A Credit Rating That Never Dies

, , , , | Right | April 28, 2021

I’m a customer service representative for a credit card company. It’s my first day.

Caller: “My card needs to be updated; my last name has a typo.”

He gives me the details, but I cannot find his account, which I tell him.

Caller: “It’s my wife’s card. Her name is [Wife].”

I get the account open and see that his name is not on it.

Me: “Can I speak with your wife?”

Caller: “She’s been dead for eleven years, but I still use her card.”

I transferred him to the fraud department!

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Patience All Around!

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Waifer2016 | April 9, 2021

I discover, much to my dismay, that I have lost my credit card. Where it wandered off to, I have no idea. The HOW it went missing is quickly solved with the discovery of a rather large hole in the card slot of my cell phone case. After a few minutes of panicked account checks to make sure all is okay, I relax and call my bank.

After ten minutes of battling the Interactive Voice Response system within their call center, I get through to an employee. He gives an opening spiel and introduces himself.

Me: “Hi, [Employee]! I lost my credit card.”

Employee: “Ohhh, crap, dude. That sucks!”

Me: “Yeah, it does. The sad thing is that this is the fourth one I’ve lost; it’s very sad.”

Employee: *Laughing* “I can relate. Okay, I need your bank account number.”

Me: “The number is [account number], my address is [address], and the bank is located on [Road].”

Employee: “Holy crap, you’re doing my job for me!”

Me: “Sadly not my first rodeo, [Employee].”

Employee: “I’m pulling up your account; one minute.”

Me: “No worries, the last two transactions are at [Store] and are legit.”

Employee: *Howling with laughter* “Oh, you’re awesome! You have all the questions down!”

Me: “No sense me being cranky about it.”

Employee: “Um, now comes the sucky part where I remind you to update all your auto payments, shopping accounts, and memberships.”

Me: “Arrrgh, you’re killing me, [Employee]! I forgot about that!”

He chuckles sympathetically.

Employee: “Okay, I canceled your card and reported it stolen for you. Anything else I can do?”

Me: “Yeah, have some chocolate for me, [Employee]; you deserve it.”

Employee: “You’ve made my day!”

And he laughed some more. I was dumb and lost my card again, but I made the poor bank dude smile. Win, right?


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for April 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

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They’re Not Winning Themselves Any Points Here

, , , , | Working | March 18, 2021

There is a fun event for families like mine in a city not too far away, less than 200 miles. We go every year. This year, I decide to make a mini-vacation out of it since the older kids are available. I book an AirBnB for all of us for two nights, get tickets to our favorite museums, and confirm our reservation for the annual event. I do this all on a single credit card so I can keep track of the cost of the trip and maximize my “points.” 

We check into the Airbnb, go to the event, and have a great time. But the next day, things start well and go downhill. We go to the museum with our pre-paid tickets and love the exhibit. We stop at the gift shop to get some pretty things and use my card. No problems.

Then, we go next door to the botanical gardens and my card is declined. Embarrassed, I step out of line and call the card company. After all the confirmation hoopla…

Me: “Hello. I’m on a vacation with my family and my card was just declined. Have I come close to my limit? Was there a purchase I forgot about?”

Representative: “No. It looks like the card was flagged for suspected fraud.”

Me: “Oh, dear! What is that about? Was the card number used somewhere else?”

Representative: “We have an attempted use at [Botanical Garden].”

Me: “Yes, that is me. I am standing here at the botanical garden and planned to purchase tickets for the family with this card.”

Representative: “It looks like this purchase is being made in a location that seems suspect.”

Me: “Why? The botanical gardens are over fifty years old. It’s not a fly-by-night sort of thing.”

Representative: “It is flagged because it is not near the billing address.”

Me: “Well, no, it isn’t particularly near my billing address, but it is within a short drive. I am here, in this city, as should be obvious by the recent purchases on this card. I made a purchase literally fifty yards from here about twenty minutes ago. This isn’t the first time I’ve been to this city. I need to use this card. What can be done?”

Representative: “Oh, okay. I will make a note and release the hold.”

Me: “Thank you.”

I think that was weird, but after getting back in line, the tickets are purchased and we have a nice walk through the gardens.

Then, we stop for drinks before going back to the house. The card is declined. I pull out my debit card instead but later call the card company again.

Me: “Hello. I just tried to use my card and again, the transaction was denied.”

Representative: “It looks like the card has been suspended for suspected fraud.”

Me: “I called a few hours ago and explained that I am in this town and I will be using this card in this town. Is there no note in the file?”

Representative: “Yes, I see a note that a purchase to [Botanical Gardens] was authorized after suspected fraud.”

Me: “Yes. I am still in this town. I plan to be here for another twenty-four hours. I need this card to work.”

Representative: “The hold has been released. You can try this transaction again.”

