Blog Archives

Communicator 2007 custom presence tool

I just came across this artile about a tool that automates the little known feature of custom presence in Communicator 2007.  Those of you familiar with other IM platforms will appreciate the incorporation of this feature in Communicator 2007.  Although as nice as this is, tell me Microsoft…why aren’t you building this into the GUI in the first place?

Automated Server Reboots

I wrote an automate task this week that can manage server reboots automatically.  Its a pretty cool task that I’m going to be tweaking now and then to add more streamlined flow to the task and add additional error checking.  Here is a flow chart of the processes in the task…

Automate BPA Server 7

I looked at the BPA Server 7 from Network Automation today.  I am in the process of looking at a way to automate server uptime and scheduling of reboots.  Looks like this product can easily handle this and much more. 

A Credit Card Miracle

We have a special promotional balance on my Citicard Credit Card. Its one of those touchy offers that if you are late on a payment or do even the slightest “oopsy” they jack up your rate and charge you a really high late fee. We went through this once in 2005 I think, when our bank payment didn’t go through for some reason, and it took weeks of dealing with them on the phone and trying to straighten things out. They jacked up our rate to almost 30%!

Well the other day, we forgot to schedule the most recent payment to the card. I happened to think to check the due date, and found that it was due that day! By the time I realized this, it was after 5pm and officially the payment wouldn’t post to my account until the following Monday. I knew for sure that they were going to jack up our rate to some rediculous number, and charge us a late fee. Well I called customer service, made the payment via phone, the rep did not understand my questions about the rate and how it would be affected.

So over the weekend I checked my account after my next statement was generated, and was amazed to find that they actually credited my account with the payment on the due date! My rate was normal, there was no late fee, only a small pay by phone fee. So everything is ok. Needless to say, I’ve setup an automatic payment in by bill pay to take care of it from now on. We had been meaning to automate that payment anyway. But it was a scare there for a little while. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to get rid of this account.

Financial grief

A. I recently (within the last 2 or 3 months) switched bank accounts from Bank of America, to Bank Atlantic. BOA is now closed.
B. Several of these items mentioned are setup with Auto payment methods

1. I decided to pay off my truck loan with another line of credit I have in order to get the title and attempt to privately sell my truck. Sounded like a good idea, I got a great rate (better than my auto loan) and it was great. I sent in the payment and viola, the truck is paid off. I should have the title in the mail within 2 weeks. But what, thats not all. Almost a week after the loan was paid off, somehow Capitol One (my auto loan provider) debited another months payment from my new checking account. Apparently their system did not catch the payoff in time to stop the next monthly payment (I guess one week is not enough). So here I am now with a paid off loan, and an extra payment made to the account. So I call Capitol One and ask about the payment history on my account. According to this rep, they received my payoff and the account was closed. No further payments show as having been posted to my account. However, looking at my bank statement there is definately an auto pay debit on my account from Capitol One for the exact amount of my monthly payment. So I call back later and was told that I would need to fax in a bank statement showing the debit with a 5-day running balance on the account. I sent in the fax and am still waiting on a resolution, meanwhile there is an almost $200 chunk of money missing from my account now.

2. At least 3 weeks ago I updated the banking information on my Citibank mastercard, which is what I used to pay off my truck loan using a special balance transfer offer. There was only section for updating payment information on the citicards website. So I assumed my job was done. Last week I received a notice in the mail from Bank of America with a payment rejection notice from Citicards. Apparently I originally signed up for Autopay on the citicards website (something that has since been removed, you now have to call and send a fax to activate this). So now that Auto Pay information has been removed from the website, I had no way of knowing my account was enrolled in autopay, so I updated my banking information in the only place available on the citicards website, which they call Click to Pay. Needless to say, they billed my old (now closed) bank account and the payment was rejected. Now I have to ask you the reader, have you ever read the fine print on any of your cardholder agreements? You know the part where they say the interest rate will go up to some ungodly number if you ever default on a payment or otherwise default on your account. Well, I am living proof that they mean what they say. After the 1st day the payment was rejected, my account was immediately flagged as in default and my interest rates were jacked up to over 32%. This raised my monthly payment which was due to almost $700. I received a phone call from an automated system from citicards saying my account was overdue and I could press option “1” to pay by phone and avoid the normal $14 processing fee. So I did and I made the payment which they pushed me into before they would even talk about resolving my issue (which would have reset my interest rates and brought my payment back to normal). So I made an almost $700 payment and then realized I was charged the $14 processing fee I was told I would not be charged. To citibank’s credit, they did refund the $14 processing fee, after I used their website to request a refund. After talking with Customer service at Citibank they initiated an APR reset, to put my rates back to normal (what they were before this all happened). I have to call back again on Friday to check on this and make sure it was done. Hopefully retroactive to cover the few days my account was in this state. Later I was transferred to an e-services representitive to try to figure out why my account billed from the wrong checking account. I was then told that I was enrolled in autopay and the only way to update banking information was to complete a form from Citibank and mail it in with a blank check. Again, this is something that was removed from the website. So right now, my rates are on their way back to normal, I still need to make sure they are retroactive. My banking info is saved on the website, so I am just going to use click-to-pay from now on (fortunately they have E-mail reminders for this). Once the rates are corrected, I am going to check to see if they can readjust my LARGE payment I had just made to reflect the changes of the correct interest rates and apply the bulk of that inflated payment to my principle balance. I have my doubts if they will be very helpful with this request.

So as it stands now, I am missing nearly $1000 from my checking account unexpectedly. And these major banks are in no rush to try to resolve any of my issues. With a 7-10 day turn around time, I guess thats just big business. Hopefully by tomorrow evening or early next week I can at least expect some kind of resolution to these issues. Although I don’t think they will be resolved to my satisfaction, but rather to the bank’s satisfaction. I wonder if Bill Gates has these kinds of issues? 🙂

UPDATE: 8-7-06 – I called Capitol One and Citicards again this morning. Capitol One agreed to refund the extra payment they took out, so I can expect a check from them soon. (Although soon in bank terms could mean months). Citicards said the interest rate reset went through and should take effect tonight. The change should be retro-active and correct any time the rates were messed up. This will also cause my finance charges to get re-calculated so the huge payment I made will get re-calculated and anything over the normal finance charges will go towards my principle balance! Looks like this is on its way to being fixed.

UPDATE: 8-17-06 – I did finally receive a refund of the extra monthly payment Capito One took out. They put it right back in my account. As far as Citibank goes, I’ll have to wait until the end of the month before I can tell if everything has been fixed with that.]]>