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Good Morning Everyone,

We won in consumer arbitration after four-and-a-half years.  Citibank has been wrongfully harming its customers for at least six years.  It removed my $300 small claim to arbitration against my objections (and our agreement and the arbitration forums' rules) and spent nearly half a million dollars fighting me.  We had a full two-day trial with three expert witnesses, myself and a witness for Citibank in July (not cheap).

That said, Citibank has filed for appeal...  Our arbitration agreement allows either party to have an entirely new trial in front of a three arbitrator panel.  So we get to do it all over again...  Advantage to deep pocketed Citibank.

While we were declared the winner, it was largely a splitting-of-the-baby.  Citibank likely would've been smacked a lot harder in court.  The arbitrator refused to enjoin Citibank and did not reimburse me for all of my costs, which is crazy given how lopsided our war chests are.

I am at a loss for why Citibank is being so reckless with its investor's capital.  What do they gain by appealing?  If Citibank somehow stacks the arbitration panel and wins (it's textbook breach/fraud), is a story about Citibank removing a small claim to arbitration and then bankrupting a customer a good thing?  It's unnecessarily malicious.

The whole thing continues to push the limits of absurdity.

Anyways, that's the latest.  Here is a prior post that daisy chains back to the beginning: Part 5

I am always open to help and suggestions.

Best,
Dan



 

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Thanks, I'll try to take a look later tonight.  That CBS article is a random thing to dissect...

emcdemc (Feb. 06, 2017 @ 4:37p) |

So I spoke with Alex, which turned into a follow up article:
http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2017/02/17/consumer-st... (more)

emcdemc (Feb. 17, 2017 @ 2:03p) |

Is the appeal still pending or has it concluded ?

I've been away from fwf for a while but coincidentally have been battli... (more)

SUCKISSTAPLES (Feb. 18, 2017 @ 4:51a) |

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Thanks for the update. It's crazy that they would appeal. Assume it's meant to be a deterrent to anyone else who would follow in your footsteps.

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The very short TLDR for everyone seeing this for the first time.

Citibank found/created a contractual/legal loophole where they can claim you have a right to sue them in small claims court, but prevent you from actually doing so.

OP is fighting the good fight in that there is a Mobius strip of logic involved designed to wear you down until you give up.

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BostonOne said:   Thanks for the update. It's crazy that they would appeal. Assume it's meant to be a deterrent to anyone else who would follow in your footsteps.
 
Thx.  Maybe - it's not a precedent setting case and the risk-reward ratio is not favorable to Citibank.  I forgot to mention that Citibank threatened me to accept 60% of what I won and sign a non-disclosure and non-disparagement or it would appeal.  Someone at Citibank thinks I am afraid of an appeal.

If Citibank wants to keep me quiet, it's going about it the wrong way.  How does being found guilty advance Citibank's interests?  Whoever thinks I am going to give up is foolish.

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Keep at it Dan. Hit 'em with the Hein.

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Stubtify said:   Keep at it Dan. Hit 'em with the Hein.
  baba booey!

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I received a notification from GoFundMe and came here to see if there was a more detailed update. Are you still mostly self-funding the legal costs or were you able to find a third party to help pay for it.

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Snezz said:   I received a notification from GoFundMe and came here to see if there was a more detailed update. Are you still mostly self-funding the legal costs or were you able to find a third party to help pay for it.
  
Thanks for the help!  It's greatly appreciated.  No, no outside help besides GoFundMe.  My lawyers have given generously of their time (two firms: Hyde & Swigart and Kazerouni Law Group).  Whether that will continue is another question.  We'll see.  I have to cross each bridge as I reach it.  

We're right, and that's been confirmed, but that doesn't guarantee we'll win every time.  I suspect Citibank will be much better prepared for a second trial.  And if Citibank is good at anything, it's specious arguments to sow doubt and confusion (I think it is intentional but sometimes I'm not sure if their lawyers understand). Citibank may even switch counsel (it should, frankly).

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Stubtify said:   Keep at it Dan. Hit 'em with the Hein.
  
Hey now!

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I can't recall, has your story been covered in any major news outlet? Because I could see a scathing op-ed in some big paper triggering an immediate dismissal and settlement.

Else maybe a shareholder class action for wasting money on a losing case? (To affect change in process/leadership/legal dept).

Also, since it sounds like you didn't get your costs reimbursed, is the plan to sue them for these costs in a separate suit or something? How the hell does one win a case but not the costs?

