Ours is a long and maddening ordeal with First USA, but I'll try to
this as brief as possible. Last spring/summer ('97), we were diligently
paying off our Visa card, which at the time was commanding a meager 5.9%
interest rate on a nearly $6,000 balance. We were making payments as
high as $2,000 each month in order to quickly pay off the balance. In
June, we made a payment of $1,000 (that's one-thousand), however only
$100 (that's one-hundred) was credited to our balance. $100 didn't even
amount to the minimum payment that month. We didn't realize what had
happend until we received our next statement indicating an amount past
due as well as an increase in our interest rate to a whopping 17%
(without notice). Upon learning of this, we immediately contacted First
USA, whereupon we were treated like common criminals, or second-class
citizens at best, because of a mistake made by First USA employees. We
were told our account was past due and that a late charge had been
incurred and that we'd better bring the account up to date. We pleaded
for mercy, explaining over and over again that the mistake was in fact
First USA's and not ours, demanding to speak to non-existent
supervisors, being left on hold for several minutes as a time.
Ultimately, First USA agreed to waive the late fee and lower the
interest rate to 13%. However the account was still considered past due.
We immediately mailed another payment for $250 to bring it up to date.
This time, our payment was credited for $25! A mistake such as this can
happen once, but twice? For a financial institution the size of First
USA to commit such a mistake one time is practically unthinkable, but to
do it twice is unfogivable. We only learned that this had happend
because the nasty phone calls began demanding payment. Each time First
USA called (daily!), we'd explain the whole pathetic story and tell them
to check their records and to leave us alone. This continued for some
weeks. We finally reached our breaking point at which time I spoke to
someone at First USA who finally felt some sympathy for us and not only
did she refund our late fee, she offered us a $50 credit for our
troubles. We felt that the situation was resolved to our satisfaction
and we resumed paying off the account. We paid off the account in
September, but with a twist. We overpaid the amount due. Our interest
rate was raised without explanation to 21.99% in September.
Much to our surprise, two-plus months later, when we attempted to use
the dreaded credit card while Christmas shopping, the card was denied.
We called them and demanded an explanation for how an account that
carries a credit balance of $130 as well as a line of credit of $9000,
could possibly be denied. We were informed that our charging privileges
were revoked because the account was past due. Apparently the folks at
First USA cannot read because our statement clearly indicates that for
two months running we have a credit of $130. We were referred to another
800 number which we've called repeatedly only to reach a recorded
message instructing us to leave a voice mail. We furiously demanded that
the credit on our account be sent to us immediately. We call them each
day to inquire about the status of our credit, demanding payment
Paybacks are hell. Too bad they're too ignorant to even appreciate our
pathetic attempts at justice. I think that Dateline or 20/20 should look
into this. It's incredible that they've gotten away with this crap for
I even had a better offer of a credit card for
11.99% fixed. After six months they (First USA)
tried to raise it to 17.99% variable and I called
and got it reduced to 13.99%. Then when I was
late with a payment they increased it to 21.99%.
I called and they gave me several different
answers. I kept copies of my agreement and no
where did it say that if I was late that they had
the option of raising the interest rate.
To make a long story short:
I am in the Navy. Prior to a three month deployment from my home
Japan to Australia (1993), I wrote First USA VISA and informed them I would
be at sea and mail is next to impossible to receive, let alone within the
same month it was written. My letter was followed up with a phone call
which reaffirmed my status: I would not be billed late charges until after
the three month period.
Once I returned from the deployment, and having used the card I assumed
safe (and late charge free) I found a stack of bills waiting on the pier
with Late Charges!
I called and set it straight, though only after many stressful, long
distance calls (because 800 calls from Japan are not free and try using a
Japanese phone for long distance!). This should not have happened.
Next: I was on a deployment to Guam from Japan. I went into
with some friends and we had coffee and snacks. When the bill came, I
attempted to pay with the Gold First USA card. It was rejected.
Embarrassment is not the word for having to ask the people I invited, to
pay for me! I immediately called First USA from a pay phone and they
stated the account was frozen, though they did not know why. They said it
would be fixed soon, though that did not help me at all for the remainder
of the evening. I canceled the account.
I cut and returned the card with the balance due. This was all
Once I transferred to Guam, I was turned down by Fidelity Investments
to bad credit (R4). I went to the credit bureau, which was in Agana, Guam
and found that First USA had a Master Card with a balance due of
approximately $20 since I canceled the other card. When I contacted First
USA they stated they attempted to contact me, though that is not true, for
the VISA account had my current address (Guam) and no mail had been sent
nor received. They once again acknowledged their fault, removed the
interest charges and I paid the $20.
Approximately two years later and the bitterness having lessened, I
seen the First USA Platinum VISA advertised and thought it would be better
than the Gold, so I applied and was approved (of course).
During the Month of September, 1997, I sent to all services a change
address card and followed up with a call once I reached the states in
October, 1997. I am now assigned to California. On December 8, 1997 I
sent a payment for $1,150.83 which was payment in full (as I always try to
do within the month due.) Be advised my statement from First USA states
closing date of 11/10/97 and payment due 12/05/97. The bill was POSTMARKED
Today, December 15, 1997 I was Christmas Shopping and when I made it
register I tried to use the First USA card, though it was rejected. I
immediately called them on my cellular phone and was told that my account
was late on payment. The phone clerk stated "I will make a note that
payment has been mailed". I asked if I could now but the things the store
clerk was holding. "No, you'll have to wait until the morning".
I will never be embarrassed again by this garbage credit card mill of
worthless, customer service lacking group of idiots again. I personally
wish to let everyone and anyone know what they are doing.
If you are looking for a good credit card company, try American Express.
They have never been a problem for me or my family. When you call them,
they take action, not excuses and empty promises identical to FIRST USA
BANK. I currently hold the Hilton Hotel Optima Card by American Express
(1-800-AXP-1000), Citibank Platinum Select Visa (1-888-217-2595), and
Master Card Platinum Plus (1-800-441-7787). From this moment on, they will
be my ONLY cards of choice.
Do yourself a favor and call the other card companies before you suffer;
make the First mistake.
To contact me with questions e-mail me at SAILOR@MAILEXCITE.COM
nothing to hide about this company and their insufficient services.
Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!
I have had a platinum card for a while - got it with an introductory
rate of 5.9% for 6 months, FIXED thereafter at 12.99%. I recently just
happened to notice a 15.9% on my bill. I called first USA, they told me
that they have the right at any time to raise the interest rate - I
questioned what their definition of FIXED was. The advisor couldn't
explain and actually said that my 15.9% was lower than most credit cards
out there. WHAT! All I want to know is what FIXED means to them!
Needless to say, I'm in the market for a REAL FIXED low interest rate
credit card with no annual fee - thanks for the info and web site!
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