PC Financial’s MasterCard runaround

I had a bit of an odd experience with PC Financial this year. Frustrated by this, I wrote them to describe my experience.

September 3, 2007

From: Paul Schreiber
xxxx xxxx xxxxx
San Francisco CA 94107
xxx-xxx-xxxx

To: Peter Kalen
Senior Vice President MasterCard
President’s Choice Bank
439 King Street West, 5th Floor
Toronto ON M5V 1K4

Dear Mr. Kalen,

I have been a customer of President’s Choice Financial and President’s Choice Financial MasterCard for many years. In fact, I believe I was one of the earliest customers of President’s Choice Financial MasterCard.

I was highly satisfied with my PC MasterCard—until this year.

Here is a timeline of events:

On 1 January 2007, Greg Ramier (“General Manager, Credit Card Programs”) wrote. His letter stated that I needed to make a purchase by 15 February 2007 or my MasterCard would not be renewed.

On 29 January 2007, I made a purchase of CAD $14.28.

On 05 March 2007, I paid off the balance on the card (via an electronic transfer from my PC Financial bank account).

On 30 March 2007, the “Credit Department” wrote to inform me you would not be issuing me a new card as I reside outside of Canada.

On 7 April 2007, I received an email from Service@PCMasterCard.PCFinancial.ca stating “Your PC MasterCard payment is due.” This was incorrect—no payment was due, as I had paid the full balance. The web site confirmed this. No statement was mailed to me.

On 25 July 2007, I received an email stating “Your PC MasterCard statement is available.” However, I was unable to log in to the PC MasterCard web site, as you had disabled my online account after my card expired.

Shortly afterward, I called customer service. I was told that my account had a credit balance of $59.10. I asked how this was possible, since (a) the account had been closed since April and (b) I had not made any such payment.

The representative did not know the source of the payment, but promised to investigate it and inform me of the results of the investigation. I expressed concern that the transaction could be reversed in the future. The representative did not share my concern.

She told me I could have a check mailed to me or have the funds electronically deposited in to my account. As I am out of the country, I chose to have the funds deposited electronically. I gave her the institution (326), transit (30800) and account (xxxxxxxx) numbers for my President’s Choice Financial bank account.

On 8 August 2007, I received an email stating “Your PC MasterCard payment is due.” Concerned about the possibility of unauthorized activity on my account and the lack of a deposit in to my checking account, I called again. The representative told me that no payment was due, and that a check had been mailed to me. This email was to let me know that had I received a statement, it would have shown the payment you made to me of $59.10.

On approximately 17 August 2007, I received your letter dated 7 August 2007 (a copy of which is enclosed) and check (copy also enclosed) for $59.10. Note that my name is spelled incorrectly on the check.

In mid-August 2007, someone from PC MasterCard (I believe from the “investigations” group) telephoned me. She informed me that the investigation had found that the payment of $59.10 had come from the same source as my earlier payments.

I explained to her that unless she used a very broad definition of source (“Canada” or “some bank somewhere”), this was incorrect. I had not made the payment myself, and verified this against the transaction history in my PC Financial checking and savings accounts. In fact, the balance in both accounts in June 2007 was significantly less than $59, meaning I could not have made the payment.

The representative promised further investigate the source of the payment and get back to me. As of 3 September 2007, I have not received any further communication from PC MasterCard regarding this investigation.

On 25 August 2007, I received an email stating “Your PC MasterCard statement is available.” Once again, unable to log in to the web site, I called customer service. The representative confirmed that no payment was due, and I had a zero balance. The representative expected this to be the last statement I would receive.

On approximately 27 August 2007, I mailed the check back to President’s Choice Financial Bank for deposit in my account.

Summary

Dealing with this has been frustrating and time-consuming, especially given the small sum of money involved.

