Citicorp Deferred Interest Trap Springs Shut On Man Who Underpaid By $11

I suspect some readers will say that Assefa Senbet is to blame for screwing up one of his final payments to Citibank on a deferred interest loan agreement. They’ll be right–it was his responsibility. But he didn’t skip a payment, and he wasn’t late. In fact, he frequently overpaid in order to pay it off early. Near the end of the loan, however, he sent in a check for $70 instead of $81. As a consequence, he’s now paying off $887 in deferred interest fees at a 30% interest rate.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul published Senbet’s story yesterday. The article focuses on Senbet’s generally All Around Good Guy status–he enjoys watching National Geographic and religious programs, he’s worked as a parking attendant for 10 years, he was born in Ethiopia but he’s now a U.S. Citizen. But Senbet could be my crazy Aunt Francis who drinks paint thinner, abuses grocery store clerks, and throws cats at the neighbors, and it wouldn’t matter. What’s important is that the terms of the deferred interest agreement are so extreme that a single, small error on your part can cost you huge amounts of money.

[Citicorp] dropped its “Penalty Pricing” hammer, billing Senbet $887 for interest going back to the date he purchased the television. Citicorp is now charging him 30 percent interest on that outstanding debt, making a payoff nearly impossible.

“I’m very confused,” said Senbet, who has parked cars for 10 years. “I don’t want to pay for this for the rest of my life.”

[...]

Monday, Senbet got Citicorp’s curt response letter saying: tough luck.

“We expect the same from all our clients no matter where they come from,” wrote Citicorp’s Tomeka Harris.

I don’t know anyone who can predict the future so well that he can confidently enter into a contract like the one Citicorp offered Senbet. Let’s say you’re positive you’ll never make a casual mistake when making a payment. What if a technical difficulty beyond your control interfered with a remittance? What if someone stole the money from your account and your payment bounced? What if you lost your job?

Offers like this one are deliberately designed to entrap consumers–make any mistake and the punishment will have nothing to do with your error, but it will be costly, and the bank will make a fortune off of you.

It’s like if you wanted to play basketball but didn’t have a ball, and I’m a prosthetic arm salesman who comes through town and says, “Here’s a basketball. Play with it all you like. However, it’s made of nitroglycerin so if you bounce it too hard it’s going to explode and probably take off a limb.” Why would anyone think it’s okay for me to go around handing out basketballs to people?

“$11 mistake earns 0.0% sympathy from Citigroup” [StarTribune.com] (Thanks to Grant!)

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  1. Tightlines says:

    “We expect the same from all our clients no matter where they come from,” says the bank that received $45 billion in taxpayer bailout money.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      +1

    • goodpete says:

      My thoughts exactly. Citi is basically saying, “Well, those are the rules, you agreed to them, and now you have to suffer the consequences!”

      I am really wishing that when Citi went to the government and asked for $45 billion dollars because they screwed up, that someone had stopped them and said, “Well, those are the rules, in a capitalistic economy, if you make poor decisions and you go out of business, that’s life. So deal with it.”

      But no, no one said that. Instead, they gave them a whole lot of money. Imagine if the government bailout money came with a huge list of complicated rules (which it probably did, but stay with me), and if they violated just one of those rules at any time, they would have to pay 30% interest on the loan (retroactively to the origination date), until it’s all paid off.

      “But,” you say, “that could mean billions of dollars in penalties for a minor infraction!” Well, tell that to Mr. Senbet. I’d like to think that a $15 billion mistake is to Citi what a $1,000 mistake is to Mr. Senbet. So maybe such conditions would lead banks to re-think their practices.

      As has been often mentioned on this site (and elsewhere) before, if people won’t buy it after knowing all the facts, then you shouldn’t be able to trick them into buying it by hiding the facts.

      Ever time I hear of someone considering a 0% financing “deal,” I always point out that those come with some scary conditions. Far more often than not, I learn that the person had no idea about those conditions. And these are often college educated people. So I really believe what they’re doing with these loans is deceptive and should stop.

  2. subtlefrog says:

    Wait – you have a crazy Aunt Francis who does those things too? Does she take her teeth out to “bite” the bellies of small children, too? Because if so, you are clearly my long lost cousin.

  3. bostonmike says:

    How are those terms from Citicorp not fraud? Why do we let this sort of abusive behavior by banks continue?

    • sykl0ps says:

      We were going to let the banks go belly up. Then the government took our money and gave it to them so they can keep on doing it to people.

    • JoeDawson says:

      How is it fraud? I am extremely paranoid about my 0.0% interest loans, but i know the terms of the Contract i signed. Definitely they should have let him slide this one time, but I do not think it is fraud.

  4. Esquire99 says:

    The post focuses on the “punishment” that is doled out to those who screw up their end of the bargain here. What needs to also be considered is the huge benefit that is reaped by those who do abide by the terms of the agreement: an interest free loan. People know (or should know) the “deal” when they engage in these kinds of transactions. They are being extended a loan on very generous terms in exchange for a promise to abide, strictly, by the terms of the agreement. Citi may trap some people who they know will ultimately screw up and end up having to pay interest, but think of the diligent and savvy consumers who are able to abide by all of the terms and end up with an interest-free loan.

    • keepher says:

      I’ve done that very thing several times. Paid them all off before the end of the contract, saved a ton on interest but before paying that final payment I also either called or looked at the account on line for the balance to confirm the final payment.

      That said, it shouldn’t be this hard. It wasn’t before all the banks became loan sharks.

    • sykl0ps says:

      you say that like that is the banks idea, to give people really awesome loans and not to screw over most of them.

      • samurailynn says:

        I think the point is that it’s a gamble. The stakes are high, but it’s a great deal if you play it right.

    • H3ion says:

      There was a guy who used to make loans like this in my old neighborhood but if you missed a payment there was no penalty interest. Instead you lost your kneecaps. How is this any different?

      • deniseb says:

        It isn’t. These people are no longer running a legitimate business. They’re thugs who cheat people for a living.

    • HawkWolf says:

      So you think his small mistake is worth the (much larger) mistake of 881 dollars?

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        Yes, as he was aware of the terms when he purchased the TV. This isn’t a case of a credit card upping the rate on a long time customer, or a company canceling cards without telling the customer.

        I purchased $2000 worth of furniture and got to use it interest AND payment free for almost a year. In month 11 I paid it off so I could verify in month 12 that the balance was $0. I was aware of the payoff balance.

        My guess is that this isn’t a traditional credit card, but a store branded credit account.

        The guy’s attorney talks about how the guy doesn’t really understand English, and his senator talks about how you need to have a law degree to understand credit terms. They both ignore the fact that the guy attempted to pay it off in time (which indicates he understood there would be interest of SOME sort at the end of the promo period) and the fact that he made a mistake in sending in his payment. I lost a lot of sympathy for the guy with the quotes from his attorney, the senator, and the tone of the story.

        He could go back to Sears (where he bought the TV) and try to see if they can help, but it’s a very long shot, since they’re not the lender.

        • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

          You assume that he was fully aware because he paid his bill on time– That’s a little vague and presumptuous. His monthly payment might have been $50 (for example) and he always sent $70. He might of just sent the $70 in, thinking next month he’d owe $11 and have the TV paid off. It doesn’t excuse it, but someone just paying their bills on time doesn’t equate to him understanding EVERY term of his contract.

          • RickN says:

            So, he was either aware of the terms and made a mistake. Or, he was unaware of the terms and signed a contract he didn’t understand.

            Either way, not the lender’s fault.

  5. twophrasebark says:

    “We expect the same from all our clients no matter where they come from,” wrote Citicorp’s Tomeka Harris.”

    This is actually not true, Tomeka. Take for example Citi’s announcement today that it will suspend foreclosures and evictions during the holiday season through January 3. Why did you do this? Is there any regulation or law that said you needed to do so? The answer is: No.

    Unless this was a simply a public relations move, it demonstrates that not every business transaction must be considered as if the customer is a number and Citi is an emotionless automaton.

    Eleven dollars is within the realm of offering the customer a courtesy reversal of the charges. It’s an easy call. It’s a call you should make by policy. The alternative is for corporations like Citi to be perceived as being predatory and heartless. And in the end, it does end up costing money anyway when legislators finally realize they can win votes by forcing you to stop trying to play “gotcha” with your customers.

    Conscionable business is better business. It’s more profitable in the long run. Employees are more satisfied. Customers are more satisfied.

