So, I've been a customer with Juniper (bought by Barclay's) for over two years, with one of their credit cards. Generally I was happy with their service until about two months ago...
During a period of transition between jobs, I exceeded my credit limit by, no kidding, less than a dollar. As a result of this, I was charged a $39 fee. Not great customer service, but not the end of the world either.
But here's where the fun starts.
To make sure I never get a late payment, I have the minimum monthly payment due transferred automatically from my checking account to the credit card account. I frequently will pay additional money if needed. In this case, I thought with the job transition, I would simply cover the minimum payment, and pay down more when I started the new job.
Well, just to make sure everything was straight, I logged onto my account to make sure that I was good. I discovered that the minimum amount due would not bring me back below my credit limit. I called customer support, and they confirmed that had I simply paid the minimum amount due as an automated payment, I would be charged an over the limit fee again on my next billing cycle. When I pointed out that this seemed deceptive, he quoted me the policies determining the calculation of the minimum amount due. Essentially, had I continued with my automated payment scheme indefinitely, my balance would continue to increase with the additional over the limit fees, indefinitely. Needless to say, I paid an additional amount of money on my card to bring myself back down below the limit. Juniper seemed not to care about my frustration in this matter. In multiple email and phone conversations, rather than addressing the issue at hand, they simply quoted company policy.
Here's where it gets real good. A couple weeks later, I get a letter in the mail. Apparently my interest rate has now jumped to the "default" rate of 29.9%, as a result of my being over the credit limit. And yes, this interest rate applies retroactively to the balance I already had. Yes, this will soon be illegal, but the law hasn't taken effect yet.
I called Juniper again to complain. Again, they mostly quoted company policy, and assured me that they are acting in accordance with the cardholder agreement and the law. As a gesture of "goodwill", they were willing to lower my interest rate to 27.24%. I spoke first with the base line customer support, then a "rate specialist", then an "account manager" named Crystal. They all said exactly the same thing, almost as if they were reading from a script. Crystal did make some effort to acknowledge my frustration, but again didn't seem interested in really doing anything about it.
Summing up my issue....
1 - Late fee. Okay, I get it, over the limit is over the limit. Would be nice for them to give a good customer a break, but not a huge deal.
2 - Minimum payment due not bringing me below my credit limit. THIS IS AN EGREGIOUS DISHONEST AND DESPICABLE PRACTICE. I believe their intention was to let this go on as long as it took for me to discover. Since they're big into the online banking, I don't get paper statements. And I can set up the minimum payment due automatically. This could have literally gone on for months had I not had the presence of mind to check my account online. This is a blatant money grab by Juniper, is dishonest, and a poor way to treat a customer.
3 - Raising the interest rate. Okay, I understand that once someone goes over their credit line, they are a bit riskier as a consumer. But that being said, we're talking about less than a dollar here. I kind of feel like for a good customer, this is a bit extreme. Especially given that I was back below the credit limit with a couple days. Look times are tough, and I feel like Juniper is simply taking advantage.
Could I have kept a closer eye on my balance and prevented this whole thing? Yes. I do share some blame in this.
However, this does not excuse Juniper showing me poor customer service, and using deceptive business practices against me.