Today I cancelled a credit account that had been paid off a long time ago and was no longer useful. Before I called them up, I looked at the website for my account to make sure that everything was clear and that no pending or recurring charges would show up.
The account statement looked like this:
Available Credit: [redacted]
Current balance: $0.00
Minimum payment Due: $20.00
Previous Balance: $0.00
Last Payment: $58.97, 3/5/2005
I immediately saw that I had a $20 payment due, but missed seeing that my balance was zero. Oh crap, how long has that been due? At least since March! Better pay that last $20 before I cancel. I clicked on the "Make a payment online" button.
The error page I received said:
"You have elected to make a payment of less than one dollar. Payments of less than one dollar cannot be made. Payments that would result in a credit cannot be made." There was a button to go back to the account summary.
Back at the account summary, I saw that the balance was zero. I then went to get a statement so that I could call to cancel, because I needed the account number. On the last statement, no minimum payment was indicated, but the other numbers were all the same except the credit limit, which was $100 higher than the one listed on the website.
So! Someone sat around for a few weeks in a conference room with the bankers to do this site and they fucked it up. If your balance is paid off, it still shows that you owe them $20. This is no doubt because they don't allow a minimum payment of less than $20 if you have a balance at all, even if the rotating credit would result in something lower. The case in which no payment is to be made at all was just dropped through the floorboards and doesn't exist.
Then, they fucked up the response to paying a nonexistence balance. Instead of saying "There is no balance on your account and no payment is currently due: click here to shop your ass off!" they at once told me that I was attempting to pay them less than a dollar (no, I wasn't!) and that it's not allowed to pay them money that would result in a credit (I was, but they'd just told me to!).
What drives me nuts about this is that a paid off account is not a rare situation. When you're drawing up the Big Chart of Stuff That Credit Cards Do, it's one of the first things that comes to mind. How could they have screwed this up so badly? This mistake must happen like ten times a second on that site.
Then again, after what torgo_x told me about Non-Euclidean Math at Banks (make him tell you this story some time), I shouldn't be surprised.
The punchline is that the credit account was a Citibank credit line offered through Amazon.com. LOL INTERNET!