Problems with Citibank iPod promo

Discussion in 'iPod' started by RHutch, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. RHutch macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2003
    Amsterdam, OH
    This post concerns problems I have had with the iPod mini promo from Citibank. If you have had similar problems or any other problems, please reply or send me a message.

    I, like many other people, signed up for a Citibank checking account at the end of 2004 to receive a free iPod mini. The promo was for a retail value of $249. It was also supposed to arrive within 90 days of completing the initial requirements.

    So, here are my problems:
    1) The mini did not arrive on time. I had to call at least 2 or 3 times about it and was told that it could take another 30 days. I got my mini 15 days late.

    2) The mini that I was sent would have been worth $249 in December, but it's only worth $199 now. They sent me a new 4 GB mini (with the extended battery life), but this is not worth the $249 that they say.

    For anyone who says that I should just be happy with a free mini, keep the following in mind. They sent two notices with the mini that say that if I fail to satisfy the rest of the requirements, they will deduct $249 from my account, "the retail price of the iPod mini". So they will take $249 from me for something that is only worth $199.

    I called about this tonight and was told, "Well, it cost us $249 when we bought them." I explained to the guy at Citi that this particular mini never cost $249, but he didn't care. There is no way that they are paying $249 for these iPods. Regardless, they promised me something 5 and a half months ago that had a retail value of $249. To give me something now that is worth $199 is like charging someone $2500 now for a Performa because that was how much it used to be worth. Or imagine if you ordered a new Dual 2.7 GHz G5 from Apple today, that they didn't ship it for months, during which time the price had dropped, but they still charged you the old price. If they had shipped me an iPod at the end of December that was worth $249, I would have been fine with it, even though newer, better ones were introduced shortly thereafter. But to wait 5 and a half months to get it, I should get something that is worth $249 NOW.

    I have satisfied all of the requirements in the agreement: opening deposit amount, direct deposit, pay two bills online per month. However, Citi has broken two parts of the agreement, timeliness and retail value. Please let me know if this has happened to you.
  2. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    You could see it either way. Citi had no way of knowing when the iPod would get updated. They offered you a free $249 iPod, and that's what you got. They didn't say WHEN it would be worth that. It WAS worth that at the time you took them up on the offer, but obviously both of you knew it wouldn't be worth that forever. You knew it would take a while to fulfill your account obligations, and Citi never made any promises or even any assertions that you would be getting what would be, *at the time you received it*, worth $249. It's debatable. I would say you're right, being upper middle class sucks, and leading a life of sacrifice and free iPods (whatever they are worth) is truly hard. All of us here at MR sympathize with your hopeless, screwed-by-the-corporations predicament... :rolleyes:
  3. nytesky macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2005
    Same thing happened to me

    I signed up for the same promotion and was told that I would get the iPod mini by late April or early May. I got mine today. And it is the 4 GB with the biggest post-it I have ever seen that says they will take $249.95 if I don't complete the promotion. But I should know by now that the largest corporations like Citibank don't care about sub-millionare customers like me. I am nothing to them.

    So instead trying to get even somehow (although I would love it if there was a class action lawsuit from this promotion), I'm going to vent for a few days, then let it go. After the 12 months is over, I am gone. And I don't plan to ever go back. They will be nothing to me too.

  4. consumer macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2005
    non-business minded citibank

    i have not received mine for ages only to find out this June (you probably know how to count months - 5 months passed by since the opening of an account). yeah, i paid few bills by check, haven't really noticed that they had to be made online. however, i talked to customer service million times asking for my ipod and they were times I could repair my mistake and still meet the online payment requirement. unfortunately, customer service was totally detached from the offer, no courtesy of reminding and most of the answers "oh we don't really know well b/c another company is sending ipods out and you should receive it shortly." then, all of a sudden on my million times request they sent me a letter saying "sorry you disqualify haven't met your requirements." to my request of extending the timeframe in which i could comply with requirements since also the fault was theirs in terms of communique and customer service they answered "no". although fault is 50/50 the bank is definitely non-business minded, uncooperative and uncourteous. It's understandable why people label it the bad bank. Beware of their account marketing promotions.
  5. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    if you have to fight this for like a year, think was it worth it? All the time i spent to get what 50$. i know 50$ is nothing u thorw away, but if you fight this and you lose, u lost all that time. Just be happy with the Mini, And they could have ordered the 4gb when they were 250 then apple gave them the 199. SO would you rather have had the 250 with less battery power or one that cost 199 but is better? The 199 one for me.
  6. erickg macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2004
    Of course the new mini doesn't include the firewire cable or the AC adapter (I believe it charges via USB2.0)... but yeah, the battery life improvement makes a world of difference and for me would outweigh the other two accessories.

