The charge was later revealed to be an "Annual membership fee."
Over the next couple months, despite repeated calls to cancel the account and promises that the charges would be reversed I got another bill for January, 2008.
I opened it on Jan 17, 2008. They claimed I not only owed them $10.00 but now owed a $37.00 late fee and a $0.50 finance charge.
They wanted me to pay $47.50 in charges for a credit card that had carried a zero balance for a prolonged period and which I had been trying to cancel for three months, all the while receiving promises that the charges were being reversed.
I called customer service and reached Joe, Rep ID # 354.
He said the account had been reviewed, had been reinstated and that while the account was closed the balance was still due. He refused to reverse the charges. Apparently one of the reps I spoke to in December when I was trying to cancel the account had decided to reinstate it, thus initiating the $10.00 charge.
Joe considered the matter resolved, and was telling me how I needed to pay the outstanding balance.
I informed him that I was NOT paying the bill, as First Financial was NOT entitled to the money, and that if the charges were not reversed and the account closed I would report credit card fraud to the three main credit reporting agencies.
He still insisted that "The account was already reviewed."
I asked how I escalated this issue. After several minutes on hold he Transferred me to the "After hours Service Department" at 800-733-1732.
I spoke with Patty. When I asked for her rep number she said it was "extension 2321." She said that she had credited the balance and the late fee and that my next bill, which would be cut on Feb 5, would reflect a zero balance.
I asked if there was a confirmation number she could give me, and she said there was none. I asked her when I would could call in to hear the zero balance on the automated phone line. She said she did not know, but said the credits would be processed before my next bill was cut.
I remain, understandably, dubious. I called in at 8:08 pm, about 15 minutes after the customer service calls finished and it still reported my account as "delinquent."
My plan from here on out is simple. I'm going to call their balance hotline, and if I don't hear a "Zero balance" by Monday, then Tuesday, I'm calling their customer service.
If I get another bill, I'm going to do the following:
- Report the incident as credit card fraud to TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
- File a complaint with the BBB.
- File a small claims case against First Financial.
- Run a credit report. If this debacle is reflected in my credit score then the Small Claims case will be for the maximum allowable by Small Claims Court for the damage they're doing to my future financial solvency be attacking my credit rating. I'll also contest it on my credit report with TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
I'm sick of this, I'm sick of these liars claiming the charges are being reversed when they aren't. All I wanted to do was cancel a credit card I no longer used or needed, and First Financial Bank seems to have taken umbrage to this notion.
1st Financial Bank USA
PO Box 1050
N Sioux City, SD 57049