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I've tried with reporters - and am still trying. The NYTimes mentioned me but it was a big let down. They didn't even mention the small claims removal issue. If you read the article, I could've been left out and it made zero difference.

One of the lead lawyers for Citibank is married to an editor of the largest local paper. And the other lead lawyer is a senior partner at Quarles & Brady and active in Democratic politics (ironically, she runs an anti-bullying group).

I've been surprised at the lack of coverage. Do you think maybe it is because I wrote on Medium (FYI some of that is temporarily down right now)? Is it because Citibank is a big advertiser?

Yeah, an activist investor could embarrass management with this story.

As to costs, that's just the way it works. The arbitrator, for whatever reason, was unwilling to award me my actual costs. I spent $15,000 on expert witnesses and he gave me $1,500. And Citibank opted for this lengthy expensive process...not me.  It feels like arbitrators are timid.  Am I being punished for not giving up?  Why?

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Am I being punished for not giving up? Why?

Because the last thing that big corporations want is the little people thinking they have rights

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Oh yeah, I remember now.

Yes, that is ironic. She must be either suffering from cognitive dissonance or has no conscience.

I'm rooting for you. Maybe you should get people to invest in the case (rather than just donate) if there's any chance of a big payout/ROI.

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SUB said:   
Am I being punished for not giving up? Why?

Because the last thing that big corporations want is the little people thinking they have rights

  
Yeah.  Citibank operates as though it knows an arbitrator will never exercise all of his/her power.  A jury would crucify Citibank.

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If arbitrators are chosen by the company they're naturally biased towards making sure they get repeat business.

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You're doing the Lord's work there, buddy. Keep it up.

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Stubtify said:   If arbitrators are chosen by the company they're naturally biased towards making sure they get repeat business.
  Everyone who does arbitrations knows that the system will inevitably implode... it's just a matter of when the tipping point where the public finally gets educated about the neo-fascist and anti-democratic nature of the Federal Arbitration Act (the "FAA").

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This is just an idea, I have no idea if it's feasible,
but if you want to get newspaper coverage, maybe you could try a paper like the UK's Guardian, which also officially operates offices in the US and Australia, and is generally on the left and generally sticks up for "the little guy". (I believe they won a Pulitzer for their Snowden coverage.)

site:
https://www.theguardian.com/us

contact details:
https://www.theguardian.com/info/about-guardian-us/contact

"letters" area:
https://www.theguardian.com/tone/letters
"Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com"

They have, or at least they had, a section called Comment is Free, and I think there were article submissions by various members of the public as well as their columnists, but I don't see anything called that on their site now. They got a new editor last fall, and some things have changed.

Wait, here it is, it's in their site's UK area:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/commentisfree

Besides contacting the newspaper office generally, if you notice a columnist there whom you think might be interested in your story, often their columnists will provide their Twitter address and invite people to contact them via twitter, as, for example, the following columnist does in his Guardian profile:
https://www.theguardian.com/profile/adityachakrabortty

Here is the consumer rights section (admittedly UK-focussed):
https://www.theguardian.com/money/consumer-rights-money

Here is the consumer champions area (ditto):
https://www.theguardian.com/money/series/bachelor-and-brignall-consumer-champions

Here is the money area (ditto):
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/money

I don't know what kind of "experiences" they welcome readers to write about, but that area is here:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/series/experience
"Do you have an experience to share? Email experience@theguardian.com"

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Have you tried contacting Consumerist? They do like these kind of stories, and if they post something it often gets picked up by others.

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emcdemc said:   ....I am at a loss for why Citibank is being so reckless with its investor's capital.  What do they gain by appealing?  If Citibank somehow stacks the arbitration panel and wins (it's textbook breach/fraud), is a story about Citibank removing a small claim to arbitration and then bankrupting a customer a good thing?  It's unnecessarily malicious.....



 

They have an army of lawyers & some need the practice. And if they have to beat down some negative publicity, guess what they have an army in standing for that too.

Good luck OP!

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Contact John Oliver.

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Thrilla said:   Contact John Oliver.
  
I could totally see a main segment on forced arbitration and this is a fantastic example of (1) lopsided rules and resources, (2) the failure of arbitration to streamline resolution as it claims to do, (3, and perhaps most importantly) how corporations can still steamroll customers even if the customer supposedly has the right to bring their case to court.

