I initially had a First Premier Bank Gold card with this company. I held the card for a year and paid steadily on it, for the purposes of rebuilding my credit. On three separate occasions I asked for a credit line increase and I was given three different answers - of which only the first one was a valid reason: I didn't have the card open long enough (it was 3 months after I got it, most card companies are open to it that early if it's been a good payment history).
After the third try, they sent me a notice saying I was approved for a Platinum card. Huh? So you won't extend me a $50 credit increase but you'll give me another card for $300 (minus the usual fees of ~$200)? I'm like whatever, maybe this is due to my good payment history, and I can always change my mind if I want. So I accept.
Card comes in the mail ACTIVATED. Meaning I didn't have to call or anything. Not only is this a security violation - since anyone could have ripped the card out of the mail and started using it - but it left me no grounds to cancel the card beforehand and basically obligated me to the fees accrued. (Illegal Action #1: Patriot Act requires banks to verify identity before OPENING an account. Meaning you can't send cards pre-activated, there has to be some type of ID verification first). But I decided to give it a chance.
I used the card twice and was making payments - as I always have been. But I slowly found random fees being applied due to what appeared to be timing issues on the part of FP - they would apply payments late on purpose so they could charge late fees. Said late fees caused overlimit, resulting in overlimit fees. Both fee types were subject to accrued interest, and so on and so forth. Then they sent me a minimum monthly payment required of $100. For a $300 card? 30% of the card balance? (Illegal Action #2: their terms and conditions state that it's the greater of 1% or $20, not 30%. That means the minimum should have been AT MOST $20)
I was pissed. I called and told them to cancel both cards immediately. The chick sat arguing with me "well why did you accept the card if you had no intention of paying it?" Despite the fact I explained to her numerous times that I had no problem paying what I SHOULD pay, not some obscene amount pulled out of someone's rear end. Finally I just told her, "What part of cancel both cards do you not understand?" She canceled the cards. I sent full payment for the Gold card, it's done. Didn't send anything for the Platinum because I wanted the fees adjusted off since I cancelled before the first due date. They didn't do it. Then the collection started. I told them 3 times that I would pay what I really owed - which was in the ballpark of $160 - not the $430 they said I owed (mind you, the credit limit was only $300). Fought tooth and nail.
Finally I escalated it to the BBB. It got routed to their "Borrower Services" department, some chick who claimed they would accept my partial payment. Which was fine - but when I looked at my credit report, I just happen to notice they've reported me 30 days late in the month of April. Err? The card was opened in January, closed in February, two days before the due date. CLOSED. (Illegal Action #3: You can't report a late payment in a month where an account is not active. Violation of Fair Credit Reporting law). Told the chick I wanted that late taken off as illegal - she refused. Disputed it with the bureaus - bureaus didn't care even though it wasn't legal for them to do that. Contacted the Banking Division of SD Consumer Affairs (Attorney General), who escalated it even higher. This chick said the same thing, refused to remove the late, but she sent me a letter confirming what I told the bureau - the account had been closed and inactive since February. I sent a redacted version of this letter to the bureau demanding they correct the account, it's now showing 60 days past due as of May and I am NOT happy. The bureaus kicked it back and refused - EVEN WITH A LETTER FROM THE COMPANY! (Yes, I plan to escalate that with the FTC and to lawsuit if needed.)
Now, the account is paid with a 60 day late that should never have been applied, in a sea of nearly 20 other accounts which have never been late. Avoid First Premier Bank.
San Diego, California
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