Credit Card Scam: Class Action Anyone?

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Sep 4, 2019
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#1
I was solicited to open a Citi/AAdvantage credit card account that offered 50,000 miles on American if I met certain targets. I did not see any small print saying I couldn't do so but when I met all the criteria to earn the miles and a $100 credit toward Global Entry I was told that I was ineligible. Why? Because I was a previous card holder with AAdvantage that was a lesser card and an altogether different product.

When they accepted my application, ran a credit check and knew my credit history, I was then issued the card but not given any notice that I was ineligible for the incentives. I feel they deliberately declare applicants ineligible for not meeting the "fine print" which, however, was not included with the original offer. I believe they owe me the miles that I earned ($700 retail value)and the $100 credit. They make filing a complaint arduous by not letting you talk with anyone other than the lowest telemarketing representative who repeats the "sorry, there is nothing I can do speech." She then told me I must put my complaint in writing. I did this and received a form letter with the same dismissive comment about the fine print. Though I am but one complaint, I am convinced this is deliberate and others are facing the same issue. What can I do now?
 
Sep 4, 2019
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#3
Thanks for the quick reply, Neil. I didn't receive the fine print. The email was an invitation to apply with a link to the application. There was no fine print there. However, yes, it appears on the website. It seems their not including it in the marketing effort was either an oversight (being kind about it) or a deliberate effort to snag current customers to upgrade. In either case, they should have informed me I was ineligible after doing the credit check. Thanks again for responding.
John
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#4
This is really a consumer affairs issue. You an file a complaint with your State Attorney General. We have several posts here about the exact same thing - people applied, did the spend and then were told the weren’t eligible because they already had a card.

This should be disclosed right on the front page of all advertising that these banks send out.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Do you have a copy of the solicitation to show that there was no fine print? Was there any disclosure or section to click I have read the whatevers......

I have gotten emails to change or "upgrade" my accounts and there is a lot of fine print -- but that is not for an AA card.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 4, 2019
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#7
Hi Chris:
Oddly, I can't find that email. I clicked through to the application and must have trashed the offer email once I did that. I suppose that weakens the case, but I do have the "You've been approved" email and the "Welcome" email. Would they be helpful?
John
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#8
Hi Chris:
Oddly, I can't find that email. I clicked through to the application and must have trashed the offer email once I did that. I suppose that weakens the case, but I do have the "You've been approved" email and the "Welcome" email. Would they be helpful?
John
If you do not have the initial offering email with conditions you have no case.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Apr 3, 2016
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#9
Just an fyi for the future. Many emails are actually downloaded from the sender website every time you read it. They can change the content of the email by changing the linked/download data. Take a copy/photo or print the email when you first get it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,399
17,897
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Just an fyi for the future. Many emails are actually downloaded from the sender website every time you read it. They can change the content of the email by changing the linked/download data. Take a copy/photo or print the email when you first get it.
You also need to take a photo of the terms and conditions as well - that is what really matters.
 
Feb 3, 2019
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#11
Many emails are actually downloaded from the sender website every time you read it.
Can you please elaborate on this? I know the IMAP protocol will retrieve messages from the recipient's mail server as necessary without automatically deleting them afterward (which the POP protocol does), but I'm unfamiliar with any mail protocol that involves the recipient's client automatically going all the way back to the sender's server to check for new content.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#12
I applied for a credit card a year ago, complying with all terms and conditions. The deal was a $200 statement credit and 40,000 airline miles. The confirmation e-mail, received about one second later, contained nothing about any bonuses. The mailed material had nothing about any bonuses. I kept a PDF of the offer, which appeared on-screen as I was buying tickets on that airline. It is date stamped in a way, as it had the flight information on it.

In a month, I had a statement with no dollar credit and only 30,000 bonus miles. Per the credit card company, that's what their computer showed. Per the credit card company, they had about a dozen different offers out at any time, and the offer displayed for a customer was selected by their proprietary software. While talking with the rep handling my case, I was able to generate two different offers in two different browsers.

After an annoying two weeks of going back and forth, complrete with e-mail attaching the PDF, the credit card company finally gave in. The rep asked if I was happy. I said that for $200 and 40,000 miles, and the way they treated me, all they bought was an unhappy customer.

The point for our OP is that one of the problems created in my experience was the total failure by the credit card company to put into writing in the confirmation e-mail the precise terms of the deal.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
Hi Chris:
Oddly, I can't find that email. I clicked through to the application and must have trashed the offer email once I did that. I suppose that weakens the case, but I do have the "You've been approved" email and the "Welcome" email. Would they be helpful?
John
I think it is problematic that there is no proof of lack of disclosure. The devil is in the details with these things.

I am not sure that one can say that just seeing the credit report is enough to know if one qualifies. For instances, some of the offers says things like "can not have received any promotional sign on bonuses in the last 3 years". A credit report may say that someone had a XX mile credit card, but maybe the person did not meet the spending requirements of the promotion -- such as Y dollars in Z months. That is not going to be found on the credit report.

The banks have gotten very rigid with the promotional miles because of the miles churners and bloggers -- the bloggers get a commission for pushing the credit cards and are constantly shilling for them.
 
