Beware Long-Term Cardholders With Perfect Payment Histories, Your Credit Lines May Be Slashed

Oliver paid off his Citibank platinum card on time, in full, every single month since 1989, but that didn’t stop Citibank from slashing his credit limit when a minor mistake popped up on his credit report.

Oliver writes:

I’ve been a Citibank Platinum cardholder since 1989 – that’s longer than some bloggers have been alive now that I think about it – anyway, in all that time I have never (and I seriously mean never as in NOT A SINGLE TIME) had so much as a late payment. In fact I typically pay thousands of dollars a month in Citibank payments because I get mileage from the card so I use it for everything I possibly can.

So today I go to pay for a rental car and I get declined which is pretty weird but because Citibank has a ridiculous and excessive security policy I figure that renting a car in my own neighborhood is triggering a risk profile. So I call and when I inquire they tell me that I am over my credit limit. Huh? “ I’m nowhere near my credit limit “I say, “I just sent you guys a couple thousand dollars not three days ago.”

“I’m sorry sir, it says here you’ve exceeded your credit limit of xxxxxx”.

“Umm, excuse me,” I say, “my credit limit is not xxxxxx, it’s yyyyy.”(yyyy being a couple thousand more than she is telling me it is)

She says that I should hold and as I’m holding I realize that there’s a vein starting to bulge in my forehead and that little pieces of my porcelain crown are starting to chip as I grind my teeth in irritation.

After two minutes of listening to their loony-happy Citibank hell-evator muzak she comes back and seemingly gleefully informs me that: “Sir, due to some recent negative information on your credit report we’ve determined that you are a credit risk and have lowered your spending limit accordingly. If you’d like to make a payment over the phone to restore your account to a non-over-the-limit status I’d be happy to help you with that.”

About now the crown gives it up completely reminding me that I have a dentist appointment in an hour.

I ask for the credit risk management department and after another five minutes of their delightful muzak director’s shit taste I get some bimbo named Carolyn or Charlotte or something like that.

I explain to her that this must be some sort of mistake and besides, how can they lower the available credit for someone that has never missed a freaking single payment in nearly twenty years? Never even been late one time in that whole time? Never even paid just the minimum due in that whole time?

Apparently she thinks this is humorous because she takes on this condescending tone with me and suggests that if I paid all my bills on time perhaps I wouldn’t be having this problem.

It’s a miracle I’m not stroking our right there or doing an imitation of that eighties movie Scanners where the guys make each other explode from some sort of telekinetic/pyrokinetic attack. Before their heads actually explode they start to bleed out through bulging veins and that’s about how I feel listing to Miss C… $6.50 an hour tell me about paying my bills on time.

I ask just what it is that is on the credit report that is reflecting so poorly on my but she can’t (or won’t) share this information with me. As she says this last I swear she’s laughing. I wonder to myself where they find these people and realize that she’s lucky she lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota – it should give you some idea of how annoyed I am that anyone would be lucky to live in Sioux Falls. If she were much closer I could see myself paying her a visit…

At any rate, feeling far from satisfied at this turn of events and the delightful treatment I’ve had at the hands of a bank that’s been the recipient of large sums of my money for two decades I head home and get a copy of my credit report.

As I review it a second vein, this one in my neck starts to turn an ominous shade of purple and I realize that I’m punching the keys on my computer so hard I am actually bruising my own fingers.

Looking at the report I see what the problem is – or rather what they are. Two companies that I do business with are both indicating that I’ve been thirty days late making payments once in the last ninety days.

Only both of these issues are not exactly correct. In both cases the vendors, Sony and Volkswagen respectively failed to mail me billing statements to the correct address in spite of both of them being updated as to the change.

I contact both Sony and VW and in both cases they agree that their own system errors were to blame and that they’ll notify the credit bureaus that the derogatory information will be removed from my report the next time they update their files.

Hearing this I feel somewhat better and the vein in my neck throttles back to a more garden variety bluish tint- still not normal but at least not “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” purple.

Silly me. I figure that armed with this information I can contact Citibank and get things straightened out.

Au contraire Mr idiot. Citibank decides that you’re a deadbeat and no amount of perfect history will reconcile the fact that you’re not. Isn’t this wonderful I think to myself – through no fault of my own by credit bureau report gets hosed and in spite of both companies committing to fixing their mistakes, a company with whom I’ve done business for ages, and with whom I not only have credit but also funds on deposit (a factor which you’d think alone was sufficient to mitigate their concerns) they won’t even talk to me about it.

The new credit manager – Sue is her name – informs me that “once I get the credit bureau’s corrected report I can write them and they will evaluate the account to determine if I am eligible for an increase at that time.” Can you believe it? “Eligible for an increase” Not, “sorry we fucked up and we’ll fix this right away.” Not “thank you for your loyal business we appreciate you taking the time to straighten this out. “ Not even ”I apologize for the inconvenience and will see what I can do to rectify the situation.” Nope. “Just screw you mister deadbeat you’re just another suspect loser and we could care less about your history with us, your funds on deposit or any other factor which should indicate your continuing credit worthiness. “ Nope. She won’t even give me the name of an executive to whom I can write a letter.

In fact, “Sue” tells me that they always play it this way. She says if they’re going to lower someone’s available credit they always do it first thing in the morning and they never tell people in advance so that folks can’t preemptively charge their cards up to whatever limit they might happen to have before the decrease takes effect.

That’s messed up. All of it. The fact that people would play that charge up the card game is pretty lame but the way Citibank treats its customers is even lamer. The simple fact is that two providers of services screwed up and made an erroneous report to the credit bureaus regarding my credit. This in turn impacted my score which caused Citibank to take action that impacted my score further.

So even though I could prove that the problems that started this whole chain of events were definitely not my fault and that further there is nothing wrong with my credit worthiness or even any negative change in my financial standing, Citibank has chosen to treat me as if I’m a complete loser who doesn’t pay his bills.

By this time I’m so burnt out on trying to fix things that I’ve no longer got the energy to grind my teeth and my blood pressure has apparently plateaued at some unacceptably high level leaving me a bit bug eyed and with a pounding headache and the desire to — write something and stick it up Citibank executive’s asses. Maybe, I think to myself… Maybe consumerist will write something about this and those fucktards at Citibank will learn to treat people a little nicer… And not to fuck with bloggers.

Though Oliver may be Citibank’s ideal customer, the bank’s actions are no surprise. Banks are furiously slashing credit lines to limit their exposure to the ongoing subprime meltdown, often relying on credit reports to justify their actions.

Sony and Volkswagen may be willing to take responsibility for the erroneous blot, but Citibank won’t restore the full credit line until the mistake falls from the credit report. Neither company can be trusted to unilaterally inform the credit reporting agencies of their mistake. When you spot an error on your credit report, dispute the negative item yourself.

Banks aren’t eager to tell customers that they’re slashing limits, so they stay quiet and hope nobody notices. Keep an eye on your monthly credit card statement to see if your limit suddenly falls, and take advantage of your free annual credit report to spot errors before they harm your credit line and your credit score.

RELATED: Contact Citibank CEO William Rhodes
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Crazytree says:

    did op notice that he didn’t made his car payment the month before?

  2. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Kind of a nuisance, granted, but missing two payments in the last 90 days after years of perfect payment history is probably just the sort of thing that people who are starting to hit financial problems tend to do, and that’s exactly the case where someone like Citi wants to cut exposure.

  3. ogman says:

    Citibank employees will commence blaming the customer in 5….4….3….

  4. Drewtal says:

    Missing payments to two creditors does not equal “perfect payment history.”

  5. OminousG says:

    I hate for anyone to think I’m blaming the OP here, but dude, you write like a douche.
    Get to the point, the lame mellodrama isn’t needed.

  6. balilanai says:

    Since you had a payment from VW, I am assuming its a car payment. Did you wait 90 days before you realized that you had not paid a bill? You should be more careful tracking your payments and anticipate bills that are coming in. Be more in control.

  7. thelushie says:

    @OminousG: Agreed. He lost me at “bimbo”. Just because a woman is saying something that you don’t like and not bowing to your wishes doesn’t make her a bimbo.

  8. stevevt says:

    “Though Oliver may be Citibank’s ideal customer…”

    Customers like Oliver are very far from Citibank’s ideal customer, and I’m not referring to his writing style. Credit card companies prefer customers who make minimum-only payments and therefore end up paying a lot of money in interest.

  9. Azmodan says:

    I thought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act they had to tell you what information on your credit report led to them lowering your limit?

    From Wikipedia:
    [en.wikipedia.org] Users of the information for credit, insurance, or employment purposes (including background checks) have the following responsibilities under the FCRA:
    (1) They must notify the consumer when an adverse action is taken on the basis of such reports.
    (2) Users must identify the company that provided the report, so that the accuracy and completeness of the report may be verified or contested by the consumer.

  10. tdatl says:

    i’m sure the attitude didn’t help him any.

