In September of 2001, I received my credit card from NextCard in the mail. My account number with them was 4254 9700 1085 1466. I made my payments through mail, or online, around the 15th of every month. In the summer of 2002 I canceled my account with NextCard. My last payment was made on September 12, 2002. When I went to make my payment on October 10, 2002, I could not log onto the NextCard website. Concerned, I e-mailed NextCard to inform them that I could not log on. The next day I had not received a response, so I tried calling. Every phone number I had available to me was either disconnected or would ring without end. I even went to the Better Business Bureau to find additional contact information for NextCard, and still couldn't get in touch with anyone. I then wrote a letter explaining that I needed to pay my bill and could not do so online. I waited a few weeks and never heard back from anyone at NextCard. I had a statement from them dated September 18, 2002, with a minimum payment of $35.00 due by October 13, 2002. Since I could not reach anyone, nor had I got a response from my e-mail or letter, I did not want to send my payment, without knowing whether or not it would actually be received.
After waiting a few weeks, I filed a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, which didn't help me at all. Finally, I received a phone call from a representative at Merrick Bank in November of 2002. The man informed me that Merrick Bank had taken over for NextCard, on account of them going out of business. He told me that I had a late fee of $45.00 and with my old minimum of $35.00, my new amount due was $80.00. I explained to him that I had tried to make a payment in October 2002, and by all accounts was unable to. I clarified to him, I should not be responsible for any late fees, since I could not make a payment or contact anyone from NextCard. He then gave me an 800 number, to contact Merrick Bank's Customer Service Department. I called the number and explained my situation a second time. The representative was unable to help, and I had to pay. I decided to request a billing statement from her, before I made any kind of payment. While waiting for that statement I received many harassing phone calls, up to 5 or more times per day, some as late as 7:30pm. I answered only twice, informing them that I was already handling the situation and waiting for a current statement, and to stop calling me.
I finally received a letter (November 30, 2002) and my first statement from Merrick Bank on December 1, 2002. I read it and realized that my new balance was $1554.77 (my limit was only $1500.00) and that my APR was now 35.00%! My old APR while I was with NextCard was 27.00%. I never agreed to this increase, I also never received any kind of terms of agreement. I wrote a letter that very same day, explaining everything and sent two copies to Merrick Bank. One went to the corporate office in Utah and the other went to the Billing Department in New York. I then received a response letter (dated December 6, 2002) saying: We received your request for a copy of the cardholder agreement and pricing appendix that govern your Merrick Bank credit card amount. This came along with a copy of the pricing appendix, which I had wanted, but did not request it in my previous letter. Merrick Bank obviously did not read my letter or take the time to investigate why I had a late fee.
I then decided to call Merrick Bank and try again to resolve the confusion. I spoke with different representatives for two months, delivering absolutely no resolution. I used up many valuble hours over a long period of time (3 months), and still nothing ever got resolved!
Soon after, my account was sent to GC Services Limited Partnership Collection Agency in a delinquent status to collect the money I owed. After receiving their letter in July of 2003, I wrote a 3-page dispute letter back to them that same month. In this letter I informed them of the entire situation as well as exact reasons for my dispute. I let them know my account was in serious need of an investigation. Months went by and I never heard anything either by mail or phone call, regarding the status of my account. In January 2004 I called GC Collection Agency to ask about my account. They told me it was not in their hands anymore, so I presumed that the account was sent back to Merrick Bank.
A few weeks later, on February 2, 2004 I received a letter from Merrick Bank, with a settlement voucher claiming to forgive $1,247.57 (60% of my full balance), if I paid $831.71 (40%) by March 15, 2004 (a copy of that letter/voucher is enclosed). To better understand, I called the number in the letter (877-487-5583) and spoke with a man named Bill in the Recovery Department at Merrick Bank. He proceeded to explain how the settlement voucher worked, but I told him that I could not come up with that amount of money by March 15. He offered me a settlement of 50% ($1039.14), if I could pay it within 90 days (May 2, 2004). I also said that would be too much to come up with. He then told me that we could work out a monthly payment, to lower the balance and hopefully I could come up with either 40% ob the balance by March 15 or 50% by May 2. I was skeptical of this offer so a couple weeks later, I cancelled the agreement and wrote a letter similar to this (along with 45+ bound pages of supporting documentation) and sent it out certified to 3 different Merrick Bank addresses, the FDIC, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - Division of Consumer & Community Affairs. It's been almost 2 weeks, and am still waiting some type of reply from at least 1 of the 5 places I sent my letter to.
The original reason for this dispute was the late fees that materialized after NextCard went bankrupt. My one reason has since turned into many over the last year. In addition to my obscene balance, outrageous late fees, and astronomical annual percentage rate, I am so disappointed in Merrick Bank and the manner in which it has been run. Merrick Bank's representatives need to be more attentive to their customers and try to be a little more patient and helpful. They clearly need extensive training as customer service reps, as all they do is yell and hang up on their customers. I feel as though I have been in circles with Merrick Bank, in hopes that I can get my life back in order. I have nothing positive to say about Merrick Bank and I know many other cardholders would agree.
In my letter I also stated that:
"Until all unwarranted fees have been reversed, I am refusing to pay any amount of money to Merrick Bank. I am asking for my balance to be brought down to its legitimate balance of $1370.80. According to the civil codes your company should not be entitled to any finance charges, late fees, and over limit fees that have been charged to my account since December 2002. Your company has failed to correct my initial billing error, as disputed in my first letter dated December 1, 2002. I've asked for help from Merrick Bank numerous times to investigate my account, and have never received any letter or phone call in response. I am also requesting that my APR be lowered from its current rate of 35.00% to its original rate of 27.99%. Furthermore, my credit has been badly damaged since this whole fiasco has begun, leaving me unqualified to sign a lease for an apartment, refinance my car, take out a loan to pay off my creditors, and barely able to obtain a cell phone. To make matters worse, I cannot even obtain financial aid to go to college. Thanks to Merrick Bank, my life has been a living hell for over a year, all because of this uncooperative business and the negative marks that have been made on my credit report. I am hoping for a extremely thorough investigation of my account, and request that you contact all 3 major credit reporting agencies, and have them remove my status as Serious Delinquency on my credit report."
I have very high hopes that my letter and reporting Merrick Bank on Rip-Off Report.com will help me in obtaining justice and a blemish-free credit report.
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Merrick Bank