I have a series of recommendations which will prevent this type of problem from recurring:

  • Do not send letters asking people to keep their accounts active if you will close the account regardless of whether or not the transaction is made.
  • Allow people residing outside of Canada to maintain their accounts. CitiBank Canada does this, so it must be legally allowed.
  • When you close someone’s account, do not terminate their access to the PC MasterCard web site.
  • Do not allow payments to be made on closed accounts with zero balances.
  • Respect people’s requests for payment delivery methods.
  • Do not send checks in Canadian funds to people outside of Canada.
  • Spell people’s names correctly.
  • Keep accurate records of all transactions, including the date, source and amount.

Please respond to me in writing within two weeks of receipt of this letter. If, in addition to your written response, you would like to discuss my experience with me, I would be more than happy to speak with you. My telephone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Paul Schreiber

19 Responses to PC Financial’s MasterCard runaround

  1. angel says:

    Hi Paul,
    I too share your frustration, only mine is with my chequing account and a stop payment. I entered the online stop payment information was charged $10.00. the stop payment was stopped weekly only to be charged NSF fees for it.(which i had to call and get reversed)..then after the third week they let the payment thru which in turn did bounce another item. and I was charged more NSF fees from the stop payment and the one that bounced because they let the stop payment through. I just spoke with them today. and was informed that I filled out the stop payment incorrectly that is why the payment was processed. When I questioned why the other weeks were stopped. I was told they would need to talk to a supervisor and to please hold while they called one. THe supervisor (which did not speak with me but only the customer service rep) also said that it was filled out incorrectly (which it was not ) and that now he had filled it out correctly She also told me that if the company tried alternative routes of automatic withdrawl they would not assume responsibility. and would not take responsibility for bouncing my insurance (which is also pc ). so from 3 nsf (because they let a stop payment thru) they would only reimburse me 1. but any future ones are my responsibility not theirs. I asked them at this time where do I go to close my account. They said I could do it on the phone but that any NSF fees after the account is closed is still my responsiblity….I am going to remove everything from this account and close it on wednesday and go back to a REAL BANK. paying a service monthly for peace of mind and knowing I won’t be screwed out of $35 each week is worth it. I doublely share your frustration with this company.

  2. sage_mom says:

    I just closed my PC Mastercard account today in frustration. I usually receive an email notice when a payment is due, but a few months ago I stopped receiving it for no reason. And then the PC points they show on their website is inaccurate. I supposedly had 14,000+, then at the grocery the bill said it was 9,000+, then I logged on a few days later and it was 7,000+, even though I never used it. I called and was assured it was the 9,000 number, even though the website still displays 7,000. I also have serious issues with the usability of the website which I’ve complained to them about. Basically I can’t figure out how to read it properly, and the DD/MM format drives me insane.

    This company seriously needs to fix its issues or it will continue to lose customers.

  3. Ryan says:

    Did you ever get a response about your letter?

  4. paul says:

    Adam Mazzuca, the Director of Customer Experience called me on September 21, 2007 to say they received the letter and felt bad about it and were looking in to it. I haven’t received any further communication.

  5. DW says:

    Have you received any further reply from them?

  6. hank hart says:

    have read allpostings and i am just as happy?? as all those affected as i have problems with administration of PRESIDENTS ??? CHOICE mastercard have tried to call their phone### and tried to find a live operator to explain unauthorized charges made on my card### butcould NOT find anyone just robots,than i faxed the fax ## and advised them re unuathorized charge than one day later i faxed same 4 times to same ### all within 30 days fromstatement day as i did NOT get an answer i copied all faxed statemens and send them via registered mail hoping to find someone to help as the next bankstatement showed NO changes i re registered same again via mail and to my surprise found nothing changed on this last statement,now ill try to send regular mail once more to show how impressed I AM WITH THEIR SERVICES AND RECOMMEND ANYONE TO GO ELSEWHERE FOR A CREDIT CARD AS THER ARE ENOUGH AVAILABLE ./\.
    THANKS FOR LETTING ME SHARE MY AWARENESS RE PRESIDENTS CHOICE MASTER??CARD WITH OTHERS SO THEY CAN AVOID BEING SHAFTED from bc canada

