Sunday, March 30, 2008

Discover This, Discover Card

Good job, assholes!Here's a little story about how not to run a credit card company. I've had a Discover card since 1992. It was the first credit card I ever got -- I remember filling out an application at school, actually -- and it was all fun and exciting to have a new way to buy used CDs and whatever other crap a college student of 1992 bought.

Prior to this past summer, I hadn't even used my Discover card in years. But with the mounting costs of my Africa trip and then the financial hit of Christmas, I started putting some stuff on there while I built my bank balance back up. Anyway, it seems I had a payment due on March 12, but because they never sent (or, anyway, I never received) a bill, I didn't make the payment.

Beginning March 18, I started getting calls from "623-643-2996." I don't answer numbers I don't recognize, and there was never any message left. After about six calls of this, I Googled the number and found out it was apparently Discover collections. (That's when I checked and, uh, discovered I must have an overdue payment.)

Oops. So I went on to Discover's web site with the intention of making a payment. (I was actually planning to pay off my whole balance in the next week, but I had to wait for my tax refund before I could do so.) After registering with an ID and password and going through the site, entering all the relevant info, I just got a message telling me to call some number. It didn't even tell me what I owed.

Well, I didn't feel like dealing with that (as anyone who knows me probably knows, I simply do not like to use the phone) and decided to wait to see if they'd send a bill again. That's how it works in my world: You send me a bill and I pay it. I don't talk to barely understandable people from India or screw around with automated calls.

In the next few days, a bill finally arrived. My past due amount was a grand total of... $24. So it seems that, beginning six days after my payment was due, Discover called me six or seven times. Over $24. My new minimum balance was $49, due on April 12. Well, I figured, my tax refund's coming any day so when that arrives I'll pay off my entire balance, as I had originally planned. My refund came and on Friday, I mailed off a check to Discover for the whole kit and kaboodle.

Meanwhile, however, the $24 Crisis of 2008 required emergency weekend action! Yesterday, Saturday, beginning at 8am, Discover called me four more times, sometimes with the calls being barely more than an hour apart. Today, Sunday, same thing. All this over fucking $24? I heard there was a credit crunch, but this is ridiculous.

So an hour ago I finally called the 800 number the auto-drone mentioned in the one time they actually left a voicemail. I went through an automated menu and finally found a "check's in the mail" option. I was actually hoping to bitch someone out, but here's what I'm gonna do. When the check posts later this week, I'm going to call customer service, bitch out the unfortunate bastard who eventually takes my call, and tell him or her exactly where to put my Discover account.

I've had this account for 16 years, I miss one payment of $24 (because they don't send a bill), and they harrass my cell phone 15 times over it? And at 8 o'clock Saturday morning? Really, dudes? Do you think you're the government and I have to deal with you? Do you think I don't get a pre-approved offer of credit from someone or other nearly every damn day?

Anyway, congratulations to you, Discover. You lost an account of 16 years over a two-week overdue payment of $24. Hope it was worth it, assholes. (Meanwhile, I bet the Vice President of Douchebaggery who implemented this harrassment policy received a nice bonus for his Thinking Outside the Box.)