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viral marketing? [May. 5th, 2004|10:15 pm]
Just me.
Citibank, whom I have a credit card with that I never use, (but who I think may be the parent company of the card I -do- use) just sent me a check for $25 for no good reason. There's no fine print on the check stating that if I endorse it I enroll in their Travel Club or some such nonsense.

The check came with a letter that says (cut for length):

Dear client:

Thank you for your inquiry on april 29, 2004 regarding your checking account number (the number they cite here is not my checking acct number). We have completed our research and the results are as follows:

Our records indicate that your account referenced above was under a promotion, which offered $5.00 per bill payment up to $25 (for bill payments scheduled between Oct 25, 2003 through Oct 31, 2003), if the terms and conditions were met.

Enclosed is a check in the amount of $25 in fulfillment of the promotion.

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.


A few problems with this:

1) I didn't call or email them on 4-29-04
2) I don't remember signing up for anything in October 2003, but maybe I did and don't remember.
3) Why would you have a promotion like this that only lasts 5 days?
4) If I contacted them on 4/29, how come my preprinted check is dated 3/26/04? It's interesting that I can't remember making any inquiry 6 days ago, but they responded to this inquiry 33 days before I didn't make it.
5) If they're fulfilling the promotion, why do they regret any inconvenience it may have caused? Usually when people give me money I don't deserve, inconvenient is the last word I'd use.

My theory:
It's a bribe to make me think about Citibank favorably, as I'm not using my card at the moment. Maybe I'll think when cashing this check "Citibank made a mistake and gave me $25 for no reason. I should go charge something on my Citibank card!" Or maybe I'll call them to find out why I'm getting free money, and they'll use their telemarketing-fu to upsell me on life insurance or some extra feature I didn't know my credit card had.

anyone else get an unexplained bribe lately?
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: dirtylibrarian
2004-05-06 07:13 am (UTC)
Watch out!

I've seen this sort of thing semi-regularly lately. You get a check in the mail from some company, and if you read the super fine print, you find that by cashing it, you are enrolling in their blah-blah-blah program, which will be charged at $5.99 a month to your credit card or some such.

I think this sort of thing should be illegal.
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[User Picture]From: lara7
2004-05-06 09:13 am (UTC)

right...

Yeah, I've seen those too, but there's no fine print anywhere on the check- believe me, I looked.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dirtylibrarian
2004-05-06 02:35 pm (UTC)

Re: right...

Admittedly I got a $100 check from a phone company once for switching providers...but I do remember the conversation that lead to that.

I do think this is some sort of guilt trip to get you to use their product more.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: holyoutlaw
2004-05-07 12:38 am (UTC)
The "bill payments scheduled between" makes me think it was an online banking promotion, to get people to set up regular payments.
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[User Picture]From: kickmule
2004-05-07 06:00 am (UTC)
By cashing it, you're almost certainly agreeing to something. TANSTAAFL
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