    • stinerman says:

      Unless this was a simply a public relations move

      Stop right there. Of course it was a public relations move. If it was anything else, Citi would be at risk of a shareholder lawsuit for failing to be as profitable as possible. See Dodge v. Ford Motor Company for more information.

      • Esquire99 says:

        While your cite is correct, and I agree with what you’re trying to say, Citi would actually be sued for committing waste, which is basically “failing to be as profitable as possible,’ but waste is the correct legal term.

        • stinerman says:

          I stand corrected, sir (or madam).

          • twophrasebark says:

            This is a popular fallacy.

            Corporations must be greedy as possible or otherwise they will be sued.

            Not true. Clearly not true as the way customers are treated varies greatly from company to company. Some airlines, for example, couldn’t get less about someone who missed their flight. Some will happily rebook you. These are both defendable and reasonable paths to profit.

            Even if it was true, you can defend almost anything as being in the interest of shareholders or public relations. To win a lawsuit as you describe, the actions must be egregious waste that is clearly unreasonable and not in the interest of the shareholder.

            Trust me (or don’t) but if Citi announced a new plan to be more kind to their customers, they would not have a problem. Sure, they would be sued. Shareholders sue about everything. And most of the cases go nowhere. In fact, since they already get sued probably 100 times a day for being complete dicks, they might as well get sued for trying to be conscionable.

        • Blueskylaw says:

          So Goodwill is worthless?

  6. phonic says:

    I don’t understand the issue here? This is the STANDARD clause in all 0.0% for X amount of months/years plans from any lender. They give you no interest, and generally no minimum payments, for a very long time. If you pay the entire balance off by the due date, you are in the clear. If you are short by $0.01, you are hit for X months of interest at a high rate. This is clearly stated in the terms and conditions, and I would hope as an imported American Citizen, that he passed the English speaking part of the test.
    I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for this guy. He screwed up, and was told the consequences. If Citibank let him slide, it would open the doors for everyone else to get an extension. If he couldn’t afford the price in the end, he shouldn’t have purchased it. If he just screwed up, then he needs to live with the consequences, not cry foul.
    THIS KIND OF LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY IS WHY THE HOUSING MARKET IS IN THE CRAPPER. imho.

    • stinerman says:

      This why you pay more than the balance and then get a check cut for the overage. Be absolutely sure you’ve paid it off on time.

    • Esquire99 says:

      I agree 100%. Personal responsibility has been replaced with demands that the govt. act as a babysitter and make sure that no person has to actually suffer the consequences of their bad decisions.

      • RandomHookup says:

        No one is arguing that he didn’t make a mistake. It’s the weight of the penalty that is unconscionable. Charging him a $20 penalty for shortpaying $11 would be appropriate. The government has to step in occasionally to set some boundaries because it’s difficult (if not impossible) for the small borrower to have any leverage in the process. We ask our government to step in to protect the individual against the big machine.

        • eviljamison says:

          But that wasn’t the deal he agreed to when he bought the TV. If you don’t meet the terms of the contract you agree to then you pay the consequences that the contract outlines. It kills me when people are perfectly happy to take advantage of an offer but when they must also take the consequences they throw a fit. I don’t feel bad for this guy, if he couldn’t take the pre-stated consequences of paying the deferred interest if he didn’t pay it off in full then he shouldn’t have taken the deal!

          • RandomHookup says:

            True, but there is such a thing as an unfair deal, usually heaped upon those who can least afford it (see payday loans). That’s why many states used to have usury laws. The bank still made money on the original deal or they wouldn’t have offered it.

    • Megalomania says:

      Let us pull out the old standby; “Be a f*cking person”. He suddenly has to make an unplanned expenditure of over $800, with 30% interest, and if he needed a loan for less than $2000 then it’s pretty clear he can’t just swing that. Seeing that he took out a loan to buy a (relatively) big screen TV makes me cringe on its own, but come on, it’s eleven dollars that will be haunting him for probably years. It should not be so easy to make a mistake that will effectively ruin your life.

      • MyTQuinn says:

        If an unexpected $800+ expenditure is can “ruin his life” as you say, maybe he shouldn’t have borrowed thousands of dollars for a TV in the first place.

    • StarVapor says:

      That you “don’t understand the issue here” is beyond obvious.
      It’s because your morality to apply.
      You would be your own grandmother’s banker in a similar instance.

