Citibank Swears The Card Is In The Mail. Liars.

Tammy’s been trying to get a new Citibank card to replace her expired one since March. For two months Citibank has lied, stalled, and generally screwed around with her access to her money. For two months, a a series of increasingly senior people have told her her card is on the way. They even told her they’d overnight it, twice. Read her story,

Hello all at Consumerist! I have been reading your blog daily for the last couple of years now. I love how informative this website has been to all walks of consumerists. I have never felt compelled to write to you until now:

I have been banking with Citi Bank since 2005. I know that is not very long to be with a financial center. My Citi Bank Debit/MasterCard expired in April of this year. I was under the impression that they would automatically send me the replacement card. Just as a hunch, I called Citi Bank’s 800 number to find out when I should get my replacement card. I made this phone call in late March. I was told that I should receive my card by the 2nd week of April and that if I did not receive said card, I should call back. Some time past and I nearly forgot about the 2 weeks period on when I should get my card. I called Citi Bank on one of the last days of April (possibly the 28th) & I was told that I would receive my new card on May 2nd. May 2nd came, and there was no card. I waited for the weekend, thinking that maybe I would get it in the mail May 3rd or May 5th. Still no card. Mind you, I can not access my account online with out an active card.

I called on May 5th and was told by one of the customer service representatives that he would over night the card to me and I should get it May 7th. That did not happen. On May 7th, I finally asked to speak to a supervisor and he said that that order was never placed and that the card would be sent to me May 12th. I told him that I need to pay bills, I want to access my account online and I get paid this Friday. I need an active card to do all those things. He then ordered a card for me to be sent over night, UPS, to the financial center near my work to be picked up May 9th (tomorrow).

But here is the kicker: Today, May 8th, I received the replacement card that the supervisor said was never sent out from May 5th that was over nighted. I went to UPS to pick it up. I decided to call Citi Bank to find out if I can activate this card. I was then told that this card was blocked and that I have to go to the financial center to get the card that was overnighted.

I am at my wits end with the scenario. I have been ON them to send me my replacement card. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t this be an automatic thing on their end? Or is it up to me to be chasing them for this card?

I know that I should have written down the name of every person that I spoke to, but I did not know I would have this run around for a replacement card. What advice can you give a consumerist who is angry,confused, and frustrated? Would it do me any good to complain about this to Citi Bank? What would they do? Apologize for the inconvenience? Any advice is greatly appreciated

Thank you,


Next time, Tammy, when you’ve discovered that you’ve been lied to and you need help, call the offices of CEO William Rhodes. Follow the steps outlined in the link, and someone should be able to help you.

(photo:Jenna Belle)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ghede says:

    Also supply a list of every single number you called before e-mailing him. Shake up the infrastructure. Especially those of “Managers.”

    It’s not like there aren’t a lot of banking industry employees looking for work, maybe they will give the jobs to those that can actually perform them.

    I have a mean streak.

  2. EricaKane says:

    This story is ridiculous. They probably blocked the card because of security reasons since you claimed you never got it, they were doing you a favor by requiring a manual activation. You say you forgot for 2 weeks about the card – it must not have been that urgent to pay bills, if you just forgot about it.

  3. Rando says:

    Obviously something is either systemically wrong or the post office plays a big role in it.

    Why would Citi lie about sending a card that is 1 click away?

    Working for a CC Company, I have seen this before. Customers need to realize there is a 3rd party that has to get the cards to you, and yes, they fail quite a bit. Not saying that it isn’t something on Citi’s end – but I’d be willing to bet it isn’t.

  4. Rando says:

    @Rando: PS: I didn’t read the story

  5. blackmage439 says:

    Or just get a new bank. It’s obvious, even after going up the chain of command, that your business isn’t that important to Citi.

  6. jwarner132 says:

    I’m sure this is not the cause of her problems, but it reminds me of a time I had a problem getting a new card from my local credit union. They kept telling me they were mailing me a new card, but then I would never get it. It took me forever to find out that all of the cards were all getting returned to sender, and the bank would destroy the returned cards each time without calling me. Nobody could figure out why, because my address was correct in their system. Finally an intelligent employee figured out that the problem was that they stored two different copies of my address in their systems; one “main” one for my bank accounts, and a separate one for the debit card system (why, I don’t know). Although my main address had been updated correctly after a move, the debit card system was missing my apartment number. Although mail without the apartment number still always got delivered to me, the bank had printed on the debit card envelopes “DO NOT FORWARD”, and thus, all were returned to sender.