  7. myty1 macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2005
    I've encountered the same problem and I'm still battling with them. They tell me that their investigation team will get back with me within 5 to 7 business days or 30 calendar days (depending on which instance of a phone call placed to their Call desks) I've waited through each of the promises of resolution with no resulting communications. I've not even received my mini yet! If there were enough of us I'd say we should pull up a class action or something (I'm no lawyer so I don't know what's involved with that), it comes down to the fact that I feel completely helpless and held hostage (because they'll "charge me 249" to my account for not paying 2 bills online ontime) and I've not even got the ipod.

    At this point i've escalated to get a phone call from the manager's manager. I hope i can work up the food chain on this one.

    :mad: :(
  8. soapboxhero macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2005
    Nothing is Free

    Unfortunately, this Promotion has been a nightmare for me since the beginning. I signed up on 12/31, jumping through ever hoop imaginable, and everything that could have went wrong has gone wrong. Now...they are telling me that it is under investigation. (almost 7 complete months later with NO ipod) Why..... because they're saying the promotion code wasn't written on the application. Why, you may ask, didn't I put the promotion code on the application? Well...I did. But...their server was having problems on 12/31. So...just to confirm, I re-applied by phone (per their reccomendation) explaining the whole situation to the phone agent. The phone agent took my information, along with promotion code, and completed my application. But- now they're saying he didn't write the promotion code on the application. (His mistake..Right?) It may be, but they're saying it's my problem.... and that just the tip of the iceberg concerning all of the problems I have had with the account. I've learned my lesson. Nothing is Free. The $200 would have well been worth the aggravation. I would never ever do anything with Citibank again. If they can't handle a promotion (be it a toaster or an ipod), how can they possibly be trusted with our money?
  9. imac9556 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2004
    Same thing here. No Mini yet and they are saying they are "investigating"
    Going to call them today
  10. RHutch thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2003
    Amsterdam, OH

    I also applied on December 31st, over the phone. I told the rep that I was applying specifically for the iPod mini program. I did everything that I was supposed to do. It wasn't until my mini was late and I made a second call that I was told that my mini wasn't coming because the promo code did not appear on my account. I told them that I opened the account over the phone and told the rep that I wanted the iPod account. They still told me that it could take a month to resolve the situation.

    Here's what it seems like to me. Citi wanted to generate interest and get people to open new accounts. So they promised a very nice reward. Now they are trying at all costs to avoid giving the reward and are giving less than they promised. Once I complete the requirements for this program, I will be closing this account and not doing any further business with Citi. There are plenty of other banks/credit card providers out there. They may not be giving away iPods, but the trouble and aggravation caused by Citi doesn't seem to be worth it.

    Also, I assume that there are other unhappy customers with experiences similar to ours. As a matter of fact, the Citi reps told me that other people had called with the same complaint as mine, but that they were all being told the same thing. The number of people who signed up for the account and who visit Macrumors has to be small compared to the total number of people who signed up. We need to reach the rest of those people and get everyone to put some pressure on Citi.
  11. Johnny Rico macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2005
    LoL it sounds like you guys should have just ponied up the $200 and bought a mini yourself. When will people learn that the phrase "FREE IPOD" is a hook to get you to do something that will make someone else money?
    :p :rolleyes: :p
  12. mac 2005 macrumors 6502a

    mac 2005

    Apr 1, 2005
    A guy I work with applied for this offer and seemed to get his iPod in a reasonable amount of time. While he's happy with CB's service and his new iPod, he's cutting CB lose as soon as he can.

    Personally, I don't seek out these offers anymore. While you usually end up with the promoted item -- at least from reputable companies -- you usually end up frustrated, having wasted inordinate amounts of time on the phone with customer care to get what you were promised. Then you have to use their service for a predefined amount of time and then go through the hassle of switching things back over.

