Sunday, November 29, 2015

Citibank in Australia is NOT Good

When I first rented a first property here in Sydney, my rental agent surprised that I was using Citibank and he told me that usually local here don't use Citibank. At that I just listened and continued to use Citibank since it was my favorite bank but not until this incident happened...

Why I say Citibank is not good? 

Firstly, they rejected my credit card application without giving me any reason although I met all the criteria and didn't have a bad credit record. So I called them and they asked me to appeal. They have a specific channel for that. So I write a formal letter to appeal and they never got back to me after many months.

At one point, then my account was promoted to Citigold (this is when your saving reaches certain amount) where there is a an dedicated account manager to serve you. So I called him and told him about my situation about my credit card application and I asked for the reason of rejection.

Account manager: We don't know the reason but you need to ask the one who handle this credit card application for you. Do you know who handle your case? 
Me:  A banker in Citibank Queen Victoria Building (QVB) branch. 
Account manager: You need to find him and ask him.  
Me: No way, what is the point that I having account manager who can't do anything for me? I"m not going to find this person. Either you help me to figure that out or I will change to use different bank. 
So this guy never responded me after that. So I started to switch my saving to Commonwealth Bank and eventually I got my credit card application approval there.

About one year later, a lady banker called me to do survey on my account manager to basically rate him from 1 to 10. So I gave him everything 1. The lady actually surprised and I told her the reason. The next day, my account manager called me.
Account Manager: Is there anything I can help?  
Me: No. Why you call me suddenly?  
Account Manager: No, just want to check with you if you need any help.  
Me: No. I don't need any help now. 
He didn't seem like know the actual reason why I"m not satisfied. He just knew that I rated him low so he called. Huh? I thought I already told the lady? Anyway, I really didn't need his help anymore. After few weeks, he called me again and the conversation went exactly the same like before. I think after 3 rounds, then he stopped. He never called again.


Based on this incident and experience that I had with them, now I know why locals do not use Citibank. Perhaps this is a chicken and egg problem (i.e. less customer, less services?). Their service is pretty bad actually and no accountability. It is definitely not as good as Citibank's service in Malaysia. Of course this is merely my opinion and doesn't represent all.

Having said so, Citibank is still my favorite BUT only for this Citibank Global Transfer Feature which I talked about it in the past. I still promote this feature to everybody who wants to transfer money from or to Malaysia because I find it very convenient and cheap.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Understand Excess Reduction in Car Rental

You may or may not know about this excess reduction in car rental every time when you are travelling. In fact, a lot of people misunderstand that this in an insurance and I'm confused myself too when first I started renting car here in Australia.

In fact, this is NOT an insurance at all but maybe it can be related to insurance. For example, if you don't pay for this excess reduction, you're still insured. In case of anything happens, the maximum amount that you need to pay is $4K. No matter what happen, you won't pay more than $4K. Isn't this already covered?

You pay this excess reduction fee to reduce the $4K to $500 for example. So, in case of anything happens, you won't pay more than $500. You can also pay this access reduction fee higher to reduce the $4K to $0 so that you won't pay a single cents.

There is a catch here, you still won't be covered although you have reduce to excess to $0. For example, you break the rental contract by driving in the unsealed road.  This depends on whether there is such limitation on the contract and also depends on place that you rent a car. We have such limitation while renting a car in Tasmania. They usually will explain that to you clearly.

Another common thing is you don't drive the car but let other to drive. It depends on you contract whether you have added another person to drive the car or only you're the only one can drive the the car. Also, violating traffic laws is another common one which causes you break the contract.

Should you pay for this excess reduction? It is really up to you. What you should ask yourself is if there is any major accidental happens, are you afford to pay $4k? If yes, you don't need to pay any excess reduction fee. I personally have never paid for it. Most importantly, don't "assume" this excess reduction is an insurance fee, it is NOT. You have already been covered although you don't pay it!

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