Citibank Screws Up Money Transfers, Admits Fault, Calls Us 20 Times A Day

Henry and his wife went broke, then worked out a payment plan with Citibank to settle their debt. The idea was to be proactive in order to avoid harassment about bills they couldn’t afford.

Henry says the plan backfired because of Citi’s incompetence. The bank told him it’s screwed up some planned transfers, but that hasn’t stop bank reps from calling him and his wife 20 times a day to hassle him for the cash.

He writes:

I am writing today to see if I can enlist your help with getting something taken care of. I have tried in vain to work with Citibank to settle a debt and they just can’t seem to get it correct or stop harassing us with incessant phone calls.

The basic story is that my wife and I were both Realtors who hit rock bottom, lost our home, and we basically have nothing left. We offered to settle a large debt with Citibank and gave them the first payment of almost $4000 dollars while scheduling the additional 2 payments of $2000 within 90 days providing that they would settle the debt, close the account and leave us alone.

To take the first payment they took our account information and did a basic money transfer. The problem is that they can’t figure out how to do that again for the additional 2 payments. In the meantime they continue to harass us by calling about 20 times a day. We have spoken to numerous “escalation specialists” and they each confirm “yes this our mistake”, yet they never resolve this and are now telling us that they don’t know if they will honor the debt settlement. It’s their fault, there is nothing we can do except give them the money. They basically refuse to take it, but continue the harassment.

Enough is enough.

You might want to look over this information from the FTC. Specifically, about how to get a debt collector to stop contacting you. This may or may not work, since it’s your actual bank that is contacting you and not a third party, but it might be worth trying:

How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me?

If a collector contacts you about a debt, you may want to talk to them at least once to see if you can resolve the matter – even if you don’t think you owe the debt, can’t repay it immediately, or think that the collector is contacting you by mistake. If you decide after contacting the debt collector that you don’t want the collector to contact you again, tell the collector – in writing – to stop contacting you. Here’s how to do that:

Make a copy of your letter. Send the original by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you’ll be able to document what the collector received. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact. The creditor or the debt collector still can sue you to collect the debt.

Of course, this won’t solve the problem of them refusing to take your money — so you might want to try an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) before you order them to leave you alone.

If that fails, you might want to consider getting a lawyer.

Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers [FTC]

Comments

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  1. Dover says:

    It’s an ACH transfer, not a wire transfer.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      ACH = electronic = internet = wires and gizmos and shit. So technically it’s correct.

      • DRHicks says:

        ACH Transfers and Wire transfers are VERY different.

        However, I imagine you are being sarcastic….. So… Carry on!

      • thompson says:

        Perhaps, but in the financial world “wire transfer” is a term of art that refers to a very specific method of moving money. This wasn’t likely a wire transfer. Clarity can be a good thing in this area.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Actually, she doesn’t say “wire transfer” she says “basic money transfer” which is her own personal colloquialism. It could mean an ACH or a money wire. Since we don’t know, we shouldn’t assume she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

          • Dover says:

            I wasn’t blaming the OP, just Phil (the title has since been edited to “money transfer” instead of “wire transfer”.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wire_transfer

        So yes an ACH is a wire transfer by definition. But not all wire transfers are ACHs.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          D’oh, misread the article! Damn.

        • thompson says:

          Where does it say that?

          “Wire transfer systems are intended to provide more individualized transactions than bulk payment systems such as ACH and Check21.”

          Seems to place “ACH” and “Wire transfer systems” in opposition to one another.

  2. thompson says:

    That section you quoted from the FTC is in reference to the FDCPA, which is applicable to debt collectors and not debt originators. The former collects the debt of another, the latter collects their own debt. It seems in this case that Citi is trying to collect its own debt and therefore the majority of the FDCPA doesn’t apply.

    • Dover says:

      That’s interesting, I never knew that.

    • bethshanin says:

      Spot on 100% correct.

      I wonder if the OP got the settlement agreement in writing before submitting the first payment. If not, get it ASAP. If you have written proof of the agreement and can show payments, you will be much better prepared in case Citi or some junk-debt buyer comes in later and says “What settlement? Those were just payments on the account.”

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    When you are so big that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, you should seriously think about spinning off some of your business to get your affairs in order.Of course, Citibank could be doing this on purpose to try and get more money out of the OP and just claim incompetence.

  4. Paintmann says:

    Did the OP get the debt settlement in writing as a contract?? If so, I would say that he has made a reasonable attempt to fulfill his end of the agreement and Citi is in breach of contract. Now IANAL, but I would say that legal action is well justified.

  5. Beeker26 says:

    In the interim change your phone number and make sure you tell the phone company you want the new number unlisted AND unpublished with no forwarding info on the old number. Then open a free Google Voice account and give that number out to friends and family.

    They can’t call and harass you if they don’t have your phone number.

    • Beeker26 says:

      Oh, and make sure anytime you call them you enable caller-ID block, otherwise they’ll see and record your number.

      • nybiker says:

        I could be mistaken, but I seem to recall reading that the caller id information is not blocked when you call a toll-free 800 number, even if you use the *67 blocking mechanism.

        And for those who need to know the info:
        To block your telephone number for any call, dial *67 before dialing the telephone number.
        To unblock your number for any call (if you have a blocked line), dial *82 before dialing the telephone number.

        • Beeker26 says:

          You are correct. You either have to call a non-toll-free number or use a service like Skype or Google Voice that will mask your true number.

  6. oldwiz65 says:

    Just goes to show how incompetent banks have become.

  7. Alvis says:

    You lost your house over $8000?

    • coren says:

      That’s not what the article says. They had a large debt with citi to settle, and 8,000 is what they’re settling it for (whether or not that’s the entirety of that debt isn’t clear to me). They very well may have had several other debts to settle, perhaps mortgage payments amongst them.

      • nonsane says:

        In the case of my mortgage it says that i must pay back the amount of the loan, if they take my house to do it, i still have to pay back the money they didn’t make from selling the house.

        This was due to a real estate crash where people bailed on the mortgage to purchase a cheaper house and have a lower mortgage.

    • jaya9581 says:

      Try reading the article again. The CitiBank debt appears to have nothing to do with them losing their home.

  8. HammRadio says:

    Why can’t the OP make a reasonable attempt at making the next payment? Can they not write a check?

    It seems to me citibank is making a reasonable attempt to collect their debt? Why not answer the phone call form them. And make the payment.

    Something seems to be missing.

  9. HammRadio says:

    Okay.. re-read to see what I was missing. So the OP is saying that these debt collectors don’t want the $2000 or the $4000 difference. They want the whole DEBT and are reneging on the original agreement??? Is that correct?

  10. reznil says:

    Also try http://www.helpwithmybank.gov. You can file a complaint with the OCC, the federal agency that regulates Citibank (and all national banks).

  11. FrugalFreak says:

    Me thinks they didn’t want to do a settlement, they just wanted the cash without the settlement and did what the had to to get it. They likely knew if they had said no, they would receive no cash. do you have this settle arrangement on paper from them?