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Thrilla said:   Contact John Oliver.
  Segment Title:
Banks, why they are awful

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Thrilla said:   Contact John Oliver.
  This actually does seem like something John Oliver would love.

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oppidum said:   This is just an idea, I have no idea if it's feasible,
but if you want to get newspaper coverage, maybe you could try a paper like the UK's Guardian, which also officially operates offices in the US and Australia, and is generally on the left and generally sticks up for "the little guy". (I believe they won a Pulitzer for their Snowden coverage.)

site:
https://www.theguardian.com/us 

contact details:
https://www.theguardian.com/info/about-guardian-us/contact 

"letters" area:
https://www.theguardian.com/tone/letters 
"Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com"

They have, or at least they had, a section called Comment is Free, and I think there were article submissions by various members of the public as well as their columnists, but I don't see anything called that on their site now. They got a new editor last fall, and some things have changed.

Wait, here it is, it's in their site's UK area:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/commentisfree 

Besides contacting the newspaper office generally, if you notice a columnist there whom you think might be interested in your story, often their columnists will provide their Twitter address and invite people to contact them via twitter, as, for example, the following columnist does in his Guardian profile:
https://www.theguardian.com/profile/adityachakrabortty 

Here is the consumer rights section (admittedly UK-focussed):
https://www.theguardian.com/money/consumer-rights-money 

Here is the consumer champions area (ditto):
https://www.theguardian.com/money/series/bachelor-and-brignall-consumer-champions 

Here is the money area (ditto):
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/money 

I don't know what kind of "experiences" they welcome readers to write about, but that area is here:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/series/experience
"Do you have an experience to share? Email experience@theguardian.com"

  
Thanks!  I'll give it a shot.

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Thanks for the suggestions and comments. I feel like it would be easier to get the attention of a John Oliver if a third party first wrote about my story in a real way - as a sort of verification. Breaking through people's "crazy person" filters is not easy, especially when I'm self-advocating. Citibank and the AAA deserve embarrassment regardless of whether people think it's a petty extension of the lawsuit. There's no other way to put a stop to this.

If Citibank blatantly breaks the rules and the arbitration forums don't bat an eyelid, something is seriously wrong. I am supposed to be capable of forcing Citibank into small claims court as easily as Citibank can force me into arbitration - that's what Citibank and I agreed to!  Arbitration is a creature of agreement, including its limits.  However, only one side of that bargain is being reliably enforced - and it's the side that the court's enforce. How is that not interesting? How does that not raise serious questions about consumer arbitration?

Courts don't ignore their jurisdiction rules - ever. They can't. If 99% of the time they didn't ignore their rules, it wouldn't excuse any time they did. It's 100% or bust. In court, ignoring jurisdiction would create an issue of judicial immunity. Arbitral immunity is definitely an issue in my case. But again, unless you're rich and want to pay by the hour, you're screwed. Lawyers don't make money arguing these sorts of things on contingency.

Regardless of your state, one party can always raise a question of arbitrability. And, under the AAA's rules and most contracts, questions of arbitrability are for the arbitrator not the courts. By not practicing restraint, the business can always force the small claimant into arbitration. And by not punishing the business, the AAA/arbitrators encourage further abuse.

I could go on-and-on =)

rated:
Try Bob Sullivan. He is an investigative journalist and consumer advocate. Can't say for sure if he would write about it but might be worth a shot. There is a link to contact him as well as more information about him here: https://bobsullivan.net/about/

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Thank you for fighting the good fight.

Very few people would, and I appreciate you for both doing so, and keeping us up to date.

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If a few more people did make the good fight  then financial companies might  start to rethink  their business plans.  I am fixing to have a seimilar round with Paypal but with one exception. I am covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and they have never sent me the terms in large print as I am low vision.  the really amusing part is that Bill Me Later  followed the ADA religiously on billing.  Paypal violated Reg E of the CPFB regs by presenting my payment  check both by ACH and the check itself.   They don't want to pay for the NSF or returned check charges . 

