Posted by William Charles on December 6, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on December 6th, 2019 | by William Charles

29

City National Bank Refunding The Annual Fee For Some Visa Infinite Cardholders

City National Bank recently devalued how much points are worth and also announced a number of negative changes to benefits come January 1st. Normally CNB will not refund the annual fee (or prorate it) if the card is cancelled and I’ve never heard of them offering retention bonuses either. That being said some reddit users are reporting that they were able to get the annual fee refunded after complaining about these changes. I suspect this will work best for people that pay their annual fee shortly before these negative changes were announced as they would have had the expectation that the benefits would remain the same for the next year. I also suspect that as more people try to get the annual fee waived, fewer people will have success – but it’s still worth a try.

Hat tip to DDG



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Michael
Michael

I got mine refunded the other week when I closed the card. Initial response from my banker was no waivers, but I pushed back and she got it waived.

AD
AD

What did you say as your pushback?

Michael
Michael

“The terms were changed, I reject that change and am closing the account because of that.”

The fee was charged within a week or so of them finally admitting the benefits were changing, so I don’t think they had much of a leg to stand on in refusing to refund the fee. If it had been charged a few months ago, I wouldn’t have had as strong an argument (at least for the entire thing…I still think I would have been entitled to a pro rated refund).

FWIW, I’m a lawyer and she knows that. I don’t have any kind of relationship with the bank independent of that card though, so they didn’t do it to salvage the balance of a relationship.

AD
AD

Thanks for such a detailed breakdown. My banker had already said she’d “try” to run it up the flagpole, but I emailed her again to (in a friendly way) include your language.

Michael
Michael

Good luck. Pretty crappy on their part if they don’t.

Monica
Monica

If you close the card within a month, don’t you normally get it back? Maybe it’s the case with City National?

David
David

No, not with CNB. In their terms, they even stated they have the right to collect the fee even if you do not use the card. Thing is, something like this may end up to be unenforceable if it goes to court. Maybe someone has threatened them with legal action and they decided to back down.

Michael
Michael

Yeah…agree…you can’t unilaterally change the terms of a deal without opening the whole thing back up.

But if you paid the fee 4 months ago…the argument becomes murkier.

David
David

While they are allowed to change the terms on the account, the changes we are talking about are quite drastic (compared to a simple APR change or if they are going to charge for paper statements, etc), I think they would have a hard time explaining their stance if it goes to court and they refuse to refund someone because “the terms said so.” It’s more like paying $400 for a credit card expecting what you are getting when you sign up, and then they are sending you a notice that your card is being converted to a Platinum card and that you will receive no benefits whatsoever and that you won’t get a refund because you already paid (too bad!). No way that’s going to fly… Although exaggerated, the same principles pretty much apply here.

Michael
Michael

I agree…though from a cardholder standpoint, only way to get it to court is to set your credit on fire for a year or so.

Demand a refund, be firm and you’ll probably get it though.

AD
AD

Curious what you mean about going to court hurting your credit? Smart thing is to of course pay the fee, since you don’t want it going to collections. But at the same time, file in small claims.

Michael
Michael

If I were the bank, I’d argue that payment acts as a waiver of any dispute known at the time of payment.

Frank
Frank

This literally come down to your relationship with the banker. I have good relationship with the banker and I had no issue getting refund

debit
debit

Has anyone successfully downgraded the card?

MSer
MSer

CNB has done an excellent job of ensuring everyone who has their card has a lousy view of them. Can’t imagine letting such a crappy ‘wealth management’ bank manage my money.

theAJx
theAJx

theyve always struck me as a mediocre bank with mediocre offerings . . . yet they have their name plastered over some of the most prime real estate in major cities. They must be doing well for themselves.

aubergine
aubergine

That is true, but they know (and we know) that 90% of the card members they have brought in through aren’t candidates for any profitable banking/trust service they offer. So they don’t mind torching the card relationship. Their real HNW business types aren’t going to give a shit about $250 in credits on a card. They’ll care more if they can get a loan from them to expand their legit biz. My banker said the card was always intended to be a loss leader to find those prospects; it must have just turned into more of a loss than they had expected.

RC
RC

I tried this exactly as my AF was assessed the day after changes were announced to no avail

aubergine
aubergine

You might be a candidate for a CFPB claim. Seriously.

aubergine
aubergine

I would note that normal banks, which have legions of lawyers, like Citi / Chase etc. are careful making card benefit changes on consumer cards. They will give notice well in advance, be careful about taking new signups if T&C are materially changing, and be quick to refund AF when warranted. It has to cost some real time/money to address CPFB claims too, so warring with every cancellee over $400 may not be long term wise.

value
value

CNB makes it very confusing about benefit cut. I never received the devaluation notice. In fact, just couple of days ago, I received a mail reminding me how awesome the card is and highlighted many (old) benefits.

Jags
Jags

I received the same mailing touting the benefits going away and never received notification of change of benefits.

Dave
Dave

Got mine refunded after cfpb complaint and writing a letter to the bank which I mailed to my banker. It helped that within the cardmember agreement there is a clause for NY residents on page 5 pertaining to refund of AF.

aubergine
aubergine

Its amazing they didnt even check that you were a NY resdent

Dave
Dave

Uh I am.

Jeff
Jeff

My AF posted on 10/31. I called and tried to get them to refund the AF but after going back to their credit card department, they said that because I used one of the benefits after the annual fee posted, they would not be able to refund. I booked a flight using the visa air discount and redeemed my points towards paying for the flights. Oh well. I’ll just keep it for another year and get the $350 air credit from it. They did confirm that my AUs would not be charged the $95 since I added them in November of last year.

Yu
Yu

Anyone got the credit for AA GC purchase ? If so, would you share the post dates for both the original purchase and credit ? Thanks.

Don L

I got my CNB annual fee refunded.

It was difficult to verify the refund, because on account closure I could still login to the website, but I couldn’t see any transactions (anything at all for the closed card).

I was able to verify that my annual fee was refunded, because my automatic payment failed. The representative noted that they do not allow over payment. Over the phone I paid off my new balance which was $400 less than the previous statement balance.

J
J

DP for CNB Annual Fee NOT being refunded, even after in-person escalations to managers in a local branch.

Such horrible customer service compared to any other bank I’ve dealt with. Branch manager kept trying to justify the no-AF refund, “You should have cancelled before the AF was charged […] This card was never intended for non-banking customers […] Some blogs leaked the link last year and you weren’t supposed to sign up for it […]” – what a load of BS, it was a public link that anyone could access.

I plead my case saying that the benefits were literally downgraded less than a month ago, that it was a bait and switch because the benefits were changed just as my AF hit….etc…. still nothing. I’m going to milk the $350 airline fee credit in Jan 2020, max out other benefits as early as possible, close the account early and make sure to write bad reviews for this bank any chance I get.

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