Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Protesting Rip-Offs: Worth your Time?

One strategy for creating and preserving wealth is simply paying close attention to detail. I am one of those people who reads my credit card bills carefully and matches up the receipts with the bills. (But I haven't balanced my checkbook in years....) This month's bill had a mysterious $53.25 charge from Italy, where my daughter had a few hour layover. She recalled using her credit card for a one minute phone call. The bill said "40 minutes @ $1.25" plus various charges. No receipt, no proof. She did use operator-assistance, though. What to do?

I know from experience that operator assisted phone calls are one of the biggest rip-offs going. If it had been my money, I probably would have just been pissed and let it go, figuring my time was not worth the heartburn of endless voicemail tree purgatory. However, this was my daughter's money, hard-earned, and I was really upset on her behalf. My husband suggested I call the credit card company. I agreed to make one phone call, but no more. (I can really obsess about these things!) Lo and behold, one call to Chase Card Services got me to the Dispute Department, which asked what I thought the call should have cost. I said $5.00. They then AGREED TO REFUND $48.25 to the account. You read that correctly!

Bottom line - when a principle is involved, it is not just about the money. It's about feeling violated. This was a rare and wonderful example of customer service actually providing help. (And my guess is, they get a lot of complaints about phone call charges!) In this case, it was well worth 5 minutes to get $48 removed from the bill!

By the way, the credit card is a Duetta Starbucks card. There is no charge for the card, and we get lattes instead of miles. I am a complete sucker for premiums.

1 comment:

ZT said...

i suppose just asking works a surprising amount of the time.