8/8 – UPDATED POST WITH NEW INFORMATION FROM BANK OF AMERICA AND CITIBANK…LEADING TO A CHANGE IN “VILLIAN” HERE. REGARDLESS, THE KEY LESSONS HERE ARE THAT CONSUMERS NEED ADVOCATES AND YOU HAVE TO PUSH HARD TO GET ANY RESOLUTION WHEN YOU GET STUCK BETWEEN TWO BIG COMPANIES. (like my issue with CVS and Express Scripts which was never resolved)
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:
- Maybe this will bring it to someone’s attention that will help and
- 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?