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New Trick Credit Card Activation

This one really ticked me off and I felt I needed to vent in a more public forum than simply whining at my wife:

I received new credit cards from PC Financial about a month ago (they are not the villains in this story) and as usual there was a number to call to activate the cards. I called the number from my home phone number, there was an automated system with a couple of questions (that also noted that I was calling from my home phone number (which is no longer a guaranteed secure concept given the new tricks you can do in VoIP but that is for another story)) and PC Financial activated my credit card, no fuss, no problem.

Fast forward to Sunday, I had received new cards for an account that I only use in very special situations (a platinum card with no fees), so I decided to activate the card, and dialed the number on the card. I dutifully typed in my credit card number on my keypad, and then it announces a customer service rep will be on the line to talk to me. Pardon? I must have typed in my card number wrong or something (but my financial spidey sense was already tingling).

A pleasant young lady comes on the line to confirm some information with me, and I start to relax thinking I must have typed in the card wrong. Just as I am about to calm down, she goes orthogonal on me and asks, “I’d like to tell you about our Credit Protection Package”, and then goes into a 3 minute marketing bit about how if I get laid off they will make the minimum payments on my credit card for me?

At this point I almost explode (luckily it was Sunday so I had a little self control), I am activating a card not asking for new services! I let her ramble through her bit, because I wanted my card activated, and at the end she does the standard, “… and to activate this great service all we need to do is confirm some details…”, and I stopped her right there, and the conversation when like this:

  • No I am just not interested in this service, Thank You (always be polite, initially at least)
  • But Sir this is a great service and it protects your family, may I ask why you don’t want this service?
  • I don’t carry balances on my credit card from month to month.
  • Oh that’s very good, but in that case sir, it costs nothing to you.
  • I am just not interested, can we please activate my card? (showing politeness, but a firm, let’s get back to the task at hand).
  • Are you sure I can’t convince you sir?
  • No, you cannot, Thank You.

Finally my cards were activated, but that really annoyed me. If I am calling to activate a card, I do not want to be SOLD something, however, some slick marketing firm says otherwise.

What is next? Them selling my card theft insurance when I call to report a card stolen (of course it would only work after we find your lost card)? Identity theft insurance when I call to ask about some unknown charges on my card?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Luckily this still doesn’t happen in Malaysia. Currently they only verify 3-5 personal particular to activate the card, and no selling after or before that.

  2. I have an American Express card and have had to replace it twice this past year. Each time I called to cancel the card, they tried to sell me a service that would enable me to replace all of my cards with just one call.

    I understand the thought process, as when else would something like that seem so valuable, but there is nothing worse than being given sales pitches as you call all of your card companies late in the night.

    (Keep up the good work on the blog)

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