No Credit Where Credit Is Due – Southwest VISA Again

Yesterday I got a call from a woman at Chase Bank. They’re the folks who provide my one and only credit card. She was calling because my complaint to the Comptroller of the Currency hit their doorstep.

She didn’t call to offer a solution or explain what was going on. She just called to say they had gotten the complaint and would respond in 7-14 days.

This is probably a legal requirement. No extra points for customer service here.

My Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa has been the topic of many posts here, because it has been such a frustrating experience. Here’s a link to my last screed.

Like I said, I got so upset I wrote the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that controls banks with “NA” at the end of their name.

So, yesterday I get their call and tonight… tonight they turn down the credit card again!

What a suspicious purchase. I was buying gas at a gas station I go to three or four times a month. I was using a Mobil Speedpass which is tied to the card.

I called the number on the back of the credit card and listened as an automated voice asked me if I recognized purchases, some going back two months, without giving me the name of the merchant… only the type of store in “credit cardese.”

Among the purchases they queried was Steffie’s Ipod. Whoa! That’s another purchase they turned down and had me call on in June. Good going. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

And, if there was a question about a June purchase, why not ask me in… June? The fact that I’ve already paid for that purchase without question never entered into their equation.

Oh, the gas station I was at – they had previously declined my card there too!

My account is perfect. My reputation is soiled.

As I walked into the gas station, the clerk addressed me by my first name and then told me they had refused the charge. Will he go home and tell people about Geoff Fox the deadbeat? I hope not, but it’s possible.

What if this would have happened in Birmingham last week?

Earlier this evening I wrote about Southwest Airlines’ policy change for frequent flier miles. I really don’t want to change my airline/credit card allegiance. I know tonight’s problem is 100% the bank and not Southwest. Still, it’s very frustrating.

My sense is, no one at the bank really cares. The sad truth is, in 2005 it’s too expensive to worry about customers on an individual basis. I’m much less of a problem when viewed in the aggregate.

2 thoughts on “No Credit Where Credit Is Due – Southwest VISA Again”

  1. Geoff…tell me if this sounds weird??? Your local purchases that you make repeatedly (ie: speedpass) is “suspicious,” but when your card is used in Birmingham ‘out of the blue,’ it’s normal… Do you frequently travel to Alabama??? Secret life :)… I’d reccomend a CitiCard, as they have never given me one ounce of trouble. They pay you to use thier card with Citi Rewards…It’s nice that a credit card company wants to pay me $100 – $200 a year to be a customer…

  2. Geoff,

    You’re not the only one dealing with the uncomprehensible policies at Chase/First USA/Bank One. I have a VISA with them that I’ve had for 10 years. I have a 20000+ credit line, which after being laid off for an extended period of time a couple years back now has a balance of about 19000. I have never been late with a payment, and I always pay more than the minimum. A year or so ago they raised my APR from 12% to 20%. Their reasoning – because my balance is nearer my limit, I’m more likely to default. I said to the woman – “So, you’re afraid I’ll default because I have a high balance, so you raise my interest rate so I can pay off less of the principal?” She just reiterated their reason for upping the APR. A month or so ago, they raised my APR to 27%!!!! Another call yielded no help, no real reason. Their stance – they essentially don’t care. They’d rather have me declare bankruptcy than lower the APR. I think it goes beyond poor customer service – it’s usury. I feel your pain – my recommendation: get as far away from Chase/First USA as possible. The flight bonuses aren’t worth it!

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