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CIBC - TD Aeroplan Transition: Customers Speak Out

July 11, 2014
5 mins
A young man uses a pen to point to a document, showing a young woman something

Last summer, CIBC announced the sale of roughly 550,000 of its Aeroplan credit card customers to TD in a three-way agreement between the two lenders and rewards provider Aimia. As of June 16th, the official transition for affected cardholders was complete - however, nearly a month later, many of these customers remain mired in transitional loose ends, calling TD to task for issues with accessing new cards, failing technology and all-around confusing customer service.

It’s the latter that has especially incensed transitioned cardholder Tom Smith, a former CIBC customer switched to the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite. While he feels that his new card is “close to equivalent” in features to his old one, “the key differentiator in my view is the customer service, which in my opinion, is very poor.”

Granted, such a large-scale operation is sure to experience some blips - and it’s been reported that TD amped up their customer service team in preparation of the transition. They’ve also provided a public forum  - meant for customers to report issues and inquire about new processes - that has since filled with transitional rants.

Did TD drop the ball here, or are these issues symptomatic of moving half a million people from one bank to the other? To find out, MoneyWise asked TD some of the most pressing questions posed by cardholders.

Issue 1: Do pre-activated cards sent in the mail pose a higher security risk?

Sold CIBC customers began receiving their new TD cards and pins, sent separately, in the mail in early June, with their old CIBC cards deactivated on the 16th. According to a representative on TD’s forum, 80% of the new TD cards came preactivated, with communication that no further action was needed. But what if these ready-to-go cards and pins fell into the wrong hands?

“I felt very uncomfortable about having a pre-activated card sent to me through the mail. It raises questions in my mind about how easy it would be for this card to be used fraudulently if someone else were to get their hands on it,” says Smith. “I have questions about the legality of sending credit cards that way.”

Alicia Johnston, senior communications manager at TD, says standard privacy procedures were followed during the new card send-out.

“If a customer reports their TD Aeroplan credit card has been lost or stolen, the account is flagged and will require an extra level of authentication – which includes photo ID – in order to complete a transaction,” she wrote in an email to MoneyWise. “As a part of our standard procedure, we will investigate fraudulent or unusual transactions when they are reported to us.”

Johnston adds that all Visa cardholders are protected through the Visa Zero Liability Policy, and not responsible for any fraudulent or unauthorized charges on their account.

Another cardholder felt that communication regarding the use of their new card and pin was unclear, leading to account lock-outs and pin reset issues. “I got the pin in the mail before the card. When I got the card it just said it was already activated, so (there was) no need to call,” says the transitioned customer, Andrew*. “I ignored the pin notice. It was all confusing.”

*For privacy purposes, Andrew did not wish to have his full identity published.

Issue 2: Did CIBC Customers Have a Choice?

A common theme among TD’s forum threads is frustration due to lack of choice, as many feel they have been presented with no opt-out option during the transition. In an Account Transition Update sent in April, the following is stated (emphasis ours):

“On or after the Transition Date, if you activate or sign your TD Aeroplan Credit Card, use your TD Aeroplan Account (including making a payment), or if you have a balance on your TD Aeroplan Account, it will mean you have agreed to, and accepted, the terms of the TD Aeroplan Cardholder Agreement and Disclosure Statement.”

However, with the majority of mailed cards preactivated, cardholders are wondering whether they truly had the opportunity to opt out. “I was not at any point in the process offered an “opt out” option,” says Smith.

“I have serious questions regarding the legality of handing over all my personal information and details, financial and otherwise, that CIBC had on file to a competitor without my explicit agreement, especially when to this date, I have never signed any agreement with TD… How can one company simply sell me and my private information without consent?”

MoneyWise inquired about the language used directly to TD, and received the following response:

“At TD, Cardholders have opt-out options, whether or not their Card is pre-activated. In December we began notifying Transitioned Cardholders of the sale of their accounts to TD and how their accounts would continue to be serviced until transitioned to TD. The April notification reminded Transitioned Cardholders of the upcoming transition and the Cardholder Terms and Conditions that would take effect as of June 16, 2014. For more information about opt-out options, Cardholders may call 1-800-983-8472 (available seven days a week, 7:00am - 12:00am ET).”

Are you an affected cardholder who has opted out of this transition? Let us know!

Issue 3: Problems With Pre-Authorized Payments

Cardholders were originally told they would have until September 30 to reset any pre-authorized payments with merchants. “Rest assured, your existing PAPs will continue to be processed until September 30, 2014, so you will have time after your account transitions to reset these PAP’s,” states TD’s April correspondence.

Instead, since the transition, TD has experienced widespread issues with pre-approved payments not being processed by current billers. The lender has directly addressed the issue, posting the following on their forum:

We are experiencing an issue with Pre-Authorized Payments on the transitioned credit card accounts. Some of these payments are being processed and paid without interruption, while others are not … If you are contacted by a merchant and informed your PAP cannot be processed, please go ahead and provide your replacement TD Aeroplan Credit Card number. For your security, we suggest that you ask for some information that identifies the merchant before providing your account information.”

TD has since offered affected cardholders a bonus 2,000 Aeroplan miles for their patience and efforts during the process.

Issue 4: Some Customers More Rewarded Than Others

A particularly bitter point of contention is the fact that transitioned cardholders to TD don’t receive the sign-up bonus advertised to new credit card customers. “TD offers 15,000 points to all new customers for the credit card as do all their competitors,” says Smith. “The only exceptions are those of us who transitioned from CIBC to TD. We get nothing.”

Since then, TD introduced a double Aeroplan Miles earnings period between June 16 and July 13th, with personal cardholders earning three miles on the dollar on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases.

However, this bonus seems too little too late for a number of cardholders who plan to simply switch back to CIBC, or cancel and reapply to TD in order to enjoy the full sign up bonus.

Smith, weary of the red tape, is considering just throwing in the towel. He experienced technical difficulties accessing TD’s new credit card customer portal, and says customer service reps were ill equipped to handle his request amid the transitional confusion. “(It) took me three hours or so total to resolve. I have a small business which meant that was three hours of billable time lost because of a forced transition.”

Not getting the full story from your bank? Share your customer service resolution story or inquiry with us - you could be featured on MoneyWise.

Penelope Graham

A first-time homeowner and newbie investor, Penelope Graham is the quintessential millennial, navigating the world of personal finance and wealth management. A self-professed monetary policy nerd, she follows the often-controversial housing market closely and specializes in mortgage, credit card and personal finance news.

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