CapitalOne. You’ve seen the commercials. The ubiquitous, omnipresent, everywhere commercials. The series featuring inept Huns committing acts of gentle mayhem. The series featuring the sardonic David Spade and his hapless foil "Chubsy". The doubtlessly expensive commercials.
I possess one of their No Hassle miles (tm) cards. The only reasons that I possess one are because I needed to boost my credit score awhile ago, I wanted to jettison a card on which I was paying a high membership fee, and CapitalOne offered me a 0% APR. What’s not to like?
Well. The original card expired in July, and we received our new cards in August. I called the number which they supplied to activate the cards. All was well, we thought. ..... And then.
Yesterday I received an URGENT! missive from CapitalOne informing me that I needed to activate my card IMMEDIATELY! Okay. Sure. You bet. This morning I called the number which they supplied. The automated menu informed me that it was, indeed, the activation line. Wonderful. Many options on many menus were offered to my eager ear. Many, many options. The only problem was, there was no actual option for activating the card. You could access prior transactions, find out your account balance, change your pin, or even cancel your account (?). But the option I desired was unavailable. And there was certainly no option for speaking to a live representative. After suffering the round robin for 5 minutes and receiving a "Please try again", I finally hung up in disgust.
Muttering "I’m going online", I sat down to fire up the laptop when Bonnie asked to see the card. I fished it out of my wallet and handed it to her. After a short inspection she said "Look, there’s a customer service number." I said "Oh good." Returning to the phone, I called the number ..... and got the same menu!
By this time my equanimity was becoming slightly disturbed and I began growling imprecations, directed toward financial institutions in particular and going on to include life in general. After all, I hadn’t even downed my first pot of coffee yet!
Bonnie, who has more patience than I (and more ingenuity) decided that she wanted to experience the runaround for herself. Duplicating my efforts, and receiving the same results, she finally accessed the option for changing one’s pin. Lo and behold, an actual human representative appeared on the line. A representative with a very ... exotic ... accent. She insisted that she needed to speak with the cardholder of record, then seemed surprised when she heard my voice, perhaps assuming that the sweet-voiced Bonnie was a vicious identity thief.
After uttering a number of unintelligible sentences, obviously a scripted spiel (from which I believe I managed to translate the words "balance transfer"), she inquired what service was required. I told her that I would simply like to activate my card. The next sentence that she spoke was clear: "Your card is already activated."
One thing more. What’s with the No Hassle miles (tm)? The airlines are going bankrupt, and I don’t fly!