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Advice + Guidance on Issue with Citibank Credit Card Account


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Please excuse the lengthy post... hopefully you guys can give us some guidance regarding an issue with Citibank and our Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. Here is the situation:

 

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

 

We had a Credit Limit of $9,000.00

 

On 9/23/2020 we made an electronic payment of $5,000.00. Due to financial complications resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic the payment of $5,000.00 was returned. 

 

At no point were we informed by Citibank that the aforementioned credit card was closed. However we also did not communicate with Citibank.

 

We dug ourselves out of our financial issues and called Citibank on 3/24/2021 in response to an email we received about making a payment. At this point our balance was $15,359.93

 

The issues begin with the 3/24/2021 call:

 

  • On 3/24/2021 we spoke with a Citibank Representative and arranged to make a payment of $6,360.00 to be processed on 3/29/2021 on the condition that once it cleared the account would be:

    • 1. In good standing

    • 2. Open

    • 3. The card would be active (meaning we’d be able to use it)

  • We verified the above 3 conditions multiple times with the Citibank representative and they confirmed. 

  • As a side note, I remember specifically giving the Citibank Representative I spoke with on 3/24/2021 an example of what my definition of open and usable was so there was no confusion.

  • We also agreed to setup automatic minimum payments.

 

On 3/25 we received a message from Citibank confirming that we had enrolled in autopay - no where in this message does it state that the account is closed. In fact it reads as if the account is open and in good standing. 

 

On 3/29/2021 the payment in the amount of $6,360.00 processed, cleared our account and posted to Citibank.

 

And in fact based on what the Citibank representative confirmed on our 3/24/2021 call we made an additional payment on 3/29/2021 of $4,000.00. We received an email from Citibank confirming this and again at no point did it state the account was closed, and again it reads as if the account is open.

 

On 3/30/2021 after we confirmed both payments ($6,360 + $4,000) cleared with no issues, we checked our account to make sure the card was active - as the Citibank representative told us it would be. At this point we became worried and began calling Citibank.

 

We spent at least 4-5 hours and multiple phone calls on with different Citibank representatives, none of which could give us any direct answers. Finally, after poking around on the internet and in message boards we found a number for the Citibank Executive Response Unit. 

We spoke with a very polite and helpful Citibank Representative in the Executive Response Unit who opened a case for us. 

 

At this point I sent multiple emails following up and outlining what had transpired on the 3/24/2021 call. 

 

We never once received an email response confirming receipt of emails. Every-time I would have to call and confirm receipt. 

 

At some point we were assigned a representative with the Citibank Executive Response unit. 

 

After multiple emails and phone calls, they called us back on 4/12/2021.

 

On the 04/12/2021 the rep politely told me she listened to all our phone calls with Citibank especially the call in question that took place on 3/24/2021. The rep acknowledged/confirmed the following:

 

  • That the Citibank Representative I spoke with on 3/24/21, stated multiple times when asked by me (multiple times) if by making the payment of $6,360 it would bring our account; in good standing/current, open, and usable - the representative answered "Yes". She also acknowledged that in addition to answering "Yes" the representative communicated to me in other ways that by making said payment the account would be in good standing, open, and usable. 

 

We expressed to the rep that Citibank should honor what they committed to on our 3/24/21 call: An open account, in good standing, and with a useable card.

 

While polite and understanding the rep said there was nothing she could do. After we pressed her and explained we felt Citibank’s behavior was deceptive (We did not use the word fraudulent, although we believe it was) Tanya offered us a $150.00 statement credit, to which we declined. 

 

On 04/12/2021 following the call with the Citibank rep we sent a follow-up email, confirming what transpired on our call. We called the Executive Response Unit on 04/13/2021 to confirm the email was received and forwarded to said rep - this was confirmed. 

 

On 4/13/2021 we filed a complaint with the CFPB - that read similar to all of the above post. In addition we stated the following would be an appropriate resolution:

 

For Citibank to honor what they agreed to on our 3/24/2021 call.

  • Open our Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard so it is usable again.
  • Bring our account in good standing with all 3 credit bureaus 
  • Maintain our Credit-line of $9,000.000 

In addition, considering what we’ve been through we’d like them to make a goodwill correction with all 3 credit bureaus. 

 

 

On 4/27/2021 we received a response from Citibank via email. Which basically stated there is nothing they could do, the account would remain closed, there would be no Goodwill correction with the CRA's, and that they would in fact report the account to the CRA's as "disputed by consumer".

 

Also on 4/27/2021 we received an email from the CFPB stating that the company has responded. Status on the CFPB website shows "Closed Company Responded"

 

And here we are today...

What do you guys think? 

Should we push this more? 

Is there a way to escalate further?

