Rejection is Never Easy...
If you have ever tried to cancel a credit card, you know that it is similar to trying to end a non-existent relationship with a dorky guy you met on vacation and to whom, in a moment of sympathetic stupidity, you gave your cell phone number to. When you don’t want them, it is hard to get rid of either man or card. Both of them are insistent on “having a relationship.”
Unbeknownst to us, when we use a credit card, we are forming one of the closest relationships in our lives. The problem is that when we want to end this “relationship” the credit card companies take it as badly as if it were a personal rejection.
You think breaking with your first teenage crush was difficult? Trying to cancel an unwanted, unneeded credit card is ten times harder. Take the problem I had when I tried to end a ten-year relationship with a well-known credit card company. I had a credit card with a high interest rate, and in the spirit of wanting to be debt-free, decided to cancel it.
It all began very innocently and politely and escalated into a nightmare. Customer service became a stalker of sorts in our mail exchanges. To make my request official, I decided to use the old-fashioned method of correspondence; I mailed it at the post office. I wrote:
“Dear Sir or Madam:
Please cancel my credit card, number ending in-----.
A week later I received:
I’m concerned that you are attempting to cancel this card. No action will be taken to cancel until I hear directly and personally from you.
Ed Stammer, Customer Service”
I had to answer so I wrote back:
“Dear Mr. Stammer:
You can be concerned all you want. Please cancel my card, number ending in ----. I prefer being addressed as Ms. Houghton.
The mail became quite busy as we volleyed back and forth.
My concern is that you will regret having canceled our card. As stated in my previous email, no action will be taken to cancel until you have contacted me personally. Please think about this action very seriously.
“Dear Mr. Stammer:
Please do not address me by my first name. And please cancel my card, number ending in ----
Two weeks go by and I am assuming my card has finally been canceled when I receive a new message, this time via e-mail to my personal address which I never, ever give out.
“Hi. This urgent message is for Kristen. I would like to speak with you concerning your attempted credit card cancellation. Please call me at--- --- ----. Thank you, Kristen.
Have a pleasant day,
I try e-mailing back. We play email tag for two days.
“I would like my card canceled. Period. There is nothing to discuss. The ending number is----. I have tried doing this by regular mail and have not been successful. Please cancel as of today. I am disappointed in your company’s failure to honor my request. And don’t call me Kristen.
“Kristen, I am very sorry that you are disappointed. I am looking out for your welfare and feel that cancellation will not be to your benefit. Please contact me as soon as possible so we can talk.
“Dear Mr. Stammer,
This is getting ridiculous. You don’t know me but I hope you are aware, that you are dealing with a job holding, mortgage paying, independent adult. I resent being called by my first name and spoken to as a minor. I demand that my card, number ending in ----, be canceled forthwith.
You’re right I don’t know you but I would like to know more about you. For instance, what are your true reasons for wanting to cancel this card? The action you’re contemplating taking is not a good one. I would not be doing my job if I allowed you to cancel this card.) You’ll thank me some day.”
Regular mail from my end again, this time registered.
It has been a month since I first requested that my card be canceled. Why the hell are you so concerned about what I choose to do with my credit card? Do you own the company or what? I do not want this card, I will not use this card and I want this damn card, number ending in ----, canceled!
And for the last time, do not address me as Kristen!
Three days later my postman is ringing my bell and asking for my signature on a special delivery letter. It is of course from Ed Stammer.
Your emotional letter has confirmed my suspicions that you are not in a good frame of mind and will regret canceling this card. I do not own this company but am very concerned for you and cannot cancel the card as it would not be in your best interest. If I can be of any further help, please contact me. Are you alright?
Incensed, I call the company, key my way through an elaborate menu and spend fifty-two minutes on hold only to be told that Ed Stammer is not in today. Would I like to leave a message? I left a message alright. Unfortunately the operator who took my message told me they’re not allowed to relay any profanity and could I just call back tomorrow when Ed would be in? Sure thing.
The next morning my cell phone awakens me at 6:00 AM. It is, you guessed it, good ol’ Ed Stammer returning my call. I groggily tell him I want my card, ending number----, canceled, threaten to sue him and his f-&*%$%#@ company if my card is not canceled, hang up, and turn my phone off. A week later I receive this in my mail followed up by an email the same day.
I am hurt by your decision to end a partnership of ten years standing but, due to your unwarranted threat of a lawsuit, I am canceling your credit card number ending in----. I sincerely hope you know what you are doing. Should you ever need me, simply call me at --- --- ----.
A month goes by, then two, three, and finally ten months pass without any correspondence from “Ed.” My card is canceled; I am free!!
It has been over a year that I haven't heard from Ed but I'm still wary; you never know when a former relationship might just show up on your doorstep. Every time I check my mail or email, even my text messages, I half expect to find a note from him. Just yesterday I received a new credit card offer that looked eerily familiar.
A letter attached to it read-
Let this card be the beginning of a brand new relationship! Believe me, this is one card you'll never cancel!”
There was no signature, but I have a feeling Ol' Ed's not through with me yet!
© 2010 Copyright Kristen Houghton
Kristen Houghton is a Lifestyle writer and the author of the best-selling book,
And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First