|On January 3rd I tried to purchase a 48" Kenmore Refrigerator/Freezer from my local and very good Sears retail store. Tried to use the credit card account I'd opened last summer to purchase the Kenmore washing machine.
1. First refusal said my account had not been activated. Strange since I'd used it at another Sears store in August.
2. Said since I was doing a phone order my account had to be validated. I was not in the state of my billing home residence so I gave them my cell phone number to call. Said they'd call within 48 hours.
3. No call and I really needed my refrigerator so I called my store back and used my American Express credit card. Purchase completed.
4. Received a call from India (of course) trying to valid whether or not my over-my-credit-limit phone call purchase was fraudulent or not.
5. Neither I, nor the Sears store when they called the credit card people, had been told anything about a credit limit problem.
6. I told them I wanted to speak to someone in the USofA. They didn't know how to reach anyone there.
7. So I called the first number back, the woman who told me it was an account activation problem back.
8. The man I got the 2nd time told me it was both a phone order validation problem and a credit limit problem and validations could only happen at a home phone number, no cell phone calls allowed.
9. I asked to speak to his supervisor, a very nice man named Bob in Boise, Idaho Citibank call center. He couldn't help me either. I asked him to have people from India quit calling me. The purchase had been made (with another credit card) and Sears/Citicard was no longer involved.
10. He said they wouldn't call and bother me anymore.
11. The calls continue; yesterday a woman from the Philippines called about the same fraud issue. She said she worked for Sears, not Citibank.
I view this as a tragedy for our nation. I purchase an expensive appliance the first week of the new year, at a retailer in a rural location and Citibank tries to kill the sale at every level.
Sears and their retail employees, including the hardworking delivery men, are trying to make a sale. I'm trying to make a purchase and actually have the money to do so; not everyone in America currently does.
Gross imcompetence and miscommunications from the Citibank staff people tried to keep me from doing so. Most people would've given up and not made the purchase from Sears. I really wanted to give them the business and appreciated all the information and help they'd already provided to me.
Citibank is Sears vendor; they are hurting Sears/KMart client relationships and negatively affecting their ability to build revenue. Sears/KMart should take this nightmare situation (which according to all the other reports I've read is not an isolated event) to their vendor, Citibank, and find a way to prevent their customers (remaining and lost customers) from this kind of service.