  7. Lynda Colautti says:

    I do not have a PC Mastercard and I am a very unhappy customer!! Be warned!! Do not own a PC Mastercard and NEVER, NEVER be a secondary cardholder. When you become a secondary cardholder you are signing away all your rights as a human being. Now bear in mind that I have co-signed a Visa card for my son and I have control of that card – I can close it, I can take my name off, I can charge on it. However, PC Mastercard is not even reasonable to co-signers/secondary cardholders – PC Mastercard thinks they are one and the same.
    The primary cardholder and I split three years ago, shortly after obtaining the ‘card’. When I tried to validate my card, I could not. The phone number was not the correct number – you know how you have to call from your home phone to validate cards. So, I could not use the card which was fine with me. I tried to have my name taken off the card and was told I could not do that as I was not the primary cardholder.
    Now the collections department is calling me looking for payment. The primary cardholder quit making payments and they cannot find him. Apparently I’m useful now…….But are they ever nasty people – like it my fault payments are not being made?! I told them to cancel the card if payments are not being made and I cannot do that either, I am not the primary cardholder. So I did their job for them and found a contact number for the primary cardholder. And they are still trying to hassle me into paying the account.
    They are not too bright either. I return their calls whenever they call – I don’t want to be accused of avoiding them – and they invariably put me on hold, like I’m going to wait? Apparently my call is not important to them!
    So please avoid PC Mastercard like the plague. Its good for a trip you won’t enjoy!!

  8. Leo Zovic says:

    I have different complaints, but I’m afraid I’ll be leaving PC mastercard shortly as well. They put up an update to their new website. It may or may not be an improvement in terms of usability, but I’ll never know. Below are some snippets from their user agreement:

    “2.1 Security and privacy. You acknowledge that the Internet is not a secure medium and privacy cannot be guaranteed or ensured. ”

    “2.3 Instructions. All instructions you communicate to us through the Website (“Instructions”) are final. Subject to applicable law, you agree that we may rely on your Instructions (including your electronic acceptance of these Terms and other online agreements) as if you had provided them in writing. You will be liable for all transactions that are conducted in accordance with your Instructions, and for any losses, costs or expenses of any kind, including legal costs (collectively, the “Losses”) that you or another party incur as a result of these transactions. We will maintain a record of your Instructions and these records will be binding on you in any dispute. ”

    “5. No Warranty*
    5.1 You expressly agree that use of the Website is at your sole risk.
    5.2 We do not:
    – warrant that access to the Website will be continuous or secure;
    – warrant that operation of the Website or the information contained in it will be uninterrupted, error-
    free, in sequence or suitable for any particular purpose;
    – make any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or content of any information, goods or service
    offered through the Website. ”

    5.1 and 5.2 concern me considerably. I expect that kind of language from online stores, GNU software or similar, but what exactly is the point of a BANKING WEBSITE that it’s proprietors do not warrant to be secure, and that I must use “at [my] own risk”? What I find especially aggravating is that they simultaneously claim the website is insecure, but insist that I agree to be held responsible for any instructions that they are issued through it. This is a flat-out unacceptable term of service, and I won’t be accepting it any time soon.

  9. mike says:

    I never got a chance to use my card after it was activated . A couple of weeks later they for some strange reason block my card and I had to verify who I was by sending them a cheque in the amount of one dollars which I did afterwards was told to wait 10 business days which I did and they still wouldn’t take the block off … I felt they were having fun with me with the runaround . I could almost here the person laughing on the phone . So at this very moment i’m in the process of cancel my card . Never again even if they are the last credit card to be around will I ever deal with them . I hope one day they all lose their jobs because most of their workers don’t deserve to have a job .

  10. Darin says:

    I just cancelled my card today.

    PC MasterCard closed my first account and gave me a new card due to a “risk of fraudulent activity”. However, before I received the new card, instead of doing the usual balance transfer, they hit me with statement that I had no access to, because it was for the closed account. I was also never made aware of the statement by email as I normally am once per month when the statement is available.

