Last month, Daniel wrote in to complain that the Art Institute Online, which is part of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, had completely jacked up his final semester with them. When he wrote to us, he had no diploma, and he was being charged nearly $3,000 for undisclosed course requirements that the school had promised to comp. Fortunately, he’s written back with some good news.
American Express hit Mike with a finance charge because his Blue card had a balance. A negative balance. Incredulous, Mike called and said, “so you dinged me for carrying a balance and not making a payment, even though it was a negative balance?,” to which AmEx replied, “Right, even negative balances.”
Why does HSBC charge $15 to make a payment over the phone? Other, often smaller, companies charge $3 or less, as MG notes in his email below. In this case, since the alternative is so unwelcome—a possible late payment, and a corresponding hit on MG’s credit score—it seems pretty outrageous to hold him hostage to a $15 fee.
Courey Gouker’s recent experience with American Express encapsulates every trick the company has pulled in the past few months to drive away their customers, including dropping the credit limit, hiking the rate, and even offering him a cash bonus to pay off his balance in full. In addition, the company’s CSRs made promises to him that they didn’t keep, and notes on his account have gone missing. About the only thing they haven’t done is email a photo of the CEO flipping him the bird.
If you have an account with Mint, and you’ve enabled mobile alerts, you can now text “Bal” or “Balance” to 696-468 (MyMint) and receive a summary of all of your accounts. [Mint]
USAA just pulled a huge mindf#@k on Travis and his wife, and now he wants to talk to someone high enough up the chain to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. His wife “went online yesterday to check on some transactions and discovered her IRA balance was $0. Six hours prior to that, her balance was $14,000.” When she tried to find out what had happened, the first CSR she spoke with told her she had no IRA account, and the second CSR told her to refresh her browser. Yeah, you know how these newfangled browswers are always wiping out retirement accounts.
Sprint disconnected Bill’s service for “exceeding his account spending limit,” even though his account had a -$50 balance and he was signed up for Sprint’s Simply Everything unlimited plan. Sprint quickly reactivated Bill’s phone after he pointed this out, but warned that his service “will probably shut back off in a couple of days.”
“Keep track of your bank balances!”—pretty much every week on Consumerist either we or our readers say something like this.