Tag Archives: Customer Service

How Bank Of America Messed Up My Account At Citibank


To say I’m frustrated would be an understatement. This scenario seems like something from a movie in which the evil bank blatantly abuses their power over the financial system to push people into economic hardship.


I write about this here for two reasons:

  1. Maybe this will bring it to someone’s attention that will help and
  2. All we generally hear about is the bad customer service in healthcare which pales in comparison to this.

Here’s the scenario:

  • On 6/3/13, we paid off our Bank of America mortgage when we sold our house in St. Louis.
  • On 6/17/13, BofA sent us a payoff check for our overpayment of our escrow.
  • On 7/5/13, that money was deposited into our Citibank account.
  • On 7/18/13, BofA confirmed that the check cleared.
  • On 7/23/13, Citibank removed the funds from our account and stated that BofA had rejected the check.
  • After several calls, Citibank could not explain the reason for the funds being removed other than to say the check wasn’t paid by the institution. Here’s some of the reasons that they’ve made up to try to tell me why:
    • First they told me that we both didn’t sign the check. That was wrong.
    • Then they told me that it was made out to a business. Which it wasn’t.
    • Then they told me that BofA rejected it. Which they didn’t.
    • Then they told me that it was because I used an ATM. Which I didn’t.
    • Then they told me to go into the branch office where I made the deposit. I used the same lock-box that I’ve used for years. There are no branches in St. Louis or Charlotte.
  • On 7/30/13, we had a 3-way call with Citibank and BofA to confirm the check was paid.
  • On 8/1/13, BofA faxed proof of payment to Citibank.
  • As of 8/5/13 after more calls with the 3rd supervisor at Citibank, they still couldn’t prove that the check was paid or find the BofA proof even after they had selected the location for the proof to be faxed.
  • I then got all fired up:
    • Followed the @AskCiti Twitter account and asked them to direct message me contact information for someone who could help me…with no response.
    • E-mailed the CEO of Citibank with no response.
    • E-mailed 3 members of the Committee on Financial Services with no response.
    • E-mailed the Ombudsman at the CFPB with no response.
    • E-mailed 3 members of the Citibank Board of Directors with no response.
    • E-mailed the WSJ reporter who wrote the article about Citibank’s use of Twitter for customer service.
    • E-mailed 6 other members of the Citibank executive team with no response yet.
    • Wrote my original blog post here throwing Citibank under the bus
    • Tweeted again to @AskCiti for help linking to the blog post

FINALLY, there was some action on 8/6:

  • The 3rd supervisor at Citibank called me back several times to see if he could help.
  • The @AskCiti people direct messaged me and called me several times.
  • The Executive response team at Citibank stepped in to help.  They even called the Bank of America CEO’s office to get them involved.
  • I’ve now had a direct person in both offices to call several times a day to try to get resolution.

In a surprise turn of events, it was Bank of America that screwed this up.  While they swore on 5 different calls that they paid the check, in the end, they showed it as cleared, but they never actually sent the money to Citibank causing the issues.  There’s some customer service issues to blame on both sides, but fortunately, the Citibank team could listen to the recorded three way call where B of A swore that they paid Citibank getting me all riled up.  I’m not sure how this happens or why me, but this has been a frustrating experience.  After 11 years with Citibank and different accounts with B of A for years, you want more.

In the end, they’ve been helpful, but I shouldn’t have to go so far to get resolution.  (Of course, B of A still hasn’t paid Citibank although they have provisionally credited my account the money…not that I’m willing to spend it yet.)


Do you ever feel like no one can help you with your issue in a company? It’s not like I have hours of free time to play games with the bank. Why can’t big companies ever actually resolve something themselves?

A Frustrating Pharmacy Experience Highlights Service Challenges #Fail

We all talk about the challenge of consumer engagement in healthcare.  If we can’t get consumers to engage, we’ll never get them to change behavior or be preventative.

But, as the recent Times article highlights, sometimes engagement still leads to failure which can be very frustrating.  As I think about my recent experience within the pharmacy system, I’m reminded of a comment that I re-tweeted yesterday.

In this case, I have connections which I suppose I could escalate this to, but it seems wrong that the only way to resolve my customer service issue is to call in personal favors from Express Scripts and CVS.



But, maybe that’s what I’ll have to do.  At this point, the only way I seem to be able to get my medication is to pay cash which seems like a total system failure.  (Thankfully, I can use the GoodRx app to figure out which pharmacies have the lowest cash price for me.)