    Once I received the statement on the new card I noticed I was dinged for an interest fee. I phoned in to complain, twice, and each time I was told they could do nothing to help only to pass the information on to some other branch. In the interim the card declined a number of times, I was told, because of a technical issue that likely had nothing to do with our account standing. It worked the day after so I was inclined to believe it was a technical issue.

    Today it declined again, a week later. I phoned once more to a cancel the account. After talking to the the initial representative, who was quite pleasant and empathetic, I was eventually passed on to a supervisor that I could tell from his introduction he was not there to serve me as a customer. I was demeaned by him as he informed me that nothing I ever complained about was valid, only that the account was now passed due – something every other representative I spoke to up to this point had “forgotten” to mention – and then he asked me, “So, do you still want to cancel your account?” After responding, “Absolutely,” I was met without hesitation, “Your account is cancelled. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

    Speechless…

  11. Min Li says:

    I got my worst customer experience from PC MasterCard too. I’ve called them 3 times and sent a number of emails to them since July, every time I got the response that the customer service would call me back. But I never got their call. I’d used PC MasterCard for almost 10 years and paid out bill on time almost every time. Instead of wasting my time to keep calling them and sending email to them. I had closed my account and decide to create the group at facebook to share the experience so that people could know how PC MasterCard treats their customer.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=150980274924552

  12. Bob says:

    Have you noticed how they show the summary of your statement when you log in? No mention of total due. Just minimum payment due. You can tell why they want you to pay the minimum due. Bloodsuckers!

  13. Mike says:

    Just read all of the above comments….check out my experince!

    This is a copy of a letter that I sent one week ago regarding a simple request for credit card statements….I won’t hold my breath for a response!!!

    December 7th, 2010

    President’s Choice Financial Privacy Officer
    c/c President’s Choice Bank Executive Customer Care
    c/c President’s Choice Bank Ombudsman
    439 King Street West 5th Floor
    Toronto, ON M5V 1K4

    To Whom It May Concern,

    This is a follow-up letter in regarding the formal complaint that I made by phone on November 30th, 2010 to your Executive Customer Care department. As I will outline in this letter, my complaint addresses two main concerns:
    1. Poor customer service
    2. Breach of privacy issues

    In order for me to properly outline my complaint and express my concerns, I will attempt to provide a timeline as to how the events unfolded between the period of October 25th, 2010 to November 25th, 2010.

    On October 25th, 2010 – I called PC customer service for a very simple request and ordered copies of my 2007, 2008 and a number of my 2009 PC Mastercard statements. At that time, I spoke to a representative that informed me that I would be charged $10 per statement and that it would take 7-10 business days for mail delivery. At the very latest, I expected to receive all of my statements to arrive no later than November 5th, 2010.

    November 3rd, 2010 – Called PC again to check and ensure that all statements had been sent. I was then informed that the customer service representative that I spoke to on October 25th, 2010 must have been ”incompetent” since my order was never fulfilled! I then had to order statements for 2nd time and was told that I had to wait another 7 -10 business days!! My frustration officially begins since I had a personal deadline of November 12th, 2010.

    November 5th, 2010 – I notice that PC charged my mastercard account $200 for statement reprint fees.

    November 12th, 2010 – I called PC for the third time and expressed frustration that my statements had not arrived. I then requested to speak with a manager and was informed that I wouldn’t be charged any statement reprint fees and that my account would be credited/refunded $200 due to the delay. I was also advised that my statements were apparently sent and mailed to my address on November 10th, 2010, a total of 17 days after my original request! I have also now officially missed my personal deadline.

    November 12th, 2010 – I reviewed my PC Mastercard account online and realise that I have been charged an additional $80 for statement reprint fees!! The term ‘insult to injury’ is now prevalent in my mind and can’t believe that my very simple request has turned into such a frustrating experience.

    November 16th, 2010 – I receive $200 statement reprint fee credit on my PC Mastercard account.

