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Is Citibank Calling or Harassing You?

Debt Collector Profile: Citibank, N.A.

Name: Citibank

Headquarters: 388 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013 

Phone Numbers: (212) 559-1000 (Citigroup, Inc.). 

CEO: Michael Corbat 

Annual Revenue: $74.3 billion 

Website: https://www.citigroup.com/citi/ 

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/company/citi/ 

Number of Employees: About 200,000 (Citigroup, Inc.) 

Introduction:

Founded in 1812, Citibank is headquartered in New York City and maintains over 2,500 branches throughout the world, including more than 700 in the United States alone. It is one of the largest full-service banks in the world. Most of these branches are located in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Miami, Mexico, Poland, Russia, India and the United Arab Emirates.   

Better Business Bureau Complaints:

The Citbank BBB profile displays an “F” rating, which is extraordinary when you consider that the BBB regularly confers “A+” ratings on businesses whose customer reviews are overwhelmingly negative. Citibank has had 4,642 BBB complaints closed in the last 3 years (about 1,200 of which were related to billings and collections) and has had 2,041 complaints closed in the last 12 months. 225 customer reviews appear on the BBB site, most of which are negative. Citibank is not BBB accredited. 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Regulatory Actions Against Citibank:

Citibank is no stranger to administrative sanctions. Following are three examples of occasions when regulatory agencies found Citibank's activities sufficiently inappropriate as to merit civil sanctions and consumer compensation: 

2015: Deceptive Marketing Practices:

In 2015 it was ordered to pay $700 million in compensation to nearly 9 million customers who were harmed by its illegal credit card practices. It was also subjected to civil penalties of $70 million -- $35 million to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The Citibank sanctions were imposed because the company was found to have engaged in deceptive marketing practices, such as misrepresenting the amount of costs and fees and charging customers for services they did not receive. Citibank also charged nearly two million consumer accounts “same-day payment fees” that were often completely unnecessary. 

2016: Illegal Debt Sales:

The CFPB reached a settlement with Citibank in the form of a consent order that required Citibank to pay a $3 million penalty and return nearly $5 million to consumers in compensation for (i) illegal debt sales (ii) illegal debt collection practices and (iii) failure to promptly forward consumer payments to the buyers of the debt. 

The debt sales that triggered the sanctions included charged-off credit card accounts that Citibank had sold to customers between 2010 and 2013. After Citibank designated some of these debts as unlikely to be repaid, it sold these debts to debt collection agencies, who then attempted to collect on the debts. Specifically, Citibank's improper behavior included the following: 

  • It exaggerated the annual percentage rate applicable to the accounts by more than one percent, presumably to render the accounts more attractive to debt buyers. Consumers paid nearly $5 million based on this overstated annual percentage rate. 
     
  • It delayed forwarding nearly 14,000 consumer payments, totaling nearly $1 million, to the debt collectors it sold its consumer accounts to. Because of this delay, consumers were subjected to debt collection efforts even after they had paid their accounts in full. 
2016: Falsification of Court Records:

Citibank and two debt collection law firms it hired were also sanctioned for falsifying court records in certain New Jersey debt collection cases. The falsifications involved altering changing dates and debt amounts on affidavits. In response, the CFPB ordered Citibank and the law firms it hired to refund $11 million to customers, and to cease collection activities on $34 million in debt affecting 7,000 customers.  

Examples of Some of the Lawsuits Filed Against Citibank:

Most consumer debt disputes involving Citibank never make it to court. The reason for this is simple -- Citibank includes arbitration clauses in its credit agreements, on a “take it or leave it” basis. Once a customer has signed this agreement, under most circumstances he is barred from filing a lawsuit against Citibank and must resort to arbitration (a private “rent-a-judge” proceeding) instead. Nevertheless, some lawsuits have proceeded against CItibank, including:.

Call Paul Mankin Whenever You Decide It's Time to Start Fighting Back 

The biggest problem with consumers enforcing their legal rights against creditors and would-be creditors is that they are unaware of their legal rights. In fact, if the debt is legitimately owed, they might not be aware that they have any rights at all. Paul Mankin knows your rights, however, and he possesses rich experience in defending them.. In some cases you may even be able to turn the tables and demand money from your creditor for abusive behavior.

If you are the victim of debt collection abuse, or suspect that you might be, contact the Law Office of L. Paul Mankin, APC for a free consultation. We can be reached by telephone at 1-800-219-3577, or online by filling out our online contact form. 

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