Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Shiti-Bank Blues

My first credit card was a Shiti-Bank Mastercard.

Over the seven or eight years I owned that card, I learned to loathe Shiti-Bank. Granted, most of my problems stemmed from the fact that I repeatedly sent my monthly payment in a couple days late and they wound up gouging me with a $30 service fee, obviously my fault, but I also had other reasons.

While living in Tupelo, MS, there were a couple of the occasions when I knew my payment was going to arrive late, so I dutifully gave Shiti-Bank a call to let them know this. On these occasions, the Shiti-Bank billing department employees I spoke with told me that they would credit my account so that my payment, while arriving late, would not set off the $30 gouge fee. On both of these occasions, the Shiti-Bank billing department employees I spoke with were lying through there little Shiti-Teeth.

After the second such dishonest gouging, I called them back to complain and spoke with someone in regular Shiti-Bank customer service. This person was sympathetic to my plight, sighed and explained to me that the Shiti-Bank billing department only employs inveterate lying bastards who will promise anything in order to get your check in the mail to them.

So I stopped using Shiti-Bank altogether. Well, almost altogether. I did have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly that billed to my Shiti-Bank card, but I only had to worry about that every few months or so. It wasn't a bad deal.

Jump ahead three years. My wife and I had moved to Hickory, North Carolina, then to Charlotte, then to another address in Charlotte and then to West Virginia. After each of these moves, I phoned Shiti-Bank up to let them know. Well, after almost every move. In the last one—the one to West Virginia—I took the attitude of Screw `em! They've never done anything good for me. Let `em wonder.

Unfortunately, I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to credit finances and I didn't think the Screw Em policy through completely. I forgot my Entertainment Weekly subscription was still billing to that card. And, also most unfortunately, the next billing cycle for my subscription fell just beyond the 6 month cut-off period the U.S. Post Office has for forwarding mail. So I never even saw my credit card statement featuring the charge for my EW subscription, nor the following month's statement featuring my EW subscription and a $30 gouge charge, nor the following month's, etc. Finally, after five months, Shiti-Bank told EW that I obviously wasn't paying up and they cut off my subscription.

With no weekly fix of entertainment news, I finally realized something was up and gave Shiti-Bank a call. I still didn't realize the true horror of the situation, mind you. Because I had assumed that if there were charges on my card, the bill for said charges would have forwarded in the mail and I would have been alerted to them.

Shiti-Bank was only too happy to take my new mailing address and phone number. After they had this info, they were also only too happy to tell me they'd locked off my account and contacted a collection agency on my ass. That was bad enough. Then they told me how much I owed them and I nearly had a heart attack.

It was a life-lesson. After that, I called all my credit cards and made sure they had my contact information and no charges to be paid. I closed all but two of them out. The only credit card company that didn't beg me not to close my account with them was, of course, Shiti-Bank, who'd had just about their fill of me, as I had had of them.

That was all happened nearly two years ago. Since then, I have been a model of credit responsibility. That is, if by credit responsibility you mean "a guy who still occasionally forgets to send his payment in on time."

Yesterday, I received a check from Shiti-Bank. The accompanying letter explained that I had been identified as a member of the class of Shiti-Bank customers who were eligible for a refund under the terms of a settlement agreement reached in a class action lawsuit titled Schwartz Vs. Shiti-Bank.

My check was written for the amount of $0.04. That's four cents to you and me.


revenge is mine.

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