So I have what I think is an interesting and funny Catch-22 that might give someone a chuckle. And perhaps someone can help me!
I just got a American Airlines Advantage Citibank Platinum Select credit card. Credit limit is something like $20K. I tried to use it for the first time to buy an iPhone (approximately $1000). Card was declined. Not surprising as it's a new card and it was probably flagged as fraud. I called in and was routed to Citbank's fraud department. I verified a bunch of info and then they said what phone number are you calling from? I told them and told them that this is my phone I signed up with. It's a cell phone # and I don't have a landline. They said, "they couldn't verify" the number so couldn't unlock the account. I simply paid with another credit card (American Express). Back at home, I called again but this time to cancel the card. They won't let me cancel because they can't verify the phone number! At first they said there was nothing to do and the account would remain open. When I pointed out the stupidity of this, they offered that I could send signed (and notarized?) copies of drivers license, passport, etc. Until then the account will remain in a "quasi-open" state. Card can't be used, but neither can it be cancelled.
This seems crazy! I've always heard that you should cancel an unused card. And even if that's not true, at this point, I don't want Citibank to have an account for me. The idiots might open it to someone else, or god knows what else.
- Anyone encountered this scenario?
- How can I cancel the card?
- Which are the appropriate authorities to complain to? I don't think they should be wasting consumer time this way.
BTW, the only info I got about the phone # was that some carriers don't allow their numbers to be browsed, so there is no way to verify them. I have T-Mobile (had it for years).
Clarification!!! The problem is not that I entered the incorrect phone number. The second time I called, they verified this. The problem is they can't find the number in some "database" that they look these things up in. I've never had this happen before, even with Citibank. Like I said, it's a real catch-22.
Here is the response I got from Citibank via by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as suggested by Levi. Despite Citibank stating on the phone multiple times that couldn't and wouldn't close my account, one email to CFPB and the account was closed!
Citi(R) / AAdvantage(R) Platinum Select(R) Account ending in XXXX
Dear Mr. YYY:
We have received your inquiry that was submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding authorizations that were declined on your above-referenced account.
I certainly regret any inconvenience or difficulty you may have experienced when your transaction was declined. I also regret that your contacts with our representatives were not completed to your satisfaction. The protection of our cardmembers is a high priority, and verification policies and programs, such as the Fraud Early Warning (FEW) Referral System, are in place to ensure that protection. When authorizations are requested that meet certain criteria, a block may be placed on the account or the charge may be declined.
Upon receipt of your inquiry, the block was removed and your account was closed as you requested on January 19, 2016. As the quality of the service we provide our customers is of great importance to us, your comments related to our verification process have been forwarded to management for review.
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your inquiry.
YYYYY ZZZZZZ Executive Response Unit