Ok, for those who don't know, I keep an internal list of large corporations that have wronged me in some way. I've realized that complaining does absolutely nothing to solve problems (except for the potential opportunity to get free products/services from said companies, which just gives them another chance to screw up) so I just blacklist them from getting any of my money, forever.
Citibank, welcome to the blacklist. Take a seat between Enterprise Rent-a-Car and MetLife.
So why am I so pissed at these guys? Well, it all started when I moved out to Chicago.
After a couple of ATM withdrawls with my PNC bank card and some surcharges, I resolved to get a new bank account for spending money. I wanted to go with a national bank, someone with lots of ATMs, and I figured, a reasonably easy process. Citibank has an ATM in the basement of my building and one out at school, a natural fit right?
So I went online and signed up for a free checking account. No hassles, just some online forms and my initial deposit from my PNC account. I could expect to receive my new debit card in the mail soon.
Well, so I got my debit card a little while later, and got all excited. Not only did I have a new ATM card (and would avoid fees) but I also got my Jeopardy prize check in the mail. All that money, and a new bank to put it in.
So I went to the nearest Citibank. Inserted my ATM card (which said it only needed to be put in an ATM to be activated) and had no problem depositing my Jeopardy monies.
Now just a quick withdrawl...
Hmm...let's try that again...
What the hell??? I just deposited a ton of money with this card, but I can't take out any money?
YOUR EMOTIONS ARE POINTLESS...ATMs DO NOT FEEL SYMPATHY
Ok, this seemed not too unusual, maybe there was a problem activating my card. I picked up the phone next to the ATM to contact customer service. I spoke with some nice lady on the phone, who then told me that my account was frozen.
'But why?' I asked, I went through the whole online application process, could deposit money, but couldn't use any ATMs???
Apparently, my account had been flagged because they were unable to verify my address. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, as you'd figure at least one other person in my 48 story apartment building must have a Citibank account. But for some reason, they couldn't let me access my account through ATMs until they've verified my address (if anyone could explain why, I'd love to know).
'Ok, how do you verify my address?'
They needed either a utility bill or a phone bill, something with my address on it.
'But, I don't have a phone line, and I just paid my cable and electric bills a couple days ago, they won't be back for months.'
Citibank can't be reasoned with. Rent bills don't count, neither do printed statements off the internet, and don't even think about using a cell phone bill...
Ugh...fine, I'll wait the next 3.5-4 weeks to get ANOTHER bill and mail it to them. And let's not even get started on the fact that they disclosed nothing about these requirements during the online application process.
So I wait, and I wait, and I wait, trying to avoid using cash.
Finally, last weekend, I got my electric bill. I've never been so happy to see that. So now with my bill in hand, on Monday, I go down to Citibank to have them fax it to their corporate office (it's the least they could do right???).
Alright, another mild inconvenience, I'll just go to Office Max and fax it myself.
Which is what I did, after failing a number of times because the number was busy.
Finally, I thought, they have my electric bill and I can get my account online and forget about the whole hassle.
Friday rolls around, and I wanted to get some money. Four business days is plenty of time for an efficient corporation to process one fax right?
Apparently not...account still frozen...
Alright, at this point, I was getting beyond frustrated with these guys and their stupid corporation.
I finally called Citibank to get some kind of answer to what the hell was going on.
God help the poor guy who answered the call that day...
Because when I called him, he explained to me the following two things...
1 - My utility bill wasn't good enough. Apparently, the address was incomplete. I can't see how this could be possible, as it had the full street name, apartment number, city, and zip code right on it. Maybe they need a bill that also featured a photo of me smiling with the doorman or something. God only knows.
2 - Once the utility bill was denied as proper verification, the 30-day time limit on getting Citibank the information verification (remember waiting for the next bill) lapsed. My account was now automatically cancelled.
Poor poor Indian Citibank employee...he really should've called in sick that day, because I went to town.
I realized after my first 4 or 5 minutes of profanity-laden diatribes that this poor guy didn't deserve that. So I spent the next 3 minutes apologizing and telling him that I didn't think it was his fault and that I shouldn't have yelled at him.
After all of that...I finally get it all out of my system, and there's a long awkward pause...
'I'm...I'm sorry sir' the poor Indian call center guy replied
I don't know what happened after that, maybe I drove him to quit, that would be nice.
Anyway, after all that crap, I officially have no Citibank account. I was expecting to get my check any day...and lo and behold, today I got a letter from the good people at Citibank.
It was my first account statement, not my money.
Yeah, Citibank is definitely on the list.