Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bottom of the News… Friday, May 15, 2009

Good morning my fellow Rotarians. Well today, with several of our financial institutions on the verge of extinction, I thought I would give you a real story about a credit card customer service experience that my mom and brother experienced after my dad passed away. Two months following my dad’s passing, my Mom received his Citibank bill with services charges for two months and they added late fees, plus interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when Dad died, but within 60 days it was around $60.00. So my brother Brian, the bold one, told my mom he would handle the call to Citibank. Here is the exchange:

Son: 'I am calling to tell you my dad died back in January.'
Citibank: 'Sir, the account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'
Son: 'Well, okay then maybe you should turn it over to collections.'
Citibank: 'Since it is two months past due, we already have.'
Son: So, what will they do when they find out my dad has passed away?'
Citibank: 'Either report his account to fraud division or to the credit bureau, maybe both!'
Son: 'Do you think God will be mad at his?'
Citibank: 'Excuse me?'
Son: 'Did you listen to what I was telling you - the part about dad being dead?'
Citibank: 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone:
Son: 'I'm calling to tell you that my dad died back in January with a $0 balance on his card.’
Citibank: 'I am sorry sir, the account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.'
Son: 'You mean you will collect from his estate?'
Citibank: (Stammer) 'Are you his lawyer?'
Son: 'No, I'm his son and I can give you the name of my lawyer, if that would help.'
Citibank: 'Actually, that is not necessary, but can you fax us a certificate of death?'
Son: 'Sure.' (Fax number was given)

The next day the son calls back after Citi gets the fax:
Citibank: 'Sir, I apologize, but our system just isn't setup for death. I don't know what more I can do to help you.'
Son (now somewhat irritated…): 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing him, he won't care.'
Citibank: 'Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.' (And my brother is asking himself… ‘Do these guys get it?!?’)
Son: 'I have another idea, would you like his new billing address?'
Citibank: 'Yes, that would be very helpful...'
Son: 'Okay, it is Lowden Memorial Cemetery, Cedar Street, Lowden, IA, Plot #69.'
Citibank: 'Sir, excuse me, but that's a cemetery!'
Son: 'And so what do you do with dead people on your planet???' (and he hung up in disgust!)

The moral of this story… Cancel your credit card before you die because some customer service people may be clueless! Did anyone mention a bailout? And that is the Bottom of the News for Friday, May 15, 2009!