Citibank Malaysia’s service is useless for me

Filed Under (branding, customer service, financial, services) by rinnah on 27-07-2011

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I am never banking with Citibank Malaysia ever again. EVER.

I have always had the opinion and expectation that the services of the financial industry are in a way lesser than their counterparts in say, the hotel and tourism industry or the food & beverage industry. I try to be a good customer and stay within the guidelines set out by the banks. However, this recent incident with Citibank Malaysia shows that they consider themselves to be almighty and that their customers are worth nothing to them.

I have been banking with Citibank Malaysia since 2007. First with a savings account and then in 2009, a credit card.

citibank shell visa
Image credit

For reasons only known to themselves, Citibank decides to terminate their existing Citibank Shell Silver Visa (the one above which I have) and forcibly upgrade all of their customers to a Citibank Shell Gold Visa.

I did not request for this upgrade. I was perfectly happy using my existing credit card.

The first inkling I had about this was when a customer service personnel called to ask if I had received my new upgraded credit card. I told her that I had not requested for any upgrade nor had I received any card (I assumed this was one of those things where the bank increases your credit limit and upgrades your card at the same time). She explained about the forced upgrade due to the termination of the Silver card program and the changeover to the Gold card program. I was not keen on this but she assured me that all of my auto-payments would be seamlessly transferred over to the new card. The termination of the Silver card program would take place beginning 30 June 2011.

Doesn’t seem like much problems, right? Here’s where the fun begins.

I repeated again during that same call that I had not received any new credit card. The customer service personnel did some checking and told me that the card had been sent to my address in Cheras. Immediately, I told her that that was not the correct address as I had moved to Kota Damansara in June 2010 and I had also informed Citibank of my change in address back then. Being concerned that the new credit card had been sent to the wrong address where it could be used for fraud, I told the customer service personnel to cancel that card and re-issue a new one using my Kota Damansara address.

Two weeks passed and still no new card was sent to me in Kota Damansara.

I received another call from a different customer service personnel, a guy this time, asking me why I had not yet activated my new credit card. I repeated the story of what had happened previously and he said he would look into the matter.

Fast forward another two weeks. Having received my existing credit card statement, I went to Citibank over the weekend to make my usual payment via my savings account. The existing credit card had been delinked from the savings account, thus I could not make any payment transfer.

So, today I made a call to Citibank’s customer hotline.

I explained the situation to the customer service representative in detail again, stressing that I had not received the new upgraded credit card and that I had asked for it to be re-issued to me at my existing address in Kota Damansara. I was informed that the old/existing credit card had been routinely terminated on 30 June 2011 and there was nothing shown in their system about any new credit card being issued. Apparently my earlier conversation with the first customer service personnel was recorded as ‘customer does not believe the call is genuinely from Citibank’ and the conversation with the second customer service personnel was not recorded at all. There was nothing recorded about the fact that I repeatedly stressed to the personnel who had called earlier on the wrong address and my request for the card to be reissued to my new address. And since the deadline for the termination and upgrade was on 30 June 2011, there was nothing else Citibank would do about this matter. Apparently, if I want to continue to be a Citibank customer, I need to reapply all over again for the credit card as a new customer. So, all the previous years with Citibank are not regarded as customer loyalty?

From my customer’s point of view :
1. I did not ask for this upgraded credit card.
2. I agreed to the upgraded credit card since I have auto-payments billed to the card and I do not want any disruptions to occur.
3. I informed the bank on my change in address way back in June/July 2010. It is not my problem that your system data is not updated and that you have sent the new credit card to the old address.
4. When I was told that the card was sent to the old address, I informed not one, but two different personnel that the address is wrong and for the card to be reissued to the new address.
5. Since I have already informed the bank of the mistake that has happened, I expect the bank to rectify this without further inconveniencing their customer.

Citibank, your customer service personnel (I will not name names since all of your staff seem to be trained along the same lines) are the most self-righteous I have ever met. Every single one of them insincerely parroted the line, “Miss, I am so sorry for your experience, BUT (insert reason why it is not Citibank’s fault this incident has occurred)…” They did not even listen to what I was trying to tell them about the chronology of events above. Instead, they kept on interrupting me with the same parroted line above.

Frustrated, I asked each one of them what they are going to do to rectify this matter. All gave the same canned response that nothing can be done already since the deadline for the forced upgrade has passed. None of them were interested in helping me solve this matter. They only wanted to make sure that they recorded this incident as ‘not my (Citibank’s) fault’.

The end result of 6 different phone calls with 4 different staff are :
1. Citibank did not update their system data when I changed my address in June/July 2010 as my primary address is still shown to be the Cheras address.
2. Citibank already issued the notification on the Silver card termination on multiple occasions (in February 2011, May 2011 and the new credit card in June 2011) to the wrong address.
3. Since the termination deadline expired on 30 June 2011, there is nothing else they can do in the system to reissue the credit card.
4. If I want to continue using Citibank, I will need to reapply all over again for a new credit card and undergo the normal waiting and approval process.

Note that nowhere during all the multiple calls with Citibank’s staff did they offer to update my address even after I told them repeatedly it is the wrong address as I no longer live in Cheras.

How’s that for customer service?

Needless to say, I will be closing my accounts with Citibank Malaysia at the earliest possible date I can return to Malaysia and do so. I’d rather have the inconvenience of switching around all my auto-billing than to continue with this bank that does not do anything for me.

I’ll take my business elsewhere – where hopefully it will be appreciated better and with less hassle.

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