I don’t usually use this blog to talk about things not related to its major themes of law, disability and prejudice but today I will make an exception. A few weeks ago I decided to get a new credit card from Citibank from their Simplicity line of products. Don’t get me wrong: I have it and I find it very useful. One day however I was intrigued by the option of getting a sticker for my phone that I can pay with. The booklet that my card came with advised me that it is an option that is available for my account and one that I can order at any time, easy and convenient way to pay. Simple enough, right? Wrong. It’s been many weeks already and still no sign of a tag, sticker, Paypass or however the service is called. And every time I call or securely message Citi on their website I get some other thing I didn’t order. First they decided to send me a replacement card, not a month after I got my first one. When I called them about it, they apologized, assured m that the tag has been ordered and sent me… a bunch of payment envelopes which I guess you use if you pay your balances by check, which I never do. When I contacted them through secure messaging again, because you know I would still like to get that payment tag I received a message that said:
“ We've request one for each cardholder of the account: Jeff and Deb Salmonsen. Please allow up to 1 week for delivery. Thank you for using our website.” One problem: I have no idea who those people are, why they would be listed as cardholders and if it was a clerical error I wanted to make sure that they didn’t send them any cards for my account. So I called their Customer Service phone service. Twice. First gentleman had a very thick Indian accent that I couldn’t understand really, who told me that he doesn’t have access to my messages from Citi Bank when I asked about the Salmonsens. The second one sounded Chinese and couldn’t understand me. He was repeating that there is nothing wrong with my account and tried to convince me that a payment tag and a replacement card are the same thing. And he ordered something. Few days later I got another replacement card. Really there seems to be no solution. Emailing them doesn’t work- and sometimes they straight out tell you to call the number and you know calling them is not going to help you either. The balance of this adventure so far: Two replacement cards in a month that I didn’t even activate, some envelopes and no tag!
And a resolution: Since I posted the original text the Citi customer service has impressed me by checking up on me often and keeping me updated as they were trying to get to the bottom of the issue. They have called me with follow ups even within one day, were very warm, kind and apologetic. What I also enjoyed is speaking to what appeared to be a native English speaker. I don’t really care where some of those centers are physically located, but finances are too important of an issue to be connected to somebody whom I can’t understand and who doesn’t understand me and doesn’t have access to my secure mailbox messages history. What happened and what took them quite a while to figure out is that Simplicity is a brand for both Mastercard and Visa cards and Paypass is a MC only feature. Citibank apparently shipped both with the same information package. They were very swift with switching my accounts over, now I own a Simplicity Mastercard. Problem solved. It does make me appreciate my card from Chase a little bit more given how there always seems to be a live person waiting on the other end.