  7. pegr says:

    That’s funny. That last time I lost my AMEX, they called me before I knew it was missing, and shipped a replacement to my home the next day.

    I pay a yearly fee to AMEX (not too bad), and here is why. Thanks AMEX!

  8. heavylee-again says:

    I don’t understand a few things:

    – Why does Tammy need an active card to access her online account? I don’t have a CC with Citi, but all the other cards I have just ask for the username/password I’ve already established that is linked to my account.

    – Why can’t Tammy pay her bills the old fashioned way (receive paper bill, send check) until this gets sorted out?

    – Why does this mess have anything to do with her paycheck?

  9. heavylee-again says:

    And what’s with the pic of the cat in a box?

  10. Jeff says:

    I’ve had this exact same problem with Citibank, twice, right down to
    the faked overnight then it finally shows thing.

    The second card they’ll send will be the exact same card as the first
    one. They won’t nix it and you should be able to call and activate
    it. Same number, same id on the back, everything.

  11. macinjosh says:

    @EricaKane: Are you dumb?

    She didn’t need the card in that two week period because her old one was still valid.

    Also she got one card via UPS that was no longer valid because they sent out a new one to a nearby Citibank. As far as I can tell, the 2nd one hasn’t arrived there, so she only has access to one card, which has been killed (completely). Here’s a quote, because I know scrolling back up will be a bit of challenge for you:

    I decided to call Citi Bank to find out if I can activate this card. I was then told that this card was blocked and that I have to go to the financial center to get the card that was overnighted.

  12. Okiedog says:

    Citibank called me around Dec. 9th as someone had tried to put a small charge on it (the first step to a larger charge). They said please destroy the card and we’ll send one out right away. I cut up the card and waited patiently.

    I do about 85% of my Christmas shopping online. I am also a bit of a procrastinator. See where this is going?

    Dec 14th I call Citibank to ask on the progress of shipping the card. “it’s in the mail”. Yep. Call on Dec 18th, freak out (in a consumerist manner – calm, collected but very persistent) and demand it overnighted. They said sure thing.

    The overnighted card doesn’t arrive til 2 days after Christmas. The one that was supposedly sent on Dec. 9th shows up one day after Christmas.

    When I spoke with customer service, the woman I dealt with said “Oh yeah, we have major problems shipping out cards”. She also apologized and said they should have overnighted it right away.

    Here’s the kicker. Checking my bill a month later – they “tried” to charge me for overnighting the 2nd set of cards. I did not behave in a consumerist-like manner on that phone call to get the charge taken off.

    I did save a lot on not buying online impulse christmas gifts. Thanks shitti-bank.

  13. picardia says:

    What kills me is that the banks never seem to put those blocks/freezes on when you actually need them, then slam them on like crazy when you don’t. I spent weeks last fall (while recuperating from surgery and not really able to go around to deal with stuff personally) trying to get a security block off my ATM card that nobody seemed to know the origin of. Then they made me take this security test over the phone, which was administered by somebody with such a thick accent I couldn’t understand them, which was asking me things like the apartment number of a place I lived 15 years ago. When I got one of the questions wrong, because I couldn’t understand the questioner, they hung up on me! I came VERY close to switching banks over that one. Thinking about it again, now I sort of still want to switch.

  14. tokenblackgirl says:

    @heavylee-again: becuase CitiBank is really stupid, you can’t access your account online if you have a new card coming to you. YOu have to wait until you get a new card.

    I’ve had the same problem with CitiBank she has had online mine has still not being resolved, its been 5 months and i still only have an ATM Card, i can’t buy shit online and stupid shit like that.

  15. MrMischief says:

    I have been a card holder of CitiBank since 2000. I had just lost my CitiBank card last week during a move. I’m sure it’s somewhere in my boxes but couldn’t locate it. I called up CitiBank customer service, which has always been a pleasure for me, and told the gentleman of the situation. He had a card to my door within 24 hours. In my opinion, CitiBank went above and beyond my expectations and I stick with them for the great customer service I have always received. From my experience I think there is more to this story then we’re being told.

