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AT&T Universal Card'no annual fee for life'

I am a former AT&T employee, and I've carried the AT&T Universal Card since 1992. When I received the card, I was also guaranteed 'no annual fee for life'. Imagine my surprise when I recently received a notice telling me I would be charged a $30 annual fee beginning in September, 2010. When I called the card issuer, Citibank (South Dakota) to complain, they arrogantly told me the terms of use agreement states they have the right to amend or change any portion of the agreement at their discretion. When I said, "So, 'no annual fee for life' doesn't really mean no annual fee for life, it means 'no annual fee for life until we decide to change our minds', the indifferent rep and his supervisor both continued to refer me back to the terms of use agreement. I'll check with an attorney to see if I have any legal recourse, but in the meantime, I'll be cancelling my card. They recently cut my credit line in half, raised my APR to 20%, and now they want to charge me an annual fee. AT&T and Citibank have my permission to stick my card where the sun don't shine!


  • Bi
    Bill Lewis Jr Nov 17, 2009
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am looking for others who were promised 'no annual fee for life' by AT&T Universal Card back in the 1992 time frame, but who are now facing annual fees. I am trying to gather more input and information for a local TV newscaster who has shown some interest in this situation. Please send comments and any other input you might have to [email protected] Thanks in advance, Bill Lewis

    1 Votes
  • Ap
    APC46 Feb 17, 2010

    I think this has Class Action Lawsuit written all over it. I just received a notice on my ATT Card I have had since the early 90's with a no fee for life promise...i will ping mybuddybilly4 above.

    1 Votes
  • Ha
    Harold II Feb 17, 2010

    I was a charter member of the free for life Universal Card and would agree with the other complaints.

    1 Votes
  • Ah
    ahugh Feb 19, 2010

    The letter AT&T sent me for me to open a credit card account states "free of annual fees for life", "It's Free Forever". Now they are starting to charge annual fees (letter received on 2/17/10). As APC46 wrote above, this has Class Action Lawsuit written all over it. I too will ping mybuddybilly4 above.

    1 Votes
  • Ag
    Agman Feb 24, 2010

    Chalk me up as another long time "member" since the early-1990's who thinks this deal is disingenuous and illegal. I even have statement from the 1990's inmy file cabinet that say, "No Annual Fee For Life"

    0 Votes
  • Ag
    Agman Feb 24, 2010

    I just filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding this issue.

    0 Votes
  • Fe
    Fee Avoider Mar 07, 2010

    My experience with this issue seems to differ than most posted to date. I also received the letter regarding the $60 annual fee dated 2/13/10. On 3/7/10 I called Universal Card at the number listed on my card, not the number listed on the letter. I told the CSR that this card was originally offered as "no annual fee for life". After searching for the appropriate response, the CSR offered to transfer my call to an account manager. After a short time on hold, the manager took my information and I held while she reviewed my account. I mentioned that I had originally signed up as a "charter member". Manager advised that based on her review, she would submit a request to have the changes to the TOS removed from my account, that the process should take 2 - 5 business days and that I would not be billed the $60 annual fee. I was also told that I would receive a letter confirming that this had taken place. So now, I'll wait to see if the letter arrives and whether or not the fee will be billed in April. It would appear that managers now have been given some flexibility in dealing with inquiries of this sort. I have to say that the manager I spoke with was very courteous, responsive, and polite. I was even given the manager's company ID number. After having read the replies left by others, I was very pleasantly surprised with the outcome of my call.

    I was reluctant to close this account due to the negative impact it may have on my FICO score, but I agree that the $60 fee is completely wrong. I would recommed at least calling and speaking to a manager before "opting out" and closing your account if you are concerned about possible negative impact on credit score.

    0 Votes
  • Tr
    trax91 Mar 15, 2010

    Five years ago, AT&T Universal Card sent me some convenience checks with an offer of 0% interest for the life of the loan with no finance fees. I took them up on the offer and wrote out a check for $5, 000, which I have been paying on consistently every month without fail. They probably hate me for doing this to them, but they were the one's foolish enough to place the offer out there, so I do not feel guilty about it one bit. What they probably were not expecting is for me to not be educated enough to know that if I charge anything else on the card, my payment goes to pay off the lowest interest item first, which would leave the higher interest item to collect more and more interest. I have not used the card in the 5 years since, so they haven't made a dime off of me in 5 years. Believe me though, I used to have a lot on the card, and they have made their fair share off of me in the years prior, which is probably why they made me such an unbelievable (never to be seen again) offer to begin with.

    Well, I also got the letter stating they are placing a $60 annual fee on my account as of April 1 2010, and I just went round and round with customer service and they would not budge one bit. I am a charter member as well, and have every bill and document from the early 90's that say "free of annual fees for life". This did not faze them one bit, so I just closed my account. I was told by closing my account, I could no longer then charge anything to it (so what), but my payment terms remain as is unless I default. I have been making payments much higher than the minimum payment to get it paid off sooner, but now I might just make only the minimum payment and force them to keep sending me the bill in the mail every month. Citi/AT&T Universal will NOT get another dime from me. I refuse to do business with a company that backstabs you like they have. I would happily join a class action lawsuit if I found there was one, but now that I closed my account, I know this may not get me anything. They have got to be losing customers by the thousands!

