I am writing this for my girlfriend, Jody, because she is not computer literate and has become totally frustrated in trying to deal with this bank. The problem has been ongoing for over a year. It started when the bank that was handling her Spiegel credit card declared Bankruptcy and the accounts were split between at least two other banks. She finally asked me for help in July while recovering from Spinal Surgery.
As it has turned out, she had been making payments based upon over-the-limit fees that were added to her account one day after each previous bill was sent out. Consequently, each time she made the payment on the bill she had received, it would bring the account balance down to her limit. However, without her realizing it, the bank would attach the finance fee automatically putting her over her limit and supposedly justifying the over-the-limit fee. When I checked the dates that the fees had been applied, they didn't make any sense.
We attemted to call the bank listed to find out what could be done to straighten out the account and stop these needless fees and get the balance below her limit. It took us four days and calls to three different banks plus one e-mail to another before we could find out which one was actually handling her account and get the correct phone number (We were unable to reach the appropriate party using the numbers on her card and bill). By that time it was the due date and the Rep. that we spoke to was unable to help us plus she was very short and rude especially when we asked to speak with a supervisor. We finally got a name but were unable to talk with the supervisor until the next day.
Now the bill was over due. In speaking with her(Denise), and trying to get an understanding of why there system was set-up in such an unusual manner and, at the same time, trying to get some forgiveness on the over limit fees plus, now being in a position of dealing with a late fee, we failed to get any straight and understandable explanations concerning the billing procedures. On top of the problems concerning the fees, this particular bill did not get delivered until Saturday June 26th '04 and was due on July 6th.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the consumer must receive their bill at least 20 days before the due date. Consequently, considering the 4th of July holiday this gave Jody and I very little time to contact the correct bank. Finally, after all that we went through, Denise agreed to credit two of the over limit fees and stated (reluctently) that the late fee would be taken care of. On top of this, Jody made a $35.00 payment over the phone while Denise stated that the minimum payment was only $10.00. Factoring in the credits that were to be given plus the payment that was made, Jody should have ended up at least $30.00 under her limit.
This is not how it all ended up as we discovered when the next bill arrived. As it turned out, the payment was credited the same day but the fees that were to be credited were not entered until six days later plus there was no credit given for the late fee. Needless to say, we were stunned and very upset because now we were right back where we started only it has become worse since. Once again we attempted to call Denise but, she wasn't available according to the Rep.(Hazel) that we spoke to in August. By the time I spoke to Hazel the new bill was already over due because I had misread the bill, thinking that it was not due until the 6th when actually it was due 0n the 1st. Since we were not able to speak with Denise, we decided to pay the minimum due which Hazel stated was $11.00. This didn't make any sense either because of the fees that had been attached.
Also, while talking with Hazel, I mentioned how late we had received the previous bill. Again I was stunned when she replied, "We are not responsible for when the Postal Service delivers the mail", in a rude and cold hearted tone. Since then we have had no contact with this bank and have been trying to find out exactly what steps would be appropriate to take in order to find out just exactly what our, or rather, Jody's rights are. We are tired of being lied to and treated rudely and dismayed after receiving the most recent bill that states that the minimum payment is $96.74 with an overdue amount of $11.00 and all this over a Spiegel credit card that has a credit limit of $350.00.
Considering all the over limit fees that have been paid and including the extra regular payments that have been paid from the time of the original banks own problems to this date, by all rights the balance of the card should be paid off. Unfortunately, that is not how the ripoff system sees it or how it works, at least with this bank!!! I have dealt with a good number of credit card providers over the past eight years and never have I faced anything as dubious and uncooperative as this one.
Instead of helping Jody solve the problem, I am afraid that I have only made it worse for her and neither of us, as it is with many other people out there, needs this type of frustration and stress especially since we are both disabled. We would highly appreciate any suggestions that anyone with the appropriate knowledge can relay to us and I apologize for the length of this report but I could not think of a way to make it shorter and be completely honest about the situation. Thank you for the patience applied to anyone who chooses to read it in it's entirety.
Jody and Bruce
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on First Consumers National Bank FCNB