My wife had left Community First because she had some unauthorized charges to her checking account and the rude tellers and bank manager would not lift 1 finger to help her, when we got married and it was time for us to choose a bank for a joint account, we decided to bank with a small community one branch credit union. The kind that the tellers know you by your first name when you walk in.
During our time with this bank, we had procured a credit card through them with a $3000 limit.
Well we were happy with them until they were gobbled up by the many branched Community First Credit Union. Well, since we had horrible experiences with Community First before, we decided we would close all of our accounts and move to a regional bank that is in our area. Unfortunitly, we had to leave our credit card with them because we had neither the credit nor the income to get a credit card with our new bank.
About 2-3 months after the takeover of our credit union we received a letter from Community first that though we have neither asked for or wanted they were going to open a Community First branded Platinum Visa card with a $3000 limit.
My wife and I were confused by this because we had already had a credit card through them whenwe were with our small 1 branch credit union.
I called the customer service number for Community First and was told that since I had a credit card branded with my original bank's name and that bank no longer exists, they are issuing me a bard branded with their name. I asked specificly what that means for the balance I owed on the first card. I was told that the first card would be suspended and to pay on the balance until paid and that the new card would be a seperate card and account. So I stuck the new card in my wallet and saved it incase of emergency.
Acouple of months later it was Christmas time so we decided to do our Christmas shopping on our new card and charged approx. $300, thinking we were going to pay it off a few months later at tax return time.
Well we got our statement after this and were we in for a shock. With our previous charges and the $300 we charged for Christmas, we were expecting an apporox. $1000 balance with a modest payment that we were going to pay until tax returns. We opened our statement to find a balance of $4000 and found out they combined both of my accounts into 1 and then said we were over our $3000 limit and wanted a minimum payment that was $200 more than what our mortgage payment was.
I called customer service again and found no apololgies or sympathies. I was told that I was never told that we would have seperate accounts and we were always meant to only have 1 card (although I had been paying these as seperate accounts for 3 months). I stated that though it may be true that was to have 1 account, this was an error by their customer service representative and I felt lied to. I asked, I felt reasonably, that they waive the late and overlimit fees and make the minimum payment something more reasonable (not a payment more then mortgae payment.) They refused, would not budge, would not negotiate. I was disgusted that they would not honor their word so I said thank you and disconnected the call.
I decided that I would have more luck speaking with someone at a local branch. I called my branch and asked for the branch manger, I did this several times over the course of a month and was always told he was busy or not in and would be called back. It has been about 2 years and am still waiting for my call.
Since nobody at any level at this bank would budge and they would not accept any payment less than the outragous minimum payment, that again was more than my mortgage payment, I felt that I had no choice then to default on the card, take the hit on my credit, and then pay once it went to collections.
I waited and waited for thie debt to be written off so I could just pay whatever collection agency had the debt. Instead I received a call from the credit union stating that I either they receive full payment on the card or I will be sued in small claims court and my wages would be garnished. This is their right. I tried one more time to plead my case with a local branch.
Well I found a loan officer that somewhat cared. She offered to close my credit card and extend a loan to me at a modest interest rate to cover the balnce owed and waive the late and overdraft fees. I accepted the offer but thought it reasonable to pay a payment equal to what my payment would have been for both cards before they were combined which would have been about $250 per month and would pay how ever long that would take. I didn't think this was unreasonable since this whole situation was due again to an error on Community First's part. I was told no that the only way to avoid this was to pay $400 a month that I could not afford. I told them I could not do this and because of my other obligations I would end up defaulting. She was very nice and told me I could sign the papers, get the credit card paid, and the branch manager will call me back and can negotiate the terms of the loan.
Again it has been almost 2 years since. Still waiting for my call back.
Also again because of my income, I had no choice but to pay what I could afford. When making a choice between my car and mortgage and an unsecured loan i had to do what I had to do.
Wisconsin has a little known law called Amortization of Debts . This law is similar to a chapter 13 bankruptcy in that all interest and collection efforts must cease and they have to accept a monthly payment over the course of 3 years as determined by my local circuit court. The filing charge for this was about $400 and the payment about $250 a month. I offered Community First the $400 and the payment with them still being able to charge the interest on the loan. Again was told no and a manager could negotiate the terms,
Again almost 2 years. Still waiting for my call.
So while I was speaking to an attorney preparing my Amortization of Debts I think Community First's collections department got nervous. I work as a customer service agent in a call center. Their representative called the customer service line, pretended he was a customer and asked for me. I told him that I was not to get calls at work and not to call me. On my break, I called a local branch, asked for the branch manager to call me back regard their agents underhanded tatics in calling my workplace and pretending to be a customer. Was promised a call back.
Almost 2 years...still waiting for my call.
That night another one of their collection agents came to my door and began discussing the situation in front of my 8 year old son threatening to sue me and take my paycheck. I explained to her that I am filing an Amortization of Debts and would be willing to settle this and make the payments to them with interest. She just walked away.
Finally, I filed the Amortization of Debts, all interest had to stop and I got to pay the payment I wanted to pay in the first place. This bank turned down hundreds of dollars because they would not work with me because of a mistake and situation they created and refused to take ownership.
Finally, a few days before I filed my Amortization of Debts, they filed a small claims suit. My court case overruled theirs and though they get a judgement in case I would default on my Amortization of Debts, they are not allowed to collect on it. Low and behold they still tried to garnish my wages and would not drop it until I turned the matter over to the trustee handling the case. In their last ditch effort to collect on this unreasonable payment, when they were telling me they would not stop garnishing my wage, I recanted my story to the person on the phone about all of the lies told and underhanded tactics the bank had done to me, I was again promised a call back from a bank manager.
Still waiting for my call.