Updates

January 2, 2008

  • I placed a counter on the website at 4:45pm, to see what kind of traffic I might be getting from this. Please help me get the word out any way you can. Thanks for the help.
  • This incident has been recorded on www.ripoffreport.com  Thanks to Rip Off Report for the help!

January 3, 2008

  • I received a phone call from my account manager this morning. He informed me that the two outstanding checks have now cleared. Now, if she closes my accounts on the 11th, it shouldn't hurt me too much. He said he still couldn't understand the reasoning behind her actions, and apologised again for the situation. I thanked him, and hung up.
  • I am now organizing a peaceful protest against Citi, more specifically against the Citi branch in Allen Texas, where Manisha Parekh works, and where this forceful account closure is coming from. If you are interested in helping with this, please get in touch: joe@boycottcitibank.com   I currently do not have a scheduled date and time, but it will most likely be on a Saturday from 9am-Noon outside the Allen branch (on the corner of McDermott and Watters). If you would be willing on coming out and holding a sign or passing out information, please let me know. I am also looking for anyone willing to help make signs. I currently have about 10-15 people willing to help out, and the more I can get, the better. This could be your chance to take a stand against the big corporations, and show them that they won't get away with pushing around their customers.
  • I am also looking for anyone's horror stories with regard to Citibank or Citicorp. Please send those in as well!!!

January 4, 2008

January 11, 2008

  • So, today's the big day, and I'm down two checking accounts. I spoke with my account manager, who said he would follow up with his upper management and get back with me. I then spoke with Manisha and asked her if she would be willing to explain the reasonings behind the action. She was much nicer today, and we had a good 10 minute chat.

    She says that another local branch, specifically the one who ordered my new debit card and gave me the temporary ATM card, told her that I was upset and made irrational demands. Truth be told, I was upset, but I don't see how asking the bank to fix their multiple mistakes is an irrational demand. Oh, and I asked for an apology, to which I never received by the way. I explained to Manisha how the "reasons" she gave me for closing my accounts were based on what other bank employees had told her, not based upon what she saw or witnessed (read hearsay). She agreed that she had not witnessed anything herself that would warrant this action, however she told me numerous times how this entire ordeal was "out of her hands" and was being handled at the "upper management level" now.

    She informed me that "corporate office" is aware of this website, and has been monitoring it frequently (a little bit of information I have suspected for about a week now). Hi corporate office. All I really wanted was an apology for your bank's mistakes. Anyway, we had a nice little chat, and I ended our conversation by telling her that I understood what she was telling me, I don't agree with it, and I still don't feel anything has justified Citi's actions against me, but, like Manisha said "Our financial relationship has become like a bad marriage, there's no point in dragging it on." No offense, but I'll never be in bed with Citi...

 

Comments

  • January 1, 2008 

    Boy after reading that it brought back memories of what Bank of America did to me. I closed my account two years ago at Bank of America after 8 years of having checking and savings with them. They refused to deposit a check for my husband because his name wasn't on my account at the time, although he signed it, I signed it, and all the tellers knew me there.Plus I had his drivers license with me also, in case they needed it. I told the new manager I was closing both my accounts, he said 'do what you wish', with a smirk on his face. I closed both accts. and left enough to cover two checks outstanding. I called the 800# and cancelled an accidental death policy that was automatically deducted monthly. They said it would be cancelled immediately. Three months later I received a letter that I was 'withdrawn for $127.90, which was 3 months of the accident policy and returned fee's from the bank. I called them furious and said I cancelled the policy three months ago. They said they continued to deduct for the policy and they never cancelled it as I requested. I had to hire an attorney to take care of this... for something that was no fault of mine. I despise Bank of America, and tell everyone to not bank there.  So don't feel bad, you are not the only who suffered a lot of heartache for a business making professional mistakes that effected good clients. Some business's just don't give a shit about people anymore.
     

It's sad that these types of things happen to people. Unfortunately, banks, like all big businesses, are more concerned about the bottom line profit than their customers. 

  • January 3, 2008

    I will certainly avoid Citibank.  That is absolutely incredible and while I would not encourage you to be vindictive I would encourage you to follow through further on this matter now that you have no financial ties to that bank.  At the VERY LEAST Manisha needs to have something in her personnel file and she needs counseling on customer service relations.  I absolutely cannot believe that she will not have to pay the consequences.  I hope everything works out for you.

    Thanks for the comment.