    November 17th, 2010 – 10 business days for my November 3rd order had now officially passed. I called PC customer service once again and spoke a manager, Chaminba (Employee #D598CW). At this time I informed Chaminba that I was completely past the point of frustration and that I wanted an explanation for the delay. Chaminba, as with every other PC employee up to this point attempted to apologise several times to no avail. I was then informed that I had to possibly wait an additional 5-7 business days from time the statements were sent on November 10th!!! If my statements didn’t come by Friday, November 19th, Chaminba advised me to call again and that PC would consider faxing all of my statements. I was also told that I would receive a credit for the additional $80 that I was charged.

    November 19th, 2010 – I check the mailbox late Friday evening and still NO statements. I am now angry with PC and completely stressed out since I am officially one week passed my deadline. I now fear that the delay is potentially costing me out of pocket expenses.

    November 22nd, 2010 – All of 2008 and some of my 2009 statements finally arrive, however, I am still missing all of my 2007 statements. The envelope containing the statements appears to have been ripped open and my statements and all personal information was plainly visible to the naked eye. I now fear that my personal and credit card information may be compromised. Words could not explain how angry I was at that point!! In addition, I also realise that I am missing my statements for
    September and December 2009.

    November 23rd, 2010 – My 2007 statements arrive in the mail.

    November 24th, 2010 – I called PC again and spoke to a manager, Sean (Employee #T037WD). I once again explained the entire situation to Sean who informed me that he would make sure I would finally receive the $80 credit. Sean then advised that the two missing 2009 statements would be faxed at 530pm to my work fax number that I provided. At approximately 9:30pm, I drove to my place of employment and picked up 2 faxed PC statements from PC .

    November 25th, 2010 – Now statements finally in hand, I wake up early to do some paperwork that I have been waiting to complete since late October. At approximately 6:30am that morning, much to my utter shock and surprise, I realise that PC had actually faxed me my wife’s statements for October 2009 and January 2010!!! I have now lost all confidence with PC and believe that I am living a nightmare!

    Completely frustrated, angry and upset I called PC yet again at approximately 8am and spoke to another Manager. I then expressed my ENTIRE situation once again and informed the manager of the serious Breach of Privacy issue. I then demanded that PC fax MY two missing statements and was told that it would be done immediately. I was then given the number for PC Executive Customer Care in order to make a formal complaint. I later discovered that the phone number that was provided was for Verizon Wireless!!!!!!!!

    At approximately 10:00am, I made a separate 50km round trip to my workplace to pick up the faxed statements for a second time. Once at my work, I realised that PC sent me my October 2009 and January 2010 statements! I have now wasted an additional 2 hours of my time and put 100km of mileage on my personal vehicle.
    At 11am, I returned home and called PC AGAIN. Once again, I spoke to a completely different employee and had to explain my situation. I was told they will resend the proper statements ASAP.

    At approximately 11:30am, returned to my workplace for a 3rd time and receive information that no statements have been faxed. I then stood by and patiently waited. After not receiving any faxes, I then called PC again at 1pm. I was then able to request and speak to Sean (Employee #T037WD) again and was told to wait by the fax machine since he was sending the statements right away.

    I then waited till 1:45pm and no statements were faxed. I then contacted PC again and spoke to female employee who informed me that I had to wait 24 to 48 hours for the statements to be faxed!!!!!! I then demanded to speak with another manager and after approximately 10-15 minutes of being placed on hold I spoke with a Team Leader Troy (Employee #D578TV). Once again, I had to explain my situation to Troy and went over the entire story. Troy then informed me that he would ensure that my September and December 2009 statements would be faxed and that he would be launching an official investigation in regard to what has occurred over the past month.

    At approximately 3:25pm, Troy contacted me, as promised, and advised that the statements had been faxed. At 3:30pm, I returned to work for another 50km round trip and finally picked up the last 2 requested statements!!

    After cooling off for a few days, I finally contacted PC Mastercard Executive Customer Care on November 30th, 2010 and spoke to a manager by the name of Joanna (Employee #191239) and made an official formal complaint regarding my poor customer service experience and Breach of Privacy incident regarding my wife’s account.

