Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More reasons to be mad

I have something else with the name AT&T on it, my AT&T Universal Card.  Actually, it's a MasterCard administered by Citibank.  I've had the account for 21 years (that's probably my longest credit relationship ever--I paid off my home in 20 years and the owning bank changed a couple of times as well).

Just as a note: I've been more happy with the website for Universal Card than any other, even after the experience I describe here.  They've all given me grief more than once...  It's hard to say who has been the worst.  But I'd still say Universal Card has been the best, and it's been the best for a long time.  What I describe below is a typical snafu.

I recently took advantage of one of their 0% interest offers to refinance nearly $7000 of debt that was on a Chase card.  Yes I routinely swap debt from one creditor to another to maintain overall rates near 0%.  I know at some point the music might stop, but while it plays we should keep on dancing.  The banks of course know we will do this, in fact they encourage us to transfer balances from other banks.  They may refuse to transfer balances from other cards if it's the same bank, however.  I keep balances on a few non-zero rate cards simply because they are important relationships, like my credit union (which is fairly low interest anyway) or my Chase business card (that card gives me the lowest rates of any card I have, so I park extra negative balances there without too much concern, even if it's not a zero percent rate, and zero percent rates are almost always really about 3% because there is almost always a transfer fee of 3% or more).

Today I got email saying I had a message from AT&T about my account.  I clicked on the link and it took me to a login page.  After logging in, it sat with busy wheel for a long time.  I opened another window and tried to go directly to Universal Card online as I have several times a month for the last 13 or more years.  In that second window, I get message saying "You have to have baking relationship with citibank to access this part of the site.")  I'd never seen that message before, and it likely had something to do with trying to get my message through the first link.

Well I called the number on the back of the card.  First I had (no other choice than) to enter all sorts of account and verification information.  Finally I got a synopsis of my account balance, etc., but nothing about this "important message."  But I did finally get opportunity to ask about "something else" by saying "something else."  So then I got a human representative.  She was nice but couldn't do anything about website issues.  So then I was transferred to technical support.  Technical support had me shut down my browser and try again.  Geez I should have thought of doing that first.  It worked.

But then, within the Account Online, I can't find anything about this "message" I was supposed to see.  My secure messages folder in Account Online has no messages at all.

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