I want to warn others about Merrick Bank. They closed my account without my authorization. I called on June 17, 2009 to inquire about a late payment to my credit card. I spoke with a gentleman who at the time seemed helpful. We discussed my payment situation and worked out 2 payments to get my account up to date. I told him I would send a payment in a few days and another in a few weeks. Everything seemed to be fine. I asked a few times if this would affect my credit report because it was very important to me and said it would not. He stated since I was not over 60 days late that it would not be reported. I asked again to make sure and he said it will not be affected. So in the beginning of the conversation I had referenced back to my credit report and concern several times.
After we discussed my payments I told him my interest rate was raised to 35pct which I felt was completely ridiculous and not fair and asked if they would consider lowering it. He said they were not able to lower it but if I make 6 payments on time my score would most likely lower, but didn't say by how much. I told him I would work on getting my payments on time to raise my score and even start getting my balance down. The conversation was going really well.
The part of the conversation I don't remember is with him soliciting a hardship program to get my payments lowered and me agreeing to have an application mailed out. I would never agree to this and want my account closed.
I received a letter in the mail from Merrick. I glanced over it briefly not understanding what it was or why I would have received it. It had an application in it and stated something about closing your account if you want this program. I was so upset that they would even suggest that I close the account since I have had my credit card with Merrick for 10 years.
I then called Merrick Bank inquiring about my correspondence I received. The customer service representative stated that I had agreed to a hardship program and wanted an application sent to lower my interest rate and they have now closed my account. I was devastated because I know for a fact you do not close your account you have had for 10 years and I would never do such a thingor have authorized this.
Of course customer service was not very helpful so I asked for a supervisor. The supervisor said he would review the recording and get back to me. I got a call back with them claiming I did agree to the program when the customer rep solicited the hardship program to me. I was so upset and said I never agreed to such a thing and I want to speak with someone higher up and I want my Merrick Bank account reopened and I will give you two weeks to fix it.
They said they will have someome get back to me. I never heard from anyone, but did receive another letter in the mail stating ... Thank you for your recent request to reopen your account...We regret to inform you that we are unable to process your request to reopen your account for the following reasons: Your account performance with Merrick Bank.
I called back Merrick bank back immediately and expressed my frustation and how this misunderstanding is really getting out of hand. They said the tapes they reviewed indicates I agreed to the program and there is nothing they can do. The woman then told me that if you call Merrick and mention to them about having a hard time paying your account or inquire about a lower interest rate that they will solicit the fixed rate program and if you agree to an application being sent out they automatically close your account, whether you use the program or not.
Just by them sending you an application they will CLOSE your account. So I told her, let me see if I have this right. If you inquire about a lower rate and talk to them about your payments, or try to set up something so it doesn't affect your credit and they are aware of it that they will still solicit this FIXED RATE PROGRAM.
She said yes, people are asking for it because they are having trouble with payments. We bring your rate down to 6pct, minimum lower payments, no late fees and customers are even requesting it. We have been offering it to help everyone. So then I asked her if I was ok with my payments and not behind over 30 days, and explicitely concerned about my credit with the representative, and just asked about lowering my 35pct interest rate they would offer you this program knowing it can ruin your credit and drop it down significantly.
She stated yes people know when we send you the application that it will affect their credit but they don't care because they want lower payments and a better interest rate. I said so when the gentleman I spoke to knew my situation and pressed the enter button to send the application, he was aware he was going to ruin my credit. She said well you inquired about having a problem about your payment.
I told her that was the biggest scam I have heard of. I said the representative and I that I spoke with that day, obviously had a huge misunderstanding and I will not stop to get this situation fixed and get my account reopened. She stated that there is nothing again she can do and because of the phone conversation that the account is going to stay closed.
What Merrick has done here is ruined my credit! I recently had a credit score of 640 to 650 which is good for me. I was on the top of the world. I know it's not extremely high but for my situation I was so excited that it was improving.
I am a single mother with girls I support and I need a decent credit score. I have had my card for 10 years and it is my oldest card I have. So know my score is going to lower quite a bit because of credit history, balance is at limit of $3,000.00 and now it going to show closed by the bank. It is going to be on the report indicating closed by the bank, not even by me.
I asked the representative if someone did want this program and requests the fixed payment program, the credit report will not indicate that they requested it closed because they came to your for help. She stated no, because it is their program they are offering and it will indicate that Merrick Bank closed it.
I asked her if she explains that to customers when they inquire because it makes a difference in their credit report. As far as I know if request it to be closed that it will not hurt score as much as when the bank or credit card closes it. She stated customers know there score is being affected when they choose this program or want the application to them.
I told her that this is not fair to the customers who call in for a simple question about their interest rate and then you press the enter button and send off an application and ruin your life! The representative didn't seem to really care if it ruins your credit or not.
She was nonchalent about everything and was not concerned that I never asked for this, requested or agreed to it. I never called and said send me an application, get me on your program. I couldn't waste anymore time with her and asked for again someone higher up. She connected me to a supervisor and know the supervisor is supposed to review the phone tapes again and call me back in 48 hours.
This has been very very frustating and I feel I am getting nowhere with Merrick. I am know going to write to the CEO of Merrick. They gave me the correspondence address which is on my bank statement. They had no other address so for some reason I feel I am not going to get anywhere writing to the CEO but I am going to try anyway.
I am not going to let Merrick Bank do this to me. I am taking further action and advised them that I will get my attorney involved. They didn't seem to care about that either. No matter what you say to them they will not budge on reopening your accout. I just don't want anyone else to experience this or have to go through this like I did. It is a complete nightmare!
The state attorney general's office, federal trade commission and some type of media is going to be contacted regarding this. Whether it be a radio station, tv station or a journalist. I feel Merrick Bank is using bad business practices and every consumer that has a Merrick card to be very cautious when calling them because they will have you conversation on tape and recorded.
If you inquire about any money problems, late payments or asking to reduce youri interest rates they will solicit this so called -FIXED PAYMENT PROGRAM. And without you even knowing you agreed to it in your conversation they will be sending you out an application and closing your bank account. They don't care if you had your card with them 20 years! That little enter button the push when they submit that application is there to ruin your credit!
I personally think this is something that the government should be investigating. They are mispresenting customers and they should not be allowed to close someone's account if they send them an application and have never even been approved for the program. I do not know who let's them get away with this but it is not right.
I can see if the person requests the application for this program, reviews it and then agrees a payment plan would be for them. They sign something and it states that the account is going to be closed. Then that would be different because you signed a document and authorized your account to be closed which can highly affect your credit. Then it makes sense.
But to be preying on customers that call to inquire about interest rates and state they are having problems with their payments. That is completely wrong.
I am just hoping that there is no one else out there that has been torn apart by Merrick's actions as I was. They have ruined my credit but I am not going to give up. I will let everyone out there know what kind of operation they run. I speak to 200 people a day, very reputable individuals and I will let them know about this company.
I warn you if you are considering an account with Merrick Bank...STOP NOW...DON'T DO IT. They will raise your interest rates sky high, up to 35 pct and higher. Congress and the government needs to get involved now. We as the customers are tired of being taken advantage of by these credit card companies. For a dedicated, loyal customer of Merrick Bank for 10 years...this is how I am treated. NO MORE - GOODBYE MERRICK
Del Mar, California
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Merrick Bank