|by Jason Steele|
A reader writes:
My husband is the primary on our card and I am an authorized user. Last year, I unintentionally enrolled us in account protection at 85 cents/per $100. Of course we never needed the protection and the bill was $1,000.
We just received a letter that they will not refund. The question I have is; wouldn’t my husband have to enroll since this is a change in the account status? I am an authorized user to use the charge only. Every time I call them, they say they need to speak with my husband to verify info.
Do you think we should pursue this?
Thanks for the question. I have written about the case against Discover for surreptitiously adding these protection plans to cardholders accounts. Your situation certainly sound similar. When you say that you unintentionally signed up for this, it is hard to tell if you mean that you signed up by accident or you were actually tricked into giving a response that they chose to interpret as consent.
The fact that your husband is the primary account holder is also significant. Basically, the tactic you should take is to have your husband demand to see proof that he authorized the charge. It is your husband’s account, and as far as he is concerned, he did not authorize anything. The burden of proof should be on them to prove that he himself authorized these charges.
Once you have exhausted this avenue, your next step should be to have him reach out to Citibank Executive customer service. Their information can be found here at the Consumerist web site. Have your husband write them a brief, polite, and firm email informing them that he did not authorize this charge, and that no one else on the account is authorized to make changes to the account. I would also reiterate that you never used this service. Finally, insist on a prompt refund of all charges related to that service. You may also choose to hint that you are willing to contact both the media as well as your state attorney’s general’s office, but you would prefer not to have to take that step. This let’s them know that this is their last chance to satisfy their customer before you contact the authorities and the media.
I am sure we are not talking about a lot of money, but I think this is worth fighting on principal. Composing and sending a brief email should not take much time and effort. The fact that you saw fit to write us here at Ask Mr Credit card certainly indicates this problem is bothering you, and I don’t blame you for trying to get Citi to do the right thing.