    And I see it as his fault. He should have known he had his car payment and checked online when he didn’t get his satement… why in 2008 was he relying on paper statements anyway? Maybe an email notice if you can’t remember a payment you make the same time every single month?! sheesh, I don’t need anyone to remind me I have a mortgage payment each month.

  11. brianala says:

    @thelushie: Ditto. I stopped reading after he called a female employee a bimbo for no other apparent reason than she was telling him something he didn’t like hearing. Sounds like the guy is a complete ass.

  12. JustThatGuy3 says:

    And by the way, someone should tell him that his “Citibank Platinum Card” is not particularly impressive – it just means his credit is about about 700.

  13. SayAhh says:

    Not just Visa. Citibank Visa.

    LOL remember that commercial from the late 80′s? Citibank doesn’t like Visa anymore and reissued every Visa card as a MasterCard back when I was still a customer.

    If you spend THAT much money and are always trying to charge everything (just like me), then may I suggest The TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express. Impeccable customer service from both institutions, the only caveat is a mandatory Costco membership, which will pay for itself many times over before each year is up anyway. They now even offer 3% rebate on gasoline (3% at restaurants/fast food joints, 2% travel, 1% everywhere else), with no time limits and no maximum cap on the amount you get back! Beat that, Conoco-Phillips credit card (7% up to 6 months, $35 limit).

  14. Fredex says:

    When Citibank was run by John Reed, perhaps the best retail banker in America, it was a great place to do business.

    Citigroup, under Sandy Weill and hs Wall Street ways, has been a disaster from the beginning.

  15. Shmonkmonk says:

    @OminousG: I also agree. I can understand his frustration but yeah, the guy sounds like a complete jerk. Was he trying to earn out sympathy? So we, as a commenter, are suppose to watch what we say but OPs can spew all kinds of ignorant hatred? Whatever.

    As for his argument that he’s given Citi Bank thousands of dollars a month so they owe him something. Granted, they owe him customer service but he’s no different that someone who only has a $500 limit. He said so himself that he pays the card off every month so Citi Bank isn’t earning a cent off of him (‘cept for the Merchant Fee they collect from the retailer). So, in the eyes of Citi Bank, someone who only charges a few hundred but carries a balance is a better customer than someone who charges thousands and pays it off at the end of the month.

  16. TechnoDestructo says:

    @OminousG:

    Crowns grinding, veins popping, stroke having.

  17. krispykrink says:

    The dude should happy since they at least still want him, I guess. I’ve been dropped from 2 credit cards for making payment in full and on time. I was told flat out that I’m not a good customer because they make no money off of me when I pay in full.

  18. enigmaticslr says:

    That is why AOR is genius… Diversification away from the *ittygroup is especially crucial.

  19. ninjatoddler says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I’d be having those very same symptoms if I were him. Looks like Citibank’s problems go all the way to the customer service line.

  20. nagumi says:

    Yeesh. Take some Xanax, man. I can tell you never ever worked in a service job.

    Maybe you should realize that this error isn’t your fault OR theirs. Maybe you should lighten up.

  21. Ehh… ehh! Can’t help it!

    Credit card companies are really nervous right now with the economy. People who are starting to show themselves to be a risk are getting credit lines slashed and cards closed. It is happening frequently. I can’t say much without knowing what his credit limit is and how much he is using, though. If he is around $5,000 of $7,000 and paying ‘a few thousand a month’ that isn’t so hot. Why carry the balance at all? But if he is $2,000 of $4,000, paying his balance in full, that should be perfectly fine (though it doesn’t reflect well on the ol’ credit report).

    He failed to make two payments on time — important payments. That wasn’t a glitch on their part, that was probably SOP. Someone who is late on their car payment could be a risk for an unsecured credit line. Sure, OP says he did not receive his statement, but that is irresponsible. If I didn’t get my car payment bill one month I would be sorting it out — not assuming santa decided to pay for my car for the month.

  22. thelushie says:

    @Azmodan: they can’t give you the details of what is in the report just where they got it from.

  23. tdicola says:

    Cut up the Citibank card and get an American Express or other card, there’s absolutely no customer loyalty in the credit card business.

  24. thelushie says:

    @Shmonkmonk: Your first paragraph is an outstanding point. The OPs need to watch what they say too. After all, some of them are posters. And all are readers.

  25. B says:

    I’m not having these problems at all with Chase, in fact, they keep raising my credit limit, even though I pay off my bill in full each month. I guess cause I’m awesome.

  26. greggo says:

    And just for the record, Oliver is far from Citibanks perfect customer – he maxes his card to get as many rewards as possible and never pays interest – in the credit industry, this guy is a deadbeat.

  27. djanes1 says:

    Sometimes lame things do happen to lame people.

  28. Average_Joe says:

    You had the money in your account for these payments, and you did make them. So the credit card company has no right to do what they did. We really need to make it so a payment problem with a 3rd party cannot easily effect your other accounts. Maybe a rule of 2-3 consecutive missed payments before reporting them to a credit agency. It’s not right that a one month mishap with a bill can screw up all their other accounts.(Especially when you can prove you had the available funds in a bank account to make the payment) A customer should be given at least a one month reprieve to get something fixed before a problem is reported. Otherwise you will see cases like this where the creditor screws up and decided to negatively tag someone’s credit report, but once fixed they aren’t getting it removed.

  29. lilad says:

    I don’t really see how the colour of the OP’s veins are at all relevant.

    Nor do I see how “bimbo Miss.C’s” wage has to do with your credit limit.

    I stopped reading sometime after that.

  30. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    Did that really need to be so long?

    OP, you really need to calm down. I know that this was frustrating, but your cardiologist will not be happy.

    Also, was this really necessary?, “…that’s about how I feel listing to Miss C… $6.50 an hour tell me about paying my bills on time…” Makes you sound like a douche, just saying.

  31. SuffolkHouse says:

    Try this on for size. While trying to pay my bills on time, Citibank, with whom my wife has her student loans, refuses to send a monthly statement if we are paid ahead.

    Total and complete fucking bullshit.

    Out of spite, I send large checks anyway.

    These checks, without the attached statement stub, always cash slowly.

  32. SuffolkHouse says:

    @DePaulBlueDemon:

    Yeah, I think that was necessary. These people who get shit on with low pay and piss-poor benefits should treat the people getting screwed as their brothers/sisters-in-arms. They shouldn’t be patronizing them or laughing at them. In fact, they should themselves start refusing to do this bullshit.

    Yes, it seems very necessary to me. Oh, and telling someone that their post was too long just means you are an anti-intellectual who can’t stand to read something in its entirety. Oh, well. No much different than the rest of the masses.

  33. sleze69 says:

    @Shmonkmonk: He said so himself that he pays the card off every month so Citi Bank isn’t earning a cent off of him (‘cept for the Merchant Fee they collect from the retailer).

    Merchant fee’s for a $500 line is different than a $7000. How different? Well…14 times if my calculations are correct. Besides, if there is an annual fee, they are making that off of him as well. Bottom line is that, according to his story, he has been a steady source of income to them for 19 years. Guys like this guy make a very steady base of income for these credit card companies.

    Anyway. Do a google search for best credit cards. There are some VERY good cards with high credit lines and great benefits. Citibank doesn’t want your business any more. Screw em.

  34. forgottenpassword says:

    Oh noes! What are they going to do? drop me down from $5,000 to $1,000? I dont see how this could really hurt anyone unless they carry a large balance Or rely on their cards way too much (which they shouldnt be doing in the first place). I put on average a whopping $500 monthy on my usual card…. & pay it off each month. I do this solely for the convenience & the cashback rewards. IMO if you are worrued about your credit card limit dropping, then you have bigger problems than that you should be dealing with.

  35. thelushie says:

    @SuffolkHouse: No it wasn’t needed. And if he actually got to the point, a long post would not be a problem. Going on and on about how he THINKS they are laughing at him and not giving him what he wants makes him out to be a real jerk. And my guess is he was a jerk on the phone, too. And, yeah, making a comment about someone’s pay after he stated the below is uncalled for (as is this comment):

    “I ask for the credit risk management department and after another five minutes of their delightful muzak director’s shit taste I get some bimbo named Carolyn or Charlotte or something like that.”

    As much as paying someone a substandard wage (which the OP can’t prove in this case, anyway) is demeaning, calling a woman a bimbo because she is saying something you don’t like or isn’t bowing to your every wish is also demeaning.

  36. IreneSurtur says:

    I’ve had similar issues with (surprise) Citibank, and the quickest
    way I have found to get them to correct problems is to tell whoever
    you are on the phone with “Then please CANCEL my account.” Everytime
    I have pushed it this far they couldn’t get my cock in their mouth
    fast enough. It was amazing just how much problem solving ability
    these $6.50 an hour morons have when a 20 year+ accountholder (as I
    am also) offers to become a good customer to some other company.

