Two months after the switch was made customers say that major problems have yet to be solved. Costco customers’ biggest complaint is that the two companies (Costco and Visa) are not doing enough to fix unresolved issues.
Issues Remain With Costco’s Switch to Visa
The change from American Express to Visa affected 11 million of the company’s 81 million members worldwide. It also made it so that Visa credit cards are the only credit cards being accepted at the wholesale retailer. While many Costco members were not initially happy with the switch, most of them were willing to stick out the change. However, now that the switch has been made and issues remain unresolved, many customers are reconsidering leaving.
At first the Costco Visa issues ranged from simple general confusion to customers not receiving their new cards in the mail. Customers have also complained about not being able to reach a customer service representative when they called for assistance with the new card. Citi CEO Michael Corbat said that the concerns and issues that many customers are complaining about is something that the company will be able to fix in the short order.
Citi Says That Costco Switch Was a Success
Costco customers beg to differ though. Corbat made that statement in July and members are saying that no fix ever came and it has led many people to cancel their memberships at Costco. Citi has taken the primary role in the transition as the credit card issuer and the company says that the switch, as a whole, has been a success. In fact, the switch has led to close to 900,000 new application for Costco co-branded cards. According to Citi, the angry customers are a small minority. Citi expected there to be some kind of bump in the road though, given the size of the transition that was to occur.
“With a conversion of this magnitude — one of the single largest portfolio conversions in history (11 million cards) — and a brand as beloved as Costco, call volumes were unprecedented,” Jennifer Bombardier, a Citi spokesperson, said. “With a portfolio of this size and eight months of pent-up demand during which time we couldn’t address questions on the new product or existing accounts as the portfolio was with a different issuer, the call volume was groundbreaking as of June 20.”
Problems With Costco-Visa
Costco Visa issues persisted after their first strain of problems during the switch, some customers has also had problems with automatic payments. Many people have had their automatic payment setups fail and have been charged interest or even had their credit cards canceled.
Other Costco Visa issues include a confusion surrounding Citi’s website, unexpected charges and blocks for people who are traveling. Payments that were made around the time of the transition have also seemed to have been lost and customers have expressed general confusion when it comes to the card’s APR.
What is most frustrating for customers is the customer service, or lack-there-of, that many people are receiving. Many of the interactions with Citi customer service have lasted anywhere from several days to one month before anything got resolved (if it ever got resolved). Many customers are waiting to see their next bill to verify that the problems they are having have been taken care of.
How will Costco fix its Visa issues?
Costco is attempting to better equip its stores to assist its customers with the new cards. Each location hired on about 20 or more employees to help people sign up for cards and answer questions regarding the credit card. Citi has also increased staffing at its call centers.
Stories of bad customer service can ruin a company, especially when social media platforms are so readily available for people to sound off on. Costco is a company that relies on customer loyalty and this credit card debacle had got some people nervous about whether or not they should continue their memberships. However, most people have said that they will continue to shop at Costco.
Have you experienced issues with the Costco switch to Visa? If so, please leave us a comment below.
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Photo: Flickr: Mike Mozart