Any and all advice/suggestions/comments much appreciated!!!

 

Thanks in advance!

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It sucks, but really there isn't any recourse in my view.  You acknowledge you owed the debt and made payments on that debt.  In the T&Cs it says they can close your account at any time for any reason.  You were late and over your credit limit, both solid reasons for account closure.

 

Agree the rep shouldn't have made promises they couldn't keep.  Process was certainly handled poorly.

 

Put another way, if they opened the account and then 3 months later closed it, would that be any different?

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Agree with CTSoxFan.

 

At the end of the day, what was the goal in keeping the card open?  If it was AA miles, you can always try for one of the Aviator cards from Barclays.

 

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I'm confused about what specific date the account ceased to be available for use.  It is not outside the realm of reason to believe that the account COULD have been reinstated in March and then closed through the standard computerized reviews that ALL accounts go through on a regular basis (those soft pulls that occur).

 

Admittedly, I am also confused about how things went from September to March without knowing what was going on.  Monthly statements would have been generated, even if you were only getting e-statements.  Further, you presumably had online access to your account, something which would have reflected a large outstanding balance and a general state of delinquency on the account. 

 

Bottom line is that if Chiti has chosen not to do further business with you, that is their perogative.  You owed the amount, so you would have either needed to pay it or risk even further damage to your reports as it charged off and went to third-party collection entities...to say nothing of the prospect of an 1099-C.

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One more take:  Since it appears that you weren't notified of the cards closure prior to Mar 24, I find it very likely that the account was open, just not available for use because of the delinquency and over-limit status.   If this were true, then everything you were told during your conversation on that date was likely correct (subject to subsequent account review).

 

The account closure would appear to have occurred sometime subsequent to this, presumably upon a review initiated specifically because the account potentially became available for use again.  This is not contrary to anything that was stated in your conversation.  It's customary for any account to be subject to review at any given time.

 

I have no vested stake in this and only desire the best for you.  However, I'll note that were I Citi and a customer went incommunicado on a delinquent account for 6 months and suddenly turned up with $10k in payments, I would have concerns about the viability of an ongoing relationship.  I recognize and accept that hardship was a key factor in your account behavior.  However, with the facts stated, I can't fault Citi from deciding to give things a rest and see how things shake out over the next 6 months or so.

 

Since Citi will likely be made fully whole, I see no reason that they would reject a new account app 6-12 mo down the road.  Given how exceptional the circumstances are in this situation, I wouldn't  shy away from beginning a new account relationship with Citi, were it to your advantage to do so.

 

On the other hand, I can certainly understand that from your perspective you wouldn't care to do so.  There are plenty of fish in the sea.

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20 hours ago, allclear said:

On 9/23/2020 we made an electronic payment of $5,000.00. Due to financial complications resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic the payment of $5,000.00 was returned. 

 

By being this direct I'm not completely unsympathetic, but please look at this objectively.

 

The root cause of the entire incident was you authorizing a payment to Citi with funds that were non-existent or insufficient, which is like writing a bad check.   

 

Most issuers were offering covid-related flexibility (payment forbearance, temporary suspension of interest charges, etc.) on request.  That would have ended much better for you.

 

This had nothing to do with the pandemic, you just made a poor decision, and in response Citi chose not to do business with you (which is their right, just like you could have canceled your account at any time while it was in good standing).

 

I hope things are  on a better trajectory for you now, and wish you the best.
 

 

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On 5/5/2021 at 8:13 AM, CTSoxFan said:

It sucks, but really there isn't any recourse in my view.  You acknowledge you owed the debt and made payments on that debt.  In the T&Cs it says they can close your account at any time for any reason.  You were late and over your credit limit, both solid reasons for account closure.

 

Agree the rep shouldn't have made promises they couldn't keep.  Process was certainly handled poorly.

 

Put another way, if they opened the account and then 3 months later closed it, would that be any different?

@CTSoxFan appreciate the response and sorry for the delay. 

Agreed. 100% I acknowledge the debt. I also know I went into that initial 3/24 call with Citibank totally at fault and in debt to them. 

My problem is with what occurred on the call and the assurances made - Account in good standing, Open, Useable/active card - I made multiple payments based on said assurances. 

Re. opening and closing account 3 months later - you are right that wouldn't have been any different. Having the account open and active would have just made it easier to dig-out and rebuild credit.

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On 5/5/2021 at 8:59 AM, brainchasm said:

Agree with CTSoxFan.

 

At the end of the day, what was the goal in keeping the card open?  If it was AA miles, you can always try for one of the Aviator cards from Barclays.

 

Thanks @brainchasm the goal with keeping the card open was not miles, and more about putting ourselves in a better position to dig out from this mess we created. 

