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Joe’s Rant: It’s the little things

Posted by joeabbott on December 30, 2010

imageOK, I know it’s probably policy and in some measureable, but remote and perplexing way, intended to keep me safe … but what gives with credit card companies? I mean … really!

Suzy and I spotted questionable charges on our credit card and reported them as fraud. In my household capacity as “he who talks to strangers”, I coordinated with our card holding institution in resolving the problem.

Now, to be completely fair, when you think about it, getting charges held\removed from your account is nearly painless and super easy. The conversation pretty much goes:

Me: Hi, I have some charges I want removed from my account.

Them: Okee doke … they’re gone! Have a nice day.

Now, it’s not quite that simple but in a standing-back-and-squinting-at-it sort of way … yeah, it is. But getting to that point takes a bit more time.

I called the card company and, as part of getting through to a human, had to enter the 16-digit account number; following that I had to enter the last four digits of my social security number. Then I had to “listen carefully to the following choices, some options may have changed”. Fine. I listen, take notes, and usually end up selecting option 1.

Once I get to option 1 (or whatever), I hear more options and am then sent on to a human. Or a very bored something or other masquerading as a human. It’s usually a “she” with a name that’s mumbled into the phone while muzak is still echoing in my ear, lost in a breathy whisper as her headset starts picking up a voice to transmit, or obfuscated in a fog that is most charitably described as a “strong accent”.

But, I’m then talking to a person.

First question: please verify your account number.

OK … but, didn’t I already have to type this in? And, is it reasonable to believe that could be faked to the machine but not to a person?

Then, “can I have the last four digits of your social?” And, again … didn’t I already type that in?

From there I’m asked a couple other security questions including, but not limited to: mother’s maiden name, favorite pet names, the city in which I was born, and, if I’m not calling from my home phone, my home phone number.

All that is nutty but it’s mostly the fact that I’m asked to type in the same information that I then give to the operator. That’s the part that annoys me.

Overall, it’s a lotta talking to establish I am who I say I am, which makes the complete “hey, we’ll trust you and remove any charges you want removed” situation just a little odd.

And now I’m done ranting. Have a great New Year!


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