Friday, February 03, 2006

Citibank update

The other day I posted an angry tirade about being kept on hold for a Citibank representative, and wanted to update you on this little episode.

First, know this about me: nothing pisses me off like being mistreated by corporate giants. I matter, damnit, and I WILL BE HEARD! Once, Geico rejected my husband and me for an umbrella policy for the lamest reason, and I wrote a letter to the person who rejected us, being sure to cc their boss, their boss's boss, and Warren Buffett, who owns the company that owns the company that owns Geico. Ha! I'm pleased to say that not only did we get offered the policy, but I got a personal phone call and an apology. But back to Citibank ...

I was positively rabid yesterday. In addition to being unable to reach anyone by the phone number I was given, I sent several email messages via their online form. (That means you don't get an actual email address--you just hit a button and your message disappears into some mysterious cyber void.) No one responded to my emails either, fueling my fire.

So I decided to crank it up a notch. I went to Citibank's website and found a list of the names of their senior corporate management. Of course, there were no email addresses provided, so I dug and dug until I found out the "pattern" of Citibank's email address system. Then I went down the list of corporate exectives and sent the following email to every one whose title suggested he or she might be even remotely involved with my issue:

As of this writing, I have been on hold with Citibank's customer service phone number for 81 minutes. Yesterday I waited on hold for 66 minutes before hanging up, and earlier in the day for 95 minutes before hanging up. Further, I emailed customer service about this problem yesterday, and have not heard back. Not by phone or email.

I am trying to reach your company in regard to a letter I believe I erroneously received regarding my home equity line of credit.

Clearly, there is no one answering the phones there. Your phone recording assures me that calls are answered in the order they are received. But is it possible there were callers holding on for MORE than 95 minutes who were helped before me? I think not.

Do you think there are any standards by which this is acceptable customer service? Do you think I would be within my rights to cancel all my Citibank accounts? Do you think I would be within my rights to blog about this treatment to let others know the kind of service they can expect from Citibank? Do you think I would be within my rights to report you to to the FDIC, Better Business Bureau and Department of Consumer Affairs?

Please have someone from the home equity department contact me as soon as possible.

The upshot? I got a personal phone call from one of the head honchos there. And then another. They were as polite and apologetic as could be--really tripping all over themselves to express their dismay over my experience. They promised to investigate what had happened with the phone system as well as why I received the letter.

Today, head honcho #1 called me back to explain in detail the technological error that routed my phone call to neverland. He also explained that the letter I received regarding my account was a mistake and shouldn't have been sent.

I was compensated for my trouble, and received such sincere apologies I was practically embarrassed by own fury. But not fully, because it served a purpose.

So okay ... Citibank made good. Seems they have some heads-up folks over there who really do care about customer service, and I thought you should know.


Myfanwy Collins said...

I LOVE YOU, ELLEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

katrina said...


Stephanie said...

We have a citicard. Our life mission is to pay it off.

I cannot possibly communicate what a corporate motherfucker Citibank is.

Predatory lender? Yup.
Helped Enron hide losses? Yup.
Improperly assessed late fees to millions of customers? Yup.
Any number of criminal probes regarding their business practices? Yup.

Good for you, Ellen.

Ellen said...

Thanks Myf and Kat! Steph, uh ... we're pretty deep in debt to Citibank, too. Got suckered into a cheap home equity line of credit. Not so cheap any more. Bleh. Hope you get some kind of windfall and pay yours off soon, Steph.

Tom said...

Hi Ellen:

I stumbled on this blog while attempting to do exactly the same thing you did. Citibank and I need to have some "polite discussion." Perhaps you could share that email "code" while I look for it on my own?



Ellen said...

Tom, to reach anyone at Citibank, email

Dennis said...

In an attempt to create an online
account with Citibank, I followed
their instructions, but when I
came to the last part, it asked
for the last 4 digits of my Social
Security number, in which I typed
in the box provided, but at the same moment of typing the last 4 numbers of my Social Security number in the box, another small
message next to the box for the
last 4 numbers of my Social
Security number, became present
and stated that a special code
would be provided in my e-mail
account, to be entered in place
of the last 4 numbers to my Social
Security number. I checked my
e-mail account, many times to view
this special code, but it never
appeared in my e-mail account.
I am not a computer whiz, but I
can follow simple instructions, and
when these instructions function
disregard my entries, then a world
of frustration commences, which I
feel is not fair to we customers.

Therefore, if anyone is out there
that knows of a more direct E-mail
account address for contacting
Citibank, then please contact me

Thank you.

And have a happy Easter.


Dennis P. Habern