Customer Disservice Unappreciation Letter Number One
There are times when a company's customer service practices are so ... we'll just say "notable" that they cannot go unaddressed. Here is a copy of my letter to Washington Mutual Bank regarding their recent actions on my Providian credit card.
March 6, 2006
Mr. John Green
P.O. Box 9177
Pleasanton, CA 94566-9177
I am in receipt of your letter dated February 22, 2006, in which you announced your decision to lower my credit line by $440. In the letter, you cite as a primary reason for this adverse action my “serious delinquency in the last year,” and bolster this with “serious delinquency and public record of collection filed” and “proportion of revolving balances to revolving credit limits too high” as additional reasons.
Yes, I do know you didn’t write the letter or even sign it – the printer’s dots are clearly evident in the signature field. But you stuck your name to it, so I am writing back to you.
And yes, I do have negative items on my credit file. I did not come out of my marriage unscarred. I fully understand and agree that the valid items therein are of my doing and make no claim that I made decisions unwittingly. Dimwittedly, perhaps. Yet they were my decisions. I take full responsibility.
The only serious delinquency on my TransUnion credit file that is not old, contested, resolved, or of miniscule amount is yours. The public record of collection was a judgment that specifically includes a note showing that payment was made days after the judgment was issued. My proportion of revolving balances to revolving credit limits is higher than in the past because I’ve been paying off credit cards and closing them. This is, by most of the rational world, considered to be a positive. Obviously you differ.
Ironically, as soon as I significantly paid down my balance on your account as part of my effort to materially lower that ratio, you slashed my limit by 16%, thereby jacking it right back up.
If you would review all of your own records, you would notice that the serious delinquency occurred when your company stopped billing me online. There was an apparent failure in delivery of one bill. Being that I make many monthly payments, I did not notice the absence of your invoice. Your company intentionally stopped billing me online the following month providing no notice through our agreed-upon line of communication. Once I discovered the error, as your records should show, I promptly corrected the issue. Despite the fact that you relentlessly piled on the fees, I paid down the balance as quickly as I could to bring the account back in line.
As penalty against me for the payments I missed after you suddenly stopped billing me in the manner in which you agreed, you not only saddled me with ludicrous late payment and over-limit fees but also slapped me with a ridiculously high interest rate of 30.5%.
Your representative assured me that you would return to billing me online as soon as I brought the balance back in line. I have; you haven’t. She also assured me that with positive payment history, a subsequent periodic account review would likely drop my interest rate from extort down to fleece. I have paid more than the requested minimum payment every month since and made a one-time payment of over eleven hundred dollars this past month. In response, you penalized me again for the same infraction. Your account review process did even not live up to my lowest expectations.
As evidenced by the exorbitant interest and fees I’ve paid during my time as your account-holder, I am obviously a highly profitable investment for you.
In making money available, you are providing a valuable service, for which I have no problem paying fair compensation. Obviously, credit rates link to credit risk and you are entitled to return off your investment. Yet with high risk comes high rewards. Unfortunately, the present market provides you an opportunity to profiteer and you’ve chosen to take every advantage of this situation.
It’s no secret that I fit into the category of account-holders that you can screw over as often as you wish because we do not have the free resources available to simply take our business elsewhere. Your industry has successfully lobbied the pro-corporate Congress to help offset losses you might encounter from an unsympathetic (to you, at least) judge in a bankruptcy hearing. One of your own representatives informed me that you intentionally jack up rates on customers with poor credit scores to a) squeeze as much money out of them before they go into bankruptcy and b) ensure that you have a higher stake in their eventual settlement.
That is quite sad.
I am sorry to have to inform you of this, but despite your and my ex-wife’s best efforts, I am not going into bankruptcy. Quite the contrary, I have started the process of repairing the damage done to my credit during my marriage. And despite your treatment of me as a customer thus far, I can still be persuaded not to jump ship the moment I have an opportunity to pay this card off completely. I have no doubts that you will reap more profits from me by maintaining me as a long-term account holder than you will by trying to squeeze what you can from me now.
I ask you to revisit this decision, as well as the interest rate you are currently applying to my account. I will personally address any items in my credit file you have issue with. My only request is that you not do a hard pull of my credit file. The standard review process provides you all the information you need, a hard pull would make it appear to other companies that I am seeking to expand my debt. I am not asking for an increase, just a reinstatement. I can’t exactly lower my proportion of revolving balances to revolving credit limits if you continue to reduce my limit every time I make a payment.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon.