On October 12 I applied for a credit card on behalf of my son, who had just turned eighteen and was anxious to establish a line of credit. Being this was his first credit card, I set a $500 limit. I also set up a checking account and a debit card for him. I was told everything would take between seven to ten business days to process.
Two weeks later the checking account and debit card were in place, but there was no sign of the credit card. I waited a little longer, but finally returned to the bank on November 3 to make inquiries. I was told that Trustco was dealing with a new credit card company and was having some "adjustment problems" with them. I was told to be patient. The card would be along shortly.
Another week went by and still no card. I returned to the branch near my home and asked what the delay was. The manager informed me there had been a "flood" at the credit card company. They would have things back in order shortly. Told to go home and wait some more.
November 17: Back to bank. The manager is out, but the assistant manager informs me that the reason there is a problem is because the $500 limit I set on the card is not valid. New credit card company says they now have a limit of $1000. Fine, I say. I up the limit to $1000. He supposedly phones them and the new limit is approved over the phone. I'm told now to return home and wait. Wheels are definitely in motion and the card should reach me in a day or two.
November 25: No card. By now it has become routine for me to show up every week and ask about the missing card. The manager makes some more calls and plays the usual game of phone tag. Finally tells me that the assistant manager was mistaken when he told me the minimum limit was $1000. I authorize a return to the original credit limit of $500. He assures me once again that the card is being mailed "as we speak" and should reach me in five days. I return home to wait.
December 1: Understandably upset, I return to the bank and demand to know where the card is. I point out I have been told over and over it is in the mail. I point out that it may be lost or stolen. I tell the manager I am prepared to sit here until he can tell me with certainty where this piece of plastic physically is! He makes several more phone calls. Finally he announces he has gotten to the bottom of the mystery. It seems that the credit card company could not clearly read my son's social security number. A zero had been confused with a six. As a result the card was never processed! Wait a minute! Does this mean the excuses I've been getting every week were lies? Apparently so. If this last reason was the case all along, I can only assume the paperwork for the card had been sitting dead on someone's desk since October and I had never been informed!
I am outraged, but I somehow keep my cool. I direct the manager to re-fax everything over for reapproval while I wait. I'm told that because of the SS# screw-up they will now need a fax of my son's social security card. I rush home to get it, then return. Then the manager tells me I will need to produce his birth certificate and some proof of residency, such as a phone bill. Again, I return home (luckily I live only a quarter mile from this branch of the bank), and come back with the needed paperwork. Everything is refaxed and the manager announces I am pre-approved. He personally guarantees they are rushing the card through and he will have it Fed-Exed to my house. I return home after spending my entire evening at the bank.
December 15: Guess what, still no card! Return to bank. Manager plays some more phone tag. Tells me the card was Fed-Exed to my house but no one was there to receive it. It was returned to CC company where it was snail-mailed to me. (Attempt to save time with Fed-Ex therefore actually lost time.) Am told yet again to be patient. Card will definitely reach me within five business days. Oh yeah. Manager also suggests that I no longer bother him with this problem as he is "tired of being the middleman." He instead puts me in touch with main branch of Trustco. (Funny, I thought it was his job to be the middleman. He's the one who took my application in the first place. Who else would I deal with?) My son had planned to use the credit card for Christmas purchases over the internet. At this point that idea was pretty much out the window. Even if he got the card immediately he might not receive his purchases before Christmas.
December 23: Now dealing with main branch of Trustco. Management there seems a little more professional, but still no card, so they start making calls. They report back that the people who print the cards had mispelled our last name. The bank had caught the error and destroyed the card!!! I was told that the card had been reprinted and sent out by U S Mail on December 22 from Atlanta, Georgia. I would definitely be receiving it by December 27. In fact, the assistant manager I spoke to said if I did not receive it by December 28, the bank would buy my son and I dinner.
December 29: Still no card, so I went down to the main branch of Trustco and filed a written complaint. The manager there read it carefully and assured me my letter would be forwarded to "complaints and compensation." She promised me they were required to provide me with a written response to my situation.
Later that day the mail came and FINALLY, there was the credit card, 79 days after applying for it!
Three weeks later I get a call from that assistant manager who had promised to buy us dinner if the card had not arrived by the 27th. He was very apologetic and wanted to know if I had gotten the card. I told him yes and reminded him of his promise. After a long silence over the phone he said "Well, the main thing is you got the card." In other words, no dinner.
Well, you know, he's right, I guess that is the main thing. And when you come right down to it, maybe I haven't been ripped off in so many words. Still, after eleven weeks of broken promises, aggravation, disappointment and lies, it would be nice if Trustco coughed up a little token compensation for all they put us through, maybe a twenty dollar debit card for my son. (They did, after all, ruin his Christmas.) A written apology would certainly go a long way toward re-establishing their credibility with me. But they haven't done any of those things, so I guess I'll live and move on with my life.
The main reason I'm posting this is to simply inform others. Ask yourself: If Trustco can't process a routine transaction like this in a timely fashion, would you trust them if you had a real financial emergency?
Oh, by the way, I have still not received the required written reply from "complaints and compensation" and it has been two months! Think I ought to go down to the bank and ask about it?
Schenectady, New York