The Age of No Negotiation: Credit Card Edition

As many of you may know, I have ranted before about how you cannot negotiate many things these days. I have had trouble negotiating for a bike at a big box store. After that, I had trouble negotiating my lease at my apartment complex. I am just so tired of businesses not wanting my business. The other day I ran into this problem again with my credit card company (Citi). As many of you may already know, Citi (as well as many other credit card companies) have begun to increase interest rates on all of their cards. Even for those who have been great customers like myself (I made them a lot of money). My rate with them was about 6% and they wanted to increase it to 16%. Now that’s what you call an increase!

So, I got a letter in the mail from them stating that they would increase my rate to 16% if I did not contact them by a certain date. The letter also said I had the option to keep my current rate but there was a catch. In order to keep my current rate, I had to have the card paid off in full by the expiration of my card (June 2009) and then they would close the account for good. I have quite a bit on the card so an increase in the rate by 10% would increase my cost of credit immensely so I figured I would call them and try to work something out. The lady on the other line was very friendly but she said there was nothing that they could do. You had to chose one or the other. I asked to speak to a manager and she said that they would not be able to do anything for me either. She already had several other people requesting a manager for the same thing. I then told her that they were going to lose a customer from all of this and she just did not seem to care that I was leaving them! I told her I would have it paid off by June and to close my account.

I just do not understand what companies are thinking these days. I know the credit market is bad right now, but do you really want to lose a great customer like me? If I were Citi, I would rather keep a good customer and earn a slightly lower interest rate then lose them all together. Especially a customer like myself. I have been with them for about 5 years and have never missed a payment. The went from making some money from me to none at all. I just do not understand!

Has anyone had the same problem with a credit card company? I have always had good luck with them in the past but not now!

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10 thoughts on “The Age of No Negotiation: Credit Card Edition

  1. Mrs. Accountability

    I have never called to ask for the rate to be reduced, but when I got my first 0% interest card, I was (and feel so STUPID about this) late on my first payment!!! I was SO upset. I called, it was on the weekend and there was nothing they could do until Monday. I made it through the weekend and called and they did remove the late fees, and SAID they would lower the rate. But the next bill came, and they had not lowered the rate to 0% again. So I called again and they finally lowered me back to 0%. The lady I talked to initially told me, “Let me tell you a little secret. We work with our customers here. If the rate was raised, ask them if they will please lower it.” This was a Citi card! I have also found it helps to just call back a couple of times, sometimes you will get a nicer person on the phone who will do it for you. But it is possible they cannot due to the economy problems. Will you be able to pay it off? Or better yet, can you find a 0% card to transfer it to? Madison at My Dollar Plan keeps a list of 0% cards on her site.

  2. Adam Post author

    @Mrs. Accountability – I will be able to pay it off in time. I just hate the fact that they have to close the account as it will hurt my credit. It is my oldest card and the one with the highest limit on it. Shame on them!

  3. Michael

    I’m still not sure why you’re upset about having to close the account. Think about it this way… they actually wanted to charge you 10% interest for the right to keep that card. Sounds like robbery to me. Be glad you’re rid of them.

  4. Mrs. Accountability

    It really annoys me that our credit score would be affected by THE BANK making the decision to close the account. I have had two banks close two cards BECAUSE I was using them, in the past two weeks! Do you really think it will be affected if the BANK closes?

  5. Yana

    I don’t think this is new. It happened to me many years ago with another bank. I think they do not believe they will lose you as a customer, in spite of what you tell them – especially now, when it is supposed to be difficult to get credit.

  6. mrsmicah

    That would be frustrating. Do you think they’ll let you keep the card if it’s still paid off? Micah’s oldest card is at 20+% interest, so we don’t use it at all. But since it’s 7 or 8 years old now, we keep it open. I suppose they could eventually close it for nonuse (though if that were a problem, you could make small purchases & pay them off before interest kicks in).

    Or would they automatically close it?

  7. Adam Post author

    @Mrs Micah – Well, I recently paid it off with a loan from a family member. I think I will give them a call to see if the original offer still stands. I really do not care if they increase the interest rate if I will NEVER care a balance again in my life. I would make a small purchase on the card just in case. Many cards are being closed for non-use.

  8. Suzie

    Yes; We have had problems with American Express. I would receive their “snail mail” statement within one day of payment due. No way could I mail a payment. When I called twice to complain they said statements were mailed 8 days before due date and it was my fault we lived in Olympia Washington. We now pay on the internet and that is working out. But AE would not mail any adjustments for me.

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