To Whom It May Concern:
Below is how Citi Bank (via their Citi Card) took advantage of my family.
In March of 2003 I joined the military. The following November, my wife and I welcomed the arrival of our second child (a daughter). However, within days of her birth we discovered she had a very rare condition which required constant medical attention and equipment. My wife had to quit her job in order to receive the necessary training to take care of her if/when she was able to come home. During this time we used a Citi Card to assist with our normal living expenses and to help with the added expenses associated with our new reality. At the time I was stationed in Monterey, CA but our daughter was in Neo Natal Intensive Care in San Francisco (2 hrs away). Therefore, my wife maintained a residence in downtown San Fran while I maintained a residence at my duty station (no choice). I would travel quite often to and from San Fran to ensure my wife could get away and clear her head from the stresses associated with our situation. In May 2004 our daughter passed away. During the 6 months of her life, we accumulated $9,100 of Citi Card debt. In Dec 2004 we requested Citi Card close our account and stop interest accrual so we could financially recover and get our lives back. NOTE: We also had two other credit cards with separate companies that we used during this time. On my meager $16,000 a year military income, we couldn't dig ourselves out of this debt without some sort of relief.
Our other credit card companies gladly obliged and we were able to pay them back within two years. However, Citi Card refused to consider anything. We enrolled with a credit counseling company which specialized in negotiating deals. Citi Card ignored them while continuing to jack-up our interest rates (29%). By Jan 2007 we were nearing a $17,000 debt. After selling a home in May 2007, we offered Citi Card $9,000 cash and requested an option to make payments on remainder. DENIED! September 2007, offered $4,000 cash and requested an option to make payments. DENIED! Finally, in October 2007 when our debt balance was $20,000, they accepted $4,000 cash and agreed to monthly payments of $350 (at 5% interest).
PLEASE BE WARNED!!! Citi Bank/Card has no room for relief when life throws you an unfortunate/desperate situation. Please note, my wife and I took our financial obligation to Citi Card seriously and had/have every intention of fulfilling our obligation. However, we do not feel Citi Card dealt fairly. Additionally, continuing to charge nearly 30% interest without accepting any offer from us to settle this debt is quite unconscionable. Well done, Citi Card! You sure took me there.