  16. Suttin says:

    On the topic of Citibank being liars, I got my student loan through them. I got accepted for my loan on April 30th.

    On May 15th, I got a letter saying that my loan was denied. Apparently, being accepted means you still can be denied by Citi.

  17. P_Smith says:

    I’ve encountered idiots similar to what the lady put up with. I’ve seen the morons lie, and when the lie is shown to a “manager” or alleged “superior”, I ask, “What will you do if this happens again?” and they say, “It won’t happen again,” even though it often does. I want a guarantee that it won’t, but such people are too dishonest and spineless to make a guarantee.

    There should be mandatory suicide – or at least, mandatory firing and a criminal charge – for employees who lie, and mandatory financial compensation for any customer lied to by corporations (say, a full refund plus 25% penalty). Nothing would get the attention of companies faster than being legally forced to pay for their dishonesty, both financially and career-wise (or with their lives).

  18. ViperBorg says:

    @Rando: Thus, you completely missed the point, my friend.

  19. ViperBorg says:

    @Suttin: Yes, but did you get the money anyway?

  20. womynist says:

    This same thing happened to me with Citizen’s Bank, also known as RBS Citizen’s–I think they run Charter One as well. My old card had been deactivated due to the security breach at Hannaford’s, and they automatically sent me a new one with a new #, which I did not receive. I called the customer service line and got a rep with such a strong southern accent that I could hardly understand him. He was absolutely useless and told me it would take 7-10 days for me to get another card. When I explained how important it was that I get one sooner, his only piece of advice was for me to go to my local branch and withdraw money, which is no help when I have online bills to pay. Anyway, I hung up on him, went to my local Citizen’s branch and met with a really nice CSR named Matt. He quickly layed out my options, and was able to issue me a new card to be delivered in 3-5 days…for an $8 fee! I was so intent on having the card (I NEVER carry cash)that I had him process it anyway. I could’ve gotten it overnighted for $20. After getting home I realized how skeevy that was. If it’s their mistake, how can they get away with charging the customer? I’m totally switching to my local Credit Union.

  21. sponica says:

    @Suttin: Were you credit denied or school-certification denied? You can be credit approved for a student loan, but it won’t do you any good if the school won’t certify the loan….

  22. Willstrashed says:

    I had the same problem with Citi. On a Tuesday I was added to my wifes account, and told them I wanted the same card she had, not just an ATM card. Because of my work schedule, Tuesdays are the only day I can go to our branch. Come the next Wednesday, I get the ATM card. Next Tuesday, go and pitch a bitch, politely, and am promised they will overnight a new card. The following Tuesday, return again, and they have no record of my ordering a card. I finally recieve it 5 weeks after ordering it the first time. Their customer service sucks.

  23. baristabrawl says:

    *blank look* Get a new bank. Most of them give you an ATM card the first day. Your new card would be in the mail in 7 days. THEN…you could start the annoying process of changing your autopays.

    But seriously? Who uses auto pay?

  24. TammyTones says:

    In 2005, I lost my wallet with my Citi Bank Card in it. They canceled that card and replaced it immediately.
    That is why i was pretty upset that it took them a while to replace the replacement card after it expired because I knew how quickly they responded that time.

    Thank you Consumerist for posting my issue!

  25. TammyTones says:

    -Because Tammy doesn’t make the rules for Citi Bank Online.
    – Because Tammy doesn’t want to. So my bill can get lost in the mail/ delayed by UPS, just like my replacement card? Um, no thanks.

    -Tammy likes her hard earned money….Don’t you like your hard earned money?

  26. I am having this issue, but with my atm/bank card at MandT bank. I’ve called six times so far – each time they assure me the card has been sent out. On the fourth time, I requested them to deactivate the card and issue me a new one, assuming it had gotten lost in the mail. They did so – well, it has been three weeks and still no card. I’ve called two more times and the same answer as before: it’s in the mail.

    With this level of incompetence there is no way I would trust them with any additional funds, so I will close the account soon. I suggest you do the same thing with your account, OP.