    During the 45 minute conversation with Joanna, I expressed complete disappointment and dissatisfaction with Presidents Choice and reviewed my entire experience from start to finish reliving the nightmare once again. To mention that this has been one of the worst experiences that I have EVER had with any financial institution would be an understatement to say the least!!! AND let me remind the powers to be, that this all started with a very SIMPLE request for copies of credit card statements…..is this how PC treats all their customers?

    Later that afternoon, I received a phone call from Phil, a PC manager who stated that he works under the PC Ombudsman Kirt Murska. Phil stated that he would be looking into the matter and I have not heard anything since that time. I did, however, finally receive my $80 credit later that day…

    At this point in time, I cannot even put a dollar figure on the headache that PC has cost me in out of pocket expenses (i.e. Gas, phone, late fees and Advil!). Additionally, while not considering damages, PC has caused me to waste HOURS of my time, caused an unexplainable amount of stress, worry and unwanted frustration to my personal life and my family – did I mention that my wife is 8 and half months pregnant and that we (like everyone else) have other stresses in our lives?
    While putting the poor customer service experience aside, my wife and I have also had the time to review PC’s entire Privacy Policy in great detail and there is NO question in our minds that PC made a big mistake when they released her information without her permission. And yes we have separate accounts! We both now have very serious concerns regarding the breach of PIPEDA and with identity theft. PC should therefore take a long hard look at the situation….employees should have governed themselves accordingly.

    My wife and I are demanding an explanation as to what happened within 10 business days from the date of this letter. I want to know why it took so long to receive simple credit card statements? How did my wife’s credit card statements get faxed to me? What is Presidents Choice going to do to restore our confidence? How are we going to be compensated?

    If I don’t receive a response with the time period outlined, I will ensure that my wife and I will be writing to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments as well as to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. In addition we will also seek alternative remedies.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Xxxxxxx
    Card #XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    xxx-xxx-xxxx

  14. heather fulmore says:

    my father passed and as he was priciple .my mother and myself were cut off .had i known i would never have notified as he had alzheimers and i had been taking care of them for several years.i can only say that they are all idiots.it is impossible to talk to anyone who may have a clue.does not matter.there is wallmart,safeway,sobeys and even a 7 eleven i would shop at before i give loblaws one more dime

  15. Wayne says:

    These people at pc financial really do suck. They will take your money from your account and give it to a third party without your knowledge and consent and without a court order. That’s a criminal offense with jail time and a fine. AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE!

  16. I am frustrated with service at PC financial. The director at PC financial promised to get back to me regarding service charges and never did. I don’t think the level of financial expertise of personnel is present. These guys probably have a university honors education in general sciences and are hired to deal with finance?

  17. Jane says:

    I tried to settle my account with pc mastercard. I read here, it seems hard.

  18. Ellen says:

    PC master card plays games to take advantages from customers. Can not trust it. I have been frustrated recently and no longer trust it.

  19. New Customer Not Impressed Thus Far says:

    Recently I got a card for the sole purpose of ordering supplies/stock for my small homebased biz. When my first month’s statement came I paid it on time via check and according to my financial institution the cheque cleared Oct. 23rd, 2012. By that one would think all good right?!?!? Wrong! I tried to get some additional supplies today from a couple of different sources (one website, one in person) and both times the card was declined. Funny the website one said in the error msg. that there wasn’t enough credit in the account WTF?!?!?!? I happen to know what my balance is and as stated I paid the prior bill in full. I have only made one prior purchase on the card this month and it was less than $100.00 (the balance I am allowed is $1000.00 and prior statement was $846) so why isn’t there enough?!?!? Did they not credit my account with the payment…I’ll be damn pissed if that is the case as I am paid on commission and get very little for what I do (i.e. no sales = no pay) I can’t afford to pay twice for their incompetence nor can I go to what is supposed to be a HUGE show without the adequate stock/materials. So thanks..just thanks for adding to what is already a hectic and stressfull week as the show is on Saturday, November 3rd and this is now October 30th, guess I’m screwed by no fault of my own. Should have gone with the bank instead (I deal with a different one for my main finances) fees yeah but, at least they’d acknowledge the payment!

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