    0 Votes
  • Pa
    PammyMax Mar 20, 2010

    I have held the card since 1995, have never missed a payment, and have been a loyal customer. A few months ago, Citi increased my rate to 25.99 % despite my perfect record with them. I paid off the card. A month later, I too received notification of the $60 annual fee. I called to beg my way out of it, since I didn't want my FICO to be affected by my closing an account with a high limit. The rep was very nice, and politely me told that they couldn't waive the new fee. She suggested that, in order to achieve the $2400 spending amount that would allow them to credit the annual fee, I pay my utility bills with the card, then immediately make the payment to the Universal Card. But the waiver of the $60 won't happen until after the $2400 is reached. So, I would have to pay them $60 up frontl to add extra transactions to my already hectic life .

    I decided to reject the annual fee and close the account. I am sure that Citi won't miss me as a good and loyal 15-year customer. I am immediatly sorry that they also have my mortgage account and at least one account for a recent 0% interest furniture purchase.

    0 Votes
  • Fe
    Fee Avoider Apr 03, 2010

    Follow up to my earlier comments: I was on vacation for a few weeks. Upon my return if found a letter dated 3/8/10 - including "IMPORTANT ACCOUNT INFORMATION" showing "Membership Fee: $0 every 12 months". I have not received my April billing statement yet, but it looks as if what the manager I spoke to said would happen, did happen. I should also mention that last fall, I borrowed $7, 000.00 @ 1.99% for 12 months using a convenience check on this account. That fact may have had an impact on the decision to remove the $60 annual fee. I am paying $500+/month so that the balance will be paid off in time to avoid higher rates. Best of luck to all in dealing with this issue.

    0 Votes
  • Ji
    J in Texas Apr 14, 2010

    Just found out about this $60 fee when I checked my credit card statement online. I moved in January and can't say either way if I ever received this notification. That being said, I contacted Citi and asked them to remove that fee and to close my account. They closed my account, but did not refund my money (perhaps because they already lost me as a customer). As such, I would be happy to join any class action lawsuit.

    0 Votes
  • Po
    POFFinSC Apr 17, 2010

    I just got off phone with them and was able to get this years $60 fee waived. For 45 minutes I explained my understanding of "no fee for life" and listened to them tell me about their operating costs and that all cards are subject to changes in terms and fees. I said that when I entered the agreement stating no fee for life, I did not think I needed a lawyer to understand the only way this could change is if I were to die. I was wrong. Whats to stop them from any kind of promotion such as sign up today and all your purchases in December will be free. Then send out a letter in November to the millions who sign up saying the terms have changed and now you have to pay. Extreme example I know, but I now feel like I'm dealing with some guy on the street selling watches from his overcoat instead of a respected company. I don't know jack about the law, but if bait and switch is illegal how are they getting away with this?

    0 Votes
  • To
    tomterrific2 May 24, 2010

    Contact these guys (from pissed consumer website):

    Lawsuit claims that Capital One engages in unfair and bad faith business practices with respect to its unilateral increases in the interest rates charged to consumer credit card accounts.

    Atlanta, Ga. (PRWEB) August 14, 2009 -- Atlanta attorney E. Adam Webb has filed a class action lawsuit against Capital One Bank alleging that Capital One has operated in bad faith by unilaterally increasing the interest rates on consumer credit card accounts. Capital One has raised rates even for consumers who have always maintained their good standing by satisfying all account requirements, such as making all required payments and not exceeding credit limits. Furthermore, Capital One has taken such action even against those whose credit scores and general creditworthiness have not declined. The suit claims that Capital One, which is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, has engaged in improper and unfair practices in order to increase the revenue it generates via the interest rates imposed on consumer credit card accounts. The case, styled Lemond v. Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and has been assigned Case Number 1:09-CV-01582-RWS.

    According to the suit, Capital One raised the interest rates associated with credit card accounts by over nine percent even though accounts were in good standing and had been at all relevant times. Although Capital One did not purport to impose these new higher rates on balances accrued prior to its notice to consumers, the effect is the same because of the Bank's practice of crediting all payments to the portion of the account balance with the lowest interest rate. In addition, the suit alleges that Capital One's offer that customers could reject this interest rate increase by closing their credit card accounts is inadequate because, as Capital One is well aware, closing a credit line has a negative impact on a consumer's credit score. A lower credit score can cost a consumer thousands of dollars over the term of a home mortgage or other loan. As a result, customers have been forced to accept Capital One's unilateral rate increases.

    The Plaintiffs allege that Capital One is liable for all damages that have resulted from its bad faith and improper conduct, to include the differential in interest payments paid by the class members to Capital One.

    If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this press release, please contact E. Adam Webb., Esq. by e-mail at contact(at)webbllc(dot)com or by calling [protected].

    0 Votes

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