This Is Why We’re In A Recession: The Next Generation

, , , , , | Right | November 24, 2017

(I work at a call center for a major credit card company, assisting callers with inquiries and payments. Most calls are pretty routine, but there are some that are not so run-of-the-mill. This is one that has stayed with me for years.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. How can I assist you today?”

Caller: “I need to pay off a card and close it.”

Me: “I’d be glad to take payment and assist you. May I ask the reason for closing the account?”

Caller: “You are bankrupting me! I can’t afford to keep paying the card! Every month, the bill is higher!”

Me: “The bill is directly associated with the charges made; are you aware of any fraudulent transactions?”

Caller: “The only fraud is that whenever you cancel my son’s card, he reapplies, and you give him another with a higher credit line!”

Me: “So, you are calling about your son’s account, not your own; is that correct?”

Caller: “Yes, and you need to close it and not give him another! I can’t afford to keep paying his bills!”

Me: “Ma’am, are you an authorized party on the card?”

Customer: “No, but I make all the payments and that should be authorization enough! How much do I owe to pay off the card and close it?”

Me: “I can take a payment against the balance for the amount you specify, but you don’t owe anything; your son does. Due to privacy and banking laws, I won’t be able to tell you the balance or close the card.”

(The caller chews me out for not helping. For the last 20 years she has been paying all her son’s debt, as he is not willing to take any personal responsibility. It is determined that her son is about 40 years old and supposedly has a job that pays well. He has at least one more card with high limits that he routinely uses for large charges; the caller also has been paying these, and has tried to cancel the card. She recently bought him a new truck — not used, because “a new one is so much better” — paid for damaged property because he’d wrapped his old pickup around a tree after a late night out, bailed him out of jail after he was arrested for DWI, leaving the scene, and not having insurance, paid his resulting penalties and fines, and started paying for his auto insurance so he wouldn’t lose his driver’s license.)

Me: “Your son is able to get cards with such high limits because you have paid all his bills, which means his credit score has not suffered. You are not responsible for your son’s debt. I’m not an expert by any means, but it’s evident to me that your son is taking advantage of your willingness to bail him out of any and all situations. Unless you stop paying and allow him to fail, the situation will not get any better. [Company] is not any more responsible for your financial situation than is the tree that your son hit with his truck.

Caller: “But if I stop paying, it would ruin his credit, and he could go back to jail!”

(I felt bad for her, but really, lady, get a clue!)

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