My credit card company just pulled a quick one on me. Despite my best efforts to resolve the situation with their customer service, I am going nowhere. What should be my next step?
posted by tuxster to work & money (23 answers total)
In August 2004, I applied to a credit card online, through one of the well-known financial organizations. The offer I responded to was a 12 month 0% APR for balance transfers. The small text said that if I don't qualify for this offer, I might get an alternate offer of same rate for only 3 months, but I didn't think too much of it since I have a great credit history (FICO score of 775 with no late payments, no missed payments, etc. - except a new mortgage back in May 2004). So, I applied online and asked them to process a balance transfer from another credit card.
A couple weeks later I received a letter that says, "congratulations you've been accepted" and went on to say what my credit limit was and that my balance transfer was in process. Since the credit limit was lower than my balance transfer request, they said only an amount upto my limit would be processed. Nothing else. A week later, I received my welcome package which included my credit card, a benefits guide, and a generic terms and conditions legal statement. However, no new rate sheet that says what the APRs are, etc.
So I proceeded to make my monthly minimum payments and put a note on my calendar for 11.5 months to make sure I pay off the balance.
A few weeks ago, when I was doing my taxes, I had a chance to look over some of the past statements, and suddently noticed that they have been adding finance charges since November.
I called the customer service line. They told me that I was only accepted for the "alternate offer" which gave me only 3 months of 0% APR and not the original 12 months. They also told me since this alternate offer was included in the small text of the original application, they had no responsibility to inform me which offer I had been accepted under. After talking with a number of reps and supervisors, I, of course, got a number of different responses. A couple said they didn't have to let me know, another couple said it would have been in the acceptance letter, a fifth said I would have to had signed a statement accepting the new conditions, a sixth and a seventh said the conditions would have been in my welcome package. Of course, neither the acceptance letter nor the welcome package had anything in it, and I certainly didn't sign anything. One of the ladies (the one that said it should have been in the acceptance letter) told me that I should write to their "research dept.". So I did.
The research department essentially responded last week and told me that they don't care. They essentially didn't say anything other than the fact that that's the offer I was accepted under and thus I was responsible for the finance charges.
I have already transferred all my balance out (except for the disputed interest charges, which I left in the account). I know that I can pursue with BBB, FTC, State Attorney's Office, Small Claims Court, or Arbitration, etc., but will any of these get me anything? Is it worth my time or shall I just call the company evil, pay up the interest charges, and take my business elsewhere (I also have another card with them that I've been using for 10 years, so I would cancel that one too)?
If I should pursue, what is the best strategy? Do I pay off the disputed charges (since they continue to compound interest), or leave them there? Where do I send my complaint first? It's essentially a "I said, you said" situation. They are going to claim they sent me the new rates in the welcome envelope (the highest level supervisor I spoke to insisted that they would have sent it, so that will probably be their official line). I know I didn't get it (I'm pretty organized when it comes to filing things), but how do I prove I didn't get it?
Sorry for the long message, but I wanted to explain everything to make sure I get the best advice. Thanks in advance for all the advice.