Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just Say Charge It

You might get a kick out of this one. See, it's not just the government screwing things up. My parents had a ton of credit cards, most in both names. There was ONE card, a Chase visa, that was only in Mom's name. For some reason THAT is the one Dad liked to use, even though he had a ton of others, who knows why? He decided to not only not cancel that one, but to have it changed to MY name so I could use it to buy his supplies with. So he called them and they did it. It was now in the name of "Estate of XXX" but had my name on the card. As far as I know, they didn't give him any problem about doing that. He asked if it were possible; they said sure. Seems to me that just saying NO right here would have solved a lot of things. I certainly wouldn't be writing this post if they had!

When I called to activate it they did give me some trouble, because it confused them it was in the name of an "estate". I got transferred around a bunch of times. I even told Dad, let's just get a NEW card, or I use one of mine only for you and you pay it? No, he wanted THIS one, and after all they did OK it. At this point I was wondering WHY they had approved it in the first place? How much trouble was this really worth? But if you knew my Dad you know there was NO changing his mind, so this was it.

So I used it for about 5 months. Regularly. Now Dad keeps money in his account, and pays everything in full every month; he even arranged to have this bill automatically paid in full every month so we didn't have to worry about it. "Why not use a debit card?" I asked. Made sense to me. But Dad didn't trust those new-fangled debit cards. Again, I don't know why...he just didn't. I nev er did quite figure him out. I just rolled with it, you know?

After all those months of using it regularly and paying it in full every month well before the due date I tried to use it and it was declined. I knew the bill was paid so when I got home I called and they said "oh that, we cancelled that because your Mom died." Hmmm.....k.

Well, yes. That's why it was changed to the "estate of". "Yes ma'am, but she died so we had to close it".

Remember they KNEW she died and they agreed to do what they did. It's in the name of THE ESTATE, for crying out loud! Normally that means they died, so, yeah! No one held a gun to their head or even asked for special favors. He asked, they agreed and it was done.

A week AFTER it was cancelled I got a letter congratulating me for signing up for the auto bill feature. Which had been signed up for, and had been used, for the past 5 months.....

That SAME DAY I got a letter saying good news, your Mom's card has been cancelled because she died, aren't you happy with our security features that allowed us to do this? Don't worry, you won't be responsible for her balance! Woohoo!!! Hmm, should I have then doubted the auto-pay feature? Ahh, hindsight.

The very NEXT day I got a bill for the balance (which was no longer on auto-pay - why, I don't know, I certainly never asked for that to be cancelled, I guess that came along with cancelling the card) and it was due like in TWO days saying pay this now to avoid extra fees. It was two months worth, since they had apparently shut off that pesky autopay thing 2 months before they sent me the letter congratulating me on signing up for it. Are you keeping up with me here? Oh -- and they specifically said that due to the unfortunate loss of my Mom they would not add finance charges at this time (what I read into that was, expect them real soon! How very thoughtful of them. *rollingeyes*).

Are we having fun yet?

So, fast forward several more months. About 3 weeks ago I got a bill from a COLLECTION AGENCY for the remaining balance that should have been paid automatically in the first place, and which I had already paid as soon as I got the bill (so that was, what? at least a month earlier? I can't keep track anymore). Not just any collection agency, but one that specifically deals with estates so as not to further confuse the bereaved family members? I'm clueless here... In the meantime my Dad has also I have to call this collection agency who was "simply arranging to collect from the estate"; yes, collecting a bill which had already been paid long since, and for which we made the charges ourselves, because they had approved it for our use. Are you still with me? I explained to them that I had paid the bill and they said OK. I have not heard back from them so I'm assuming that they at least know how to perform basic record-keeping chores.

Now today I got a bill for FINANCE CHARGES based on that final balance. Only 5 bucks, but let me tell you, it was not the amount that was the point. I have been completely baffled by the incompetence and insensitivity of this entire affair and this was the last straw. I was in the middle of doing something else important but I picked up the phone and called them while I was "in the mood".

The automatic response thingie told me that my account is closed and that there is no balance. What a complete surprise! more eyerolling* So I hit 0 to speak to an actual person, who assured me that the charge was already reversed and that I should not have even received a bill. Gee, I wonder what happened? Must have just "slipped through the cracks". Heh.

Now tell me, after reading all this, are you wondering what's next?

I just can't wait to apply for a NEW Chase card. /sarcasm

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Goodbye for now, Daddy

10/14/31 - 7/30/09