    Ugh! I'd rather buy the premium, whatever it is, outright.
  13. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    the delay in shipping i think is o.k.. i wouldn't be happy about it but for free items that's unfortunately the standard. that there was a price drop and you got an updated mini is out of CB's control and therefore also o.k.. they did what they could (i guess the time delay was linked to the ipod update).

    but that they threaten you to charge the $249 for a $200 item is offending! :eek:

    this is especially bad because it is not about the price drop. they sent you a different item. but yet they charge you for an item that you never got. next time the offer you a iPod photo, send you a shuffle and charge you $399 if you don't keep your account. that can't be legal.

    somebody in their marketing department needs to be fired. :mad:

    the main problem is: if they can't handle this situation in a fair way, what can you expect from them if there is a real issue?
  14. RHutch thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2003
    Amsterdam, OH
    I don't participate in such promotions if I don't know the company, but I expected something more from a company of the size of Citi. I thought that they would care more about their customers than the companies who make you and your friends sign up for 6 offers, etc. Who can you trust? Should I expect every company with which I do business to treat me unfairly? Then why would I do business with anyone at all?
  15. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    That's the thing about it, sign up for something when both parties agree it's worth $250 -- and the deal is worth $250.

    Doesn't matter if the retail value of the product drops to $50 before it gets to your door.

    Because of the deal you signed up for, they can still ask for the original amount that you agreed to -- no matter what the difference is.

    It was worth $250 to both of you when you signed up, and it's worth $250 to THEM when you break the deal.

    They will collect ... even if they have to send a judgement after your ass that cost you triple (or more) that amount.

    Most of these companies pray that the retail price drops before they have to ship anyways, at least they aren't sending you warehouse clearance items that most companies would try foisting off on you -- because they got a lucky break.
  16. wide macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2004
    are you sure it didn't say they'll deduct $249.95 or the cost of the 4GB iPod mini at the time it was sent to you?
  17. RHutch thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2003
    Amsterdam, OH

    I'm sure. They sent two notes with the mini they sent me that said the same thing that the original offer said (which I also have saved). It says that they will deduct $249.95, the retail price of the iPod mini. The trouble is that the mini they sent doesn't have a retail value of $249.95. Also, the original offer said that if there was not a sufficient supply of minis, they would send a music player of equal or greater retail value. They have sent something with a lower retail value than what they promised and are still threatening to deduct the old retail value. This is just plain WRONG!
  18. ftaok macrumors 601


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I agree with you RHutch. The iPod that they sent you was never worth $250. They should have either sent you an original 4GB mini or a new 6GB mini. I think some of the other posters are missing the point here. Citibank has done a classic bait'n'switch with this promotion.

    You say that the terms indicated that they would send you a mini or if supplies were exhausted, you would get a music player of greater or equal value. Seeing as how they "ran" out of the old 4GB minis, they should have sent you one of equal (i.e. 6GB mini) or greater (i.e. Sony PSP ;) ) value.

    I think you have a legitimate complaint here. Maybe you could take it to Small Claims Court. This may even go to a Class Action Lawsuit, however, you'd probably wouldn't get much after the lawyers take their cut.

    I say you should keep complaining. After all, it's only time.
  19. RHutch thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2003
    Amsterdam, OH
    Exactly! Citi originally planned on sending me something worth $249 or more. The fact that Apple stopped making the old minis doesn't change that. There is still a mini that is worth $249; it just happens to be a 6 GB mini.

    The last time that I talked to someone at Citi, the person told me that I signed up to receive a 4 GB mini, and that is what they sent me. But it's just not true. I have the original offer saved, and it says nothing about the capacity, only the retail value.

    By the way, here is a detail that indicates that Citi knows they made a mistake in the details of the original offer. In their most recent promotion for an Shuffle, they didn't use the retail value as the distinguishing factor--they specifically say that they will send you a 512 MB Shuffle. But this is not what they did with the mini offer from last December.
  20. ftaok macrumors 601


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Better Business Bureau

    I'll take your word for it that the offer was for a $250 mini and not a 4GB mini. Regardless, they should not be able to charge you $250 if you break the terms of the promotion since the item they sent you has never been worth $250. The new 4GB mini has always been valued at $200.

