Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A one-woman "A-Team"

I feel like this is an appropriate title because I'm a person who knows how to get things done. I thrive on taking on the asshole and helping "the little guy".

Take for instance this latest bit...

Grams has been a customer of Discover Card for nearly 20 years. At 93, she still maintains excellent credit, has always paid her bills on time and never missed a payment ever.  When she applied for her Discover Card years ago, it was very popular with low interest rates. Grams never carried a large balance, at first paying it off completely, then opting for more affordable monthly payments. She stopped using the card about ten years ago just because she was tired of the credit card altogether. Her balance ten years ago was probably $1,500.00

Some time in the last couple of years, Discover began jacking up her rates for no reason. Grams called and spoke to the customer no-service but they gave her the familiar "there's nothing we can do about it". Now being the talk-radio, consumer savvy person I am and having listened to both Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey for years, I knew there was damn well something they could do--if they wanted to. I suggested grams call them and ask the customer no-service person if they would review her credit history and consider a lower rate. She was already up to over 20%. They repeatedly told her "there's nothing we can do" and after being rather rude to her they hung up. Disgusted she finally said "I'm not paying those bastards anymore" and after she skipped one or two payments out of pure anger.

As you can guess, customer no-service harassed her about not making her payment. When she explained to them her long and excellent credit and payment history, she related to them in no uncertain terms that she would no longer pay because they were treating her like crap. Their reps had been extremely rude, made threads and hung up on her several times. Finally, after one more call to them, she reached a nice customer no-service person and was able to get her rate temporarily lowered  to 10% for a short-time till she could catch up the one or two payments she had skipped.

But after that time period her interest rate skyrocketed over 20% again.

And then she received a statement in the mail showing her interest rate had jacked up to 45%.  She said "I'm through with those bastards, they can choke on it" and that's when I decided to get involved. It was clear to us that Discover reps were intentionally mean and intimidating because of her age and gender.

So, this past Saturday, 9/4, I was sitting in my comfy recliner with feet up and netbook in my lap. My only goal at that moment was to send a letter to David Nelms, the 49-year old CEO of Discover Card Services.  In five minutes I had found him on facebook, in six minutes I found his entire bio and email online, and ten minutes after I sat down I had typed out a well-written, to-the-point email about my grandmother's situation.  I told him that she was a 93-year old widow on social security who had an excellent credit and payment history with every one she'd ever done business with and that she had been treated very badly by people at HIS company. I informed him that after paying on that card 20 years SURELY she had already paid off that very small debt and any reasonable interest.  I then explained that I did not expect him to reply to me directly because after all I did not have her account number because only four numbers were visible on her statement and I didn't even know if I was still listed on her account as an authorized inquirer (it's been so long since I've talked to them). I just asked him if he could contact her and help her in this situation.

Today, three days after sending that email, I received a phone call at work from Grams. She told me that the CEO had received my email and asked his assistant Tara to call grams and take care of things. Grams said Tara was so nice to her and very helpful. She had looked over grams file and acknowledged grams hasn't used her card in about ten years and that she was paying appallingly high interest. She apologized for the treatment grams had received and to make things right, they lowered her rate permanently to 9%, lowered her monthly payments to $40 with no chance of increasing, and gave her a 1 1/2 years credit of payments on her balance. This took her balance immediately from $2,500 to about $1,100. And she gave grams her direct number in case either of us needed any help from her.

Grams was thrilled, as was I.  I'd always told grams that if you can't get customer service at the customer service level, go straight to the head honcho. I've done it a half dozen times in the last ten years and got satisfaction nearly every time. I've written to Charlie Ergen at Dish Network, the VPs of Sprint and AT&T, and a few other companies and gotten what I wanted--what I should have received at the lower levels. This is what I do--I solve problems. I do it for a living at work and I guess it seems only natural I'd be good at it at home too.

So just remember, if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find her, maybe you can hire....the (one-woman) A-Team! 

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous9/09/2010

    U ROCK!! MOST EXCELLENT WORK JESS!!! KIM

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  2. I think you may have found your calling! You are terrific!! Lord knows how many times you've gone to bat for us in the past. I'm extremely proud of you!

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