Friday, September 3, 2010
Legislators and customer service officers have something in common: many of them need Q-tips for their ears.
Legislators often turn deaf ears to people’s aspirations. Many find it easy to dismiss public criticism while defending their proposal to establish an “aspiration home” in each respective electoral district at a cost to the state of Rp 112 billion (US$12 million) per year.
You may have a simple request, like asking them to send your statements to a new postal address. They promise their assistance but time passes and their promises remain unfulfilled.
Credit cards can trigger “shopaholism,” which can lead irresponsible cardholders to bankruptcy even while the bank continues to increase credit limits to several times more than the cardholder’s monthly income, sometimes without approval and without providing information about changing interest rates.
But credit cards can also make our lives easier, and at times can even be our best friends, as long as we know how to use them wisely. Alas, my 15-year-old relationship with my best friend is now at stake.
Here is the story. Earlier this year, as a responsible and loyal credit card holder, I received an offer to acquire another card which would allow me a 50 percent discount and cashback options on certain products at a particular hypermarket.
But, I decided to cancel it after two or three months because I didn’t shop that much.
Then in mid June, I started receiving phone calls reminding me to pay the outstanding bill for my first credit card account. I explained that I had paid my bill through Internet banking, but agents kept calling my cell phone and I was bombarded by text messages from unknown sources offering me loans. Finally, I realized that I made the payment to my second credit card account. But it was too late. My original card service had already charged me a Rp 50,000 late payment fee and a Rp 334,783 interest charge.
Ok. It was my fault. But why didn’t the bank reject the money transfer to a defunct account? There was nothing I could do other than pay the fees and call the bank.
“Yes, we can help you transfer the money from the defunct account to your other account. Please send proof of your transaction by fax.”
I did what I was told in hopes that soon everything would be rectified. But debt collectors kept calling me and eventually my credit card was blocked.
I was tempted to hire thugs disguised as members of a xenophobic hard-line organization to force the American bank to immediately fix my problem so I could use my credit card to buy a gift for my mom’s birthday.
As a good citizen, however, I called the bank instead.
I had made many calls and talked to many different people, including Yongyong, Vitvit, Numnum, Chelchel, Bibi and Erer, all of whom promised to accelerate the process of investigating erroneous payments made to my defunct credit card account and transfer them to my other card account.
What I received was a confusing electronic statement.
Quiz of the day: What is the name of the bank which issues my credit card?