what?
Circling Shark: For making a payment over the phone.
Me: Um...thank you?
I give her the necessary payment information while I try to recover from the idea of charging someone $15 to pay their bill over the phone.
The Spawn of Stefano: It looks like you never received your Preferred Card because your mail is being forwarded. Are you having problems with your mail? We obviously do not forward credit cards for security reasons. Would you like for me to send you another card?
Me: Sure I understand that. Yes, my mail is being temporarily forwarded while I'm home for the summer. I actually don't need a new card. I have not had access to my Citibank card for a month now since y'all (a term I thought she would understand and relate to) canceled my old card before I ever received my new card. If I didn't need my credit card for a month then maybe I don't need it at all. I will most likely just cancel it when my thank you points are redeemed.
She Who Put the "B" in Itch: Is there anything else I can do for you then?
Me: No thank you. You've been great. Have a...
Except that ruderific beyotch hung up on me!
So, in conclusion, I just wanted you to know, Citibank, that there was the possibility that I would have returned to the flock at some point down the road. You offer many great credit cards with an array of rewards...this may not have been the end of you and I. But now? If half of your call center speaks English as a 4th language and the other half needs to be schooled on simple phone courtesy, I have no business with you. I appreciate the 3 hours I spent wandering around the Gap outlet yesterday, redeeming gift cards from a slew of thank you points...but I can't say that's enough to overlook the rest. There are just too many businesses jockeying for my business. You have to do better than that.
Now Clad in Khaki