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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Do NOT Bank with Citizens RSB Bank

I have never had such a horrible experience, and want to make sure everybody knows what horrible fraud and ineptitude goes on at Citizens Bank.

I moved away from where Citizens has branches, and have been trying to close my account. I called in mid-Sept asking them to close my account. They said they couldn't until I brought the balance to zero. That turned out to not be true (as in not the only way to close my account), but that's what I was told. I told them to please close the account and cancel my debit card so that if I bring things down to zero, no vendor who might have my card down as the monthly billing source would be able to hit it. I want the account to get to zero, close it, and be done. If any vendors try to hit it, the card would be declined, I'd know which vendors those are since they'll contact me, and I can give them another card.

That was the plan. I got the $25 and change out of the account, and I emailed customer service asking for my account to be closed. I got an email back on 30 Sep saying my account was closed. Great!

I then got a letter saying my account was hundreds of dollars overdrawn. Huh? I logged into online banking to see that a bunch of charges went through on the debit card on that account. The bank ACCEPTED those charges, sent my account into overdraft, and is charging me fees EVERY DAY that it's overdrawn.

I called up to complain about this, and was told that this was my fault. I evidently was supposed to call every company that might have this debit card as the card on file, and have them change it. That's news to me. I've cancelled MANY bank and PayPal debit cards, and once I did that, NO charges went through. Zero. Declined.

But according to Citizen's, this is my fault. I should have known that they would allow charges to go through on a deactivated, cancelled card on a closed bank account with a zero balance. My fault! Of course.

They also told me that a debit card charge or check coming through on a CLOSED account can reopen the account. Huh? Then why bother closing it? I'm closing it to STOP those things. I'm closing it to NOT do any more business with your bank!

I asked to talk to a supervisor. They said one would call me back. Nobody did. I called back 2 days later. The guy I got told me again that this was all my fault, and that a supervisor won't help me. I asked him how to mark my account as fraud, hacked, compromised, and frozen so that nothing else can debit it, he made it sound like he couldn't do that, and it's my responsibility to figure out which vendors might hit that card, and change the cards on file. OK, even if I did that, it's imperfect. They might hit it anyway, I might miss one, etc... Meanwhile, the bank can just STOP the transactions from being approved, so this shouldn't be my guessing game!

I was passed to the "collections" department since now I'm in collections... I have an overdrawn account and I'm just incurring more and more fees. That department was able to freeze my account, and now, any check or debit MasterCard transaction WILL be declined.

WELL WHY THE HELL COULDN'T THEY SET THE ACCOUNT FOR THAT WHEN I CLOSED IT?!?!? Why would you possibly allow my closed account to accept charges and go into overdraft when you COULD just set this freeze on it when I closed it? They made it sound like well, what if you had charges coming in? WELL, I'D LIKE THEM DECLINED SO I CAN GIVE THEM ANOTHER CARD! Why would I want that charge to go through knowing it'll cost me HEAPS in overdraft fees? Any charge that comes in after I close the account is either a mistake or fraud!

So where am I now. Well, I had to file a fraud complaint with another department. The claim is that the debit card transactions that went through shouldn't have. Those charges were unauthorised because the card was cancelled, and I expected/tried to pay those vendors with other cards. That means the overdraft and service fees are being disputed as well. I'll have to fill out an affidavit in a few days (waiting for it in the mail), and send that in. This isn't a huge amount of money. It was about $100 in debit card charges and about $330 in overdraft fees and service charges. I may owe those companies the $100, but it shouldn't cost me $430 and all this time.

So now this is going to take heaps of my time to fight and deal with. All they had to do was really shut things off and really close them. It's easy. I've had MANY banks do that all the time. When I want a debit card shut off and an account closed, you know what? The card should be shut off and the account closed. Nothing else should hit it, debit it, etc... It's EASY for the bank.

Do yourself a favour. Next time you're closing a bank account, ask about this. Ask if any charges can still come through. Ask if the bank can re-open a closed account on their own without talking to you. Just double-check. It seems insane, but please learn from the crap I'm going through now.

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