Friday, November 21, 2008

Sunday Scribblings: Grateful

Most people are grateful for their family, friends, and closest loved ones. While I too am grateful for all of the people who make my life special (especially around the Holiday season)... I instead want to share about how grateful I was tonight.

Being born a Jr. isn't all it's cracked up to be. Having the same name, initials, etc. as your father can be tough. Tonight proved that.

Recently, I transferred a credit card balance from one card to another in order to open up a substantial amount of usable credit. Living 7,000 miles away from home, often means that I have to fork up a large sum of money in order to visit "said" home. With my upcoming trips to Chicago for Christmas, New York for an interview while I'm in the States, and Malaysia for the Lunar New Year..... I needed to turn to my Visa card to front the money for these trips.

Either way, the balance transfer was successful, and I had plenty of available credit to book my tickets. Well, tonight, I signed into my Citibank account in order to see how much the resort in Malaysia ended up costing..... so that my friend here in Korea could give me a check for the portion she owed. When I signed in, Citibank alerted me of a $1,600 minimum payment. I looked at it once, and thought that I was going crazy. My minimum payment has NEVER been more than 50-100 dollars.

I immediately panicked- thinking that my reservations must have been cancelled considering it said I only now had a $2,000 limit. I found the nearest phone card, and phoned the credit card company immediately. Of course I got some lady on the phone who claims that there was "nothing she could do" and of course I had to remind her that her job was to provide customer support, not an attitude. I got on the phone with a manager. Explained the situation to her. After waiting on hold for ten minutes, she came back and explained exactly what happened to me.

When Joe Schmo put in for my balance transfer, he failed to look closely at social security numbers (even though I made him aware that my dad and I had the same name). At the end of the day, he transferred one of my dads open cards into my account. For the past month or so, I've been making purchase after purchase with my dad's money--- not mine. I guess about a week ago my dad got wind of this (and had the charges reversed). The problem here, is that he failed to tell me this, so that I could get it fixed on my end. Again, one of the disadvantages of living on the other side of the world from your family. However, he wouldn't have done me much good tonight--- considering they are in Mexico on vacation. Anyways, since the charges already went through... and they took all my money away. I was 1,600 dollars over my "available" credit. This explained why I had a $1,600 minimum payment.

LUCKILY, and here is the whole point of this post. The woman I spoke with was VERY apologetic. She took complete fault on behalf of her company. She was really sympathetic, and kept telling me how bad she felt. I tried to keep my temper to a minimum and she assured me she could fix it. Thirty minutes later, she was able to move some money from another card I have with them to this one to cover the ticket purchases that have already been made. It wasn't ideally what I wanted to happen, but it was a quick fix. And now I only owe a minimum payment of $44 instead of $1600. The best part is that I got 5,000 extra frequent flier miles and 0% APR for the next six months too. I wonder what they gave my dad?

Either way, I am grateful that when something so "over the top" happens, that there are people out there who can do their job and make it go away. Without the help of "Connie" tonight, I'm really not quite sure what would have happened. And without the financial help of Visa, I wouldn't be able to go visit my family in Chicago, or enjoy the hot, sunny beaches of Malaysia.

I'm grateful for many things, but for tonight, this is on the top of my list.


"Sunshine" said...

Ray Jr., I'm impressed that you found things to be grateful for in this situation. The frequent flier miles and 0% interest will both come in handy too. It's amazing that a company actually admitted fault! Anyway, I'm rambling--great post!

J at said...

I'm always grateful when I call customer service and find someone who knows what the heck they're talking about! I don't blame the workers, I blame the companies for paying crap so that no one sticks around very long, and for the poor training. But boy, if I call and get someone who can actually understand my situation and help me, I feel like I've won the lotto!

david mcmahon said...

G'day mate - you're lucky you got that tangle sorted out.

Wonder which Malaysian resort you;re thinking about. We were in Langkawi recently - and it was sensational.

~*sis*~ said...

wow, you are really fortunate to have gotten that whole mess sorted out! customer service is so dicey nowadays :(

Ray said...

Hey David.. Thanks for the comment.

I'm actually going to Borneo. The island that Malaysia shares with Indonesia.

We'll be in Sabah. So the Kota Kinabula area.

We're staying at the Sutera Harbour Resort. It looks fantastic!

I've heard from friends that Langkawi is great :)

BJ Roan said...

I'm glad you found a customer service person who could help, often they are useless. I'm glad everything worked out.

tumblewords said...

An extraordinary experience! Nicely told. Glad you've resolved it and amazed that you are, indeed, grateful!

"Sunshine" said...

Hey Ray, I've tagged you for yet another meme, if you're interested.

Patois said...

Now there's one incident I could point to as totally describing gratitude.

Anonymous said...

Well done, but wotta lotta hastle! We don't do Jr's here thank goodness.

Mary said...

What a story! At least it has a happy ending. Customer service is hard to come by these days, and it is definately something to be thankful for.

If you stop by my blog, check out the post before the Sunday scribbling. I had a week with my cars like the one you had with your cards, but it is over now (I hope) and for that I am grateful.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm here from David's Post Of the Day, for which I thank him or how else would I have found another very interesting post.
You certainly have been everywhere, man, and wonderfuly exotic pictures to prove it.
It had never occured to me how having the same name as your dad could cause such blunders. Great that you found SOMEONE in a call service centre who [a] spoke intelligable English and [b] sorted the problem.