Apr 3, 2016
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#14
Can you please elaborate on this? I know the IMAP protocol will retrieve messages from the recipient's mail server as necessary without automatically deleting them afterward (which the POP protocol does), but I'm unfamiliar with any mail protocol that involves the recipient's client automatically going all the way back to the sender's server to check for new content.
Google dynamic content email. Basically the concept puts an html link in the email that loads when you open the email. It is used often for coupons. Sometimes when you open an older email that contained a coupon, it says expired offer ( or content not found)
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#15
While this kind of thing is not a scam, in my opinion it's VERY shady. You described it perfectly. The card issuer KNOWS what accounts you've had in the past. It's all right in front of them. All the fine print, BTW, would have come with the card itself. However, none of the bonus cards I've signed up for in the last twenty years have ever put the details of the bonus in writing ... not one, ever. Bonus details are on the original offer, I've never seen them anywhere else. I've learned to keep careful notes when I apply, and I mostly deal with Chase who treats their customers very well. I've never had an issue ... because, of course I know that I can't have another bonus on a certain card on a certain date. How on earth is a regular person going to know about this stuff? I think it's quite unethical.

So we now have a situation where only those of us who read a few travel blogs every day know about this rule. The card issuer doesn't say a word. I think they should be required to tell the CC holder all the details, in writing. This should come with the card, and not in the fine print either. A new cardholder reads the details, goes off to look up the date he cancelled the last card, and can instantly cancel the new CC account.

I remember the first time I didn't make a note about the offer and when the card arrived there was no information, and none to be gained on the website either. I thought then, as now, this is an unethical business practice. It should be changed. But, there's a big "but" ... you haven't lost anything, have you? Did Citi charge the annual fee up front?
 
May 30, 2019
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#16
As someone who used to work in credit card marketing, I believe what happened is below. Please keep in mind that this is speculation based on standard practices -- I wouldn't know without seeing the communications:

The original email was sent either from aa.com or from citi.com. If the later, it was done in a way that citi did not know to whom it was sent. (AA pulls the list of known FF members that do not currently have a Citi AA card but does not share the customer file with Citi.) Citi likely put something in the offer T&C to state that recent or current Citi / AA cardmembers are not eligible for the bonus; however, this mention was likely to be near the Schumer Box on the online application rather than on the solicitation email.

What surprises me is that Citi did not at any time during the enrollment process inform you that you were not eligible for the bonus offer. Once you submitted the application, Citi likely had the right to check your info against their prior customer list. As I understand, other card companies would refuse your application based on prior redemption of the offer type, while some would inform you of bonus offer eligibility before processing your application.
 
Likes: VoR61

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,565
8,790
113
San Francisco
#17
As someone who used to work in credit card marketing, I believe what happened is below. Please keep in mind that this is speculation based on standard practices -- I wouldn't know without seeing the communications:

The original email was sent either from aa.com or from citi.com. If the later, it was done in a way that citi did not know to whom it was sent. (AA pulls the list of known FF members that do not currently have a Citi AA card but does not share the customer file with Citi.) Citi likely put something in the offer T&C to state that recent or current Citi / AA cardmembers are not eligible for the bonus; however, this mention was likely to be near the Schumer Box on the online application rather than on the solicitation email.

What surprises me is that Citi did not at any time during the enrollment process inform you that you were not eligible for the bonus offer. Once you submitted the application, Citi likely had the right to check your info against their prior customer list. As I understand, other card companies would refuse your application based on prior redemption of the offer type, while some would inform you of bonus offer eligibility before processing your application.
While I would like to believe your theory is correct, Skippy, I constantly read stories of people who don't qualify for a CC bonus and are not informed until after they meet the other requirements, such as a certain amount of spending in a given time. Since the CC company runs a credit report, it's beyond me why they wouldn't advise an applicant that he's not eligible for the bonus. Surely they don't think this is going to generate the slightest bit of customer loyalty; much to the contrary.
 
May 30, 2019
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#18
Coincidentally, I received an offer in the mail for the Citi / AAdvantage StepUp card. The enrollment offer is 10,000 bonus miles & $50 statement credit after spending $500 in the first 3 months. The only mention of potential bonus ineligibility is a statement on the back "If you are an existing Citi / AAdvantage cardmember, you are not eligible for this offer on your existing account." Noting that, I'm pretty sure this is not the same solicitation offer or card product that the OP received.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#19
I applied for a credit card a year ago, complying with all terms and conditions. The deal was a $200 statement credit and 40,000 airline miles. The confirmation e-mail, received about one second later, contained nothing about any bonuses. The mailed material had nothing about any bonuses. I kept a PDF of the offer, which appeared on-screen as I was buying tickets on that airline. It is date stamped in a way, as it had the flight information on it.

In a month, I had a statement with no dollar credit and only 30,000 bonus miles. Per the credit card company, that's what their computer showed. Per the credit card company, they had about a dozen different offers out at any time, and the offer displayed for a customer was selected by their proprietary software. While talking with the rep handling my case, I was able to generate two different offers in two different browsers.
United Mileage Plus pulls this nonsense constantly. We get offers all the time for 50K. When we applied we only ended up with 30K and they would NOT budge. "That is the offer that is currently in place."