A reader recently wrote:
I have a friend who needs some guidance on a problem she’s facing with her Barclays Credit Card. Barclays is forcing her to avail a membership called Barclays Priority Circle. They call her several times a day asking her to pay around Rs 9,000 as membership fee and late payment charges.
My friend got her Barclays Credit Card sometime in April/May of this year on her own interest. One fine day, a couple of months later, my friend got a call from Barclays Priority Circle. One guy from Barclays Priority Circle was forcing her to become a Priority Circle member. He said that its free for Barclays Credit Card holders. He called several times and when my friend found that there is no pain in becoming a free member, she accepted the membership. In the next month’s statement they put this membership fee of Rs 6,000 and some surplus tax. After that the whole drama started.
My friend tried to discontinue the credit card, but Barclays claims that they have the call record of the dialogue between my friend and the Barclays official. They also claim that as per their policy she has no option other than to accept the card and pay the fee. She is helpless and feels trapped.
What should she do now?
Since I was held up with other tasks, I couldn’t immediately respond to this query. The reader’s friend wrote back saying:
I have been giving several rounds of phone calls to Customer Care, Barclays Priority Circle, and their Supervisors. I also lodged complaints with Barclays services department.
Finally, I got the phone number of the card division’s head and got a chance to speak to him. I also asked Barclays to send me the tape which had this particular conversation record. But they refused. It was immediately clear that no such membership fee was ever discussed over phone. After several rounds of calls, Barclays verified that the call record which I had with Barclays Priority Circle doesnâ€™t say that I had nodded on the membership fee part. So they are going to reverse the membership fee and all other charges.
Do learn from such situations and be safe.
Moral of the story:
When a financial institution offers you “exclusive,” “privilege,” “priority,” “premium,” “premier,” or “another-similar-word,” access to some [usually useless] service of theirs, run away as fast — and as far away — as you can.