An Open Letter to My Credit Card Company

>I’m actually returning your call. Someone tried to call me twice today, so it must be urgent.

Oh, that’s really odd, because I received a “courtesy call” last night, and I told the representative that I was not interested in your credit protection service and that I did not want to be signed up for anything. Then I called and spoke to another representative and asked her to add my name to your no-call list.

While I understand that no-call list may not transfer instantaneously to your call center – although there’s no reason why it couldn’t – the fact that I rejected your credit monitoring service yesterday should clearly have prevented me from getting another call the very next day touting the same service.

And you know what? I had basically the same conversation with two of your representatives maybe a month ago. A young man called, and I listened to his spiel and then said I didn’t want to be signed up for anything, not to sign me up to get the so-called “free” credit report because I didn’t want to bear the burden of having to call and cancel after “first month free.” And then he said he’d send out the information in the next couple of days. And I said no. And he said he’d send it out, and I said he’d better not. And then I hung up and called back immediately to verify that I hadn’t been enrolled in anything.

The other thing that’s really ticking me off tonight is that my husband answered the phone both times this evening; I was not at home. He’s on the account. His name is on a credit card that has the same account number embossed on it; his name is on the checks that come to you whenever a payment is made. Yet, the callers ask for me and when my husband politely asks the nature of the call, the representative chatters, “Courtesy call from [financial institution].” Click.

It’s one thing to call every year or maybe even every six months, but come on. How many times do I have to tell you that I’m not interested in your credit protection scheme? You dangle the carrot of a free credit report, when in fact it’s not really free. It comes with the onus of having to call and cancel the service in order to prevent having to pay a monthly fee that I don’t want to pay.

And really, your automated credit monitoring service doesn’t cost much to operate. You pay a human for a few minutes to enter my account information in the system (or maybe to check a box and turn the service on), and then your computers watch for inconsistencies.

How about providing a free (really free – no strings attached) copy of my credit report. You could send it with information about how your credit monitoring service works and a rate card, so I could see how just a few cents a day could buy me peace of mind. Come to think of it, you could easily offer credit monitoring as a free service, and you’d probably save money. You’d no longer have to pay a call center full of people to dial and redial and redial, asking the same people if they want the same service today that they said no to yesterday and last week and last month.

Finally, when I traveled out of the country, my other credit card company, the one connected to my checking accounts, called me a few days later to make sure the charges were legitimate. I didn’t have to pay them to do that. They did it in appreciation of my business. You could do the same and maybe counteract some of the negative publicity your company has been garnering during the recession.

Sincerely Yours.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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