Friday, July 01, 2005


On the other hand, Citibank's customer service is starting to annoy me

Citibank has started hawking new products and services to its customers each time they call up for assistance.

The first time it happened, I was calling to find out why a transfer had not cleared. At the end of the telephone call, the rep started to pitch me on increasing my overdraft protection. I have never used my existing $500 overdraft protection, but I thought, what the heck. Maybe it makes sense and that way I can get rid of the cushion in my checking account and move it to my savings account at Capital One, where I get 3.2% interest. However, I specifically asked the rep: "will this require a new credit check, because that can adversely affect my credit rating?" He told me that they would not need to do a new credit check, because they would just rely on the original credit check. Hmmm . . . that sounded strange, but I allowed him to transfer me to the appropriate department anyway.

When that guy came on the line, I asked again: "will this require a new credit check?" He responded: "yes, of course." So, I asked: "then why did the other guy tell me it would not require a credit check?" He said (somewhat derisively), "well, I guess he didn't know." Hmmm . . . then why didn't he just say that, I wonder. Anyway, I told him I wasn't interested and hung up.

The next time it happened, I was calling to order a new debit card, because my magnetic strip was dead. At the end of that call, the rep said: "I noticed you have an E-Z checking account, which requires you to maintain $1500 minimum balance to avoid charges. If you open a savings account, you can link that to your checking account and earn interest on that money. Would you like me to transfer you to the savings department?" After my last experience, I was skeptical, partly because I didn't think I needed to maintain a $1500 balance and partly because I knew Citibank's savings account interest was pathetic compared to Capital One's interest. But I said "okay, I'll talk to them." Of course, it turned out the whole thing was a waste of time, because I have my paychecks direct deposited, which waives the $1500 minimum balance.

So, I asked the Savings rep: "why did the other lady tell me I have to maintain a $1500 balance?" and she said, you guessed it: "Well, I guess she didn't know."

The Savings rep still tried to sell me on the savings account, but I explained to her that I get 3.2% interest at Capital One compared to the measly .55% Citibank offers. She didn't really know how to respond to that.

I don't mind that Citibank offers products and services to existing clients, but I wish they would offer training and information to their customer service reps first.

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