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16 hours ago, hdporter said:

One more take:  Since it appears that you weren't notified of the cards closure prior to Mar 24, I find it very likely that the account was open, just not available for use because of the delinquency and over-limit status.   If this were true, then everything you were told during your conversation on that date was likely correct (subject to subsequent account review).

 

The account closure would appear to have occurred sometime subsequent to this, presumably upon a review initiated specifically because the account potentially became available for use again.  This is not contrary to anything that was stated in your conversation.  It's customary for any account to be subject to review at any given time.

 

I have no vested stake in this and only desire the best for you.  However, I'll note that were I Citi and a customer went incommunicado on a delinquent account for 6 months and suddenly turned up with $10k in payments, I would have concerns about the viability of an ongoing relationship.  I recognize and accept that hardship was a key factor in your account behavior.  However, with the facts stated, I can't fault Citi from deciding to give things a rest and see how things shake out over the next 6 months or so.

 

Since Citi will likely be made fully whole, I see no reason that they would reject a new account app 6-12 mo down the road.  Given how exceptional the circumstances are in this situation, I wouldn't  shy away from beginning a new account relationship with Citi, were it to your advantage to do so.

 

On the other hand, I can certainly understand that from your perspective you wouldn't care to do so.  There are plenty of fish in the sea.

@hdporter Thanks for your comment. 

The closure definitely happened prior to the 3/24 phone call. 

I can definitely see things from Citi's POV. I guess what I'm hung-up on is the assurances made on the 3/24 call - assurances that were confirmed made to me on said call by the Executive Response representative that reviewed all my calls.

Thanks for giving me hope re. ability to open a new account 6 - 12 mo down the road! 

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21 hours ago, centex said:

I'm confused about what specific date the account ceased to be available for use.  It is not outside the realm of reason to believe that the account COULD have been reinstated in March and then closed through the standard computerized reviews that ALL accounts go through on a regular basis (those soft pulls that occur).

 

Admittedly, I am also confused about how things went from September to March without knowing what was going on.  Monthly statements would have been generated, even if you were only getting e-statements.  Further, you presumably had online access to your account, something which would have reflected a large outstanding balance and a general state of delinquency on the account. 

 

Bottom line is that if Chiti has chosen not to do further business with you, that is their perogative.  You owed the amount, so you would have either needed to pay it or risk even further damage to your reports as it charged off and went to third-party collection entities...to say nothing of the prospect of an 1099-C.

@centex Thanks for responding!

From September thru March I was aware of the balance (believe me, it was weighing heavily on me), I was not aware the account had been closed.

As I mentioned in another reply - my biggest hang-up is that on the 3/24 call a representative whether by mistake or intentionally mislead me. Had they not, I still would have made a payment and honored my obligation to Citi - I just would have scheduled the payments differently and allocated some of the funds that went to Citi elsewhere.

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10 hours ago, cv91915 said:

 

By being this direct I'm not completely unsympathetic, but please look at this objectively.

 

The root cause of the entire incident was you authorizing a payment to Citi with funds that were non-existent or insufficient, which is like writing a bad check.   

 

Most issuers were offering covid-related flexibility (payment forbearance, temporary suspension of interest charges, etc.) on request.  That would have ended much better for you.

 

This had nothing to do with the pandemic, you just made a poor decision, and in response Citi chose not to do business with you (which is their right, just like you could have canceled your account at any time while it was in good standing).

 

I hope things are  on a better trajectory for you now, and wish you the best.
 

 

@cv91915 You are correct! I should have picked up the phone and called them, the situation would have been much better. 

Thanks for your well-wishes.

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One thing I just remembered which might (or might not) be helpful to others reading this:

The Citi Executive Response representative I spoke with was incredibly polite, sympathetic, and acknowledged a big mistake was made by the Citi rep on the 3/24 call, as well as poor communication from the reps I spoke with after. At some point during our call - when I realized Citi was not going to budge on opening the account - I asked for a goodwill adjustment, considering the mistakes Citi admittedly made. She told me Citibank policy has changed and they are NO-LONGER making goodwill adjustments as of 03/31/2021. I wonder if this is in fact the case??? FYI - I nicely "argued" that I filed the complaint and received a case number prior to 03/31/2021 - she wasn't having it. 

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At this point all you can do is chalk it up to a lesson learned.  I am sure that at some point, should you want to have a relationship with Citi again that making them whole will certainly help your cause.  You didn't mention the impact this has had on your credit reports, but I am sure they took a hit.  Your next step should be to try to clean those up as much as possible, and be sure you have some positive tradelines reporting.  Might be some time before you are able to qualify for a Citi card, and you'll likely need to go through recon.  Keep that EO office number handy, always good to have a friend to call for assistance.

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