Complaint Review: Citibank (South Dakota)
Citibank ,South Dakota, Citigroup CreditShield Credit Shield Deceptive practices orchestrated in conjunction with Assurant Solutions Internet
Your Credit Shield Premium is based on a percentage of the balance you owe on your credit card. There have been numerous reports of Citibank charging this premium without the consumer's permission.
Citibank benefits from selling you this policy because when you make a payment, the policy premuium is paid first, then the rest is applied to your actual credit card balance/interest accrued. This makes it take much longer for the consumer to pay off the CITIBANK debt.
Know What You Are Paying For - Did you receive a written policy from Credit Shield? Do you know what you are paying for? What does Credit Shield cover? Call CITIBANK customer service and ask them for information about Credit Shield.....before you need to file a claim. Ask for a phone number, website, address, or any other way of contacting Credit Shield. The several times that I requested this information years before I filed a claim (I was contemplating cancelling Credit Shield to save money), CITIBANK had told me that they did not have any information on "third party" transactions.
What?...How could they not have information on Credit Shield? CITIBANK has a business partnership with Credit Shield*, They send Credit Shield my premium payments, but somehow, they know nothing about them. Guess what? They do have all of this information.
I cannot believe how long it took me to get this information. Unfortunately, I was already a couple of months into my medical disability leave before finding this information; leaving only moments to spare to file a claim. I do not want the same to happen to you.
*According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the name "Credit Shield" is owned by CITICORP. It is just a name of a service. It is NOT a business entity of any sort. More on that later.
CITIBANK's Deceptive Practices (Based On My Experience) - First of all, when I became ill and unable to work, I was obviously unable to make payments to CITIBANK. When you stop making payments to CITIBANK, you stop making premium payments to Credit Shield. You cannot just send CITIBANK the amount needed to cover your Credit Shield premium because that amount will ALWAYS be less than your Minimum payment.
If you don't make insurance premium payments, your policy will be cancelled by default. You can always send a payment directly to the insurance company.....if you knew who they were.
Their name has been concealed by the name "Credit Shield". Now you know what the "Shield" stands for. They do not disclose the writer of this policy you are paying for.
Note: By the time Credit Shield makes any payments, because you are in default, your policy does not continue to be valid. This is actually a good thing for the consumer because any payments made to CITIBANK by Credit Shield do not get absorbed by Credit Shield paying themselves. Therefore, more money is applied to the balance.
I had a friend look into finding a contact number for Credit Shield. I'm a pretty internet-search savy guy and I could NOT find ANY information on "Credit Shield" to file a claim. Give it a try....Google your heart out! You will find nothing on the name "CreditShield".
My friend found a phone number, I called it, and it was a recorded message for me to leave my information so that they can send out a claim form. Two weeks later I received it.
CITIBANK is using the name "Credit Shield" to hide the name of the insurance writer. How would they benefit from this? The longer it takes for you to file a claim, the more interest and late fees are accrued with Citibank and your chances of defaulting on the insurance policy is high.
I'm sure that there a large percentage of individuals who did not benefit at all from this insurance policy, because by the time they figured out who the insurance policy is, it was too late to file a claim.
When I received my claim form from the insurance company, it was from a company called American Bankers Life Assurance Company (Florida) . How would I know this? I almost threw this out with the junk mail. I was waiting for a claim form from Credit Shield. Out of the ten years of paying a premium to this insurance, I finally know who I was paying.
Also, what was confusing , I received an insurance cancellation notice from a company called Assurant Solutions in Atlanta, GA. Who are these people? The common name I found between the two companies is Diversified Financial Services (DFS). However, upon looking for an owner of this name via Trademark Office, I could not find a parent company right away.
These are the people who are making my CITIBANK Payments while on disability leave ("Credit Shield"). Tel: 1-800-237-4352 Fax: (305)-252-6910 Web Site: www.benefitactivations.com
The parent company is Assurant Solutions http://www.assurantsolutions.com/ Assurant Solutions is a pretty large insurance company. Worth $4 Billion and employs about 15,000 people. This company is a huge money-maker.
