Barclays is bending me over
January 22, 2010 9:01 PM   Subscribe

I need some advice on how to handle some questionable conduct by my credit card company...

So, I have this particular credit card account. It started with Juniper Bank and changed to Barclays last year. Back in 2008, they offered a promotional APR on a balance transfer, 2.99% for the life of the balance. So, I transferred a large sum to the card and have been paying it off monthly. I don't put any purchases on this card.

In Sept of 2009, I made a late payment on the card... 2 days. On Oct 27th, I was sent a letter by Barclays informing me that due to the late payment, my APR was going to increase to 27.24%. The letter also stated that I could call and reject the changes, in which case my account would be canceled and I would pay off my balance at the original 2.99%. That was completely fine with me.

On 11/03, I called their customer service and told them I wanted to reject the changes. They transferred me up the chain and I spoke with a Diane. She looked at my account, and then told me that the new APR % would NOT apply to my balance transfer, and that it would stay at 2.99% for the life of that particular balance. I triple-checked this with her, and she was certain. She advised me not to cancel the account, as it would affect my credit rating. My fears eased at that point, I made the mistake of trusting her and agreeing to not cancel the account. The call ended.

I'm sure you all see this coming a mile away... I just got my latest statement, and my APR has indeed jumped up to 27.24% for my balance transfer, which is a DISASTER. I immediately called Customer Service, and I have gotten nowhere. They claim to not see any notes on the account from my 11/03 phone call. Since it's now past the 12/20/09 date to reject the changes, they say I am stuck with the new rate. I keep asking to be escalated up the chain of command, but they won't do that either. One guy gave me a customer service fax # that he said I should fax a letter to, outlining my concern.

So... what is my next step here? At the least, this Diane gave me bad info and forgot to write her notes on the call. At worst, I was lied to and deliberately misled into keeping the account open so I could be hit with the higher APR. Either way, I feel strongly that Barclays is at fault here, and should make this good. At this point, I want to do what I tried to do in November... close the account and reject the APR change.

Does anyone have any experience with this, or any advice as to how I should tackle this or any groups that could assist? Would the CCCS be a resource in this matter? This fax # seems like it would be a black hole.

Any advice is greatly appreciated... thanks!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total)
The Executive Email Carpet Bomb is the way to go on this one, if customer service reps refuse to escalate your calls.
posted by scarykarrey at 9:09 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

And next time, demand EVERYTHING in writing before agreeing to anything or letting any type of financial issue rest, especially if inaction would benefit the other party.
posted by scarykarrey at 9:15 PM on January 22, 2010

Anytime this has happened to me and sigh, more than once, it was stated in the letter that the amount must be paid in full when the account is closed.

Credit card companies pretty much have you by the balls and not much you can do other than transferring. Learned this the hard way.

Good luck!
posted by phox at 1:03 AM on January 23, 2010

All call centers I know of have their calls monitored/recorded. Get as far up the ladder as you can and demand that they pull the call and listen to it.
posted by Verdandi at 8:04 AM on January 23, 2010

If you believe you've run your course with customer service, and they really won't budge, this might be a case for small claims court. It will get the attention of someone in the legal department, who will likely give you your way just to make you go away.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 10:00 AM on January 23, 2010

In my experience, all these companies really will knowingly mislead you. Does your own bank or credit union offer a credit card? If so, you can go there in person and have them tell you what rate you qualify for. If you like it, you can get the card and then have them do an automatic deduction from your checking account of your minimum payment every month so that you are never late again. (Coming from someone who really needed help not paying late.) You can make additional payments above the minimum at your leisure.

Sorry this doesn't answer how to deal with Barclays. The best thing might just be to refuse to give them any more of your business or money by doing that transfer Monday morning!
posted by Knowyournuts at 5:27 PM on January 23, 2010

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