Mar 24, 2009

Discover Card is making me angry

I've been a Discover Card holder for a decade now, mostly happy with the service. All my gas purchases go on the card, for a hefty 5% rebate each month. Five percent is nice. (Spend it on a Borders gift certificate and it's 6%. Even nicer.)

Tonight I call to activate two "new" cards. The automated system takes all my info, and I reach the final choice: "Press 1 to activate another card; press 2 to finish." Can't I just hang up? Weird... But I press 2 and hold my breath.

After a couple rings, a voice. "First and last name please.... thank you... 3-digit number on the back of the card... thank you." Great. So now I'm verifying the information I already entered. Second red flag.

"Okay, Mr. Anderson. I see you've been with Discover for ten years--thank you for your business. I also see you have a large reward headed your way. Do you understand how to request it?" After ten years, I'd better, I think, but only say "Yes."

"Excellent. You're also eligible for a double Cashback bonus on all home improvement purchases in April, Mr. Anderson, and I'll send you a letter with the details." Whatever, it's your stamp. "And I'll also send you a packet of information about our Identity Theft Protection--with enrollment it's only $9.99."

Oh, no. Not again. A couple months ago I had to deal with this nonsense: Discover employee talks about the program, says they will send info, adding some ambiguous phrase about enrollment costs, only on the next month's statement, you discover--that, my friends, is a world-class pun--that you've been charged ten bucks for merely acquiescing to what you thought was just an information packet.

I cut off the rep. "No thanks--I'm not happy with the fact that you're preemptively enrolling me in something I don't want."

Though she doesn't dispute the claim, she fights back anyway. "But it's a great service that--"

"It may well be. But I've been a member for a decade and I think I'd know if I wanted that service by now."

"But a lot of people don't know about the option--"

Boy, is she persistent. So am I. "That's nice. I do. And all I wanted from this phone call was to activate my new cards."

That shuts her down, and the call ends after fifteen seconds of formal non-conversation. As I set down the receiver, I imagine her sighing and muttering about how she's just doing her job and reading some stupid script, or maybe she's being chewed out by some smarmy middle manager for failing to hook another customer, or maybe she's blithely on to the next sales pitch, just another cog in the factory churning out canned bullshit.

Discover Card folks, if you're out there, care to tell me why you're treating long-time customers this way?


Andrew Bailey said...

Your pun was less than world-class. But I enjoyed it nonetheless!

Matthew Anderson said...

I definitely understand, having been a Discover Card member for about that long. However, no other company calls me 20 minutes after large purchases or even after a small purchase after months of inactivity to make sure that I am the one using the card. Every time I get one of those cards, I'm impressed at their level of service.

Jim Anderson said...

Andrew, so *that's* what it takes to get you out of the woodwork?

Matt, That's why I'm so torn. They do so much right, yet here they are, doin' me wrong.

Matthew Anderson said...

I'd mail their home office a letter. I am really dissatisfied with Farmer's Insurance right now--not a client, but had to submit a claim with them because someone rear-ended me--and mailed off a letter to their home office for how I was treated. They didn't refund me the money (a small amount, which is partly why it's so infuriating), but they did address some of the other issues that I didn't really care as much about. But mailing off a letter at least got me a response.

Also, realize that the person who talked with you probably doesn't work directly for Discover. They're a third party that Discover has hired, and I'm sure the home office would want to know if they're terrible....

Anonymous said...


I’m a representative of Discover and just saw your post. I’d like to apologize for the level of service you experienced. What you described isn't typical of the service our employees are trained to provide. We encourage our employees to look for every opportunity to earn your respect and loyalty. Please be assured that matters like this are tracked and addressed. Our goal is to ensure that your experience with us will encourage you to make Discover Card, your card of choice. If there’s anything else we can do to assist you please feel free to contact us (1-800-Discover (347-2683).

Kate, Discover Community Manager