Jon tells Consumerist had things arranged very nicely with his credit card from Citi. He would use his credit card for purchases, then pay the balance off at the end of every month. He set up his account to auto-debit the credit card balance from his checking account every month. One month, he paid his balance of more than $3,000 early. The autopay from his checking account went through anyway. Jon would like his money back.
I have enabled “auto pay” on my Citi credit card, which is a feature that will automatically handle the payment of my entire statement balance at the end of every month. The account is setup to withdraw payments from my checking account at my primary bank. I have been using this feature without incident for some time.
Last month I charged approximately $3422 to the account and, soon after, I used the Citicards website to manually authorize a payment for the entire balance. My intention was to pay off the balance immediately. My statement from Citi shows that the payment was received on September 15 and the balance on my Citi card dropped back to $0, as expected.
I thought that was the end of it, but on Monday, October 4, I discovered that Citi had mistakenly withdrawn an ADDITIONAL $3422 from my checking account. Apparently the “auto pay” system got confused and thought I needed to pay my bill twice. On that same day I called Citicards customer service. I was told that the funds had been erroneously withdrawn, but that I would have to call back on the following business day because nothing could be done until the payment “posted.” I am writing this on Tuesday, October 5, after speaking with customer service a 2nd time. Citicards claims that they are going to refund the money they took from my checking account, but I am told that this process can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days.
I think any rational person will agree that this is unreasonable. Through no fault of my own, Citicards withdrew $3422 from my checking account (nearly emptying the account, I might add), and I’m not going to get the money back for almost a week.
I’d like to add that my experience with their customer service call center was very frustrating. The people I spoke with showed little concern or sympathy, and I think one of them was intentionally trying to aggravate me in the way he insisted that I verify my checking account information before he would help me. I am very, very disappointed in Citicards. I think I was mistreated and I intend to cancel my account as soon as I get my money back.
This is a great plan if you like to use a credit card for everyday purchases in order to earn rewards or harness the power of the chargeback. It’s a bad plan if your bank’s system is too stupid to understand the concept of “$0 balance.” Good luck to Jon in finding a new credit card.