I applied for and was approved for an Aspire Visa card, issued by Columbus Bank and Trust in 2004. The fees were very high and the initial credit limit was very low, but my credit score was about 520 and needed repair.
After sending the fees in via draft from my checking account, I received a letter that said my card could not be activated because I had to prove who I was. It said that I needed a letter from my bank branch manager and a utility bill to proceed.
The manager of the bank that held my checking account told me that this was illegal and referred me to several governmental oversight organizations. I wrote Columbus Bank and Trust a letter explaining the conversation that the branch manager of my checking bank had with me. They sent a form letter that requested a utility bill and copy of an ID be sent in before they would activate my card.
I sent it. The card was activated. For four years, I have never been late, or over limit, or missed a payment.
My credit score was 650 before this month. Over the years, my credit line was increased from $300 to $1000. I moved and told Columbus Bank and Trust of my new address.
After not recieving a statement, I began to get bizarre collections calls from people who have no command of the english language. I actually tried to pay the first two people who called for about 15 minutes each before giving up. I could not get either of them to understand that my bank account in my old state was closed and that a new account must be used. They kept saying things like "ok we draft (x amount) from your account at (my old bank). I kept trying to explain that the account was closed. They informed me that the payment was declined. I said of course it was declined; the account you're trying to draft does not exist. Let me give you my new account. I eventually hung up on both of them. My command of portuguese is better simply by virtue that I met a brazilian dude once.
I called the customer "service" number on the back of the card. Hundreds of dollars in unexplained charges are added to my account. Worse, I can't get a statement, and the representatives say that I can't make a payment or get any information until I fax in a copy of my driver license with my current address.
My mailing address is a PO BOX. My state does not allow PO Boxes on driver licenses. My landlord does not allow mail to be recieved at my home.
There is no way for me to comply with Aspire Visa's request. I told the representative that I called tonight all of my addresses while my account has been open and reviewed my entire account history. He informed me that none of the addresses I stated was correct. I told him dates and amounts of payments. He said "none of that matches our records". He told me that he would not discuss anything until I faxed in all sorts of documentation or mailed it in.
I told him that I didn't believe he actually worked for the bank since he refused to accept a payment. I told him that he was fishing for information. (he asked mothers maiden name, SSN, etc etc etc) and I asked to speak with his supervisor.
A supervisor came on. He told me my balance and agreed to change my address without incident. There is about $250 worth of charges on my account in the last month. No line item detail is available. They say my account is 16 days past due. My last known balance was about $930. My account is now due for $1209, so they say.
This is a sham. They had no interest in allowing me to pay my account. My account was current and flawless for four years. I have three other credit cards, and a new car, and student loans. I have never been late on any of it. This bank was sick of me not "messing up" and sick of not collecting fees from me. So they pretended I authorized a payment from an account that I literally screamed into the phone "IS CLOSED". They attempted to draft it despite my trying to give them an accurate account number of my actual checking account. They purposely didn't send me a statement. And now they are systematically destroying the credit I have worked for four years to build-- so they can justify hundreds or thousands in illegitimate fees.
As long as they are going to destroy my credit anyway, they will never receive another payment from me. They can charge it off, or sue me for the balance. But even if they get a judgment, they will never receive ten cents from me. Not now. Not ever. I will never, ever, ever, pay this crooked sham bank.
Webster, North Carolina
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