A possible credit card scam?

I’m wondering if this kind of thing is happening to others:

My wife and I relocated in early May. Within three days, I went to the websites of my health services, the county registrar of voters, the utility companies, and all my creditors to update my address. Most of those entities sent me acknowledgements via e-mail. During the month, latent bills and credits-due came via mail to my new address from the utilities in regard to my old location.

Now here’s the weirdness: US Bank, HRS (CostCo credit) & HSBC (vehicle financing), and Home Depot (CitiBank) sent me confirmation e-mails when I changed my address. However, they continued sending monthly statements to my old address. In June, when I went to their websites, I saw that my old address was listed. I updated the address again and received more confirmation e-mails. It’s the end of July and I haven’t received monthly statements. I saw on those websites that the companies have reverted to listing my old address, and their scanned copies of the monthly statements show my old address. Naturally, I’ve been charged interest and late fees on payments not made.

Yes, there options to e-mail statements and check them on-line and so on and there are various reasons I don’t do that, so don’t bother me with those suggestions (and that doesn’t answer my question anyway). The utilities, health-related vendors, and most of my other credit cards had no problem sending June and July statements to the correct address.

Since this has happened among four (three?) apparently-unrelated credit card companies, I’m wondering if it’s a widespread practice. MBNA, which recently bought out HRS and HSBC (which might have actually been just one company) was nailed in the 1990’s for delaying application of payments to millions of customers’ accounts in order to incur interest and late fees. Meanwhile, Capital One was just found guilty and fined a quarter million dollars for having their telemarketers target low-income/high-risk people [with super-low APR offers that wouldn’t stick after the applications were processed].

What I’d like to know from fellow Dope Denizens is whether or not you’ve experienced similar “Whoops, we changed your mailing address back to the old one” SNAFUs when you’ve moved. It’s looking like another method of building late fees and ‘justifying’ APR hikes and, as long as people don’t discuss their personal financ[COLOR=DarkGreen]es (which is polite in modern society) the shady practice won’t be exposed.[/COLOR] So is this a new trick? It’s a couple bucks of interest and late fees for me, but multi-millions for those companies when everybody is moving out of homes they can’t afford any more.

These days the buck stops nowhere
No one takes the blame
But evil is still Evil
In anybody’s name.

. --Don Henley (Solo)
. If Dirt Were Dollars
. End of the Innocence

Yes, which is why I also did a change of address with the Post Office. I still received my bills timely (no late fees) while having time to call the companies to squawk.

I doubt it’s a scam, I suspect merely incompetence. Somehow when you change your address online, the record is getting re-written with your old address again. I would call them and tell them what’s happening – chances are, they will strike the late penalties from your balance.

Should someone with your username be posting a reply to this thread?

On a more serious note, some financial services companies send notification to both the old and new address is to prevent account take over (otherwise, you would stop getting bills/statements and it might take a couple months for you to realize that which time either your account would be drained &/or huge charges run up on the credit card. It’s possible they sent something to the old address that you need to confirm before they will change to the new address. If you didn’t do that they will then revert to the old address thinking that the new address request was from a scam artist.

Never had exactly that happen, but something similar.
I moved several times, and my health insurance company has always been a hard time getting my address updated. There was always bureaucratic red tape, incompetence, but then I also discovered this:

They have my address recorded separately in several places in their databases, which apparently are not really well integrated. The customer, of course, shouldn’t have to know anything about the company’s internal data layout, and typically doesn’t know. The customer just fills out some standard change-of-address paperwork, as provided by the company, and send it in.

That paperwork serves to get your address updated in at least one place in the company’s data, but not in all places. Apparently it takes separate requests to get the address changed in all the other places – which the customer knows absolutely nothing about. Yet the customer is somehow supposed to know what requests to put in.

I got kicked out of one of their add-on benefits programs because of this once, and had to file a grievance to get re-instated.

I wonder if those financial and credit-card companies might have something similar going on. Their on-line data for you (like your address) might ONLY apply to your on-line existence, and maybe not to your separate existence as, like, you know, an actual account-holder with them.

FtGKid1 used us as a mail address until a year ago. But a bank/CC company still keeps sending some stuff here despite most stuff going to his new address.

As to banks and addresses, Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker’s Guide fame) has an essay about the nightmare he went thru trying to get a change of address go thru at this bank. (Perhaps in Salmon of Doubt?)

It is a cause for concern, but it may not be evil. Definitely argue over late fees.

My bank info nightmare: I noticed our bank had our phone number wrong. Handy for fraud notification. Went to their web site to change it. Turns out you have to re-enter every single piece of info anew. Name, address, SSN, first grade teacher’s dog’s name, dozens of fields to just change one piece of info. Nothing pre-filled in or anything. (Not a security thing. You could see the current info on a previous page.) Ended up doing it over the phone when calling them about something else. Banks are not customer-friendly organizations.

Write it off to incompetence. We had the same thing happen to us with American Express and we didn’t even move. They dropped part of the address for some reason and it took forever to get it corrected.

My brother apparently received a health insurance card with a misspelled name. He talked to them and asked for a new one with his correct name, and they just sent him another card with a misspelled name. I think I remember him saying or implying that he had discovered that the problem was because they were using his name as a primary key.

As a programmer, I’d say its a really stupid thing to use a name as a primary key. What about duplicates?

In the case of a duplicate name, just misspell one of them.

Never happened to me, but I’m fully electronic. However, I would have called each company the second I noticed the first address change failed to persist.

I’m not being judgmental, but you’ll be less likely to get charged late fees if you keep track of all your due dates yourself. It’s simple to keep track of what date your next payment is due; your system of waiting to receive a paper bill in the mailbox is costing you money, and might do so again unless you change it. If you haven’t received your bill by *x *number of days prior to the corresponding payment’s due date, call your creditor and ask why (since I don’t get paper bills, I’m not sure what a reasonable value is for x, but I’m certain there is one).

How to keep track can be as complicated as an Excel spreadsheet with pre-programmed formulae, or as simple as a little notepad file which tracks your recurring monthly expenditures as line items (that’s what I use). You could set up your own reminders with a gmail calendar, if you want, but relying on external reminders for billpay has the potential to cause you similar problems again in the future.

Again: no judgment, just a suggestion.