• Report: #1101648

Complaint Review: Citizens Bank, Waltham

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  • Submitted: Sat, November 23, 2013
  • Updated: Sat, November 23, 2013

  • Reported By: Tomas — Waltham Massachusetts
Citizens Bank, Waltham
716 Main Street Waltham, Massachusetts USA

Citizens Bank Credit Card Fraud Waltham Massachusetts

*Consumer Comment: Still don't get it.

*Author of original report: Sad But True

*Consumer Comment: Consumer Fraud?

*Author of original report: Yes, Seriously

*Consumer Comment: Seriously?

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On October 9th, my wife had her wallet stolen from her purse while at a Panera in Dorchester, MA. Sarah canceled her credit cards as soon as she returned home that evening, but the person who stole her wallet had already made several purchases. Sarah thought that she might also have been carrying a blank check in her wallet. Worried about the potential for fraud, we went to our local Citizens Bank (716 Main Street in Waltham, MA) on the morning of October 10th to open a new checking account.

At the bank we were helped by a young man named Armando. We told Armando about Sarah’s wallet being stolen and that we wanted to open a new checking account to protect against fraud. I had also been wanting to open a savings account as a place to separately store the part of my salary that I will have to pay in Social Security (this is not automatically reduced from my paycheck as a clergyperson) so we asked him to open up a new savings account for us, while he was at it.

The whole transaction was going smoothly. Then, Armando asked us a straightforward and seemingly innocuous question: “Would you like to open up a credit card through Citizens Bank today?” Both Sarah and I verbally responded with equally straightforward answers: “No, we don’t need any new credit cards; we are more than happy with the ones we already have.”

Armando then asked if he could send us a credit card offer in the mail. “If you don’t want the card, you can shred it and not worry about it.” Sarah and I get credit card offers in the mail all the time so we agreed.

Armando then proceeded to put documents in front of us for us to sign to open our new accounts. After we signed these physical documents, Armando asked Sarah and I to sign our names on an electronic pad. We signed where we were told to. Armando told us we were just about done and that he just had to go get some printouts for us. At this point I was running late for a meeting so I left and Sarah stayed behind to collect the documents.

I walked out of the bank generally content with the service Armando had provided in opening our new savings and checking accounts. No documentation telling us about the terms and conditions of any credit card were included in the packet Armando gave to Sarah after I left. 

On the week of October 14th, I received a credit card from Citizens Bank in the mail. Assuming it was just the credit card offer Armando said he would be sending, I shredded it just as he had instructed. I threw the enclosed papers into the recycle bin without reading them because I was simply not interested in having another credit card.

Needless to say, I was quite surprised when, on the week of October 21st, I received the first statement for my new Citizens Bank credit card. What’s more, it was a credit card with a $12,000 limit!

Even more surprised was Sarah when, on October 29th, she received the frst statement for her new Citizens Bank credit card, a card that she had never even received.

It would seem that Armando either opened these cards without our permission or intentionally deceived my wife and I to open them. His actions were unethical, if not out and out fraudulent (my money is on the latter given the length Armando went to to trick us into opening credit cards.)

At this point the bank closed the credit cards that Armando fraudlently opened. Hoever, the Office of the Chairman has responded to a CFPB complaint saying that they are "handling the matter internally." On the phone a spokesperson for the office told me that this "handling" will involve "coaching" of some sort or another. 

As a customer of Citizens Bank for well over a decade and of Key Bank (another RBS-owned entity) before that, I have to say that that is not good enough. Do banks and their employees have no accountability when they break the law? 


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/23/2013 07:07 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Citizens-Bank-Waltham/Waltham-Massachusetts-02451/Citizens-Bank-Credit-Card-Fraud-Waltham-Massachusetts-1101648. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
2Author 3Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Still don't get it.

AUTHOR: John Martin - ()

What does his or your financial situation have to do with it?  If anything, if one is just making ends meet, a credit card can be a lifeline (assuming it's used responsibly of course.)   As I said before, you did not lose any money here.  They sent you a credit card, you didn't want it and they closed it out for you.  I am not trying to be mean spirited or anything like that.  I can see that you are upset about the situation, but I just do not see why.  If you suffered some sort of actual damage, that would be a different story. 

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#2 Author of original report

Sad But True

AUTHOR: Tomas - ()

John,

Your rebuttal hits straight to the heart of why this whole situation is so unfortunate. 

I really, honestly, and truly wish that some higher-up at the Citizens Bank corporation was at fault here. I wish there was some nameless, faceless suit to blame for fraudulently opening credit cards in my and my wife's names.

But the sad fact behind all of this is that my wife and I sat across from and made small talk with an individual who probably makes as much or a just little more than we do. He had our account information pulled up on his screen. He saw our income. He saw our average monthly balances. He saw a transaction history indicating that we're just making ends meets.

And even though this guy – who is undoubtedly in a similar financial situation himself – saw all of this, he still made the decision to deceive us for his own personal gain. 