  37. datruesurfer says:

    Wow, I have side with the OP here because I’m a Citi cardmember myself and they treat me like this guy should be treated. When I applied for the card last year I was expecting since I had no credit history whatsoever, they would give me a very small limit. A few weeks later I get my card in the mail and they started me off with a $2,500 limit! Since that time they have actually raised my limit another $1,500 and offered to extend my limit another $1,500. This guy has been a cardmember as long as I have been alive and he gets the shaft. Shocking.

  38. forgottenpassword says:

    @forgottenpassword:

    Just wanted to add…. that i realisticly expect to be treated like shit from a credit card company that makes very little off me & considers me a “deadbeat” (using their own industry’s term).

  39. josephsherry says:

    I had a simialr problem with CitiBank. Then shortly after that I got hurt at work and went on disability. All of a sudden CitiBank raised my interest rate and it sky rocketed from the minimal rate to 24% and when I called up they told me I had become a credit risk so they raised my interest rate and in the following month, because of that raise, all my other credit cards followed suit. When I called them they said they raised my interest rates also because CitiBank apparently found something and raised my interest rate first.
    Have no fear I got even for most of us who have been screwed by these mini gods like Ms. C. I have stopped paying them all, which I can afford to do even though my monies are SUFFICIENT enough to pay them all off. See I am now on permanent disability and my monies are unattachable! EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE MY MOVE I TRANSFERED ALL MY POSSESIONS INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S NAME FOR LEGAL REASONS.
    So to Mastercard, Bank of America, CitiBank , Capitol One and the rest of my creditors WHAT INTEREST RATE ARE YOU GETTING NOW YOU CAN KMA GOTCHA!!!!! LMAO!!!!!

  40. ???/??? says:

    Let me re-write the article for you.

    “My Citi card was denied when I went to rent a car because my credit limit had been lowered without prior knowledge.

    When inquiring, it turned out I was late on my car payments, and they felt that I could be running into some financial issues and therefore, I was a bigger risk.”

    … not much of a post anymore huh?

    As someone who works at a credit union and in customer service, let me tell you – in 10 calls, 9 of those people are yelling at me for something that was entirely their fault. 1 person is justifiably pissed. As we hit a bit of an economic wall, you’re going to see creditors tighten up a bit with their lending. That’s naturally the cycle.

    Missing car payments IS a big deal! Especially since it is a reoccurring monthly thing, you shouldn’t have to rely on a monthly statement saying, oh yea “Your car payment is due!”

    I never understand the grand fascination with credit cards. If you don’t have the money, what makes people believe they’re going to have it at the end of the month. I use mine to build up my credit, but other then that – I can’t rely on the fact that I have the money to cover it in my account.

  41. forgottenpassword says:

    @datruesurfer:

    that’s because you were a potential indebted slave & they thought they could possibly make a ton of money off you.

    In the credit card industry…. its better to lose a longtime customer who you make little money off of instead of losing a new customer that you could potentially make a lot of money off of.

  42. DjDynasty says:

    I would sue all 3 companies. Anytime a company does anything that negatively impacts my credit score via their own error. I take them to court!

  43. ???/??? says:

    I forgot a part.

    Of course Citi isn’t just going to change things because you called them back up and said “Oh, problem solved. Give me my credit.” Not everyone in this world is honest. And if you were to move, or have an address change, wouldn’t you be sure that everything was set up correctly? I understand VW and Sony should have made the necessary changes, but things happen – and I have quite the time believing that two different companies messed up the billing procedure.

    “Maybe consumerist will write something about this and those fucktards at Citibank will learn to treat people a little nicer… And not to fuck with bloggers.”

    This is absolutely unnecessary.

  44. ZekeSulastin says:

    @josephsherry: So wait a second, you’re avoiding paying off balances you maintained then transferred all your money to other people to try to hide it?

    Given the reception those walking out on their mortgages got …

    At least from my POV, way to be an asshole and make it that much tougher for the rest of us. Pay off your damn balances then cut the cards. They can’t get interest or legal recourse from a $0 balance, and you’ll have credit to speak of should you need it.

  45. ???/??? says:

    @DjDynasty – unfortunately, you’re not going to have a leg to stand on if you didn’t make any notice to them of the error beforehand. Credit errors are not difficult to fix. I’ve gone through it before with my own work.

    This is especially true if VW and Sony did have some justification in filing for late payments. It was a mistake, but if you haven’t made them aware, the judge is more then likely going to laugh your ass out of court for wasting everyones time.

    Creditors aren’t out to get you – they just want to make sure that you follow the terms you agreed to and minimizing risks.

  46. weave says:

    Why I like American Express so much. True, I’ve read some horror stories about a financial review being triggered by them for some people, but I’ve been with them for 25 years and never had a problem. Have charged insane (for me) amounts like $25k at a time. No problem.

  47. HogwartsAlum says:

    I don’t have a credit card. Every time I think about getting one – so I can rent a car, in case of emergency, etc. – I read something like this.

    My brother said that he and his wife have a Citibank card and every once in a while, they RAISE their limit (without telling them, of course). He said they call and get it lowered again. He says they don’t need the temptation! I think card companies need to be slapped down. They are way too sneaky. Universal default, jacking up interest rates all the time, shifting due dates…

    I guess I don’t need a card after all.

  48. linoth says:

    @OminousG: On the contrary. It gives you a window into the personality of the person behind the complaint.

    I’d say he’s arrogant, thinks he’s better than at least call center employees (who typically make more than 6.50, thanks much), and as others have said, he’s a douche. And I’m guessing from that information that he called up making demands and acting like he was entitled to special treatment.

    What Citibank did to him wasn’t very nice, but I can imagine he wasn’t exactly polite to the employees on the other side either. Policy may make some decisions for a call center employee, but they have a lot of leeway where policy doesn’t give them a clear route to take. And if you mistreat them, they’re unlikely to go out of their way to help you.

    Honey gets you more flies than lard, “Oliver.”

  49. forgottenpassword says:

    @ZekeSulastin:

    IMO the credit industry is the real turd in the punchbowl. Its a system that makes it tuff on everyone. Its an industry that considers people who pay their bills on time & dont rack up interest are …the bad guys (“deadbeats”).

    How mess up is that? ANd you wonder why people hate them & do things like josephsherry did?

    I HATE the credit/usery industry…. from mortgage companies, banks, credit card companies etc. etc…. they are all out to make as much money off you as possible. That’s why I no longer plan on getting loans or being in debt to anyone. I plan on paying cash. I’d rather live like a poor college student & be able to afford things when I NEED them than be endebted to a system that just wants to use you.

  50. Ein2015 says:

    I hear a bit of exaggeration in the OP’s dictation…

  51. krunk4ever says:

    Um… Just a few weeks ago, Consumerist posted this article:
    Risk-Based Pricing Is A Myth and I also blogged about it: High Risk Credit Card Holders Logic?

    I actually agree that Citibank lowering the man’s credit limit initially was the correct thing to do. As for how customer support treated the poor guy, that’s a completely different story. As the 2 entries above mention, raising interest rates and tacking on fees are not risk mitigations and one thing the Carey had mention was that lowering credit limit when someone’s risk is deemed higher (as the person emailing in has experienced) is actually the correct thing to do to mitigate risk.

    I understand it was a mistake on Sony and Volkswagen, but the fact it has gone onto your credit report and hasn’t been updated yet does not make it Citibank’s problem. Also, do you really believe they would take your word of the Sony/Volkswagen mistake.

    If you have hard documented proof of Sony/Volkswagen admitting it was their mistake, I would encourage you to fax it in. Even then, given there’s really not much collaboration between Sony/Volkswagen and Citibank, I’m not sure if they’ll accept that.

    Otherwise, I agree Citibank should not raise your limits until your credit card report gets updated with the new information. At which time you should call in and ask for a credit limit raise.

  52. TBGBoodler says:

    Oliver says he’s giving Citibank “thousands of dollars a month,” but he’s really only giving them the money he’s already spent. If he’s paying his balance off each month and hasn’t paid a finance charge in 20 years, Citibank isn’t making very much money off him.

    He may have been a low credit risk, but he’s not a credit card company’s favorite kind of customer.

  53. ???/??? says:

    HogwartsAlum:

    Unfortunately, the problem you then risk is having a thin credit file – so when you decide to make your big purchases (house, car, etc.) this works highly against. Having a thin file could be as bad as having a low credit score. You’re a financial risk!

    @krunk4ever

    Absolutely agree! Fax it in is the most efficient way to have your problem handled in a quickest amount of time. You have to realize that Citi was just looking out for itself, much as you would do if you lent money out!

  54. MonstrousCosmos says:

    @SuffolkHouse: Telling someone that their post is too long is hardly evidence of anti-intellectualism. In fact, complaints of over-verbosity and unnecessary length are pretty common intellectual critiques.