Me: “Yeah, I didn’t stand in line in a [Convenience Store] to make this call. That purchase has been taken care of, but I need to know that I will not be embarrassed at dinner tonight when I try to use this card.”

Representative: “Everything has been taken care of.”

We go out to dinner and enjoy the food, but I am thinking the whole time that there will be an embarrassment at the end. And there is.

Waiter: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but your card has been declined.”

The kids all burst out laughing, having been told of the previous issues. I hand over my debit card while gnashing my teeth. After we leave the restaurant, our plan is to walk around the downtown area for a while. I send the kids ahead and find a bench to sit on to make a call.

Me: “I want to make something clear. I am in this town. This is not the first time I have been here nor it will be the last. I booked a place to stay for two nights using this card. I booked tickets using this card. I booked these things weeks ago. There was no issue. I am now in the town where the tickets and housing are located. While here, I had planned to eat and drink and maybe see a few other sights. I had planned to use this card. However! I have been thwarted at several turns. Tell. Me. Why.”

Representative: “I am so sorry. I see notes here that you have authorized the use of your card at [Botanical Gardens] and have called about another denied purchase. I see there is a denied charge at [Restaurant] less than an hour ago.”

Me: “Yes! Why?”

Representative: “It would look as if these transactions were flagged for suspected fraud.”

Me: “Why?”

Representative: “It looks as if the location is—”

Me: “The location is less than 200 miles from the billing address. Have you never traveled more than 200 miles? Is it company policy that cardholders not travel? Is it so unheard of that someone who lives in a smallish town might go to ‘the big city’ once in a while?”

Representative: “Well, for your safety—”

Me: “Yes, I do appreciate that you may be looking out for my financial safety, but I have explained twice that I am here, in this town. And yet, a third time, my card was flagged.”

Representative: “That does seem excessive. I will put a note in—”

Me: “That won’t be necessary. I am canceling this card. I will use my debit card for the remainder of my stay here. Dealing with this card is not good for my blood pressure. You’ve lost a customer. I know that means nothing to you, or even the company, but this is just too ridiculous.”

Representative: “But you’ll lose your points! What can we do for you to reconsider?”

Me: “Goodbye.”

When I got home, I paid off the remainder of the balance online, canceled it, and cut the card in half. I will now make it a habit to bring TWO credit cards along with my debit card on vacations, even if I’d only planned to use one.

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Not Phishing Until The Cows Come Home

, , , , | Working | February 11, 2021

My wife, an IT manager, is tasked by her director with arranging for more than a hundred employees to receive holiday gift cards from a very, very large e-commerce company. The initial process is actually very easy, as she creates a single file with all of the work email addresses and then submits the order on our personal account because my wife’s company doesn’t have a corporate account, at least that she can access. We are fortunate to have a lot of unused credit, so we are able to front the thousands of dollars until she is reimbursed, which will happen prior to our bill being due.

The next day, my wife answers a call from a man with an Indian accent.

Caller: “Is this [My Name]?”

She hands the phone to me.

Me: “Yes, this is [My Name].”

Caller: “Did you…”

The background noise is so loud that it sounds like the man is on the street in Mumbai or in a market in Hyderabad. We hear cows mooing, horns honking, and people yelling, and we can barely hear the man.

Me: “What did you say?”

I’m wondering if this is some sort of scam call.

Caller: “Garble, garble, garble…”

Now we hear two people yelling at each other in the background, but we still can’t hear the man. I’m getting more concerned that this is a scam, but I’m also getting interested in what the scammer is trying to do.

I finally hear the man ask:

Caller: “Did you authorize [same exact amount as we spent on Large E-Commerce Site]?”

I realize that rather than a scammer, this man is actually “fraud prevention,” because no scammer would know that amount, and a scammer would ask for some information from me.

Me: “Yes, I spent that money on gift cards at [E-Commerce Site].”

Caller: “Thank you.”

And then, with one last “moo” in the background, the line went dead.

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Don’t. Sign. Without. Reading.

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: B007833 | December 20, 2020

Back when PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) was a massive scandal in the UK, I worked in a PPI complaints department for a pretty bad credit card company. This American card company gave cards to those no one else would dare, leading to a lot of bad debts.

If PPI was mis-sold, we would issue a letter offering a refund amount for the customer to accept, sign, and return. Underneath the signature area was a very important statement:

Statement: “If your account is not in good standing, this refund will be used to offset any debt and the remainder will be paid to you within [number] weeks of returning.”

At least eight times a day, I’d have to explain to a customer that they weren’t receiving their refund for whatever amount due to their account being in bad debt status and how we’d reduced their debt for their own benefit as per the instruction under their signature. It was amazing how many customers had already spent their refunds before receiving them and thought that having a payment plan for £10 a month with collections on a £7000 debt meant they were up to date with their payments and should receive their refunds.

Luckily, we were the accounts managers; there was no one to escalate to, and we just held firm until they gave up. I loved that job.

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