    I would suggest that you contact (or threaten to contact) the Better Business Bureau. It would help to have a copy of the original offer (either electronically or paper), the model numbers for the original iPod mini and the new 4GB mini, and a copy of the note stating that you'd be charge $250 if you break the deal.

    That might get their attention. Also, if they're inclined to deal with you, be prepared to have an acceptable negotiating point. I'd suggest that you ask for $100 for your trouble. $50 would be the lowest offer I'd accept, but that would not take into account the time and effort you expended.

    If you do decide to contact the BBB, implicate both Citibank and the company they've contracted to handle the iPod promotion.

    Good luck.

    Keep in mind, any offer that you accept from Citibank, or the promotion company will probably exclude you from any winnings from a class action lawsuit. So if you get $100 bucks from Citi, and a class action lawsuit nets $200 per person, then you'd be SOL.

  21. soapboxhero macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2005
    No Reply yet


    When I finally became aware of the problem (with receiving my ipod), they said they would have to issue a 30 day investigation for me. The woman even told me that they "don't have a phone number for the promotions department". Pretty funny. That was over a month ago. I still haven't heard from them. I've called back but the right hand doesn't seem to know what the left hand is doing. Good luck to anyone else who has tried the promotion. I hope you have a better experience then I did.
  22. joeconvert macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2003
    Have we all learned a lesson?

    Don't enter into a business relationship that wasn't worth it without the promise of a free promotional item.
  23. myty1 macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2005
    Just an update. As expected. They'ved pushed me off again. I called them the day after the 1 month deadline. They submited another investigation to investigate the status of the previous investigation which was investigating why I've not recieved the ipod. After reading some of the following comments after mine, it sounds like everyone is getting the same run around. My first call the citibank back in March mentioned "the CSR didn't put the promo in the right place" blah blah. They promised a call 5 business days later (Past monday) I called them back, then they promised another call in 2 days, I called today, they promise a call back today. at least the iterations are getting smaller.

    I've sent all manner of mail to all sorts of folks here's an address one of the CSRs sent me for commenting to Citibank (I full expect the mail to hit the trash bin and so they just took me for an extra $.37):

    Charles Prince
    c/o Citibank executive communications unit
    One Court Square
    42nd Floor
    Long Island City, NY 11120

    I might have to buy a domain name and start a blog about this stuff. I guess I can take comfort that I've cost them over 250 in the customer service department running this around.
  24. huzefafn macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2005
    Citibank ipod fraud

    My story runs quite similar to the ones posted above. I still havent received the ipod. They are currently running an "investigation" into my account to see whether I fulfuill the conditions or not. The other day I spent 50 minutes arguing with a supervisor. I did not hang up and I guess they are not allowed to (as long as you dont use profane language. When he asked, can I be of any more help, I always said "yes. Tell me when my ipod will be shipped"). He promised a manager would call me back within 24-48 hours, but I guess they run a different clock there. I guess we all need to keep calling so that after some time it becomes more expensive for them to manage the call volume than to buy new ipods for us. They will send it to us only if we are able to make it worth their business either through name erosion or complaint volume. Also mass complaints to BBB should put more pressure.

    On my part, I will keep calling and speaking with supervisors. I guess they are paid more than the minimum wage. Plus compaining gives me a natural satisfaction!
  25. MikeS0 macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2005
    Keeping up the fight...

    Hi all,

    Just found this thread from a Google search. I too am fighting Citibank on the iPod mini offer. I got a $199 2nd gen mini instead of "an iPod mini with retail value of $249." :mad: I too have spent alot of time on the phone and letter writing with Citibank's (fraudulently named) "Investigations dept". Long story short...

    I did get a letter from them saying if I don't keep up my end of the agreement, they will charge me $199 (not $249) for the iPod. I basically responded, "nice try, but stick to the original agreement". After proving to them that 1) they agreed to send me an iPod with retail value of $249, and 2) they sent me an iPod with a retail value of $199, they verbally acknowledge these facts (but won't do so in writing), and refuse to make good on the offer.

    So they are now referring me to the office of their COO Charles Prince. So, my next letter will be to him, with CC's to the Better Business Bureau, US Postal instector for mail fraud( and maybe to small claims court.

    Keep up the good fight! I'll get my $50 worth out of them, one way or another... :D

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