Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I call shenanigans on Citizen's Bank

I call shenanigans on Citizen's Bank

As I was printing out my bank statement today, I took a look at my 'my rewards' points. Realizing that at 23000 I had enough to actually do some thing with the points I decided to log on and see if Citizen’s had added anything new to the catalog. Normally I look at the catalog in the bank branch, and most of not all of the minor decent rewards come after 20 thousand points.

And thus did the shenanigans begin.

First shenanigan

- The only way to look at the - my rewards catalog www.citizensbank.com/rewards is with Internet Explorer or Netscape. Who still uses IE to surf the web? Netscape still exists? Didn’t Netscape go the way of the dinosaurs at the end of the last century? As a loyal Fire fox 3 user I don’t even have either program on my computers. However my choices were not look, or well not look, since nothing but the side bar shows up on Fire fox.

Second shenanigan

I decided, wisely I discovered to back up the desktop before installing IE. It took far longer than I expected to download as I had to refuse every hanger on, extra program, computer check and surf assistant IE comes with before the program would finish installing. This leads to the final shenanigan, which I will share in sequence.

Third shenanigan

Looking at the few items available for 20,000 points gave me an idea of how valuable my points are. I could get a five-dollar gift certificate to just about any of their partners, for only TEN dollars in service charges. Which, as far as I can tell is more than the gift card would be. Lets see, five dollars in gift cards, for ten dollars in service charges. How dumb do they think I am?

Very apparently…

Fourth – Fifth – Sixth and Seventh shenanigan

I can for 20,000 points have 50 dollars added to my savings account. Provided I call the - my rewards company and speak to an operator. Fifty dollars sound like a pretty good deal, spend several thousand dollars on bills, and get fifty dollars back. Ok, sounds interesting, I make the call.

After a short wait, short being not long enough for me to have second thought, I am connected to a person named Schniqua. Or something like that, I decide not to ask her to spell it. I figure either this call center is in the Deep South, or someone is really having a laugh at the expense of some people from the other side of the world. I tell her what I want, and the questions start. Odd questions that should have made me realize I was in for a scam. Truly, I have not really been all on my game, of late.

First she wants my credit card number from my Citizen’s Bank card. Then my checking and savings account number. Not sure why she needs all these numbers, so I ask. Well, there is a service fee for the rewards program - five dollars - which they don’t get from the bank. Oh no, they get from me. Or rather they get it from my credit card, via Master Card via my bank, via me. Four steps, which they take in seconds, kind of…

In seconds the charge appears on my Master Card, and to my checking account. Except not apparently to Myrewards. They have to wait until the end of the billing cycle, which starts TODAY for them, in order to see the five-dollar charge. Once they see I have paid the five-dollar charge, in August, they can authorize the fifty dollars to transfer to my bank account.

In September…

Yes September, the September savings account statement will show the transfer. Or I can check my bank account and see when it arrives. Or just wait until the last week of September. So, they get their money now, and I get my money, if I am lucky sometime around the end of the baseball season.

Why the delay, because the person who charges the bank, is a different person than the person who charges the program. Or something like that. She tried to explain the number of people involved in the process, but my head already hurt from the rest of the bureaucracy I had to deal with today. So I gave up.

I don’t understand why, in this day and age of instant money transfers why everything to do with Citizen’s takes so long. It takes fourteen days to pay a bill on line, a slower turn around time than mailing a check. It takes seconds for them to take money from me, and weeks to give it back.

And the final shenanigan

After all was said and done, I logged out of IE, and tried to go on line again to check my Master card account. Fire fox would not open, because IE had made itself the only program I could use to access the Internet. Good thing I had taken a quick backup of my computer before installing IE. The only way to bring Fire fox back up was to go to the backup and erase any and all changes made to the computer before installing IE.


  1. Thanks for the informative post. I dread things like this sometimes. It's rather confusing. What I do is just run my computer through a computer check up at one of those free websites like http://www.pcaholic.com.

  2. are you serious? everyone knows that's a scam. and more importantly... you can't really believe that you can't have both Firefox AND internet explorer running at the same time, right??

    When you installed it, you left a setting checked giving it permission to be your default browser. instead of "reverting to a backup" (ridiculous) you could have went into internet settings and selected firefox as the default.

    but i guess that was also citizen's fault, too!


  3. It seems like a scam. I accumulated 36,000 points and here comes October - I requested to redeem my points for three $50 credit to my savings. Guess what? Citizens bank cancel my 36K points but "take note of this" - they agreed to gave it back to me as 19K - so instead of getting three $50 credit, I can only get one $50 credit to my savings. I think this an absolute customer upset. Why would you fool a customer by giving points and you take it back? This bank is treating the customer like an idiot.


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