    • kalaratri says:

      I don’t really have too much sympathy for the guy either. his guy screwed up and got hammered by the interest by not holding up his end of the contract. Sure it sucks to be him, but the reason the rest of us can get interest deferred financing is because of people like him.

      Hubby and I do use deferred interest financing when we can, and we pay the amount off a good 4 months ahead of time and wait for the paperwork that says it’s all paid off. If we don’t get anything in writing, we call and nag until we do.

    • Floobtronics says:

      I agree, 100%, this rests on Mr. Senebet’s shoulders.

      I too have taken advantage of 0% for X months type of financing before, strictly to continue allowing my money to earn interest for me rather than someone else. We did this in our previous house with carpet. Total was like $1000 when all said and done, 0% for 1 year. I immediately scheduled our online bill pay to pay $100 per month for the next 10 months. Done.

      Yes, it’s a shame that it happened to the guy, but in the end, he’s an adult, just like the rest of us, and has to accept the consequences of his actions, or in this case, mistakes. We’ve all made mistakes and born penalties as a result of them.

    • fatediesel says:

      This is identical to the contract I entered into for 0% interest when I bought my bedroom furniture, carpet, and living room furniture, with different lending companies each time. I knew if I ever missed a payment I’d be charged the entire interest so I was always very careful to pay at least a week early. Not sure why this article makes it seem like this is something new.

      • JoeDawson says:

        I have a 0.0% interest loan. The minimum payment is 10 dollars with payment in full by a certain date. I pay this loan TWICE A MONTH to make sure i never miss a minimum payment.

  7. TechnoDestructo says:

    How much do plate glass windows cost?

  8. MooseOfReason says:

    How big was the TV?

    • Fred E. says:

      “Senbet’s ordeal began in 2007, when he purchased a 43-inch Phillips television on credit from Citicorp for $1,748.”

      He bought it from Sears.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        I bought my 42″ refurbished Phillips TV from Phillips (not CitiBank) for $599.00, including shipping, due to Consumerist’s post of daily deals.

        I didn’t have to finance it for years.

  9. saturnleia says:

    The posters who say that the OP should have known better – did you even read the linked article? The OP didn’t even realize what was going on – heck, his LAWYER can’t even decipher the contract. The attorney general’s office found him enough in the right that they tried to intervene on his behalf – but since they have no jurisdiction, they could only write letter with their request, which is not something the bank needs to heed.

    And a 30% interest rate is usury. Most states have laws against this – that’s why most large banks are based in Delaware, which has no usury laws.

    • tbax929 says:

      Thank you! This blame the victim crap on this thread is bugging me. No one is saying there shouldn’t be a penalty. But the penalty is outrageous. Be a fucking human, people.

    • Daemon Xar says:

      North Dakota for Credit Cards, actually.

  10. epoger says:

    This is why, especially if you have been annoyed with a company for nickeling and diming you over the years, you should always overpay that last bill.

    When I dropped Sprint, they mailed me a final bill for 3 cents, so I mailed them a check for 4 cents. They mailed me monthly reminders for a while after that, “hey, we still owe you 1 cent”. At some point the reminders stopped but I KNOW YOU STILL OWE ME, SPRINT!!!

    • webweazel says:

      And pay off one of these deferred-interest things, in full, ONE MONTH EARLY. Just in case something goes wrong.

  11. Don't_rip_me_off_bro says:

    I really feel bad for this guy and can say with complete confidence that my family is 100% done with the entire credit thing. Here’s why:

    1. This story and many, many other stories just like it that I’ve read in the last few years about people getting completely screwed by credit card companies. I’m aware of – and believe in – the whole ‘personal responsibility’ issue. A parallel to this story is like playing with fire. It’s fun and has its usefulness, but if you don’t handle it properly it can really burn you. Moral of the story : DON’T PLAY WITH FIRE (CREDIT CARDS).

    2. Getting screwed by BoA’s order of transaction rule, when a few years ago a check I deposited took a few days longer than normal to clear and as a result I ended up paying 8 overdraft fees of $33 each. The only one that should have received a fee was a Roomstore payment to HSBC – my check was not processed as a check or on the payment day. Instead their policy was to use the check’s information to debit my account the day they received it, not the date I had written on the check. Long story short, I remember buying a $38 block of cheese, a $40 six pack of beer, etc.

