Friday, December 28, 2007

10 Things VISA Won't Tell You

10. You're credit limit is designed to make you feel good - we'll stop you from spending before you're anywhere near it

9. Our fraud protection service protects VISA's liability - it does nothing for your security

8. Our Verified by VISA program is just for show

7. We'll confirm a questionable transaction with you, but we still won't process it even if you made it

6. Our customer service reps and our fraud protection agents never talk with each other

5. If they did, they couldn't, as they don't have outgoing phones or e-mail

4. Our automated customer service system will routinely drop your call

3. We'll charge you for being late, but don't expect compensation for our mistakes

2. Customer service is not a priority for us

1. It's always the customer's fault - we don't make errors

OK, here's the story behind the rant. You'll want to settle in, get some food, put on some music. I decided to buy a new computer for Christmas. I went to Dell and spec'd a nice system on-line - a little over $2K when I was done. I whipped out the trusty VISA (a Chase BP Visa) card, which had an available credit line over $10K. I'm also a religious "never carry a balance, pay on time" kind of guy.

After entering the account, expiration, security number, etc, I got a "Verified by VISA" popup. I completed all of the information this little gem requested, and was returned to the Dell site. Order confirmed, no problem, sit back and wait for Santa in the blue suit.

Shortly after the on-line experience, the phone rings. The automated man on the other end identifies himself as VISA fraud protection, and robotically rattles off my Dell purchase, asking me to punch the ubiquitous numbers to confirm I truly made the purchase. Which I did. Upon completion, Mr. Roboto informs me I'll need to contact the merchant to re-process the purchase. I informed Mr. Roboto I confirmed I made the purchase, but he wasn't really in the listening mood.

So, I call VISA customer service, where I'm greeted by the automated spouse of the previous caller. Mrs. Roboto asks me the same verification questions about my recent Dell purchase, along with a host of personal information to confirm I am who I am. At this point, I'm starting to doubt I am who I am. Mrs. Roboto also informs me that I need to re-process the purchase with the merchant. Several number punches later, I talk to a voice that is not monotone. The CSR understands my problem, and indicates she'll transfer me to fraud protection so they can "push the transaction through" (her words).

After several minutes of bad hold music, I'm talking to fraud protection. I rattle off my SSN, my mother's maiden name, my dog's name, the circumference of my left thigh, etc. to again verify I am who I am. Fraud protection informs me they can't "push a transaction through." I inquire why the purchase is being rejected. Fraud protection indicates my account status and available credit are fine. The diagnosis - I input incorrect information. Flag on the play - I'm looking at the information I put it and it is correct. Fraud protection ignores my shouts of "unacceptable," "you need to fix the problem," and the hallowed favorite "let me talk to your supervisor." I give up, as it is 10pm.

At 9am the following morning, I call Dell. I'm on hold for 45 minutes until I get a voice - unfortunately I press the wrong button on the phone to get it off speaker, and Mr. Dell is replaced by hold music that sounds frightfully similar to a dial tone. So, another 45 minute hold is endured (along with a lot of phone control practice). Finally, a Dell CSR. We verify all of the information, submit the charge, and promptly watch/listen to it being declined. The Dell CSR gives me the verdict - gotta call VISA. I inform the CSR I've been on hold for 90 minutes, and she agrees to hang on the line while I call VISA. I tell her that may be a while, and it may involve bad language at high volumes. She's says she'll take her chances.

So, we're back to the VISA service line, which turns out to be a replay of the previous evening. Confirmation of the purchase, yeah I made it, no we're not going to process it, contact the merchant. 1-2-5-2-0 - several minutes of bad music - live voice - blah blah blah - I understand your frustration - blah blah blah - I'll transfer you to fraud protection services. More holding, more father's maiden name, color of your 2nd house, cup size of your 4th grade teacher, etc. OK, you're really you, what's your problem?

As I'm detailing the problem, the fraud protection CSR interrupts and starts to attempt a solution. I informed her I had not finished communicating my problem, and inquire how she'll fix something she doesn't understand. Sensing the lack of cooperation in my voice, she listens. Then she informs me I need to hang up and call back in 5 minutes to allow the CSR to close my account record so she (fraud protection) can access the record. After a colorful string of dialog comparable to the first 10 minutes of "Full Metal Jacket," she agrees to stay on the line until the record refreshes.

15 minutes later, we're in business. The purchase was declined because it was outside of my "typical spending limits" and with a business that is flagged as a favorite of those who steal cards. My reply was "I'm guessing quite a few folks are making purchases with Dell that are outside of their normal spending limits."

"Well, you've got a good point."

So, she "opens my window wider" to allow the purchase to go through. Dell, however, has put me on hold. So we wait. Dell returns, and the purchase is made. I ask fraud protection for the "width of my window, in dollars." They can't tell me. I ask how much wider it is now - they can't tell me that either. What follows is a lot of questions by me, with a lot of "we can't tell you that." How did VISA ultimately resolve my concerns with being able to use my card within the credit limit assigned? Don't know - they can't tell me.


Anonymous waqas said...

nice blog i love it

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

b i a

6:13 PM  

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