My question : Is this the same company that everyone else who pays Credit Shield premiums to, or are there several different insurance companies under this "shell" name of "Credit Shield" to confuse CITIBANK customers? I strongly believe that CITIBANK should dislose the name of the insurance company as soon as consumer premium payments begin. Luckily I was able to make a claim before my policy expired. I only had two weeks left.
I spent way too much time trying to identify the insurance company to file a claim. During this time late fees accrued. CITIBANK will not reverse these charges for this time. They told me that the length of time it took me to communicate with the insurance company was my responsibility. I would have acted immediately had I known who the insurance company was to begin with.
The Indentity of the insurance company was purposly withheld by CITIBANK. CITIBANK And Assurant Solutions want to Confuse You. Citibank wants to charge you for late fees and over-limit fees. This is their most profitable part of their business. Assurant Solutions does not want to pay for the obvious reasons why any insurance company tries to put you in default.
The following are some deceptions I encountered during my claim: I filed my claim before the cancellation of my policy. The insurance company is obligated to pay for my claim. However, when I taked with representatives at CITIBANK they were telling me that my policy had been cancelled. This may be true, but I filed a claim before it was cancelled. CITIBANK insisted on telling me that there was no more I can do with my claim. What they were trying say was that I stopped making payments, therefore, I cannot receive insurance benefit.
They (CITIBANK) did not want me to persue with my claim. This makes me suspect that either CITIBANK and Assurant Solutions are working closely together to make money, or somehow, they are both under the same parent company. Whatever the case may be, there is a conflict of interest. I noticed that payments were not being paid to CITIBANK from the insurance company. I also kept getting the harrassing phone calls from CITIBANK as well for non payment.
I received a letter from the insurance company saying that they are waiting for information from the creditor, doctor, or employer. So which is it? You must call the insurance company to find out specifically who they are waiting on. In my case, the insurance company verbally told me that they are waiting for billing statements from CITIBANK so that they can send payment. I asked the insusrance company to send me a letter stating that it was CITIBANK, specifically, that they were waiting on. The letter that the insurance company sent me was vague (purposly) as to why payment has not been sent to CITIBANK. Lack of definition is flexibility.
The letter from the insurance company, however, states they are waiting on a response from a doctor, creditor, or employer. This statement relieves me of any resposibility of the time it takes for this response. I should , therefore, NOT be responsible for ANY late fees or over-limit fees that accumulate during this time. The letter that I received from the insurance company, without doubt, tells me that standard communication protocol is between insurance company and CITIBANK. Therefore, I should just sit here and wait for the two companies to communicate.
Why am I getting these harassing phone calls from CITIBANK when all they have to do is respond to the insurance company's request of information to receive payments from them on my behalf?
Three months later, I found that no payments had been made, still. I called the insurance company to find out what the hold-up was. They verbally told me that they were still waiting for my statements to be sent from CITIBANK. I immediately called CITIBANK right after to find out why they are ignoring the insurance company's request for my statements. Their response was that they never heard of that before. What?!! I was burning up inside by now. I was furious because both companies were trying to confuse me as to what protocol was. They were pointing fingers at each other.
During this time I had accumulated a lot of late and over-limit fees. Somehow, I was "disconnected" from the CITIBANK representative. I had to call again and start all over and explain to another representative at CITIBANK. This "disconnection" happened again. By this time I was furious. I was not going to give up. I wanted to fix this today. Anyay, I called the insurance company to request a letter from them stating that they are specifically waiting for CITIBANK's response and is the reason why CITIBANK is not getting paid. The insurance company refused to write such a letter. How is it that they can verbally tell me this , but not write me a document sayng so?
I wanted to use the document to send to CITIBANK so that they can reverse all late and over-limit fees that have accumilated on my account on the basis that CITIBANK were the one's not responding to such requests from the insurance company. I was frustrated. I called CITIBANK again, typed in my account number in the automated system and, low-and-behold, I got connected with the "magic genie" CITIBANK representative!
