Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Message to Citibank

Wow, I just realized I haven't posted anything in almost two months. I'm such a lame blogger. Not that I really give a shit about that. But maybe I should try to do a little better there. I've just been so damn busy. But anyways, here is an unacceptable rant. It was deemed unacceptable by Citibank. Apparently if you want to bitch them out, you must limit it to 20 lines, what ever a "line" is.

But while setting up my monthly payment it just started to fly all over me that they don't have automatic monthly minimum payments to set up. So I tried to tell them about it. But they wouldn't have it, I guess they don't have the time. Assuming whoever might read this does, here it is:
Dear Sirs: // <-- I actually didn't bother with a salutation. While I am currently enjoying a very low interest rate on the balance that I owe on my CitiBank account, I do feel compelled to register a complaint. This is the only credit card that I have which does not provide a means for either a set amount to be paid each month automatically, or for the minimum payment to be paid automatically. Just so you know, I am becoming ever more and more unsatisfied as a credit card user and have started using my newly acquired, interest-bearing(!) debit card from ING for almost all of my monthly expenses. I don't have to worry about changing terms, payment dates, whether or not I have to pay by the payment date or at least a couple of days before. I am starting to find it hard to believe that the only reason Citibank does not provide the functionality to at least schedule payments more than one month into the future, like Chase does, or automatically schedule the minimum payment to be made, as I get with Bank of America or any affiliate of CheckFree, is that they want customers to occasionally forget to make their online payments so that they can ding them a fee. I plan on having this debt paid off in less than one year. If you have not added this feature to your website within that time, it will factor heavily on whether or not I will keep this account open, and continue to do business with CitiBank. I'm sure that this will little communique will have little influence on your decision to do so when you are probably making so much money with those dings, and the automatic rate increases that would most certainly come from it. Just be aware that I'm sick of the ever changing service agreements, I'm sick that you people would engage in Universal Default and penalize someone for what could be the accounting mistake of a competitor at the expense of a customer, I'm sick of online account management that I feel doesn't help me do the single most important thing I want to do, which is to pay my bill on time, aka pay you people money I owe you. Personally, I don't put roadblocks on people trying to pay me what they owe me. But for all I know doing the opposite is a good a way to run a credit card business, but it does seem counter intuitive. The bean counters might even have some formula as to what level you can make your customers unhappy without affecting your bottom line. But for what its worth, you are probably going to lose this one or at the very least maintain an empty account, no big deal I'm sure.
I worked on that particular composition and they were just not interested. Oh well, at least I know now how much they actually care about this particular customer. Somewhat less than 20 lines of text. Oh man, I can't wait to pay those usurers off.

[Update] My mistake. They replied and I was all upset for nothing. They DO have AutoPay. They just apparently don't want anyone to use it, since they don't display it anywhere in my account settings or like in the "Pay Bill" Section. They might now want you to know this if you are a CitiBank customer, but if you know that their system is called "AutoPay", and you do a search in their Online Answers section for that word you can get some information about it. They are going to mail me a form to fill out, mail it (the old fashion kind) back to them, have some buffoon type my application into the internets and in a month or two I should have AutoPay set up. Ain't the wired up, electronic information age great? This is the same level of service that I would have expected in 1990. Ain't the wired up, electronic information age great?



Blogger grimsaburger said...

Long time no see/read/whatever. How are y'all? And how do you like that ING debit card? We write on average one check a month, so their interest-bearing checking account is looking better all the time--even if interest rates are going back down. Something's better than nothing!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Swamproot said...

We are great. I have yet to write about spending all that money I had saved up on replacing that Orangeburg Sewer pipe, which has turned my gorgeous, zoysia planted front lawn into what appears to be the aftermath of a Tremors movies set. G's crazy busy with school. Our mutual psychology professor buddy has some very good prospects for adopting a child in a few months.

I still check Grimsaburger, ABD a lot, but I've got a less leisurely time at work during the early part of the year. :-)

Knowing how you like football, you might be interested to know I actually watched the Super Bowl again this year. I was quite excited when the Patriots had that 10-7 lead. Not because I'm a fan but those were the numbers I drew in the scoring poll. I drove my fellow football fans crazy by cheering at that point for anyone who was on defense, which is not a kosher thing to do around football fans. I said I was only for the status quo, until someone scored another point.

That's about it as far as things going on. I hope things are going good for you all up there in the great white north. Yes, I know Notre Dame is not in Canada, but I bet its still cold. :-)

I still love my ING Debit Card. It is so much better than a regular check card, except for the fact that you don't actually have or get paper checks. Like I hear a lot of people say something like you have to keep a real good track of your expenses or else you will get overdraft charges. ING takes care of that by just simply charging you interest on any overdrafts up to a preset amount, as opposed to a > $30 overdraft charge. My preset amount is the standard $165, but you can apply for up to $500.

I like being able to get close to the bottom of the account and not worry about an overdraft, because I might have forgot about one charge or another. But if I'm $165 off, I deserve an overdraft charge as I look at it. I can also keep more in savings that way.

I hope your using the new "Email follow-up comments to" feature and will know that I actually answered this. :-)

I'm also about to post a bunch of new stuff on both Personal Finance, such as how to claim the tax deduction on Traditional IRA when you contribute to it with after tax dollars and my continuing battles with the Rednecks of the Murray Ledger message board after such a long hiatus.

4:08 PM  
OpenID grimsaburger said...

Tell our mutual professor buddy congratulations, and we're keeping our fingers crossed for them!
I was wondering about the state of your sewer project--I was reading through the archives of some other blog where they had roughly the same problem, which required backhoes and digging up part of the street, and obscene expense. I can't even imagine. At least you had a savings to turn to--we'd almost definitely have to go with a loan for something that monstrous. And now I'm knocking every piece of wood within reach.
We're going to have to think more seriously about switching to ING's debit card. We do all our banking with a debit card and online anyway, and one of us updates the checkbook every morning so both of us know exactly how much money we have at all times.
I think it's perfectly acceptable to cheer only for offense or defense in a game where you could care less. I do this often myself, unless I have some personal grudge against a team or coach (ahem...Patriots).
I've moved my blog over to Wordpress, which you can see on the last post I left on blogger. I was feeling a bit hemmed-in by blogger's aesthetic.
You're a better man than I for taking on the idiots on the editorial page. I can't hack it. It makes me all stabby, and T deserves to have a sweet, loving, and non-stabby wife around the house.
I'm looking forward to hearing more about your personal finance stuff. I hope we take on the 403b and Roth stuff this year, after we knock out another debt and plump up that baby-expense savings. Late May/early June, we're going to see about starting up this baby-making machinery we've been thwarting with pharmaceuticals for eight years. With our luck, we'll each be the exception to the rule of extreme fertility in our families. We shall see, I guess.
Say hi to the lovely wife, and we miss y'all!

11:58 AM  

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