July 23, 2007

Bigger Hammer Theory

So a few months ago Steph was purchasing something from Amazon when she noticed she could get 10% off if she applied for an Amazon credit card (which also gives her Amazon points when she uses it). She used the card (actually a Chase card) a few times, always paying it off at the end of the month. She sent in her last payment (due July 4th) as usual, and thought everything was normal.

Fast forward to Friday, July 20th. We receive a new statement in the mail... with a $39 late fee assessed. It seems the payment wasn't entered until July 6th. Steph was a little upset, so she called Chase to try and get the fee removed -- but they wouldn't budge. They refused to waive the fee even after she told them to close the account. Needless to say, we were not at all happy with Chase at that point.

Then I started thinking... we have a Chase mortgage, a Chase auto loan, and three Chase credit card accounts -- one of which has been open for 4+ years and seen thousands of dollars worth of use. If they weren't going to waive this $39 late fee, I would simply close all the accounts (well, except maybe the mortgage, of course).

I found a statement for the oldest Chase credit card, and gave them a call. Upon reaching an 'account specialist', I informed her I wanted my account closed. The answer was, "You've had this account for 4 years, why are you closing the account." I told her about Steph's experience just moments before, and informed her that I would be closing all my Chase accounts. She immediately asked for Steph's account number, and then asked to speak to her. Steph agreed to keep the Amazon account open if they would waive the fee, and thus I agreed to keep the 4 y.o. account open. Problem solved.

So moral of the story, if at first you don't get what you want, try a bigger hammer. :-)