I told him to look at my notes and I gave him a simple explaination as to what my needs were. I also told him (RON) that I'm not getting off the phone with him until this matter is resolved. I told him that if we were to get "disconnected", I expected a quick return phone call. I was not playing this game anymore. He said he was going to call the insurance company to get up to speed on things. I told him that I would be happy to hold.
The next thing I knew; I was on a three-way call!!! Hooray! This matter is going to get resolved! So I asked the insurance lady what she needed from CITIBANK so that she could send payment. She said that she needed my statements. Then I asked the "magic genie" at CITIBANK if he can send them right now. He told me that he can print out the statements, mail them to me, and then I can fax or mail the insurance company. I blew up at him. I told him to send them to her now!!
The technology exists to do so and it will take less than one minute . If he was to mail them to me, it would have taken two weeks, then it would have taken another two weeks for the insurance company to process. I reminded the representative at CITIBANK that the letter I received from the insurance company that states they are waiting from a reponse from the creditor, doctor, or employer defines the communication protocol. Which means that no action is required by me.
Therefore, I am not responsible, in this case, for the accumulated late fees, over-limit fees, and any interest that these fees accrued during this time of broken communication. He totally agreed and said he would take care of this matter personally by sending the statements to the insurance company and crediting me of all unfair charges. Once again, now I have to wait another two weeks to see if this CITIBANK representative was "blowing smoke".
In this one day, I spent two and a half hours of my life to tell someone to electronically send six documents to the insurance company which only takes one minute to do. NOTE: I thought it was quite convienient for this CITIBANK representative to have the insurance company's phone number on "speed dial".
Why wouldn't they give me this number years ago when I requested it? CITIBANK does have all of the information on the "Credit Shield" insurance company. If they deny it, they are lying! I find it really strange that the people at CITIBANK insist to refer Credit Shield as if "they" were a third-party entity. Credit Shield is NOT a legitimate business entity. It is simply a trademarked name by Citigroup to identify a service and NOT the actual insurance company who wrote the policy.
Well, three weeks later (March 10, 2010) I get a call from CITIBANK telling me that my payments are way behind and they are going to have my account turned over to their lawyer. I responded "Is this a joke"? The first thing that came to my mind was that now that my account has become more deliquent, I would actually be talking to someone who has reviewed my account by looking at ALL OF THE NOTES that have been taken by previous employees of CITIBANK while trying to resolve this issue with the PHANTOM Credit Shield. Well, apparenlty after only talking with this individual for only a couple of minutes I had realized that she is not the person to help me with resolving this issue and she agreed.
She asked me if I wanted to speak to her supervisor and I said no, I would like to speak to her supervisor's boss. I would end up talking to that person soon enough anyway. I was just cutting through the chase. Guess what, that guy couldn't help me with this Credit Shield issue. Why is it so difficult for CITIBANK to send 6 documents to the insurance company? Especially, if they are so concerned about getting paid?
On March 12, 2010 , I had downloaded my Citibank statements and e-mailed to a friend at their work to fax them to Assurant Solutions. I had offered to Assurant Solutions to email them PDF files of my statements. They said it must be faxed. Who uses fax anymore? Why wouldn't Assurant Solutions let me e-mail these statements to them? Assurant Solutions is worth $4 Billion and they are still using fax machines? They don't have an e-mail account and a printer to print out PDF files?
Well, when my friend went to fax over the documents he had to attempt 8 times before all pages went through and received a confirmation page from them. My friend mentioned that he had never had such a difficult time trying to fax someone before. Does Assurant Solutions need a new fax machine? Maybe they should look into getting an e-mail account for this type of communication.
So now I'm here just wating for another phone call from Citibank as to why they haven't received payment yet.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/13/2010 08:15 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/citibank-south-dakota/internet/citibank-south-dakota-citigroup-creditshield-credit-shield-deceptive-practices-orchestra-580705. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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