    I had nearly the exact same experience with Viewpoint Bank. My debit card was stolen. All I wanted was to cancel my current card and get a new one. They sent it to the wrong address (some other person) overnight and had to cancel that one. By the time I actually got my debit card in the mail (10 days later) when it was supposed to have been shipped over night, they told me I had to go in to the branch to set up my card and my PIN #. I go into the branch, on my lunch hour, and when I put my card in the machine they brought to me, and began selecting my pin, the power went off. The lady said someone didn’t charge the machine and she went and got another one. (This was a bank manager by the way). When she put my card in the second machine, it wouldn’t work. Apparently if the power goes off on a machine while your card is in it, it demagnetizes the card, deeming it unusable. Ever. So they had to send me another card. “We will ship it overnight to you.” Yeah, I got the card again, 10 days later. I go in to setup the PIN #, leave the bank, and try to use my card. It doesn’t work. I call customer service and they tell me that the card was setup on the wrong checking account. Apparently they realized that after I left and they shut down the debit card. It finally got all worked out – so after over a month of trying to get a simple debit card, my battle was over. The bank was good enough though to send me a gift card for $25 to a restaurant. And they didn’t close my accounts. I can’t believe Citibank would even try to get away with that. Keep doing what you’re doing. Customer service these days has gone straight down the tubes. These companies have gotten so big that they really could care less whether or not you stay a customer. It’s no longer a threat to say you are going to take your business elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, you are right. Big business is no longer focused on their customers, and no longer afraid of a bad reputation.

  • January 4, 2008

    Thank you for sharing your story. I do not bank with them, but if I did I would move my account and let them know why I was moving it. That lady should be fired!!! They need to either fire her or demote her and send her to some “customer service” classes.

    Thanks for the support.

    Yea, I had three separate mortgages bought out by Citi-Bank. I was forced into dealing with them. I believe their customer service is terrible. The customer service reps spoke in broken English. They could not figure out the escrow account properly and conveniently charged me too much on all three accounts. I tried to convince them that they were wrong in their calculations but to no avail. The next year, I received three checks in the mail totaling more than $1,000.00 for an escrow overpayment with no explanation. I decided to take control of my own escrow account. I had to pay them $300.00 to do this.

    Looks like their mortgage division isn't any better than their checking division. Thanks for the info!

    Keep up the good work Joe. I'd have used the the entire quote "We don't need a reason to close your accounts, we can close them for any reason or no reason at all. There are plenty of other banks that would like to have your business, but Citibank is no longer one of them" for the T-shirt, but I appreciate the brevity is the soul of wit. Everyone expressing angst that customer service has gone down the tubes has no one to blame but themselves. Whenever you forgo local business (even local banks) for the savings or perks offered by the "big corporations" you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot. Local businesses with a stake in the local community tend to be more responsive to the local citizens. Bank of America was whacked by thousands of clients who took their business elsewhere when they learned of B Of A's policies catering to, and encouraging illegal immigrants. They, and other large banks have taken such a bath on sub prime loans lately, it's hard to tell if a boycott can have any effect. The B of A boycott seems to have impacted that bank, but with our government aggressively trying to bail out most banks, the effects of a boycott won't be felt as immediately or significantly as necessary to get the attention of CITI. Boycotting can and will work, but only if consumers are committed to seeing it through. I participated in the B of A boycott, even canceling my bank credit cards and moving my mortgage. All in all I saved money by moving back to a locally owned independent bank. It's still on my way home from work, and with the national ATM network, I really don't care if I have branches all over the place. Besides, I can call one of the owners of this bank on his direct telephone line, and he answers the phone!
    Stay strong Joe, we're all in this together!

    I intend on sticking with this through and through. I just want to get the word out, and hope this saves someone else from the same frustrations I have experienced. Thanks for your comments.

  • January 5, 2008

    Telling people to boycott an entire organization based on only one experience at one branch? seems unnecessary.. I'm sure there are employees like this everywhere, not only at banks, and definitely not only at Citibank. So one employee at Citibank was a bad egg; doesn't mean all of them are. Unless you do have that sort of mentality. If that is the case, then I'm probably wasting my time sending this email. I just don't think it's right to tell people to boycott Citibanks everywhere when you only experienced problems in that one branch.

    The problems I experienced included this one branch, and the customer service representatives. Regardless, out of the 8 to 10 different people I spoke with at Citi, only three apologised for the situation, at least 4 told me this was completely unjustified, and NO ONE has done anything to stop it. They don't care about their customers. I appreciate your comments, and will post them along side the others. But you should realize that although "one bad egg" might've started this whole thing, not a single hen in the whole barn has been very receptive to fixing it.