So, here’s the scenario…

  • On 12/31/12, I requested a refill for my 90-day retail script that was getting filled at my local CVS store.  
  • I got busy and couldn’t go to pick it up until 1/2/13.
  • Obviously, my plan design changed on 1/1/13, and I was no longer eligible for 90-day retail scripts at CVS.
  • I asked the pharmacist to run it as a 30-day script.  They tried numerous times, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t get the 30-day script to go through.
  • I asked them to transfer the script to my local Schnucks (grocery store) pharmacy.
  • I filled the January 30-day script and a February 30-day script.
  • When I came back for my March refill, they were getting a RTS (refill-too-soon) reject from the PBM – Express Scripts.
  • The local pharmacist and I both jumped on our phones and talked to the pharmacy help desk and customer service at Express Scripts and got the same answer…”You should have another 59 days supply based on the 90-day Rx you picked up at CVS on 12/31/12.”
  • I tried explaining to the customer service rep that I never picked it up.  They said that I’d have to solve that with CVS since they show it in the Express Scripts system…which by the way had me very upset that it became my issue to resolve a problem between the pharmacy and the PBM.  The rep went on to explain to me that they don’t talk to retail pharmacies to resolve issues like this.  (This became one of very few times when I was shouting and upset on a customer service call.)
  • My local pharmacist called the CVS store that said they show the original claim, but it shows that they didn’t fill it.  They agreed to try to reverse it again.
  • One complicating factor here which I think is making this worse is that the 2012 plan was with Medco which has since been bought by Express Scripts.  As a new client to Express Scripts, I would assume Medco sent them an open refill file probably on 12/31/12 or 1/1/13.  A reversal after that day might never come over to Express Scripts.
  • So, I posted the above tweet out of frustration over a week ago.  Express Scripts’ social media team quickly followed-up and assigned someone to work the case…BUT, it’s still not fixed.
  • I talked to Express Scripts yesterday, and it was still something they were trying to resolve with CVS.
  • I talked with CVS who confirms that they never filled the script and show it never paid by Express Scripts.  They blame it on an issue with their software vendor that somehow the reversal was caught in the system.  They said it could get resolved in the next 48 hours.

Who knows when this will resolve itself, but everyone seems to be able to blame someone else here.  Never mind that the patient (me) can’t get their medication.  As someone who tries to look at this from the average consumer’s perspective, this is a nightmare and total customer experience failure.  I understand the system.  I understand plan design.  I know the pharmacists.  I know the teams at Express Scripts and CVS.  Even with all that, I’m stuck having to go outside the system, pay cash for my prescription, and hope that my paper claim will get processed and hit my deductible in my plan design.



Only 50% Of Healthcare Companies Respond To Twitter Messages – Test Results

12 Of 23 Companies

As I mentioned a few weeks ago (2/2/13), I wanted to test and see if healthcare companies would respond to consumers via Twitter. To test this, I posted a fairly general question or message on Twitter to see the response (see below). Of the 23 companies that I sent a message to, only 12 of them ever responded even after 6 of them received a 2nd message. Those results are shared below. What I also wanted to look at was the average time to respond along with which group was more likely to respond.

  • PBMs – All of the 3 PBMs that I reached out to responded. (This could be biased by my involvement in this space since two of them e-mailed me directly once I posted a comment.)
  • Pharmacies – Only 2 of the 4 retail pharmacies that I reached out to responded.
  • Disease Management Companies – Only 1 of the 3 that I reached out to responded. (I was surprised since Alere often thanks me for RT (re-tweeting) them, but didn’t respond to my inquiry.)
  • Managed Care – 5 of the 7 companies that I reached out to responded. (For Kaiser, they responded once I changed from @KPNewscenter to @KPThrive.)
  • Health Apps or Devices – Only 1 of the 5 companies that I reached out to responded. (This continues to surprise me. I’ve mentioned @FitBit on my blog and in Twitter numerous times without any response or comment.)
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturers – Only 1 of the 3 companies that I reached out to responded. (This doesn’t surprise me since they are very careful about social media. @SanofiUS seems to be part of the team that has been pushing the envelope, and they were the ones to respond. I thought about Tweeting the brands thinking that those might be monitored more closely, but I didn’t.)

I will admit to being surprised. I’m sure all of these companies monitor social media so I’m not sure what leads to the lack of response. [I guess I could give them the out that I clearly indicated it was a test and provided a link to my blog so they could have chosen not to respond.]

Regardless, I learned several things:

  1. Some companies have a different Twitter handle for managing customer service.
    1. @ExpressRxHelp
    2. @AetnaHelp
    3. @KPMemberService
  2. Some companies ask you to e-mail them and provide an e-mail.
  3. Some companies tell you to DM (direct message) them to start a dialogue.

From a time perspective, I have to give kudos to the Prime Therapeutics team that responded in a record 2 minutes. Otherwise, here’s a breakout of the times by company with clusters in the first day and approximately 2 days later.


Response Time (Hrs:Min)

Prime Therapeutics










Express Scripts












I guess one could ask the question of whether to engage consumers via Twitter or simply use the channel more as a push messaging strategy. The reality is that consumers want to engage where they are, and there are a lot of people using Twitter. While it might not be the best way to have a personal discussion around PHI (Protected Health Information) given HIPAA, it certainly seems like a channel that you want to monitor and respond to. It gives you a way to route people to a particular phone number, e-mail, or support process.

As Dave Chase said in his Forbes article “Patient engagement is the blockbuster drug of the century”, this is critical for healthcare companies to figure out.

The CVS Caremark team told me that they actively monitor these channels and engage with people directly. I also talked with one of the people on the Express Scripts social monitoring team who told me that they primarily use social media to disseminate thought leadership and research, but that they actively try to engage with any member who has an actionable complaint. They want to be where the audience is and to quickly take the discussion offline.

If you want to see the questions I asked along with the responses, I’ve posted them below…

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