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~Sacred~~emcdemc;19631862 said:
Good Morning Everyone,We won in consumer arbitration after four-and-a-half years.  Citibank has been wrongfully harming its customers for at least six years.  It removed my $300 small claim to arbitration against my objections (and our agreement and the arbitration forums' rules) and spent nearly half a million dollars fighting me.  We had a full two-day trial with three expert witnesses, myself and a witness for Citibank in July (not cheap).That said, Citibank has filed for appeal...  Our arbitration agreement allows either party to have an entirely new trial in front of a three arbitrator panel.  So we get to do it all over again...  Advantage to deep pocketed Citibank.While we were declared the winner, it was largely a splitting-of-the-baby.  Citibank likely would've been smacked a lot harder in court.  The arbitrator refused to enjoin Citibank and did not reimburse me for all of my costs, which is crazy given how lopsided our war chests are.I am at a loss for why Citibank is being so reckless with its investor's capital.  What do they gain by appealing?  If Citibank somehow stacks the arbitration panel and wins (it's textbook breach/fraud), is a story about Citibank removing a small claim to arbitration and then bankrupting a customer a good thing?  It's unnecessarily malicious.The whole thing continues to push the limits of absurdity.Anyways, that's the latest.  Here is a prior post that daisy chains back to the beginning: Part 5.I am always open to help and suggestions.Best,
Dan
 
Thanks for costing me $500.   Now I know why I got denied for my application for the AA card.   -  Citi had to pay their attorney's rather than give me a card and a bonus!  (I knew it wasn't because I had so many credit cards!!!  I just knew it!   )

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It's the worst in the context of employees signing MBA agreements with employers, then being laid off for some horrible reason and not being able to sue.

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Its a shame you can't buy 1 share of citibank and then bring a motion for vote at the next stockholder meeting to abandon the appeal on the grounds of misuse of company/investor funds.

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I don't want to knock anyone's suggestion for who could do a great piece covering OP's story, but I assure you OP has reached out to many news people and outlets.

The lack of coverage is not due to a lack of effort on OP's part.

Rather, you would be doing OP a huge favor, by reaching out to your suggested person/outlet on OP's behalf. There are plenty of FWF threads to point to for information and OP can easily be reached if you manage to get a response.

To the extent possible, given it's a lawsuit, all the key details are well laid out in 6 (or more?) threads on FWF.

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skarydrunkguy said:   Its a shame you can't buy 1 share of citibank and then bring a motion for vote at the next stockholder meeting to abandon the appeal on the grounds of misuse of company/investor funds.
  OP may already own a share in a mutual fund.  And in sense fighting himself to some degree.

rated:
Can you cross-appeal?

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Hi OP,

I am a consumer advocate working to get the word out about forced arbitration, especially in the financial sector. I would be very interested in talking to you about your story and helping you generate some news coverage. Please contact me at awerner@ourfinancialsecurity.org!

Thanks,
Amanda

rated:
awerneroply said:   Hi OP,

I am a consumer advocate working to get the word out about forced arbitration, especially in the financial sector. I would be very interested in talking to you about your story and helping you generate some news coverage. Please contact me at awerner@ourfinancialsecurity.org!

Thanks,
Amanda

  Awesome Amanda!
If you end up doing a true-benefit to OP's cause, with no side-preferences-baked-into-it, then You are a super good person and will earn some super valueable good karma!

rated:
skarydrunkguy said:   Its a shame you can't buy 1 share of citibank and then bring a motion for vote at the next stockholder meeting to abandon the appeal on the grounds of misuse of company/investor funds.
  
lol, a strain of that idea has crossed my mind.

rated:
gatzdon said:   I don't want to knock anyone's suggestion for who could do a great piece covering OP's story, but I assure you OP has reached out to many news people and outlets.

The lack of coverage is not due to a lack of effort on OP's part.

Rather, you would be doing OP a huge favor, by reaching out to your suggested person/outlet on OP's behalf. There are plenty of FWF threads to point to for information and OP can easily be reached if you manage to get a response.

To the extent possible, given it's a lawsuit, all the key details are well laid out in 6 (or more?) threads on FWF.

  
Thanks!  Yeah, I think self-advocacy gets discounted to an extent.  I hope that our winning in arbitration helps break down some of those filters.  If you read the CFPB's public complaint database, it's easy to see how you can get lost in the noise.

Skipping 54 Messages...
rated:
Is the appeal still pending or has it concluded ?

I've been away from fwf for a while but coincidentally have been battling Citi for the past 3-4 years, and shockingly over similar willful violations of the Fcra .

I've received five figures in judgments thus far , and they've actually paid- but every few months /years , the negative info pops back on the credit report and I have to go through the entire process of disputing /suing them all over again, because as you well know they simply do not respond to letters asking nicely to correct the matter .

Keep on fighting the good fight .

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