I had a no annual fee Alliant Platinum Rewards Visa, which I upgraded to the 3% cash back Visa Signature card approximately a year ago (no annual fee for the first year). I was billed the annual fee within the past couple weeks, and when I tried to close the card and request a refund of the annual fee, Alliant customer service declined my request and said I had to pay the fee even though I haven’t used the card since the fee was charged.
Alliant said this was all disclosed in their terms and conditions, and thus I had to pay the fee despite my attempt to cancel the card within 30 days of being charged the annual fee. I noted that I had upgraded to the Visa Signature card over the phone, and I have no recollection of being told the annual fee is nonrefundable once it’s charged (in contrast to every other credit card I’ve had). They said they’re going to pull the call, but even if they didn’t specifically disclose that, they claim they mailed me the disclosure after I was approved. That could be true (though I’m not certain), but even the terms and conditions don’t look any different from other credit card issuers:
I feel that if a financial institution has an unusual policy, it should be spelled out clearly.
In any case, I advise everyone with the Alliant Visa Signature card to cancel BEFORE you are charged the annual fee.
I’d appreciate any advice on where to go from here… thanks
Are there any specific circumstances that would’ve rendered it very difficult/ impossible for you to cancel on time? Or are there circumstances that make you a more sympathetic recipient of a refund?
In terms of whether they have to refund, they charge an annual fee for each year. The fact that you did not use the card to initiate a charge does not necessarily mean they have to refund. You may have something with the lack of disclosure, but I don’t think the fact that other credit card issuers give a grace period matters at all. Merchants don’t have to all have the same policies and it’s not alliant’s job to point out all the negative aspects of it’s own card compared to other issuers.
Either way, I agree with shinobi (except with regard to the “insist”), if they don’t refund, politely ask them to reinstate the card.
I don’t have a card that’s better than 2.5% CB, but I doubt I’m going to spend enough to justify the $59 annual fee vs the no annual fee 2% CB PenFed card.
Alliant refused to close my card unless I paid the $59 balance.
I do think that if Alliant’s terms and conditions read the same as every other card issuer, and every other card issuer refunds the annual fee if you close the card within 30 days of being charged, then I think Alliant has a responsibility to affirmatively disclose their unusual practices.
The charge is described as “ANNUAL CHARGE FOR 04/18 THROUGH 03/19,” except I never used the card in 4/18 and tried to cancel the card in 4/18. To require that I pay the full $59 despite canceling in the first month is outside the bounds of standard industry practice.
I feel that I will have no alternative but to file a complaint with the CFPB if Alliant continues to insist I pay the full $59, as Alliant’s terms in no way make it clear that the annual fee is nonrefundable from the moment it is charged, in contrast to generally accepted practice. I would prefer not to do so since Alliant is my primary financial institution, but this policy is unacceptable and unfair.
That’s about the only leg that you might have to stand on, or at least have a chance of getting a sympathetic ear. Once I decided not to renew, I would have probably created a calendar reminder, but that is just because my memory is so bad that everything has to be calendared. Maybe try to argue that even cable companies give you a notice on the statement prior to any of your discounts expiring.
Do you have any funds with Alliant? Are you willing to burn this bridge over the fee?
Even so, it only provides a leg to stand on if there is some legal requirement that they provide such a notice. I only mentioned it because every AF card I’ve ever had (from various banks, not CUs) has provided such a notice, leading me to believe it might be a legal requirement, but I don’t know for sure if it is.
Other than them double debiting my checking account for payment once, it’s been well worth the 3% I received for this past year on purchases. I’ll be paying the $59 fee just because I don’t have a standard go-to 2.5% card this coming year.