    The previous comment says that it is not fair to boycott Citi Bank for what one branch has done to you. However if you do a search on the web typing in boycott citi bank you will find hundreds of grievances and boycotts against Citi including gun shops that were denied accounts because their business were guns. There are numerous complaints by former as well as present employees of wrongfull treatment and theft of employees money as well as former customers that had similar curcumstances as yours. I researched to see what depth of incompetance and shady practices Citi participates in and I suggest that others do the same before judging what you are doing. Kudos to you Joe, my hats off to you and keep up the fight. It is about time big business payed for the way they treat the little guy.After all we are the customer and whatever happened to customer appreciation.

    Thank you very much. Citi has obviously had other issues in the past, as you stated. My intentions are simply to let others know of my situation, so you can make you own decision about them. Thanks again!

  • January 11, 2008

    Joe,

    Thanks for stopping by http://floota.com/boycotts.html . I read your Citibank story. What a nightmare. If it makes you feel any better, Citibank recently had to sell 7.5 Billion worth of its stock to keep its head above water: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/business/11wall.html?ei=5090&en=7ed5049664cce2c4&ex=1357707600&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

    I don't know if you experienced this, but last year whenever I called Citibank I got their customer service in India. I'm no xenophobe but I couldn't understand most of what they were saying on the phone. That company is going down the tubes.

    I have noticed, and I have also learned that if you get a customer service rep from india, immediately ask to be transferred back to the USA. They may tell you something like "Sir, I can help you if you give me a chance" (at least, that's what I think he said) but if you insist, they will transfer you back to US territory. Outsourcing is not the answer, and neither is treating your customers like Citi has treated me. Boy do I miss First American Bank Texas, SSB.

  • February 2, 2008

    Hi Joe,

    I share your frustration. I have been trying unsuccessfully for over a year to close my dead parents , paid in full credit card account with Citibank. They have given me the run around over and over. They initially wouldn't close it after I paid it in full without copies of the Power of Attorney (while my mother was still living). So I sent those and asked to close the account. A few months later , another statement showed up.And then last September a statement showed up with a charge for "Reverse Watch Guard Premier" on it. I again called, I wrote letters, I called again. Then I sent copies of my parents death certificates and another letter. Then they sent a rebate check to cover that Reverse Watch Guard Premier charge and I contacted my parents estate attorney and he wrote Citi a letter telling them to close the account and not to have any contact with me again. And yesterday, one year and 2 months since I paid this account and closed it, I received yet another statement with a bill for Reverse Watch Guard Premium on this CLOSED account. What is their problem? AND I hope they read this because I will be calling Monday morning and I have had it! And I called the Customer Service # today (which says it is 24 hour) and when I typed in my parents account number , Internal Recovery Unit answered with a recording saying that I had to call back at normal business hours! I have never dealt with such incompetence. And may I say that other cards , such as Sears, could not have been kinder and made it easy to close accounts. Honestly, at such a difficult time in my life having to deal with such ignorance is unforgivable.

    I'm sorry to hear about your frustrations, and what Citi has put you through. I hate to say it, but it really doesn't surprise me that Citi would continue to try and make money off of your parents even after they passed away. Goes to show you that they are more concerned about the profit they can make than their customers.

  • February 7, 2008

    I have lived in Japan for 5 years and regularly used my Citibank ATM card to withdraw money (yen) from my US Citibank checking account at Citibank ATM locations here in Japan. I'm a hawk with my statements and refuse to be nickeled and dimed by these rip-off fees. I am taking a big enough hit as it is now with the pathetic US dollar rate. This foreign fee policy seems to be ever changing and this latest move is the final straw for me.

    Before 2006 there was no foreign fee noted in my statements but I believe it was 1% for currency exchange. The policy changed in early 2006 when they started to separate the charge on the statements and noted the 1% on a separate line as FOREIGN FEE. Then the policy changed again in Jan 2007 when they increased the currency fee to 3% for non-Citibank ATM's but eliminated any FOREIGN FEE for Citibank ATMs. I was happy with this since I was able to check the exchange rate on their website and would know how much I could get with each withdrawl. Also I avoided using non Citibank ATMs because of the rip-off 3% currency fee plus the additional $1.50 for using non-citi ATM.

    I wasn't aware of this latest policy change until last week when I noticed a foreign fee charge on my statement for a recent withdrawl equal to 2%. I called Citibank customer service and got the fee credited because I was a longtime customer and in my opinion was not notified properly of this new customer unfriendly fee increase that will hit me and many of my friends who also use Citibank abroad frequently. I voiced my opinion to the customer service rep. that I will no longer be using Citibank unless they rescind this terrible greedy policy. Citibank long touted how their ATM's in branches out of the US were free to use - well now they can't say that. I would advise any others who have Citibank and live or travel outside the US to call their customer service and express you disgust with this latest fee increase that is un competitive and unfair to longtime customers. 1-800-374-9700

    Thanks for the info.

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