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?