    Referring to service employees as ‘bimbos’ and devaluing them based on their hourly wage, on the other hand, I would associate pretty strongly with an anti-intellectual orientation but, hey, you never know…

  55. Syrenia says:

    I’m a 20-year (oh god) Citibank cardmember, and have never had an experience like this. I have for the last 7 or so years paid my balance in full each month, and I use the card for everything (cash back card). So they make tons off me on the merchant fees, but nothing on interest.

    A few months ago, I found my statement, which had been sitting unopened on my desk. It was Sunday, and the payment was due Tuesday by 11:14 AM on the sun, or some such time frame.

    Totally my own fault.

    I thought that BoA (yeah, I use them, too, and love them) might get the payment to Citi in time, but didn’t want to risk it.

    I called Citi customer service to find out what my options were, fully intending to take the hit for a phone payment or whatever so that I wouldn’t have a late payment. (Aside from the late fee and report, the bill was probably over a thousand dollars and I did not want to pay the interest.)

    Before I had finished explaining what had happened, the agent had moved my payment date out 7 days — I finished talking and it was already done.

    So, there are a lot of different experiences out there. Like I said, I love BoA, but despise Wells Fargo, which stole $200 out of my checking account. (Funny how that was the only deposit slip that wasn’t in their document retention system.) Other people love Amex, but my experience dealing with them when my father died led me to close my own Amex cards. My employer uses Amex, but I won’t get the card and use my personal card and get reimbursed instead.

    I’ve loved reading Consumerist, but these customer rants are getting old. How are they at all useful? Customer rants at perceived bad service/doings, followed by a mix of blame-the-company and blame-the-poster comments and the odd intervening informative post. These are only slightly better than the endless stupid packaging and package size reduction articles. Could we get some better articles, please?

  56. DavidCopperballs says:

    I’m going to go ahead and blame the OP. I don’t know what OP stands for, but I’m assuming it’s a reference to the person who wrote it.

    Yo, Oliver, if you’re posting on this website, you’re familiar enough with the internet to pay your bills online. Paper statements? Seriously? And if you’ve had a credit card since 1989, you’re old enough to understand that your bills are due because you owe the money, not because someone sends you a piece of paper asking you to pay them.

    While you and others may think that Citibank’s response was an overreaction – and I would tend to agree – YOU missed your payments and this is YOUR FAULT. More power to you if Sony and VW will take those off your report, but you screwed up.

    Oh, and all the insults….if you expect people to do you favors, don’t treat them like shit. I’d also have laughed at you if you were even half as big an asshole on the phone as you were in this passage.

  57. Antediluvian says:

    @tdatl: (email is better in 2008 than paper statements)
    I can’t speak for your email account, but mine is overflowing with spam. I notice bills — and the lack of bills — that arrive in the mail, but if I _don’t_ get an email, I won’t notice it’s missing.

    For many of us, email is NOT a substitute for paper bills.

  58. flakeyblakee says:

    Remember OP… Automatic bill is your friend.

  59. sleze69 says:

    @forgottenpassword: Someday you will reach a point when you spend higher and higher amounts of money on your credit card. Right now I have my cell phone and cable directly taken from my card that I pay off every month. That accounts for $200 right there. Every month. I average $1600 a month on my card because I can also put some of my business expenses on it. Of course, my primary card is an Amex that has no credit limit so I have never had a problem. I get points for every dollar I spend.

    Someday, when you want to buy something big like a TV or a fence(7000 airline miles), you’ll find your $1000 limit to be…limiting.

  60. t325 says:

    *cough* VolkswagEn, not VolkswagOn ;)

  61. Apparently she thinks this is humorous because she takes on this condescending tone with me and suggests that if I paid all my bills on time perhaps I wouldn’t be having this problem.

    She’s right, though, had he made his car payment on time, he’d not be having this problem. He agreed to make a fixed payment every month, and whether you get a statement to remind you of such doesn’t really change that.

  62. GregGates says:

    In this situation, I would have treated the CC company phone people like someone who is about to serve me food. With that much land between you, palpable aggression and a bad attitude does nothing to improve your situation. Their hands may have been tied to fix your issue in that instant, but maybe not, so imo the “you catch more flies with honey” rule applies.

  63. Green Goth Brit Chick - AlternatEve says:

    This happened recently with my mother, but for no logical reason. She works away a lot and has to claim back her hotels etc on expenses, so she has a seperate card for all of it.

    They lowered her limit with no warning, leaving her stuck in a hotel the other side of the UK with only her debit card – £500 wiped off her bank balance because her card company screwed up. She’d recently got a copy of her credit report (because I fecked up majorly in my teens and occasionally my defaults seem to stick to my parents, despite them having all cleared) and it was fine, so she was understandably furious.

    The person at the other end of the phone when she called her card company simply said the lowering was “down to the credit crunch”. I told her it was because in their eyes, they were making zero interest off her and she was better off getting another card from somewhere else if they were going to do that to her.

  64. forgottenpassword says:

    @sleze69:

    Doubtfull. I save like a crazy old hermit,am an obsessive saver, live like a broke college student, and I work as much as I can (Just last year I literally worked 7 days a week for nearly 7 months at my fulltime job because it was a FANTASTIC opportunity to make a lot of $$$$). I plan on eventually having enough saved to buy a house completely with cash (if I ever decide to go that route… i dont really want to own a home with all the responsibilities/worries that comes with it). I plan on buying my next car in cash. ANd the next. And the next… etc. etc..

    ANd I also plan of putting a bullet in my head if I ever have cancer or some severe health problem that would rack up obscene amounts of bills.

  65. MissGayle says:

    Someone who’s had a credit card since 1989 ought to be acquainted with the concept of a BUDGET, which out to have, among other things, all the bills you pay each month and when they’re due. If you’re really smart, you have the budget on a spreadsheet which divides the payments into first and second paycheck of the month, even, so you never miss a thing whether your mailman is on crack or not – especially if you move! This guy ought to have known that missed payments on his credit report would trash his interest rates and take some responsibility. This is clearly his own fault.

  66. forgottenpassword says:

    @forgottenpassword:

    Just wanted to add…. I dont have cable or a home phone. I DO have a cellphone bill that is a whopping $3 a month, and a internet bill that is $4 a month.

    Those are just a few of the examples of how frugal I am.

    The only thing I waste money on is fast food, which I could cut if I REALLY needed to.

    Oh…and I have other credit cards I could put things on if my usual credit card was “limiting”…. and I could always resort to paying in cash.

  67. PricklyPete says:

    I guess what I got out of this post is that

    1. You really need to be aware of the fact that any negative item on your credit report means the credit card companies can lower your limit, raise your rate, or do anything else they feel like doing.

    2. Just because you don’t receive a statement doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay your bill.

    It doesn’t matter if its right or wrong, that’s just the way it is.

    It would be a good idea to set up some sort of system to remind you to make sure you’ve paid all your bills each month. The repercussions of missing just one payment can be pretty drastic.

  68. Parting says:

    Wow, someone has serious attitude problems and it’s not only poor-piss customer service.

    If cutting the limit is the worst even of the year, than I’m jealous of you.

  69. Coles_Law says:

    Actually, this guy probably is earning a fair deal for Citibank. Let’s say he spends and pays off $3000/month. With a 2% merchant fee, that’s $60/month for Citibank. Contrast that with a person holding a $3000 balance. At 12%APR, that’s $30/month for Citibank (roughly).

    Still, he’s not entitled to be a jerk to the customer service rep. It would have been better to hold off on calling Citibank back until after the credit report was fixed.

  70. digitalgimpus says:

    Should note what’s going on here.

    He’s paid his credit card bill every month for 20 odd years… for credit card companies, that makes him a “dead beat”, not a “valued customer”.

    Of course they aren’t going to waste the effort helping him resolve his problem… he’s not where they make their money.

    They are looking for people who will keep a balance, but won’t go bankrupt. That’s the jackpot.

    The merchant fees are money… but it’s like soda’s at a bar… they are constant income since people buy them and not get too buzzed, or because they don’t drink and their friends do… but the hard alcohol is the bread and butter of the business.

    He’s also cashing in on rewards, which cuts into their margins quite a bit. CC companies bank on people never doing that.

  71. ???/??? says:

    @Syrenia:

    I hate to rain on your parade, but any reputable creditor should have some type of ‘grace’ period. I know that where I work it’s a 7-day grace period from when your bill is due. You don’t have to call customer service.

  72. dangermike says:

    @SayAhh: I have to agree on that. I have the Costco American Express and put almost everything on it. My statement makes it easy to track and analyze my spending (no need for ledger book) and since I pay it in full every month, not only do avoid accruing any interest, but with the rewards, they end up paying me around $200 each year.

    To the original poster — may I recommend online billing and perhaps a calendar or outlook reminders or something similar? It sucks that they can cut your limit like that but (a) it’s in your contract and (b) you did miss payments that you really shouldn’t have. Those missed payments may not have been entirely your FAULT, but they are your OBLIGATION. So while the vendors to whom you missed those payments may be willing to forgive your actions, they were not obligated to do so. Additionally, when changing addresses, ALWAYS file a change of address form with the post office to be sure that mail address to you at your old address will be properly forwarded. Situations like this are exactly why that service exists.

  73. forgottenpassword says:

    @digitalgimpus:

    Great post! Spot on!

  74. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @OminousG: @brianala: Inappropriate language or not, this is how most people react to getting boned like this. Of course, replacing the word “bimbo” with some smarmy piece of political correctness could possibly give the article more punch.

    The takeaway lesson is this – Citibank, Capital One, or any of the other humungous CC companies couldn’t care less about you or any of their other eleventy bazillion customers. Screwing up your life doesn’t bother any of them one bit. Best to pay your bill in full every month if you possibly can manage it, or use cash. YOU will sleep a lot better at night.

  75. balthisar says:

    Interesting. It’s not his fault that he made two late payments (one of which being a car payment) because the creditors didn’t update their address information? Who the FRAK doesn’t pay a bill just because you don’t receive a statement? Car payments especially repeat EVERY damned month. And they don’t change. The other bill? Dude, if you know you owe money and don’t get the bill, get on the net. Or call the 800 number. Don’t blame others because you’re irresponsible.

    As for Citibank, I have an airline miles card with them, too. I pay it off every month (usually). They make money on the discount fee. LOTS of money on the discount fee. They recently bumped my credit line (not sure why; I didn’t ask for it). It’s high enough that I’ll never have to worry about hitting it. But even without the limit, I’d always had “no preset spending limit.” Of course prior to buying a bunch of appliances and cabinets, I called to make sure it’d go through. (Keeping in mind that for amounts over your limit, that’s all due at once.)

  76. boomerang86 says:

    @DjDynasty:

    Good luck suing Citi, with their mandatory arbitration clause!

    I dumped my Citi Platinum Mastercard years ago, for the sole reason they were changing my T&C to include that clause.

  77. Valhawk says:

    My advice. Drop those assholes like a ton of bricks and go find a company that will care about you.

  78. evslin says:

    I feel bad for the guy but he needs an attitude check. Smart mouthing “$6.50 an hour” people is unnecessary.

  79. bria says:

    The bimbo comment made me go from supporting you to thinking you’re just mean.

  80. mac-phisto says:

    you know, whether or not you like the OP’s writing style or think he’s somewhat culpable for what happened, you have to agree that citi’s methodology here is total b.s. cutting a limit & not notifying the cardholder? that’s crap.

    & someone else mentioned the bank’s responsibility under FCRA & FACTA to tell a consumer what exactly caused the adverse action – unfortunately, none of the customer handlers are ever given this information. that doesn’t seem right either.

    boo, citi.

  81. crypticgeek says:

    OP sounds like a jerk with a temper. So you didn’t pay your bills (didn’t get your statements for 2 months…well maybe you should have…um…noticed that?) and they lowered your limit. Sounds fair to me, 2 months of delinquency is quite the red flag.

    Granted, a courtesy phone call like “we’ve lowered your limit because of negative credit info” would have saved you some embarrassment.

    However, credit report errors take TIME to fix. This is annoying yes, but you aren’t oh so super special that they should jump through a hoop just for you. It will get fixed on your report eventually, and then you’ll be set.

    Frankly, I don’t see why you think Citi owes you anything other than the fair reassessment of your credit risk once your report has been cleaned up. If you don’t carry a balance, you aren’t even a good customer for them. You know what the credit card companies call people like you who pay off their balances and simply use their card to run up perks? They call them losers.

    If the shoe fits…

  82. I hate when venom is spat upon the OP of articles past. However when the OP referred to the female rep as a “bimbo” before she even had a chance to speak is beyond the pale. Furthermore by imposing themselves upon the rep as if she’s responsible then getting pissed because she won’t respond like a good little girl and actually gives back what she got just shows a level of sociopathic behavior that has become tolerated in our society. Yes Citibank sucks. Yes they are wrong in slashing this guys credit line. But you know what? There are better ways of handling this. How about getting the situation fixed and transferring your balance elsewhere? If you have a high credit score then many banks are willing to bend over backwards for your business and money. These reps are just trying to do their jobs in a business that constantly dumps on their customers. Take it out on the company. Not the damn employees for chrissakes.

  83. Bulldog9908 says:

    @forgottenpassword: Dude! I just can’t let this go…what’s with the holier-than-thou attitude about the amount of money you charge on a card each month? The OP may be like me. I also charge thousands a month on my card. I also pay my balances each month. A lot of it happens to be work charges, but they still go on my card (which I get points for :) )

    I see no problem with charging like crazy as long as you’re able to pay your balance in full. I use my card for just about everything so I can maximize my rewards points.

    What does confuse me about the OP’s story is why his credit limit was so close to his monthly spending. I have similar history with Chase, and they kept bumping my credit limit up until I could use my card to buy a new car. Apparently, Citi doesn’t have the same philosophy as Chase. (Presumably, Chase was trying to get me to be greedy and run up the charges until I couldn’t pay, but I didn’t fall for that trick.)

  84. tdatl says:

    @Antediluvian: I get lots of spam on regular accounts, so I have a special email account that I use only for financial accounts (CCs, banks, insurance, etc.). It’s not one a dictionary-based spam attack is going to get, so it’s spam-free.

  85. @MissGayle: Just to point out… some people don’t have the luxury of having a steady income/paycheck each week. My husband is a truck driver and his paycheck every week could range from $400 one week, then $1500 the next. It’s all dependent on how many miles he runs, and the opportunities he has to hand in his “bills” of his trips. It’s a lot of budgeting, and trying to get ahead vs. behind, especially with a child that has a disability.

    I agree with most, the OP was a little long winded and “feisty”, but I certainly felt his aggravation. It was his way to vent, and some things were uncalled for, but I’m sure we all have handled situations at times less than gracefully.

    As for his 2 late payments… well, if he had these payments attached to this credit card to begin with, it wouldn’t of been an issue, correct? I mean, if you are going to charge everything under the sun for the rewards and pay them off in full every month, I would assume your car payments as such would be included.

    Just saying.

  86. baristabrawl says:

    @brianala: Well, she does work at CitiBank. I’ve never had good luck with them. When I was young I had an account with them and an obscenely high credit limit for someone who was 20. I used it once, and never received a bill. Called in the day before it was due, paid it and then cut up the card and cancelled my account. The lady was extremely helpful but I told her I didn’t trust my unscathed credit in the hands of people who didn’t send bills. This was 1993 and I was surprisingly responsible.

  87. monolithic says:

    Calm down man. This is why you need a few different credit cards in the event that something like this happens. It’s only a credit limit, there’s bigger things to worry about.

  88. nsv says:

    Summary:

    “Mr idiot” didn’t pay his bills on time, blamed somebody else, and had a temper tantrum when dealing with the customer service reps who had absolutely nothing to do with the decision to lower the credit limit of people who don’t pay their bills.

    Did I miss anything? Other than the exact hue of the veins sticking out of his obviously large head and the expensive dental work he was deliberately destroying, of course.

    I don’t like Citibank. It takes a lot to make me jump in and defend them. But I’m not seeing a problem with the way they’re handling this.

    It’s amazing the way CSRs have bent over backwards to help me when I’ve said “Oh no, I’ve made a mistake, I’m sorry!” You keep going just the way you are, Mr idiot. When the reps get off the phone from you and take a call from me, they’ll be so happy to talk to me that they’ll help me any way they can.

  89. BeThisWay says:

    Sorry, I’m with Citibank on this one. They aren’t psychic, and two derogatory marks showed up on your credit. They, and out economy, can’t afford to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    The worst part is it could have been avoided if the OP took responsibility and paid what he owed even though he hadn’t gotten a bill. The car payment is definitely a regular monthly bill, though I can’t tell about the Sony. Still, if you know you owe money and don’t get a bill call the company and pay it. You’ll avoid so many hassles.

    Also, skip the hyperbole and treat women with more respect, dude. You might gain a little more empathy – but you’d still be wrong.

  90. Alger says:

    @greggo: If Citibank has a problem with people paying their bills on time and not paying interest, then let them eliminate the grace period. Nobody is forcing them to not charge interest to people who pay in full. They’re obviously still making money off of him.

  91. Ragman says:

    “Sony and Volkswagen respectively failed to mail me billing statements to the correct address in spite of both of them being updated as to the change.”

    That is why I have my car note (and other bills) taken automatically from checking or charged to the CC. If I didn’t set up my autopays, I’d have bills coming throughout the month, and makes it more likely that I’d forget one during some hectic time. Which, I have done before when a bill that had to be turned around in a couple of days got stuck in a pile of junk mail for two weeks.

  92. greggo says:

    @alger: I was disputing the description of this cardholder being a “ideal customer.” Far from in, in fact, depending on the rewards they might be losing money on this customer. I doubt that, but they’re certainly not making as much as they do from most cardholders (who carry a balance and pay interest). That said, I’d still be mighty annoyed if my card changed my terms based on other lines of credit.

  93. MitchV says:

    This is silly…

    If Citibank thinks this guy is going to pay off his debt, it is in their best interest to allow him to borrow more money. The fact that they lowered his limit (regardless of the reason) says everything you need to know. It’s too risky to lend him more money.

    I say the two late payments are not the whole story. My guess is that this guy is in debt up to his eyeballs and Citibank is no longer willing to take on more of his unsecured debt.

    Is it frustrating for a customer? Yeah.

    Is there a legitimate reason for it? Absolutely. Banks spend a LOT of money on risk management.

  94. FLConsumer says:

    I’m not normally the type to blame the OP, but in this case, he’s to blame. He was indeed late on his payments to Sony/VW. He may think it’s Sony/VW’s fault that he’s late, but the accounts were indeed in default status no matter how you slice it. With things like this, why don’t people use their bank’s BillPay systems? I’ve always done that for any payment which is the same amount every month. Originally rent (now HoA/landscaping fees), insurance, cell bill, etc. Even when the scummy landlord of the old apartment I rented claimed they never received the check (I was paying approx 65% of what the going rate was and she wanted any reason she could to break my lease), Wachovia stepped up and handled the entire situation by themselves.

    @SayAhh: I have a few friends with the Costco Amex and are quite happy with it. I’ve looked into it and like the card, but the annual Costco fee kills the deal for me as there isn’t a Costco here so I’d have to absorb the entire cost of the Costco membership before it’d start making money for me. Any ideas of other Amex cards which have similar benefits without the mandatory Costco membership?

    @한국어/조선말: Absolutely agree… However much your current credit card balance is, should be backed by dollars your bank accounts/investments. Credit cards shouldn’t make any difference.

  95. DJFelix says:

    Typical whiny Consumerist a-hole.

    I agree with all of the above commenters who take this douche-bag to task for his bloviating.

    Oh … and guess what … since you are now over your limit on your Citi card, your FICO score will go down even more. Even if you manage to con your way out of the two other negative marks, the Citi mark will be there for the next 8 years. Thanks for playing!

  96. Frank_Castle says:

    Wow…

    I am appalled at the level of pathos shown by my fellow Consumerists, and generally amused at the fact that I always seem to take the counter-point to the common theme.

    So– it seems like none of you like the fact that the CSR in question was called a bimbo, and/or was referred to as making 6.50 an hour. To all of you, tough sh-t.

    If I had paid all of bills in full for over 20 years, and someone tried to screw me by defaulting me for payments that I failed to make to someone else (for whatever reason)… they can kiss my *ss. I find it absolutely pathetic that all of you seem to blame the OP for having a bad attitude when he has every right to have a bad attitude. And exactly where was this “You catch more flies with honey then vinegar” attitude when the EECB or escalation-service method is discussed?

    If the OP is a little furious right now, well… why shouldn’t we share his rage? Assuming that everything is exactly as he told us, why again are we saying “Oh, I stopped reading when he called her a bimbo because I didn’t like his attitude” ?

    For those of you who didn’t have a p*ss-poor attitude toward the OP, my apologies. For the rest of you: All of you are just plain pathetic. OP, close your card as fast as possible, and take the time to open a card with another lender… if your credit history is as spotless as you have represented to us, I’m sure you will have no problem finding lenders that will bend over backward to have your business.

  97. JeffM says:

    @Frank_Castle:
    Frank_Castle: If you travel- eat at hotels, or rent cars ever check out the Amex Blue Sky – I’ve been carrying it for ~ 2 years or so- it gives you $100 of travel for every 7,500 points (1.33% cash back essentially) – I don’t travel too much but sometimes I’ll catch a business lunch at a hotel (that I know charges as the hotel the restaurant is in) or a work flight on my Amex and use that to get my cash back ($100 applied towards my next months statement)

    I generally spend around $2K/mo which means I only have to find around $300 of qualifying travel in a year to make sure I’m getting full use. You can save your points as long-term as well to wait for an expensive trip.

    Best part for the Amex- all the Amex love with no annual fee.

    I’m a Costcoaholic- I probably should check and see if I spend enough on dining and travel to make the 3/2/1% work out to a financial advantage. Good luck!

  98. dangermike says:

    @Frank_Castle: I think a lot of the animosity is due to how the OP presents himself. I agree that it is outrageous and infuriating that crap like that can happen. But he may find that his reaction from others is much more positive if he can step back from the situation and calmly, succinctly, and convincingly tell us why he is right and they are wrong. Instead, we have a meandering and barely cogent diatribe that amounts to little more than a vitriolic outburst that really seems to be attempt to pull the spotlight to himself rather than pointing it at those who wrong him. It feels like he crying for sympathy rather than calling for solidarity. Add to that the fact that it took over 1400 words to say “I missed some bills due to some crossed communications during a move. Those transgressions were forgiven but several weeks later, I found out that my credit limit had been reduced when my card was declined rather than by a timely written notice. Several attempts to sort the problem out were fruitless despite an otherwise pristing billing history on my account.” Of course, more detail than that would be necessary to show how the CSR’s had treated him poorly, but it should have been done with more fact-recollection and less less name-calling and pouting. I don’t want to sound like I’m blaming the OP, but if his candor regarding the above situation was at all similar to how he presented himself here, I am completely unsurprised that efforts have been for naught.

    FWIW, and this is advice to everyone, when you can show that you’re completely outraged while mainting a considerate, polite, and reserved attitude, people get stuff done for you. Conversely, when you lose control of yourself, people who might sympathize lost interest.

  99. nsv says:

    @Frank_Castle:

    And exactly where was this “You catch more flies with honey then vinegar” attitude when the EECB or escalation-service method is discussed?

    It’s there, or it should be there. Which do you think would be the more productive email?

    1) I am dissatisfied with the service I’ve received (describe service calmly) for these reasons (list reasons calmly,) and would like to request this corrective action and perhaps this compensation (again, list calmly.)

    2) Veins which are a specatular shade of purple are bulging out of my forehead and I’m grinding down my dental work while your $6.50/hour bimbo is laughing at me! Laughing! At me! And then she put me on hold to listen to that shit you call muzak and I’m punching the keys on my computer so hard I am actually bruising my own fingers. By this time I’m so burnt out on trying to fix things that I’ve no longer got the energy to grind my teeth and my blood pressure has apparently plateaued at some unacceptably high level leaving me a bit bug eyed and with a pounding headache and the desire to – write something and stick it up Citibank executive’s asses.

    Ad nauseam.

    One of those emails will be immediately tossed. Which one do you think it will be?

  100. thelushie says:

    @Frank_Castle: He came off as a stupid, self-righteous, sexist jackas*. They don’t get my sympathy. If he would calmly explain what had happened and what he thought should have happened, I probably would agree with him. I have a feeling he went off on a little tirade during the phone call and he can’t take what he dishes out.

  101. forgottenpassword says:

    @Bulldog9908:

    Holier than thou?

    I was being smarmy/sarcastic in my first post about the worry that my card issuer may cut my credit limit from say five thou to one thou…and how that wouldnt effect me at all. I expect credit card companies to treat me like shit. (basically because I am not in debt to them & that makes me the enemy).

    I dont have problems with people spending thousands on their cards as long as they pay it off monthly.

  102. @Frank_Castle: For the most part, I definately agree. It was just how long ago, people were INFURIATED with the thought of universal default? Everyone screaming “Cut off their heads!”

    I’d be more than pissed if my credit card company did this after 20 years of faithful use, but I’d like to think I’d handle it a little more calmly.

  103. Syrenia says:

    @한국어/조선말: My point was more about different experiences with customer service, specifically Citi.

    Everything I’ve read online or heard from friends who have been late on CC payments indicates that there is no grace period after the specified due date. I did once have a late payment — a holiday delayed the payment delivery — and had to call the card issuer to have the interest and fees removed. There was nothing automatic about it.

    If you know a credit card issuer who has an extra seven-day grace period on top of their printed due date, I’m sure that everyone here would love to get the name.

  104. bonzombiekitty says:

    My comments:

    1. Yes, Citi should have notified you that your limit was lowered. They might have, and you just didn’t notice (I had gotten into the habit of just throwing certain letters away that looked like junk mail until I accidentally opened one that was actually from Citi raising my credit limit). Or they might not have, which is a problem that needs to be addressed.

    2. I don’t blame Citi for lowering the limit based on the information they had. Regardless of how good your history in the past may have been – people can suddenly run into hard times financially. Given the economic climate, I’m not surprised that they took action when they found out your were late on two seperate accounts.

    3. Lose the attitude. I lost ALL sympathy for you when you called the rep a “bimbo”. And if that’s the sort of attitude you gave the reps over the phone, then I don’t blame them for giving you an attitude in return. I’m always nice on the phone, and oddly enough I have NEVER had anyone give me an attitude when I called for help. You also have to look at it from their end, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if 99 times out of 100, the people they are talking to are actually nothing more than deadbeats who are trying to get out of something that is not Citi’s fault. So i can’t really blame them if they’re not immediately going to be on your side.

    4. It takes time to process changes to your credit report. If Sony and VW said they were going to fix your report, it will take some time for them to do it. Citi is not going to take your word for it, and they’re going to want some proof that the changes have taken place.

  105. bravo369 says:

    i can’t believe some people are taking citibank’s side in this. I thought the credit card companies were doing away with universal default. I agree with this guy because I am like him in that I have paid my credit card balance in full and on time for the last 8 years. I should think that counts for something. i agree that he came off wrong with the email and there’s also the question of how he forgot to make car payments etc but that doesn’t take away from the fact that if what he’s saying is true, then citibank penalized him for 2nd hand information when they have their own 20 year history to look at that shows he’s on time.

  106. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Coles_Law: Considering it’s a reward’s card, figure he gets back 1% of what he spends. So that brings them down to profiting only $30. Then add in the cost of running has account, then they aren’t making all that much.

  107. Pro-Pain says:

    Bottom line – You moved, and missed payments, all in a short period of time. This is sketchy behavior to creditors. They respond. The End. Sorry it pissed you off so bad. Maybe also don’t refer to a woman who aggrivates you as a bimbo. That is all.

  108. jenl1625 says:

    @SuffolkHouse: “These checks, without the attached statement stub, always cash slowly.”
    Are you sending actual checks? As in, you write them out and put a stamp on the envelope? Without a stub? If so, that’s the problem – a person has to read the account number you wrote on the check, and enter it (and the amount) into the system.

    I just use my student loan company’s online pay center – they’ve got an option for you to specify how you want the money split out. In the alternative, you could use your bank’s online bill pay to push a check out – that would generate either an electronic transfer or a printed check that can be scanned by a machine. Either way ought to process faster than mailing a check, and doesn’t cost you a stamp.

    @Antediluvian: The reason I prefer emails is that I can:
    1) have a gmail filter label them (with a bright-colored, very visible label), and
    2) pull up everything labeled “bills”, including old bills, whenever I want (if you don’t have gmail, you can still have a folder labeled bills).

    For me, it’s easier to track and find old emailed bills than old paper bills. Then again, I rely pretty heavily on my bank’s online bill pay (plus a spreadsheet I use to schedule paying bills). If I didn’t actually get a bill in the mail (or email), I’m not entirely sure I’d notice – the bill would get paid in the standard amount. (Now, if it turned out that I’d underpaid because I didn’t allow for a pay-per-view movie, that could be a pain, but that’s the worst that’s likely to happen . . . )

  109. jrobie says:

    Once again, this is why I won’t have a credit card. I don’t like the way they do business.

  110. MissTic says:

    We ran into a similar problem with a creditor when we moved. The monthly statement got lost in the mail and the bill didn’t get paid that month. We caught it the next month. I spoke to the creditor and they informed me that “statements are a courtesy and do not relieve you of the obligation of paying on time every month.” They would not reverse the late reporting or removed the lat fee. Lesson learned!

    I stopped caring about the OP when he put the blame on his creditors for not getting a timely statement to him.

  111. cerbie says:

    @crypticgeek: it takes TIME to fix, yet none to break? Hmmm, not lopsided, is it?

    Citi was wrong for cutting the limit quickly, and without notification. The OP was wrong for not paying Sony and VW, and for likely being an ass on the phone.

  112. domo-arigato says:

    What is the OP doing waiting for bills to come in the mail? He changed his address but forgot that these 2 bills were due? He obviously knows how to use a computer; he doesn’t go online to check his accounts & pay bills?

    There’s no need these days to wait for mailed statements – and with credit reporting the way it is, it’s downright dangerous.

  113. RobinB says:

    I’ve had a Citi card since 1985 with no lates ever–and just got a notice that they are raising my interest rate. They didn’t seem to care if I decided to leave when I called and didn’t give any reason for an increase.

  114. synergy says:

    I realize he’s upset, but the person on the line who tells him his credit has been cut didn’t make that decision. He loses credibility when he refers to her as a bimbo for being the messenger. Also, although he does have a long history of alleged perfect payments and so forth, the bank people still don’t know who he is and it makes sense that they would wait until they have evidence on hand proving that he’s not trying to pull one over on them.

  115. phurwitz says:

    Citibank is notorious for this nonsense, even before the mortgage crisis. I one had a landlord place a bogus collection notation on my credit report. I was able to successfully refute it with my own comment to my credit report. Only citibank canceled my card; all my other banks not only maintained my credit, but increased my limit.

  116. fearuncertaintydoubt says:

    I had a similar problem as the OP. I had a Citi Mastercard for about 15 years, since my sophmore year in college. One day, I got a letter notifying me that the card had been cancelled due to a negative report on my credit. After getting copies of my credit reports from all 3 agencies, I discovered that one had a loan default listed, which was not mine (actually my brother’s). Considering that I had been a good customer for a long time, and that Citi dropped me without even a chance to dispute the issue (infallibility of “the system”), I simply said that I will no longer do business with Citi, ever. I’m happy to give my business to someone else if it isn’t good enough for them.

  117. You may have a zillion years being a model customer, but a bank is not your friend (despite what advertising says). It’s business. If it was me on a similar situation, I’d show them the same loyalty they’ve given me and transfer my accounts to a competitor.

  118. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @bravo369:

    This isn’t universal default, they didn’t raise his interest rate – all they did was decide, based on information that had come to light, that they weren’t interested in loaning him any more money.

  119. lordargent says:

    xxxxxx, it’s yyyyy

    There are more y’s than x’s :P

    /just found that funny

  120. vdragonmpc says:

    Dear lord… People were turned off by him calling the CS rep a “bimbo”? Did they miss that she was laughing at him? He was more than likely in a situation renting the car where the card was needed and a simple limit increase would have cooled the situation. They chose option 1 “piss off a long time customer” (which seems the norm for businesses today)

    I had this BS happen with Citi related cards and the ones under the “Fleet” banner years ago. I was paying bills and doing fine when suddenly up shoots my interest rate! I went from 10-12% to 24.99%! I couldnt understand what happened.

    Now understand the 3 reporting agencies lived under a secret no contact reality until a couple of years ago. You could not call Equifax or anyone to get help. They just existed to screw regular consumers out of money.

    I had to get another creditor I had a relationship with pull my report. Guess what? Nothing not a blip. As a matter of fact I was getting ready to buy a house and did with few issues.

    HOWEVER: Citibank refused to lower my interest stating my account was in the correct ‘phase’. Fleet was the same way as was Chase. My Credit union visa was happily sitting at 7.85% and USAA was sitting at 11% where it always is… I have never used my AMEX but they only send privacy updates never changes to the account.

    I canceled all 3 Fleet, Citi and Chase. They had the balls to call a month later and offer all kinds of perks. Citi offered me 6.5% and Chase was 6.99%. Funny how when they got paid off and canceled their tune changed.

    I completely understand the OP getting pissed. The people I dealt with were not interested in retention, only getting back to their solitare games. Most card companie figure if you have a high enough balance you are trapped and subject to their whim.

  121. FLConsumer says:

    @Syrenia: If you know a credit card issuer who has an extra seven-day grace period on top of their printed due date, I’m sure that everyone here would love to get the name.

    Wachovia actually does. Straight from their website: “Automatically waived fees-Late fee and overlimit fee each waived once every 12-month period”

    I’ve never taken them up on that offer, so I’m not sure how it works, but there you go.

  122. amc23 says:

    “Though Oliver may be Citibank’s ideal customer…” is not correct.

    Citibank’s ideal customer is one that is constantly missing payments, thus they make more money off them. They aren’t making much money of people who pay their credit card on time each month.

  123. not blaming the OP for the problems, but this letter is not very well written… you won;t get much done if you insult citibank’s staff, such as calling them bimbos.

  124. RizzofromNY says:

    This happened to me with my American Express Blue Card, but since it isn’t a ‘bank’ my original credit was reinstated.

    I received a letter from Am Ex informing me that due to information on my credit report, my credit with them was being reduced to $5k (from its current $13k). This especially sucked because I had about a $4500 balance on there.

    Being that I have always paid at least twice the minimum payment, and NEVER in 10 years been late with a payment, I immediately checked my credit report fearing that my identity had been stolen, since besides some accounts with balances, I have nearly perfect credit. I don’t find anything out of the ordinary.

    I look up my recent activity on my SNOWBALL grid. I hadn’t used my card in several months and in the last nine months has paid American Express over $7k.

    I called the number at the bottom ready for battle. I stated my case calmly and coherently. I explaned that my biggest fear and frustration was that this was going to ding my credit score (the one good thing, besides a degree from a great school, that I have going for me)since they were reducing my available credit by more than and if they reduced it I would be almost at my limit. It looks much better to have 13k you aren’t using than 5k you are.

