I never wanted to do business with Countrywide in the first place

I’m among the many people who had their personal information sold by a Countrywide employee to some “third party”. I’ll share the first paragraph of the letter.

We are writing to inform you that we recently became aware that a Countrywide employee (now former) may have sold unauthorized personal information about you to a third party. Based on a joint investigation conducted by Countrywide and law enforcement authorities, it was determined that the customer information involved in this incident included your name, address, Social Security number, mortgage loan number, and various other loan and application information.

If this were happening to someone else, it would make me laugh on so many levels. First, the “employee (now former)”. It’s sad that they felt the need to specify that the employee is no longer employed. It’s sadder still that, had they neglected to mention it, many would have assumed that the employee was still there, undoubtedly selling more information to more third parties. Then, he/she “may” have sold. If you aren’t sure that my information was sold, how can you be sure what information was involved? And then to list all these things specifically and then add, “other loan and application information”. Have you ever applied for a home loan? It’s about a 7,000 page application. If this “third party” studies for a bit, he could email my mother and she’d think it was me. My favorite part is that I didn’t even set out to do business with Countrywide. Because of the ridiculous shell game that is the mortgage market in this country, I never went to Countrywide and asked for a loan. Sure, I signed papers allowing my lender to sell the loan or the servicing or whatever they did to Countrywide. But that doesn’t mean I wanted to do business with them. They end the letter with another apology.

We apologize again that this incident has occurred and for any inconvenience or worry it may have caused.

No, not “we apologize that we vet our employees like John McCain vets VP candidates (ZING!)”. Not “we’re really sorry we betrayed your trust and exposed you to identity theft”. Nope, they’re sorry it happened. They’re sorry you’re all freaked out and upset that someone has all sorts of personal financial information about you Apologizing for what happened without ever acknowledging that it was your fault is not an apology at all. Not once in the letter do they take any sort of responsibility. They “take [their] responsibility to safeguard your information very seriously”. Yes, they are very serious about offering two years of free credit protection once incidents like this happen. If that’s taking it seriously, I’d hate to see how they handle problems they don’t feel are very important.

You suck, Citicards

So, I have good credit.  I don’t carry a credit card balance.  I pay my bills on time.  I have a Citi World Dividend Mastercard or whatever the heck it is that I’ve had for maybe four years.  Actually, it was a different card up until a month or so ago, but they changed it, not me, so it’s been one continuous account as far as I’m concerned.  Anyway, I’ve NEVER missed a payment on it.

So I forgot to pay my November bill.  Just forgot to go to their website and schedule a payment.  Those jerks charged me interest, a $39 late fee, and raised my APR.  For ONE missed payment in four years.  They didn’t even contact me to say I was late.  My Discover card emails me and tells me if I haven’t scheduled a payment and my due date is approaching.  But Citi didn’t do that.

The first level CSR didn’t even think they should.  “Oh, we have so many cardholders, I don’t know how we could call them.  It would have to be on the computer.”  Well, of course, moron, I don’t want you to call me.  Why do you think I do as much business with you as I can on your website, and long ago stopped getting paper statements?  I don’t want to talk to you on the phone, or get any regular mail from you.

Anyway, the second level CSR that I got when I asked to cancel waived the fees, gave me some extra cash back bonus temporarily, and dropped my APR to 1.9% for 9 months, then it goes back to the rate I had before I missed the payment.

I’m planning to cancel the card anyway, but they don’t have to know that.

The message here is, when your credit card company does something stupid, call them and complain.  They’ll probably help you out.