Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Not about BART, but equally worthy of a rant

Usually, when you call to activate a credit card, you are punching in numbers from your home phone in response to an automated system. Short, simple and hassle-free. However, today, I had to activate a renewed Citi card and to my dismay, I got a LIVE operator after punching in my 16 digit number. I had to experience this once with another card activation and I knew what I was about to face.

This live operator confirmed my ID and began selling me services. The first sell was the credit protection program. I got suckered into this free trial 2 years ago with that other live activation, and ended paying for it for a month before I had the chance to cancel by phone (which by the way, was a very un-userfriendly procedure by design). Before this operator started to read off the information, I said, no, I'm not interested. He then said, but this is free for 2 weeks with no obligation. I said no, I've tried it before, I do not want it. He pushed further by telling me that this is very beneficial and even if I do not like it, I can cancel but keep the free credit report. I said, I know my credit report and have access to it easily. He ignored me and read of the entire 45 seconds worth of description and concluded, "Would you like to enroll in this free trial?" I said for the 4th time, NO! Gosh...is this a timeshare presentation??? Goodness!

It's not over!! Then he started to sell me the theft protection program. Before he even started with his mandatory language, I interrupted forcefully with "No, thank you. I am not interested in anything today." He then said, "I respect your decision" and moved on to say good-bye.

CitiCards really shouldn't be forcing us to talk with a live person like this! Activation is supposed to just be simple and take 10 seconds. This is trapping us! If it weren't for the nice point system I've already established with this program, I would have cut the card up just for putting me through this.

I needed to rant! Thanks for reading :)


Anonymous said...

I tell these people the one thing I want in a credit card is rebate protection. What I mean is that I want to mail them a copy of all the stuff I send in for a rebate, and, if I get stiffed by Dell, or Western Digital, or some other sleaze, I get the rebate from the credit card people.

Josh said...

These scams bother me like no other... we perhaps "scam" is harsh, but they certainly are a sucker deal. These sorts of deals never work out in your benefit-- which is why the card companies push it so hard. Most of their earnings do not come from interest charges, they come from add-on programs and over-limit fees.

I have a feeling that the phone reps you speak to are required to recite the entire text of the card offer, otherwise they get in trouble. I am positive that they also get paid an incentive for each one of these they sell. I try to be firm, but polite after they have finished the spiel.

I wish more companies were like Costco.

Anonymous said...

Costco? They are just as bad, but in person. It seams everytime I go there they try to sell the stupid Executive Member level and I always decline. What irritates me when they call an person over to upsell you.

Even if you tell them know, like the CitiCard person, they keep going. The last couple of times I ended the transaction and walked out.