    3. These companies refuse to play by equitable rules – we are playing their game and they are very good at it. At best we can come out with a tie, we’ll usually lose, but we’ll never win.

    Hence, my wife and I have decided to revert to a pre-credit financial model. We have gotten rid of our credit cards and in fact only use our check/debit cards for gas. We have gone back to the days of using cash. We withdraw a small amount twice a month and that’s our allowance for purchases. One benefit is that it helps curb our impulse shopping to a small degree.

    I can see this type of behavior coming back into favor more and more.

    • daddy_froglegs says:

      I’m right there with you. 2 years credit card free here. I’ll never touch credit again for all those reasons and many many more.

  12. RandomHookup says:

    You do know that “Francis” is the male version of the name? “Frances” is usually the way the feminine form is spelled, though I do know a chick with “Francis” and it confused me mightily.

    • Chris Walters says:

      Actually, I do. The rest of that description was that Aunt Francis is really my uncle but demands that we call him Aunt. I cut it for length, and also because I didn’t think of it until after I hit publish.

      • Keep talking...I'm listening says:

        Glad to know someone else has one of these in their family…you could introduce him to my Uncle Gertrude

  13. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    I think, in light of the fact that he frequently overpaid and had probably a great payment history, that they should at least lower the penalty to something more appropriate. It still was his error, but like RandomHookup said- the penalty doesn’t fit the crime, so to speak.

    Everyone cries, bitches, and moans when their credit card companies raise their interest and such for one late payment after a great history of payments. I don’t think Citi should completely dismiss the deferred interest, but this is a bit too much.

    I’m sure with these sort of offers, Citi has made a killing on these deferred interest loans… I sure hope people will see it’s probably easier to save the money, HECK, even charge it to a decent credit card than an offer like this.

  14. Freitz says:

    I have understood the terms of these deals since I was in high school and needed new tires for my car when I was 16. Sure, English may not be the guy’s first language but he obviously understood the consequences of this mistake prior to making it (“In fact, he frequently overpaid in order to pay it off early.”) so the onus is on him to make sure that his final payment was for the correct amount.

    Are the terms outrageous? Sure, but it’s also nothing new.

  15. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I feel for this guy. I usually schedule my payments for my CC’s. The other day I had a problem at the machine with my Wawa credit card, so I went online to see if I was overdrawn. When I was there, I realized that I hit the wrong key when keying in my payment amount, and I UNDERpaid by $30 instead of overpaying to the next whole dollar amount. In Chase’s system, you can not schedule another payment within 3 days of a payment posting. So I was stuck with the fees that I got hit with. If I had been allowed to make an additional payment, I would have not had to pay this $19 in finance charges. People make mistakes. I could see if the guy didn’t send in the payment at all, but he did. He just wrote in the wrong amount.

    I mean, it’s his last payment. It comes in under the amount. Give the guy a call and alert him and give him a chance to correct his mistake. The banks expect us to let them correct their mistakes, like if they deposited a 20,000 check in your account, so why not the other way?

    “Hi Mr. Senbet, this is Citicorp. Thanks for your loan through us. We were processing your last payment, and it’s for a amount UNDER what you needed to pay. Did you send us two checks in two envelopes, or was this a mistake? Because you realize that if you don’t pay the required amount by this date, we will have to charge you::taps on keys:: $887 in interest charges. Oh, it was a mistake? Would you like to make a payment for the final $11 now over the phone?”

    There. 30 seconds to be a person. Can’t we take that out of our day? Just 30 seconds to be a gorram human.

    • DogiiKurugaa says:

      And since we know Citicorp and others like them are such big fans of fees they could even charge a convenience fee for this service. I think we can all agree that in this case its one fee we would definitely prefer over the alternative.

  16. MaelstromRider says:

    I really don’t see why this is a story. He screwed up, he pays the penalty. It’s harsh, but you have to be very careful with those types of deferred interest deals. I bought the AC for my home on my Sears card… $6100 with deferred interest for 1 year. At 10 monhts I had not paid it off completely, nor was I likely to, so I transferred the balance to another card. I’ve probably bought furniture 5 or 6 times on the same type of deal, with no issues.

