Do I Look Like a Crook?

It’s the holiday season. Time to buy gifts. Is there a better way to buy something than with a credit card?

Our credit card of choice is affiliated with Southwest Airlines. As we pay for food and gas and gifts, we accumulate free airplane trips. And, since we pay off our bill each and every month, these trips cost no more than the yearly credit card fee. It’s a great deal.

It’s a great deal for the bank too. They get our yearly fee and make a cut on everything we buy. And, since we charge a lot, they get a lot.

There’s just one problem – the bank that actually issues the card and runs the program has cut it off three times.

It’s not like we’re bad people… this card has never had a late payment. And, we haven’t even been in the same neighborhood as our limit. Our problem is, we’ve used the card too many times in a single day.

I know – you thought they encouraged you to use the card. I thought that too.

Yesterday, as I’m told, our card was used 14 times. None of these purchases were extremely large. We charged a $230 airline ticket, some groceries, a gift or two or three. You get the idea.

To the bank, this looked like the pattern a thief would use. So, they flagged the card, and when Helaine tried to buy something for me online – delivered to our own address – the bank refused to accept the transaction.

I guess they’re entitled to do this, but here’s what bothers me. They cut us off and never told us. All they had to do was make a call. Mr. Fox, did you make this purchase? We found out when we tried to buy something.

My suspicion is, it’s cheaper for them to wait for the customer to contact them, or use the clerk at the store. For me… for my wife… this is astoundingly embarrassing. This time it was a mail order purchase, but the last time a clerk at the grocery store said to Helaine; “That happens to me when I go over my limit.” Great.

As a public person, I try and protect my public image. Now this bank gets to sully it, for no apparent reason. I have received every excuse known to man from the security department and no apologies.

I am beginning to simmer.