The Hidden Truth

Credit Card Woes
by: Jerry Liao

I have been hearing stories about people experiencing nightmares in dealing with their credit card providers. I also attended some symposiums about how credit cards are earning their money and why credit card owners should pay on time or face the high interest. In case you’re wondering why I am telling you this, it is because I had my own share of bad experiences in dealing with these credit card companies.

My first two problems involves the credit card of my wife who passed away 2006. She had an Equitable credit card and a Citibank card. One of the very first tasks we did after her interment was to make sure that her credit cards be discontinued and fix all her financial obligations and banking records. We inform both Equitable and Citibank regarding my wife’s demise. They said we need to submit her death certificate for record purposes which we did.

The problem started when we receive a P 40,000.00+ bill from Equitable card. I personally called their customer service number and was able to talk to a certain Rochelle. I told Rochelle about the problem and Rochelle asks me to wait for awhile. After a minute or so, Rochelle came back and said she saw transactions made even after my wife pass away. Transactions that were made in the province. I told Rochelle that it is impossible because we’ve never been there and we already submitted her death certificate so her card should have been cut. Rochelle acknowledges the situation and said she will fix the problem and added that someone have been using my wife’s card.

I thought the problem was over after the conversation – I was wrong. A month after, we got another billing and this time the amount is already P 50,000+.

The same situation happens with Citibank. my sister informed them of my wife’s demise, they ask for her death certificate which we submitted. After a few weeks, we got a billing statement; my daughter settled the account thinking that maybe my wife indeed bought something before her death. But to our surprise, after a few months, we got another billing. I called their customer service again and the person on the other line keeps on insisting that my wife still has some unpaid bills. I told the lady on the other line if we can have a detailed statement, they said they sent it to us already. I told her we never received any except the last one in question which does not contain any detailed transaction but just a total. The lady said they cannot send a detailed transaction since it was sent out already. I told them that I will only pay if I get to know what I am paying for.

A few months after, their third party collectors called introducing themselves as lawyers of Citibank, threatening us of lawsuits unless we settle the account. I reiterated my request of a detailed billing which was turn down again. Months after, we got a letter telling us that we just need to pay P 4,000+ from our balance of P 12,000+ as part of a promo? WHAT?

My third nightmare involves my Metrobank credit card. The card was issued 2006 and after two years of using it, the card’s back cover which contains the black bar that contains the code was peeled off. I called Metrobank’s customer service and I was able to talk to a certain “Jam”. I requested a new card and this Jam told me that they will be charging me with a P 400+ for the new card. Why charge a P 400+ fee? Is it my fault if the card was made with inferior materials that couldn’t last for three years? The card’s expiration date is 2009. Jam suggested that I allow them to charge the P 400+ fee, then for me to call them after and request for a refund, but she cannot guarantee that the request will be granted since it has to go through certain approvals. WHAT?

I have nothing against having credit cards. Actually, it helped me a lot during my wife’s treatment. But I am having second thoughts now after the experiences I am getting. What kind of security and customer services are these banks giving their customers? Cards that can be used by other people. Collectors that are harassing clients. And a bank that is dead serious in charging P 400.00 for a new card?

Banks are considered the most computerized sector of our industry given the nature of their business, and yet loopholes like these are still happening. Security lapses that are blamed and passed on to their clients. To all my readers who are experiencing problems with their credit cards, email me your stories and I will write about it so that these banks can improve their services.

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One response to “The Hidden Truth”

  1. Randy Kanapi says :

    Hi Jerry,

    ALthough i haven’t experienced billing errors yet (a matter of time perhpas?), i did want to highlight an experience I did have with Citibank when it came to following up payments. There was an instance wherein fine, being human, I did miss my cut off by a day or two back in 2000 I believe. I’m assuming citibank outsources their collection follow up agents due to the horrible manner of how they follow up on payments. They have all my contact information, and when they do call me at my office in Rufino back then, they start yelling and threatening. – oh and another, once when i was out of lunch that week, they managed to grab hold of my office colleague and told them “paki sabi sa kanya na magbayad sya at magpakalalaki siya at magbayad..”…and on that same day, they faxed a HANDWRITTEN letter ( think balikbayan box pentel pen) to our office….and naturally, anyone who passes by sees it. I wonder if humiliation is one of their strategies in getting someone to pay……I managed to speak to a citibank colleague of mine back then and she mentioned about the various levels of following up on payments…so i guess this is the professional manner that such a world class establishment decided to carry out its payment follow up. Have since paid off everything of course and cancelled my citibank card….I smirk eachtime a citibank agent offers me one, then GUARANTEES that it will be approved even if i tell them of my horrible experience. Have since switched to HSBC.

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