    They put me on hold and reviewed my account. They came back and told me that my credit line would be reinstated.

    I expected a bigger battle, but was happy I had approached the issue calmly and rationally.

  125. tweemo says:

    Oh my god. If you want people to read your complaint, don’t make it needlessly long with asshole details like “Some bimbo.” What the hell?

    I mean, Consumerist has stories that are way too long all the time, but at least they’re usually civil.

  126. Haltingpoint says:

    I’m willing to bet the content of his story would have been cut by half if he left out all the references to his anger management problems and his “bulging veins.”

  127. betty.black says:

    One more voice calling out this misogynistic, classist jackass whose first instinct is to hunt down and inflict violence on a wage slave for just doing her job. This scum gets no sympathy.

  128. azntg says:

    Oliver’s being a tad bit overdramatic, but in my opinion and as others have said, his experience is an excellent prompt to diversify creditors. Better late than never.

  129. femmesavante says:

    @Antediluvian: Who really needs a paper or email reminder that they OWE money? I know the due dates of EVERY account. Fortunately, we live in an internet age so I can double check the amount before paying the bill. I pay bills twice a month, period whether due that day or not. For those who cannot remember if, when, or how much they owe, automatic debits are available.

  130. tz says:

    Something similar happened to me. I started a new contract, so my finances were on hold for a month around tax time. They had these balance transfer checks so I used one. That put my credit line over some invisible bar at Trans Union, so they cut my credit line (don’t wait for the monthly statement, once a week log on to their site). I paid it off since by the time I paid my taxes and got back with enough time to move some money around it wasn’t a problem, but why issue cheques then for using them almost immediately drop my credit rating and limit. Right now I’m running it out (since it is a 1% cash back card), but it will probably go back in two pieces before it reaches the expiration date.

    I also have a local credit union which seems to always be much better on these things and offers credit cards. You aren’t talking to a robot who happens to be made of flesh. They are all more responsive. They don’t have the cashback and points and stuff which are just a game, but they also don’t have the hassles.

  131. Rusted says:

    @Drewtal: Ummm…. The OP is not at fault for missing those payments. It was the fault of the two companies. SO, yes, he does have a perfect history, or will once the corrections are made to his credit record.

    @krispykrink: I’m completely away from any consumer borrowing now. It’s much cheaper and easier to just have an emergency fund on hand and not borrow.

  132. ZemarAlcathous says:

    Hi. I¹m the ³OP² for this post and I wanted to respond to a number of the
    comments and correct some erroneous information.

    First, while I do pay thousands of dollars a month in payments there are
    frequently months when I do carry some portion of the balance so in addition
    to the twenty years worth of annual fees and all the merchant¹s fees that
    Citibank has collected they have made thousands off me in interest as well ­
    so much for being a ³Deadbeat² in the eyes of the bank.

    Second, I was never rude or impolite or even the least bit unfriendly to any
    of the people I spoke with during my calls. I am well aware that these
    individuals have a certain amount of latitude in their work and have never
    been anything but polite during my interactions with them. Remember, with
    my prior history I had no expectation other than that this was a small
    mistake that should be easily rectified. Under those circumstances why
    should I be anything less than pleasant?

    Third, I agree that in retrospect my choice of certain words was
    ill-advised. I mean no disrespect to women and didn¹t mean for it to come
    across this way. Having written the letter to Consumerist immediately
    following this very unpleasant experience I was particularly pissed off and
    chose my words with less care than I ordinarily would have.

    Fourth, to those that have commented that I was at fault for paying my bills
    late there is some additional information that you are not privy to. In the
    case of Sony that bill is paid by PayTrust. It has been paid automatically
    by PayTrust for as long as I have had the account. The address has not
    changed in half a decade and because it is paid automatically I don¹t even
    see the statement. Why Sony decided the address was wrong is still a
    mystery but I had no way of knowing that this had happened and was unaware
    of the issue until I pulled my credit report.

    With regards to the vehicle; I agree that someone should know if they have
    missed a regularly scheduled recurring payment but that isn¹t what happened.
    I just leased this vehicle and had not received even a single lease payment
    notice. I didn¹t even have an address or account number for sending in a
    payment. The dealer had made the first month¹s payment as part of my deal
    so it was only the second payment due on the vehicle. I had no idea when it
    was due and was told to expect my payment booklet in the mail which is what
    I was waiting for.

    Lastly, I wasn¹t ninety days late on anything. I was thirty days late ONCE
    IN NINTEY DAYS on both accounts and as I stated in the original post, both
    Volkswagen and Sony agreed that the errors were theirs, not mine.

    I hope that clarifies things somewhat. To those my language offended, my
    apologies. To those that think what I wrote was too long; no one made you
    read this so please keep your complaints to yourself ­ it was your own
    choice to invest the time reading ­ take some responsibility for your own
    actions.

    Oliver

    Oliver Starr | blog 1:Gtdtimes | Blog 2:StarrTrek
    | blog 3:LIFEBOAT_FOUNDATION |
    skype:stitch_surfs | twitter:stitchy | 310-779-9816 | 415-704-4544 |
    This email is: [ ] bloggable [ ] ask first [ ] private |

  133. ZemarAlcathous says:

    Hi. I¹m the ³OP² for this post and I wanted to respond to a number of the
    comments and correct some erroneous information.

    First, while I do pay thousands of dollars a month in payments there are
    frequently months when I do carry some portion of the balance so in addition
    to the twenty years worth of annual fees and all the merchant¹s fees that
    Citibank has collected they have made thousands off me in interest as well ­
    so much for being a ³Deadbeat² in the eyes of the bank.

    Second, I was never rude or impolite or even the least bit unfriendly to
    any of the people I spoke with during my calls. I am well aware that these
    individuals have a certain amount of latitude in their work and have never
    been anything but polite during my interactions with them. Remember, with
    my prior history I had no expectation other than that this was a small
    mistake that should be easily rectified. Under those circumstances why
    should I be anything less than pleasant?

    Third, I agree that in retrospect my choice of certain words was
    ill-advised. I mean no disrespect to women and didn¹t mean for it to come
    across this way. Having written the letter to Consumerist immediately
    following this very unpleasant experience I was particularly pissed off and
    chose my words with less care than I ordinarily would have.

    Fourth, to those that have commented that I was at fault for paying my bills
    late there is some additional information that you are not privy to. In the
    case of Sony that bill is paid by PayTrust. It has been paid automatically
    by PayTrust for as long as I have had the account. The address has not
    changed in half a decade and because it is paid automatically I don¹t even
    see the statement. Why Sony decided the address was wrong is still a
    mystery but I had no way of knowing that this had happened and was unaware
    of the issue until I pulled my credit report.

    With regards to the vehicle; I agree that someone should know if they have
    missed a regularly scheduled recurring payment but that isn¹t what happened.
    I just leased this vehicle and had not received even a single lease payment
    notice. I didn¹t even have an address or account number for sending in a
    payment. The dealer had made the first month¹s payment as part of my deal
    so it was only the second payment due on the vehicle. I had no idea when it
    was due and was told to expect my payment booklet in the mail which is what
    I was waiting for.

    Lastly, I wasn¹t ninety days late on anything. I was thirty days late ONCE
    IN NINTEY DAYS on both accounts and as I stated in the original post, both
    Volkswagen and Sony agreed that the errors were theirs, not mine. I hope
    that clarifies things somewhat.

    To those my language offended, my apologies. To those that think what I
    wrote was too long; no one made you read this so please keep your complaints
    to yourself ­ it was your own choice to invest the time reading ­ take some
    responsibility for your own actions.

    Oliver

  134. SayAhh says:

    @FLConsumer: Not really. The next best American Express card would be the “Blue Cash” card, but the rebates don’t even come close to the TrueEarnings card. The higher percentage rebates on the Blue Cash card kick in after $6500, so assuming it’s all 1% purchases, then you would’ve lost at least $30 in rebates anyway.

    At 3% rebate (gas stations, full service and fast food restaurants), $6500 would’ve earned you $195 in rebates with the TrueEarnings Card, without ever having shopped at Costco, and you’re getting back almost three times your $50 Annual Membership fee.

    Besides, many (not all) items online at Costco.com offer free shipping, so you could shop that way and make your membership work for you.

  135. blackmage439 says:

    The limits on all my cards continue to rise, and I’m an idiot who, every once in a while, just plain forgets to pay the bill on time.

    Because of the stories on the Consumerist, I know never to give Citi or Bank of American a cent of my money, unless I have no other choice. Hell, I have two cards with dreaded Chase, and a Discover card, and I’ve never had a problem with any of the three.

  136. blackmage439 says:

    The limits on all my cards continue to rise, and I’m an idiot who, every once in a while, just plain forgets to pay the bill on time.

    Because of the stories on the Consumerist, I know never to give Citi or Bank of America a cent of my money, unless I have no other choice. Hell, I have two cards with dreaded Chase, a Discover card, and a Capital One card; I’ve never had a problem with any of the four.