Do you love to “stick it to the Man” as much as I do? Especially when “the Man” is your credit card company? Would you take fiendish delight in telling them to take a well-deserved “time out”? I love it. Maybe I shouldn’t take such pleasure in this…but I do. Recently, I had occasion to really hand my credit card company it’s head on a plate. Here’s what happened.
Photo by Power to the People via Flickr
They sent me a new credit card with no explanation whatsoever. To make matters more confusing, they canceled my old card…again…without telling me why. I called the company and asked what was going on. Of course, the person who took my call didn’t know anything. In fact, I got tossed around from department to department for more than 20 minutes before I landed a person who could explain what had transpired. You know that drill all too well.
Apparently, a hacker had broken into one of their vendors’ systems and stolen the card information. My credit card company was just trying to protect me, according to the person I was speaking with.
I told him that I understood what they were trying to do. I even appreciated it — but it was an extreme inconvenience. You see, I download all my transactions to Quickbooks. Many of my suppliers are set up on automatic payment. By issuing me a new card, they were forcing me to spend hours and hours of my time to re-tool all our systems. What do these jokers think I do all day? Sit around and watch Spongebob? Wait around to clean up the mistakes that they make?
“Wait a minute Neal” you might be saying to yourself, “I thought you said you understood and appreciated what they were trying to do”.
I do understand it but I still believe that my security is their responsibility. If somebody stole my credit card information from their vendor, why is it my problem? Of course, the clerk I spoke with didn’t see it that way so I had to communicate a bit differently. I asked him what he would do if my checks got stolen and I couldn’t pay the credit card bill at the end of the month. I asked if the company would suspend interest charges.
He told me they would not.
Exactly! They wouldn’t freeze interest charges because it’s my responsibility to pay my bill just like it was their responsibility to protect my information. They don’t care about excuses when it comes to paying their bill. I don’t care about excuses when it comes to doing their job and protecting my credit card info.
The clerk agreed with me. At the end of the first round it was Wealth Pilgrim 1, Credit Card company 0. Sweet.
Of course, the card representative was limited in what he could do for me. He couldn’t undo the past. What was done was done. I agreed with him (and by so doing….lulled him into a false sense of security). Round 2 — Wealth Pilgrim 2, Credit Card company 0. Indeed.
I told the representative that I didn’t blame him individually (always a good practice when you want to get someone on your side) but that I felt the company had failed to live up to its side of our bargain. As a result, I asked him to refund my annual card fee. He threw me a left hook and slammed me down with a resounding “NO…we can’t do that.” Round 3 — Wealth Pilgrim 2, Credit Card company 1.
At this point, I whipped out my magic 6 words:
“What can you do for me?” I asked.
“We can give you 5000 free miles on your travel account” we replied.
At that point, I felt like a winner. By giving me the free miles, he was admitting the company was responsible and he was trying to make up for it. (Either that or he just wanted to get me off the phone — I didn’t care.) I didn’t want blood. I just wanted satisfaction.
“Done” I said and with that I ended the conversation.
What did I learn?
I’ve written this for a number of reasons. First, you might get a new credit card in the mail without any explanation one of these days. If so, turn that nightmare into a little bit of good news. Don’t take no for an answer. Second, if another party inconveniences you, don’t accept it. Calmly express how you feel about the situation and ask for what you want. You never know…you just might get it.
Do you have any David and Goliath stories? What was your most delicious “stick it to the Man” moment?