I recently described my experience walking into a bank while having good credit. The details can be read here: “Credit 101: Banks Treat Us Differently Based on Credit.” If you recall from my previous post, the banker was hugging me and thanking me for my business. It was all because I had good credit. After the transaction of opening two credit cards, a checking, and a savings account, I had a big problem. I noticed I did not receive the sign-up bonuses. There were cash back promotions for signing up for one of the credit cards and also the checking account that I had seen online. Specifically, there was a $100 bonus for signing up for the credit card and another $100 bonus for opening a new checking account. These were my first accounts with this bank and I was new customer at this bank. I know I qualified for these bonuses and I had found the bonuses online while researching the cards prior to entering the branch. It appears there was a mistake because when I got home from the bank, I did not see any information about these bonuses in the paperwork. I wanted to describe my experience in fighting for the $100 that I was owed and how I actually ended up getting $150.
In late September, I had gone into the branch to open up my credit card and checking account. As stated before, the banker was excited to open the accounts for me in person. Now, the $100 offers were ones I saw online before ever going into the branch. Therefore, I assumed they would automatically be offered once I opened the accounts in the branch. WRONG. I called the banker once I got home and noticed that the offers were not given to me. It would have been within 30 mins of opening the accounts. I told the banker that I was never offered the bonus and I would like them added to the accounts that I just opened. The banker told me that it was only an ONLINE offer and it was not offered if opening the accounts in the actual bank branch. I told her that I did the research and specifically opened the accounts for the offers. I must have overlooked that they said online only.
I asked if it was possible to get the offers anyway. The banker said that it was not possible and the banker’s tone was much ruder than when I was in her presence 30 mins earlier when opening the account. The banker said a statement about, “They are already set up.” I must admit that my anger began to rise. Now, I am not an unintelligent person. I know that if they are MY accounts and I authorized opening the accounts, I surely can close them as quickly as I have opened them. I do not easily forget that I am the customer and I have the power to close accounts. I could tell the banker was trying to intimidate me by essentially saying, “What’s done is done and how could it be changed?” I called the bankers bluff and told the banker that I desired to close all of the accounts with the desire to reopen them so that I could get the offer later.
Upon mentioning that I wanted to close all of the accounts, the banker’s tone immediately changed. She told me she will see what she could do now that I am aware of the offer. I could tell that I would have never been offered this bonus unless I was aware. It made me feel like the bank has some secret conspiracy behind offering promotions. It would make sense to me if this is a running promotion then it should be offered in the bank or online. A promotion is a promotion. This bank appeared to only honor promotions if there was some knowledge about them in the first place and I thought it to be very weird. It goes to show to do some research before opening any credit cards or bank accounts. The online offer may be different when you actually go into the bank.
She told me that she would call me back after lunch. A couple of hours later, she called me and told me that she would do the best she could to get the $100 sign up promotion on the credit card. She said it was not guaranteed but she would do her best. She said she was going to request it through the credit card department. I took her word with a grain of salt but I wanted to see what would happen if I allowed her to work on it. I wanted to see if I could trust her word. The banker told me that I must contact her with the credit card number once I receive it in the mail so that she can start the request. She gave me a spiel about “working as hard as possible” to be my banker. Once my card numbers came in a week or so, I gave her the credit card numbers so she could work on my request.
Later, I realized I only requested the $100 for the credit card and I forgot to mention the $100 bonus for the checking account as well. So I contacted customer support and I asked them for the $100 bonus for opening the checking account. The customer support representative over the phone asked me for the website link to the bonus to verify the online promotion. I found it odd that she did not have a list of her own promotions. She was having trouble knowing what I was talking about. I finally read her the web address exactly, which was complicated as it had many random dashes, letters, and numbers. When the web page loaded for her, she looked and saw it was an online offer. She told me that I could not get the offer added to my existing checking account but I could close the account and reopen the account again. She told me once I opened the account again, then I could get the promotion. It makes no sense to treat customers in this way. It makes no sense to close and open accounts. I asked her to close my checking and savings account. Honestly, I had opened the accounts to test out this bank and I was not having a great experience. I did not open these accounts again either. I was not happy with the bank but I still wanted to get the $100 bonus from the credit card. I kept the credit card account open to wait to see if I could get the bonus.
About two weeks later, I never heard from the bank about my bonus. I contacted customer service over the phone because I had trouble activating my credit cards. I asked customer service to activate the cards over the phone. As I was doing this, the representative asked me if I was happy with my cards. I explained the situation about how I was unhappy that I was not offered the online bonus promotion in the physical branch. Furthermore, I had gone into a different bank, completely unrelated to this bank, to open another credit card. This other company bank offered me the online offer plus an upgraded bonus offer due to my good credit. This other bank was not stingy about online promotions when I went into the branch to open the cards. I explained this whole situation over the phone about the other bank and this bank and how I felt I should have been given the $100. This representative told me someone should contact me the same week.
About another week passed and no one had contacted me. I wrote an email to the original banker. I looked up the promotional offer again online and I saw that it had raised to a $150 bonus. Therefore, I emailed the banker and told her I was still waiting for $150 bonus to be added to my credit card and I sent her a copy of the link. Why not? I told myself. They gave me such a hard time, why not tell them that the promotion is $150 because the promotion actually increased on their end. I fudged the truth a bit since I had originally asked for $100 but they didn’t need to know that.
One more week passed, it had been about a month now, I never received a call or email from anyone. However, I checked my rewards section of my credit card online account. I signed into online banking. BOOM. $150 had been added to my credit card rewards account. It was labeled as (credit) and I could tell they gave me what I had asked for. There was an option online to have a physical check sent to my home. The check arrived in my mailbox about a week later and I cashed it promptly. It felt good to stick with what I felt I deserved and come out with a win. I even emailed back the original banker to tell her that I was grateful that she did what she could to get the bonus and resolve this issue with a positive outcome. It was a long process but I did not back down until I got the promotion.
It goes to show that asking for promotions to be added at the bank can be done. Don’t let anyone intimidate you. Just state your case respectfully if you feel you are in the right. Simply, asking and staying on top of our requests can make a big difference in getting what we desire. It doesn’t matter if that this bank was world respected and huge. A fight with a large financial institution can be intimidating, but we must remember to stand our ground. We are the customer and we are their clients. We can choose to close down accounts and put our money elsewhere. I encourage anyone to follow through with requests for promotions, bonuses, or discount if we feel entitled to them. The trick is to not give up or give in. It can be a lot of work to remember to follow up and fight but in the end, it can be very worth the trouble.
Do you have any stories where you were able to talk a bank into giving you money? Let me know in the comments below.