Wednesday, August 13, 2003

So, I got me one of those 0% interest for a limited time cards from MBNA America, but the rate was set to expire in August. My last bill said that as long as I paid everything off by the August due date, I would owe no interest. So I busted my ass to pay off the last chunk and thereby avoid any interest at all. I was a little surprised, then, to get a statement from them over the weekend. (Right after my grandmother died; have these people no shame!?) And on it was a $25 interest charge, even though it clearly showed that they'd received my payments.

Okay, so they lent me a huge chunk of change for over a year, and here I am trying to get out of paying them a lousy $25. Well, they've screwed me good and plenty over the years, so I am pretty much incapable of feeling sorry for these bastards. That's one thing. The other is that, according to their promises, I shouldn't owe them a thing. They made the deal, and now they're trying to change it. The fact that it was a dumb deal to make is their problem, not mine.

So I called them and fought my way through the touchtone maze to reach a real live operator, who proceeded to explain that you will pay interest if you don't pay the balance off every month. I appreciated the lesson, but, I explained, I had a no-interest account for most of the last year. Oh, well, she explained, the promotional rate was only for cash advances, not purchases, and the interest charge was for items I had purchased. No, I said, actually, the promotional rate was for both, and it was supposed to last until August 5th, 2 days after MBNA received my payment. No, she said, the rate actually expired July 5th, and it was my average daily balance for the next period that resulted in a charge.

She gave each explanation with an air of absolute certainty, even though it was completely wrong, and managed to convey very clearly that I was an idiot who was wasting her time. Naturally, all my documentation was at home, and I was calling from work, which means I need to go home and gather all my old statements together, then do it all over again tomorrow.

What pissed me off the most, however, was the way she switched from explanation to explanation, never losing the air of rectitude and self-righteousness, and never realizing that her various explanations were mutually contradictory. I won't stand for that sort of behavior in my president, and I won't have it in my credit card companies!

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