Credit card company raises interest rate without explanation

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by By / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 5, 2009 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 23 at 8:48 AM

Video: Credit card company raises interest rate without explanation

Christian Arciniega is in Granite Falls raising two girls - Ava and Kayla - while her husband Andy is in Iraq serving with the Washington National Guard.

It's his second tour.

"For some reason this deployment seems more difficult than the first one. I don't know if it's the economy we've had some family things finances seem tighter," Christian said.

When Andy left for Iraq, his wife applied for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act for her Citibank credit card, which caps interest rates at 6 percent while a person is on active duty.

But Citibank went above and beyond sending Christian a letter saying the interest rate will be zero percent.

And so she quickly paid off the balance.

"I was really excited like, wow, that is so awesome, like, who does that, I was so happy," she said.

However, a sudden death of a family member in Florida and a car breakdown caused Christian to use the card.

When the statement arrived, the interest rate wasn't zero, it was 6.24 percent. So she called the bank.

"That zero percent term they gave me on the letter had an expiration date of March 16, 2009, and nowhere on the letter does it say that," Christian explained.

The letter doesn't have an expiration date, but there was something Christian did not know. The law only pertains to debts incurred before Andy went to Iraq, not after. So Citibank can raise the rate while Andy's fighting for his country.

Now Christian is on the home front battling for her family's financial survival.

"I'm trying to pick and choose my battles. So many things that have happened that are beyond my control. The stress has to stop somewhere," she said.

So we got involved.

We called Citibank and the company decided to reduce Christian's interest rate back to zero. She also does not have to make any payments on her account until her husband returns from Iraq. And that may happen this summer.

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