A little story about irony.

19 May

Something interesting happened while I was in London: my credit card was declined. I was trying to buy a watch for Alan for his birthday and the cashier held up the transaction slip for me to review: DECLINED.

What? I knew I wasn’t over my credit limit, so I asked him to run it again. Again, declined. I had just purchased rail tickets with it successfully the day before and – oh wait – I realized the problem: my card had been flagged since I used it overseas without alerting my bank.

It’s odd – I’ve been overseas dozens of times and never had my card put on hold. I’ve been with OTHER people when their cards have been put on hold, but mine has always been fine. And I’ve always defied conventional wisdom and never alerted my bank. This, however, was a new card, supported by a new bank. With apparently stricter security protocols.

I growled for a moment when I realized what happened, thankful that I had another card with me that was tried and true. Had I just been limited to the one card, I would’ve been pissed.

Fast forward to when I returned to the US. I was sifting through my mail, processing bills, when I remembered I needed to call to get the hold lifted from Card #1. I grabbed both my credit card statements and something from Card #2 caught my eye: an $11 transaction fee. Huh?

It may seem ridiculous to get distracted by an $11 fee, but this is a card that I always pay off, in full, ahead of deadline. There shouldn’t be a fee on it.

So instead of calling Card #1 and chewing them out for putting my account on hold while I was traveling, I called Card #2 to find out why they were assessing a fee.

Here’s how that conversation went:

ME: Hi. I need you to explain why I’ve been charged an $11 fee.

CARD: That’s for your cash advance.

ME: I’ve never done a cash advance.

CARD: Yes – it looks like you did one for $1,200 last month.

ME: Excuse me?

CARD: In Las Vegas?

ME: I travel a lot, but I’ve never BEEN to Las Vegas.

There are multiple reasons I’ve never been to Vegas. I find it vulgar on may different levels. And that’s coming from someone who isn’t prudish, is rather crass, and has no problems with nudity. In other words: I’m not talking about the showgirls.

Anyway, my bank was great about reversing the charges, and I’m hopeful that with my otherwise unblemished credit record, this won’t negatively impact my credit score. But I do appreciate the irony: The card that was being used appropriately was put on hold. The card that actually HAD fraudulent activity on it continued to work just fine.

And the fraud should’ve been easily detected: my card was used for something I have never (in my 16 year history with this card) done, in a place I have never visited.

I’m thinking I need to introduce Card #1 to Card #2 and see if they can meet in the middle. Somewhere, there’s a logarithm that needs tweaking.

And I hope that the asshole who used my funds to enhance his Vegas stay ends up being $5 shy of being able to post bond.

One Response to “A little story about irony.”

  1. lexy3587 May 19, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    I got a card cancelled while in NYC… also lucky enough to have an alternative card on hand.

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