25 September 2007

A Capital Idea

I never thought I'd look so forward to receiving my monthly credit card statement.

Two months ago, I failed utterly to receive my monthly credit card statement for no apparent reason. I realised it when I got last month's statement, because I try not to carry a balance. No problem, right? Call the company, point out to them that you always pay on time and in full, ask them to refund the finance charge and reset the billing cycle, Bob's your uncle.

Not so. (Well, I do have an Uncle Bob, but that's another story. Actually, I have two or three of them.) In any case, the customer service number printed on the bill is something akin to Dante's Eleventh Circle of Hell. The Tenth, of course, being erratic drivers in minivans on the Turnpike. After labyrinthing my way through countless layers of automated choices ("If you'd like to hear a duck quack, press 8") I finally decided to pull out the big guns and press the button for "lost or stolen cards" figuring that might be urgent enough to warrant a customer service rep with a pulse. Eventually I found one, and was promptly put on hold.

Four times.

For ten minutes each. Fortunately, I was on a land line, so I wasn't using precious cell battery time. I was then transferred. Also four times. And asked for my first name, my last name, my account number, the last four digits of my social, and my mailing address.

Four times.

This, of course, resulted in my having to explain (four times) that yes, that is really the name of the town, and no there aren't really "three" of anything in it, except possibly three last remaining seconds before I went completely ballistic and reached through the phone to throttle someone.

Ultimately, they decided they could, in fact, remove the whopping six-dollar finance charge (hey, I'm an English professor. Six bucks is a lot of money where we come from.) and send me a copy of the missing statement. Whereupon they verified my address yet again.

This was two weeks ago. In today's mail, I got an envelope from Joe Schmo's House of Banking MasterCard Services (with the address wrong despite five-time verification, thank you very much--and yet until this they've never had a problem sending me bills). I opened it and read the letter:

Dear Valued Customer:

Enclosed find the copy of the statement you requested for the account number listed below. Please feel free to contact a Customer Relations Representative if you have any questions.


Joe Schmo's House of Banking Services, Inc.

Guess what wasn't enclosed. They'd mailed me a cover letter. And no statement. Brilliant, I tell you. Absofuckinglutely brilliant.

Then again, this is the institution that decided it was a good idea to give me a line of credit in the first place, so that should tell you something.


Deirdre said...

I'm sure I've done business with the same people. Amazing, isn't it?

gt281 said...

around these parts "duck quacks"
are option #12, and they charge $3:00 to hear it, and isn't the "on hold" music great? i love listening to the complete version of "the ring of the nibelung", in german, as i wait to be put on hold again, don't you?