“There is no indication of any change in the near future regarding the current state of competition. Market forces have not yet met the challenge of controlling price increases.”
A Consumerist reader was surprised to find that Citibank had applied a finance charge on a zero balance account. She did what every good Consumerist should do: prepared her evidence, jumped quickly ahead to a live person on the Customer Service side, and resolved the issue. Here’s what happened:
Reader Zack is frustrated with General Electric because they offered to inspect and repair his washing machine as a courtesy, then after they came by they stuck him with the bill. Now they’re threatening to send him to a collection agency.
Reader Gary used his Bank of America credit card to pay $2 on a parking meter in Washington, DC. Bank of America treated it as a cash advance and slapped him with a $10 fee, as well as a higher APR. When Gary called to complain, he learned that it wasn’t an error: Bank of America has started treating payments to parking meters as cash advances and may even treat all payments to government entities as cash advances.
Time Warner wants reader Nancy, a 60-year-old English teacher, to pay $1,400 for ordering porn—including 17 flicks supposedly viewed on a single day. Nancy didn’t order the porn, and has no clue how the charges were associated with her cable box, but one useless Time Warner representative suggested: “maybe your dog ordered them.”
Apple’s new 3G iPhone might seem like a bargain at $199: more features, 3G speeds, and $200 cheaper than the original model. Great, except it’s not actually cheaper. The new $199 iPhone is actually $160 more than the $399 iPhone it replaces.
Employees at the Verizon store in Millington, Tennessee told reader Josh it would cost an extra $3.99 to pay his bill with cash. According to the employees, the charge was to offset the cost of “new money software.”
Bank of America charged Jason three overdraft fees for the hell of it, even though his account balance never approached $0. Jason called the bank for an explanation, and was told that due to some mathematical wormhole controlled exclusively by Bank of America, he now owed $105. Tired of the bank’s nonsensical jibber-jabber, Jason printed out his statement and headed to the local branch…
Sprint thanked Ryan for his tour with the Navy by charging him $0.75 per minute for airtime, resulting in a $500 bill. When Ryan complained, Sprint’s customer service representatives called him irresponsible, and gently explained that they couldn’t care less about his problem.
Microsoft charged Bill $1,632 for a single Windows Vista Ultimate upgrade license. Each time Bill, an IT Manager, tried to his enter his payment details through Windows Live Marketplace he was told that Microsoft could not be contacted, and to “please try again later.” What Microsoft really meant was, “Ha! Got your money! How ’bout some more?!”
A second Hollywood Video employee has written in to counter the claims made last week by an anonymous employee—he writes, “It sounds like whoever wrote in initially has a particularly evil district manager who is instituting his own policies,” and says that person should “go over his DM and talk to someone at corporate.” But for the rest of us, what matters is that “The EW [magazine subscription offer] never went away, they just stopped requiring employees to push it. They’re actively promoting it again. There’s no ‘silence is acceptance’ however, and we need to scan your credit card (an additional time) to activate the offer.”
Jenn’s checking account with Bank of America recently had a policy change designed to increase overdraft fees, and it worked: sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning she was hit with 6 NSF charges going back the previous 48 hours, because she was about 15 minutes late transferring funds into her account the day before. Technically she had broken the new policy, but Jenn hadn’t realized or remembered that there was a policy change and she was taken by surprise. She decided to try to reason with BoA’s corporate office about the fees, and explain why she thought they were unfair.
Patricia closed her company’s American Express Delta Sky Miles card six months ago, but the expired card unexpectedly sprang to life thanks to a supplier’s accidental charge. American Express laughed off the matter, saying “this happens all of the time,” adding that it’s Patricia’s responsibility to ensure that all vendors destroy her outdated billing information.
MGD at dslreports read our post last night about Prophotosland.com and its fraudulent charge to reader Megan’s credit card. He’s been following the scammers—”an organized crime syndicate operated from Eastern Europe”—for nearly three years now, and has a ton of highly valuable information on them, including their recent targeting of military personnel stationed overseas. Bottom line: cancel your credit card, Megan, because they’ve got access to it now—and report the charge as fraudulent rather than dispute it.