I'm warning you right now that today's post is a rant. I am not happy with my credit card company. (Who is, really?)
The thing that gets me about credit cards is that they're needed--or at least used--by a majority of people. They are big money makers and they have been around for a long time. Credit card companies earn money when they charge you interest. That makes sense because they are basically loaning you the money for that purchase.
Interest rates are supposed to be competitive. But then again, companies are supposed to strive for excellent customer service as well. What I don't get is this: why are some companies still in business when they have no desire to please a customer? When their actions actually suggest that they don't want the customer to remain a customer?!
Enough generalities. Here's what happened to me.
About a year ago we applied for a credit card that was advertising 0% interest rate until...well, I think it was supposed to be until the end of this summer. We use it when we need one, and we carry a balance that is less than 10% of the credit limit. I usually make payments to the card several times in the space of a month. I make a regular monthly payment that is always more than the minimum payment required. Then as we get other money in, or if we have some left over at the end of the month, I'll send in another payment.
So what happened? I guess I got comfortable. The last payment I made was definitely "extra". The problem is, I made it right before the March due date instead of after it. So instead of it putting me ahead on April, once the due date passed I had a whole new due date with a minimum payment. Then the credit card company did something that I know those companies do. They bumped my due date up by about five days. Every once in a while credit card companies will do that. Because if you miss the due date, that's a fee they can charge you. THEY'RE ALREADY MAKING INTEREST OFF OF ME! WHY DO THEY HAVE TO NICKEL AND DIME PEOPLE LIKE THIS?!!?
I knew another due date was coming up. What I didn't know was that it already passed. I found out when my husband tried to use the card and was denied. He was not happy. I got online and discovered that, not only had the due date been moved up, but now we were late in paying and they had suspended activity on the card until they got their money. Plus, they had raised our interest rate to 29.99%!!! Thirty percent, people!! I made our account current over the phone and then explained the "mistake" I had made by missing the due date--which was almost a week earlier than last month's due date. And I politely asked them to lower our interest rate. They refused.
They said I needed to keep the account in good standing for at least four months before they would even consider changing the interest rate. I pointed out that I had kept the account in good standing for a lot more than four months prior to this.
I asked for courtesy. I asked for someone to work with me. I asked to speak to a supervisor.
They remained polite and I remained polite, but they didn't budge.
I finally pointed out that their actions were basically saying they didn't want me for a customer anymore.
They didn't care.
In the end I told them I would be paying the balance off as soon as humanly possible and that, in the meantime, I would be looking for another bank with which to do business.
They didn't even acknowledge the threat.
Here's the kicker. When all was said and done, the supervisor said what I'm sure is in their script.
"Thank you for calling. We appreciate your business. If there's anything else we can do, please call again."
And that's where I quit being polite.
I said, "Sure. So you can refuse to do absolutely anything at all to help. Thanks a lot."
I feel royally abused.
As a side note, Terry and I just had a conversation as to whether or not I could tell you which bank did such terrible things with our VISA card. I'm not sure I can mention the bank name. But let's just say that it started with the name of our most northwestern state. And it went under recently and was bought out by another bank. Hopefully that will give you a few hints.
As for me? I'm now shopping around for another credit card. Interest rates will be a big factor, but I will also be looking for a bank that appears polite. That is known for customer service. That actually seems to want my business.
Who am I kidding?
Tomorrow's rant: cell phones.