Monday, March 27, 2006

The Citibank Saga Continues

In my last post to this blog I reported on the UPS (Brown) situation that compounded my Citibank ATM card problems.

Citibank arbitrarily shut off my ATM card and shut me out of computer access to my bank account. I have heard that I was only one out of many more that this happened to . When I told Citibank that the new card they sent my was lost in the bowels of UPS somewhere, and in spite of what was reported I did not receive it or sign for it. So they sent another one to my local branch bank.

My local branch told me the card had arrived, so I went see them and pick up the card. I was told that the card was ready to go and already had my pin number included.

But when the teller at the ban tried to activate the card, it would not work. She had a bad cold and coughed a lot and was not feeling well. After many attempts, she had me call Citibank on the bank’s phone. They had a direct line to Calcutta. Either that or the guy on the other end of the line was doing a perfect imitation of the actor Ben Kingsley in the movie, Ghandi.

Ghandi could not activate my card, either. He worked and worked on it some 10,000 miles away, interrupting the process to talk to his supervisor a couple of times and then pronounced the job as completed. He wished me a nice day and ended the conversation. I asked the teller to test his handiwork. She could not get the card to work.

The teller and I spent some five minutes on my replacement card. This required many applications of her finger to a pad that was checking her fingerprint. That check was unreliable as well. But she finally pronounced the job as done. I went outside the bank to its ATM window and fearfully placed the card in its slot.

It worked! Despite all UPS and Citibank could do, I actually possessed an ATM card that worked.

Then I had to go home and call a special telephone number that would gain me access to my bank account via the Internet. It was back to India again, only this time with a female Ben Kingsley who had a high voice and spoke very fast. Ms Ghandi and I were able, after a long time to break the code so that I could access my own bank account.

All was in order with my finances. And I am developing some fluency with Hindi.

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