In May of 1999, I recieved a Merrick Credit Card in the mail (did NOT apply for it, they just sent it out general post with instructions to "call for activation". That is the first problem I have with them. I go so far as to shred even applications with my name on them because of identity theft. They have no business sending out credit cards with my name on them without my knowledge. Continuing on. . . Well, like an idiot, I activated the card. I used it a couple times over the next couple months, then went through a messy divorse. When I got back to making my payments three months later, their late fees, interest, membership renewal, etc, had raised the original balance from $85 to more than $560. Everything was outragious, but I was in no state of mind to argue at the time and authorized a $80 payment transfer from my checking. Everything posted just fine, leaving a balance of $480. A week later, my checking account showed a $480 transfer and not nearly enough to make my other payments. I called Merrick right away, to find out what made them think they could just empty my checking account. I authorized a payment, not a PAY-OFF! They said they had no record of the transaction. From my point of view, the account was settled and paid nothing further. The following summer, I began to get harrassing phone calls from the Merrick Bank Collections Dept. telling me I had an outstanding balance of over $1300. My response was "You got your money, I'm done doing business with you". The calls persisted. During the same time (summer 2000) two very large forest fires erupted in the area (Helena, MT at that time). I was a trained volunteer fireman and was activated immediately to assist first-responding fire crews in the area. Besides putting in my time at my job, I was also putting every moment I could spare on the firelines and sleeping one full night every five with an hour or two inbetween work and fire duty. Now, during all that, I began recieving calls from Merrick Bank 7+ times a day (wish I had saved all the messages they left on the answering machine). One "gentleman" caught me when I was resting. The phone rang, I answered, and heard "PAY YOUR BILL a*****e---" being yelled at me from the other end. Quick check of the caller ID told me it was indeed Merrick Bank. Ten minutes later I was on the phone with a supervisor who assured me their staff would never do any such thing, but then wanted to discuss payment options. THat's the last I ever talked to them. Two years later (April 2002), I recieved notice from a collection agency advising me that Merrick Bank had agreed to settle for 50% of the outstanding balance. Not wanting to destroy my terrible credit any further, I paid them $1486, exactly 50% of what had originally been an $85 brake job for my truck.
Now the kicker!!! They were PAID OFF a year and three months ago and they were on my latest credit report a week ago when I applied for a home loan. I have to contact Merrick bank now and get a letter from them saying my outstanding balance is indeed paid and they have no further claim before I can even concider a home loan. That's almost like inviting them to think up another way to steal me blind. So in a way, THEY'RE STILL RIPPING ME OFF!!!!!
Lake Powell, Utah
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