Dealing with this company has been the most frustrating experience for me. After many discussions and harassments from them, I found a way to fix the problem. It has taken since January 7, 2008 until the end of March 2008 to make the problem go away, and this is after many months of arguing directly with them. Due to their lack of business ethics, my original balance of $450 inflated to just over $2,000. Emerge even reported $450 to the credit agencies saying that was my high balance, but kept trying to collect thousands. Keep reading for the resolution.
I found that if you have a problem with a credit card that is issued by a national bank, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, at http://www.occ.treas.gov. Otherwise, you can file a complaint with the FDIC. Originally, I filed a complaint with the FDIC online, who then informed me that national banks need to go through the OCC, and they forwarded the complaint to them. The OCC then contacted me for more information. You need to file online first, after which they assign a case number to you and then ask for more information. Below is the letter I wrote to the OCC addressing the issues with Emerge and the resolution I wanted. Writing a similar letter for your situation would probably help your situation if you have this problem. Just keep in mind that it may take more than 60 days for the OCC or FDIC to finish their investigation, so there is some patience involved in this.
(My letter to the OCC)
To Whom It May Concern:
The case number above has to do with an issue concerning First National Bank of Omaha. The issue I have been dealing with concerns an Emerge MasterCard that I once had, that originated as a Providian Visa card.
I requested that the account be closed a few years ago, which it was, and have been trying to pay off the balance. At this point, I have paid off the balance a couple of times over, but they keep adding fees on to the account. Since closing the account, I have never received a statement, but every couple months, I receive a simple postcard stating that I owe some amount of money.
The most recent problem I have had is that they enrolled me in a program that would reduce all fees to $0 with no interest as long as I made payments on time, in order to get the balance paid off quicker. This never happened. They continued charging me so that every payment made was useless. In addition to this, they have called me hourly during the week to collect payments, telling me that my payments have been returned due to Stop Payments. These payments are all check by phone payments which they force me to make in order to keep my account out of collection. After investigating with my bank, Citibank, I found that there have never been any stop payments on my account. Furthermore, I was told that those check by phone payments to Emerge were never even presented to Citibank for payment.
At one point, I even had a conference call with my bank and the Emerge rep, and my bank told them the same thing. The Emerge rep said they would investigate and let me know, but they called back within 2 hours demanding payment and telling me that they dont actually investigate those issues and it must be a problem with my bank, at which point they demanded that I send them money via a wire transfer. This happened after several consecutive months of the same story about the stop payments, and I told them that I would not send a wire transfer and that I would not make any more payments until the issue has been investigated.
After I told them this, they said the account would immediately be sent to a collection agency unless I sent the transfer and stopped any investigation. I refused to do either and have not heard back from them since. This happened shortly before filing a complaint with the FDIC, which was then forwarded to the Comptrollers office. I have also not heard from any collection agency since then. This whole time, I have been charged over limit fees and returned check fees that I should not have been charged. They have also been charging me interest on everything, after enrolling me in the 0% interest program, which has caused my original balance of $450 to balloon to $2,036. Due to lack of statements, I cannot show this. However, included with this letter is the page of my credit report regarding Emerge, in which they report these two amounts as well as a bad debt.
The resolution I want is that Emerge reduces the balance back to the original balance so that I can pay it off immediately, or cancel the balance completely as I have paid it a few times over at this point. I also want the negative ratings removed from my credit report and Emerge to show that the account has always been in good standing and that it was paid off in full. I am willing to make a final payment of the $450 balance they show.
I have done some investigation about this company on my own through various websites. From this, I know that I am not the only person to have problems like this with Emerge. There are also various consumer affairs offices in cities around the country that list complaints for this same situation with Emerge. However, most people have resolved these issues with legal action, which I simply cannot afford.
I hope to have this matter resolved and done with as soon as possible. This is my only course of action since Emerge will not discuss the account with me unless I send them a wire transfer for quite a sum of money.
Outcome of the investigation:
After a little more than 60 days later and 1 more letter to supply the OCC with information about a phone call from Emerge, I received a letter from the OCC containing the resolution letter to them from Emerge. Emerge stated that they pulled the account from collections, canceled the entire amount of $2,036, and notified the credit reporting agencies to remove any records of Emerge. So basically, its like I never had this account, which is fine with me.
I'm not saying that following this path will work for everybody, but it worked for me and I'm sure there must be a few people this would work for, whether its a problem with Emerge or another credit card.
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Emerge