Monday, February 25, 2008


My little sister wrote "Straight to the top" on her blog, where she decided to take a complaint straight to the top......I fully understood her reasoning - and JUST TODAY, found myself doing the same thing....

Here is my letter to my credit card company about their new "benefit" of charging a re-occurring "account maintenance fee" to all account holders. Let's see if I even get a response!


I am writing to you to file a grievance. I have been a customer in good standing since June 06, 2005. I have received numerous credit line increases “because of [my] good payment history.” I have been extremely responsible in my use of credit, and the use of your credit card.

Until today, February 25, 2008, I have been extremely satisfied with my relationship with XXXXXXXX. I opened up my monthly statement – looking forward to seeing that $0.00 balance for paying this credit card off! Imagine my surprise when I opened my mail today and noticed a $6.50 “account maintenance fee” listed on my statement. I was confused and figured that it was just a mistake. I immediately contacted your customer service department to explain my situation. I entered in my account information and was greeted with the wonderful automated operator giving me my account balance. I was astonished to hear that my balance was now $13.00! I asked myself, how could I get my bill which states a balance of $6.50 (closing date of 2/19/08), and 6 days later, have a balance of $13.00?

The gentleman that assisted me during my initial conversation stated, and I paraphrase, that there was no mistake, and that the $6.50 charge was legitimate, and the reason that I owed $13.00 was because the $6.50 noted on my bill was for “last” month. I then challenged that philosophy and asked him, if I simply paid the $6.50 by the due date of March 15, 2008, would I have a zero balance on my card. He stated that I would still owe another $6.50 account maintenance fee for the “current” bill (to which I learned was the bill that isn’t printed yet). Which basically means I would always be in arrears of $6.50.

I then asked why I was being charged a $6.50 account maintenance fee for an account that had a zero balance. The gentleman simply stated that there was always a fee regardless of the balance. I referred him back to my card member agreement which clearly stated that there was only an account maintenance fee if there was a balance on the account. He stated that I was incorrect. I then asked him if $6.50 was worth losing a good customer over, to which he responded, “...if that is what you choose to do, sir.”

I then asked him if there was someone else that I could speak to regarding this issue. Again, the gentleman stated, “Certainly sir, but they are going to give you the same answer that I am giving you.” I told him that was fine, but I would like to find out for myself.

I was then placed on hold and was transferred to XXXXX(Operator #2XXXX), who stated that he was a “manager.” I thanked him for his time and began to explain my dilemma. He stated that he would look into my concern and placed me on hold. When XXXXX came back, he stated that the card member agreement was changed, and customers notified in October 2007, that the $6.50 account maintenance fee would be charged to all accounts regardless of balance. I, of course, had a balance in October 2007, so I understood the $6.50 maintenance fee was being charged. It wasn’t until I paid off my balance in December 2007, that I noticed this fee re-occurring. I paid the $6.50 fee for the January bill THE DAY I RECEIVED THE BILL in the mail (1/29/2008). I again challenged XXXX on this, and asked him if $6.50 was worth losing a good customer over. He had no answer. I asked him to remove the fee as a courtesy, to which he stated he was unable to do that.

I then told him, I want to close my account effective immediately. XXXX then tried explain to me the “benefits” of having the XXXXXXX card. I stopped him and stated, “How can you even say that? Please explain to me how it BENEFITS me to pay an account maintenance fee of $6.50 monthly when I have a zero balance?” XXXX said, we offer you convenience……… I cut him off and told him, “There is absolutely NO WAY that you are going to convince me that paying XXXXXX an account maintenance fee of $6.50 every month on a credit card that has, for all intents and purposes, a ZERO balance, is a benefit to me! I want you to close my account, and make sure that the account is listed as ‘closed by consumer.’” He assured me that this would happen.

Now, let me remind you of the definition of the word, benefit. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law; a benefit is “something that provides an advantage or gain.” In other words, the benefit that XXXXX was describing was not MY benefit – but XXXXXXX card's benefit.)

I then told him that I wanted to pay off the $13.00 balance right now, so that I would not receive another bill. I asked him if I paid this right now, would I still incur any fees, or would I have a zero balance. XXXX replied that he, “thinks that it would be zero,” but he could not say for sure.

So, here is my grievance: I do not like to be treated unfairly. I do not like to feel taken advantage of. I do not want to pay for something for which I am receiving NO BENEFIT. XXXXXXXX card, has done all of these things. My resolution is to take my business elsewhere, but I would be remise if I did not voice my displeasure with your business practices. I just feel it is a shame that XXXXXXX card believes that $78.00 ($6.50X12) is more important than a customer, not to mention -retaining a good customer.

I also want to bring to your attention what appears on the back of my February 19, 2008 bill under the heading PAYMENTS. “You may at any time pay more than the minimum payment, or the entire unpaid balance (the New Balance), without incurring FURTHER CHARGES…” There is no explanation of what “further charges” are – but to me that means any form of charge or fee. If this does not, then I feel you need to revise your statements to more accurately reflect your intent in this message.

I look forward to your response.

So there you have it......what do you think? I will let you know if I recieve and response!



Jodi said...

UGH!! What a pain in the @#%! It upsets me and I hope that you get a good response. I did, but I knew I couldn't push it to get them to be fair to everyone. I had resolved to divulge the name of the bank on my blog if I didn't receive a positive response, but then you run the risk of someone you don't know knowing too much personal information...
BTW- ever wonder how the banking industry would pay for the mortgage mess? A miscellaneous $6.50 a month from every customer seems to be a start...

Roxanne said...

I had the same sort of experience! What poor service! With the nature of the economy right now, credit card companies should be happy that some of their cardholders in good standing aren't flocking to other companies. I hope this policy changes. I don't plan on having a balance again, and I absolutely don't want to pay a silly fee if I don't really owe anything!