    You have to keep on top of that sort of thing. When the end of the deal is approaching, pay attention and make a larget last payment than is due, just in case.

    This was his error, and Citibank is under no obligation to forgive him.

  17. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Well, the personal responsibility jerk in me says, “well, that serves him right for entering into a contract like that because he ought to know better,” but a lot of people don’t. The thing is, Citicorp is supposed to be a legitimate operation, not one of these hole-in-the-wall payday lenders or rent-to-own joints. If they want people to give them the respect they think they deserve, they’ll cut this guy a break. Until then, I will continue to avoid them like the loan sharks they really are.

  18. aka_mich says:

    The one question I want to know here is that was he aware that his payment was $81 and he still sent in $70 in spite of that? Or is this one of those things where they make it purposefully confusing what is owed towards the end of the loan? All the article says is that Senbet mistakenly sent in a check for $70, 12 days early.

    If he was aware it was $81 and just didn’t send the extra $11 for some reason I do sympathize with him because it’s an awful thing to do by Citigroup but like others have said those are the terms he signed up for. I think this is a great example however as to why these types of loans should not be allowed to happen, and it’s irresponsible for lenders to provide such loans.

  19. henrygates3 says:

    Credit cards are risky, but you agreed to the terms and you have to own up to your mistakes. Just this month I paid a total of $2100 to my CC when I owed $2400, intending to pay the rest sometime in the month. Of course with life being what it is I forgot all about it and by the time I remembered and logged in I had been hit with an interest charge. Not $800, but my mistake still cost me money I didn’t have to give away.

  20. Verdant Pine Trees says:

    I too have 0.0% loans that I have paid off early (very, very early – twice a month) to pay for things in my new “old” house, like an oven, refrigerator, dryer etc. I’m paranoid about it, and I do believe in personal responsibility.

    Having said that, I couldn’t agree more with this comment from the article:

    “Citicorp is using Assefa as a cash machine,” said Fiddler. “What rankled me the most is how Citibank can get huge bailouts to stay afloat, then this is how they pay back the taxpayers who help them out when they get in debt.”

    If Citi wants to slam this guy under “personal responsibility”, then they had better account for the money that Assefa, and I, and all the other American taxpayers, just lent them for THEIR poor judgment.

  21. daddy_froglegs says:

    Call up Citi, tell them to suck it and let them repo the tv.

    Simple.

  22. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Let me get this straight: they’re charging him 30% interest….. ON THE INTEREST? I think they should be gracious that they got the opportunity to stiff him for an extra $8xx dollars. But to tack 30% interest on it?

    Fuck these taxpayer-funded banks. I hope all of their upper management members rot in hell.

  23. BigFoot_Pete says:

    Dear Citicorp,

    It is stories like this that give you bad press and create a hostile sentiment towards your company from the general public. Technically yes, you are in the right–and congratulations for sticking up for your rights. At the same time, life is lived in shades of gray, and decent, hardworking people whose obvious intent include paying you back and doing the right thing by you get screwed in your approach.

    You and your ilk are the very reason that sites like this one exist, sites that stress the consumer’s rights in other situations. You can act like isolated incidents and situations that you are “taking seriously” are exactly that, and you should be blameless because they are exactly that, but this is the other side of the coin–these are the stories and the very reason that we don’t want to every give you the benefit of the doubt.

    In short: You, Citicorp, have created this monster of backlash by the very actions shown in this story.

    Sincerely,

    Pissed Consumers Everywhere

    If I had the money to help this guy, I would donate, just so you

  24. Squeezer says:

    if $887 @ 30% = “I’m very confused,” said Senbet, who has parked cars for 10 years. “I don’t want to pay for this for the rest of my life.” then Mr. Senbet has bigger issues he needs to deal with.

  25. Bix says:

    Wait.

    Not sure why I’m the first to mention this, but according to TFA:

    “When he bought the TV, Senbet signed a receipt that mentioned at the bottom a ‘deferred interest promotional offer’ but did not explain it. Nor did the salesman at Sears, he said.”

    Anytime I’ve signed up for a credit offer of this type, it’s been fully explained to me by the salesman (interest accrues from the day of purchase and all that) with a contract covering the same ground and more. The customer is claiming that the standard details weren’t covered by the salesman or the paperwork. As far as we know, Citi and Sears haven’t disputed this. Something isn’t right.