While this individual is at fault for his actions, Citizens Bank is ultimately accountable for running an ethical business. If they really deem "coaching" to be a sufficient response to one of their employees breaking the law and lying to longtime customers, so be it. However, this heretofore happy Citizens Bank customer is going to share his story and let other potential customers decide if they think it's sufficient.

 

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#3 Consumer Comment

Consumer Fraud?

AUTHOR: John Martin - ()

I am not trying to be confrontational, but I have to agree with the poster above.  How was it that you were the victim of fraud?  The bank gave you a credit card.  If they charged you a fee of some sort, I could understand your complaint, but you did not mention anything along those lines.  Most comsumers would be happy to receive additional credit, especially in this economy.  But that's a different story.  The bottom line is you did not want the credit card, and the bank closed it for you.  Case closed. 

I too find it shocking that you would want to see someone lose his job over this.  You did not suffer any damages as a result of this employee's actions.  Even if they did discipline or fire him, that would be a private matter between the company and the employee.  The bank would NEVER discuss that with you as it would be a violation of the employee's privacy, and could open them up to liability. 

It is rather self-aggrandizing on your part to compare the situation to Christ and the money changers; one has nothing to do with the other.  In fact, it's almost blasphemous.   You were not robbed or taken advantage of in any way. 

I guess my final question is why are you still banking there if you feel you were victimized by them?  You seem so determined to make problems for the guy in the bank, who probably makes a low hourly wage, but yet you fail to realize that your problem is with the bank itself, if there even is a problem. 

 

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#4 Author of original report

Yes, Seriously

AUTHOR: Tomas - ()

BennyBrady,

Many thanks for taking the time to read my report so carefully and respond to it so thoughtfully.

I agree with you: I do share some of the blame here. I have banked with Citizens and other RBS banks for all my 29 years of existence. While service in the Greater Boston Area is not spectacular, they have never done anything to make me think them untrustworthy. Consequently, I walked into this encounter with far too much trust in my bank. Believe you me, I will not make that mistake again.

As you likely noted during your careful reading of my report, we told "A" that we did not want to open credit card accounts. He then asked us if we would be willing to receive a credit card OFFER. When he told us we just needed to shred the card when it came in the mail no alarms went off because I imagined the opening of the credit card account would happen if and when we called to activate it.

I do not accept your logic that I should have known I was opening a credit card because I had to sign a keypad. The keypad was presented to us and we each had to sign our names in a box and then, I believe, push a button to accept our signatures. I don't recall any verbiage being displayed on the screen other than the signature box. In fact, my wife and I were both under the impression that signing the keypad was part of opening our new checking and savings accounts. In any case, that does not excuse A's flagrant misrepresentation (which, you will find, is a clear violation both of Massachusetts State Law and Federal Law). 

Now, let's talk about outcomes. A good outcome would have been for Citizens to look into my case and, when they found that A broke the law, to fire him on the spot. A better outcome would have been for Citizens to fire him and then take a look at how they incentivize employees (I suspect that there is some commissioning structure in place that encourages employees to open as many credit cards accounts as possible). It should go without saying that the best outcome would have been for A to have opened our checking and savings account without committing consumer fraud in the first place.

I would also like to thank you for your deep theological engagement with the issues presented in my report. As it turns out, railing against unethical bankers and banking practices is an entirely Christ-like thing to do (have a glance at Matthew 21:12-17). To your defense, the story of Jesus overturning the moneychangers' tables is only one of the most famous in the New Testament; you would certainly have no way of accessing that sort of esoterica before lecturing me on Christian virtues. 

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#5 Consumer Comment

Seriously?

AUTHOR: BennyBrady - ()

I am not here to defend banks at all, but come on.  Your report makes no sense.  The person at the bank told you that you would get a credit card in the mail and that you should shred it?  Makes no sense to me why a bank employee would tell you to shred the card.  So you apparently signed for it on the electronic pad without reading what you were signing.  So then you get a credit card in the mail, and you shred it as he told you to.  Now you are outraged that the credit card was opened.

Question, didn't you know that there was a credit card in the envelope when you received it?  Couldn't you tell that there was an actual card in the evelope by feeling it?  Why would you shred something from a bank without reading it?   And why would you sign something without knowing what you were signing?  You should have known you were accepting the credit card; a bank would not need your signature to send you an offer. 

So it seems the mistake was clearly yours, but despite that, the bank took action and closed the credit card for you.  Even though the employee seems to have done nothing wrong, they said that they would coach him.  Nevertheless, you are still not satisfied with the outcome.  What sort of discipline would be appropriate in your opinion?  Would you like to see the employee fired?  I find that surprising since you say you are a member of the clergy. 

I am curious as to what sort of church you work for because your attitude is certainly not very Christian.  Did you ever think that maybe the employee has a family and needs to put food on the table or a roof over their heads?  You want to see him lose his job because you had the inconvenience of having to call and close a credit card?  Doesn't sound very Christ-like to me.  Remind me to stay away from your church! 

Like I said, I have little patience with big banks in general, but I do feel for anyone who has to work with the public and deal with people who are impossible to satisfy, like you seem to be. 

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