Borrowers complained about several aspects — from inflexible late fees and interest charges, to refusals to provide assistance for those with financial hardships.
“Citibank’s practices are particularly egregious during a time of severe hardship when so many families have been pushed beyond the brink financially,” Syed Ejaz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports, said in a statement.
In a statement, Citi said Consumer Reports “grossly misrepresented” how the bank has supported its customers and contained multiple “factual inaccuracies.”
“The complaints referenced in the CFPB database include those related to merchant disputes, as well as those received very early in the crisis just prior to credit card assistance being available, and in total, the 168 complaints represent a very small fraction — .008% of the 1.9 million customers assisted,” the bank said.
In addition, the Consumer Reports article “calls for recommendations to improve practices which are already in effect, the company said, adding, “we take all customer complaints seriously.”
One Best Buy customer from Pennsylvania filed a complaint in June to the CFPB database saying Citibank is charging $100 in monthly interest even though he or she was laid off because of the pandemic.
The database indicates the complaint was closed without offering non-monetary relief and Citi chose not to make its response public.
Another borrower from Texas complained in June that Citi charged unnecessary late fees and interest.
Consumer Reports urged Citi to keep its promise to help borrowers seeking relief during the pandemic, and to needs to provide clear and reliable information about its relief programs on its websites, bills and mobile apps.
The group also said Citi should make the only requirement to access that relief an “attestation of hardship,” and should automatically waive all late fees during the duration of the crisis and for at least 180 days after.
“To make the process easier for customers, enrollment was digitally enabled and 80% of customers have self-serviced,” the bank said.