of weeks back and was reminded of a blog post I wrote for a "money blog" about three years ago. After reading it over again, I realized that it was still relevant today and still makes me giggle (which is relevant every day), so here's a reprint of an article originally titled "Bank of America - Instant Replay" from November of 2007. I'll post Part two tomorrow.
Bank of America - Instant Replay
Last night, I was watching a financial program where they were talking about calling your credit cards and asking for a reduced interest rate. I've tried this many times in the past, and have usually gotten nowhere. But they had four women try, and three out of four of them actually did get their interest rate lowered, so it got my hopes up. Maybe the bank rules had changed a bit. Maybe they were easing up in light of the "hard times" that banks are having right now (brief moment of silence and reflection as I shed a single tear for the plight of the banks...right).
Anyway, I decided to call them. The following was my first call, to Bank of America, which I wrote down immediately after hanging up while it was fresh in my memory. Productive? We'll see. Humorous? I thought so - you be the judge.
My name is Angela - how may I give you excellent service today?
I'd like to get a lower interest rate and I'd like to know what I need to do to make that happen.
Well Sir, I'm looking at your account and this is the best rate we have for your account at this time.
You don't have a lower rate available for my account?
No Sir, this is the best rate for your account at this time.
I assume that other people have lower rates; what do I need to do to get a rate like theirs?
This is the best rate we have for your account at this time.
Yes, for my account - I heard you the first three times you said that. But when you say, "for my account" it leads me to believe that other cardholders may have lower interest rates, so my question to you is, what do I have to do to get their rate?
Just keep paying your bill on time, Sir.
All I have to do is pay my bill on time and I'll get a lower rate?
I can't guarantee that, Sir.
You said this was the best rate for my account; on what criteria do you base that decision?
We don't have access to that information, Sir.
Please transfer me to the department that does have that information.
We're unable to share that information with you, Sir.
Your company won't tell me how they came to the decision regarding my interest rate?
So there's nothing that anyone can do?
What if I just paid off this card and cancelled the account; would that be cool with you?
That would be fine, Sir.
Let me talk to your supervisor, please.
If I can get your name and number, I'll have my supervisor call you back within 24 hours.
Okay, but first I'll need your name - who am I speaking with?
Angela, what is your last name?
Your name is Angela Angela?
What call center are you located in, Angela?
Hunt Valley where?
Hunt Valley, Maryland.
Thank you for not saying Hunt Valley, Hunt Valley Angela, because that just would've been silly. What is your supervisors name?
His....um his name.....it's.....Misss.....his name....Misterski. Mr. Misterski.
And he'll call me back within 24 hours?
(I gave her my name and number here)Thank you.
Do you think "Mr. Misterski" is gonna call me back? Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either. That's okay - I plan on calling them back on Tuesday. And two days after that. And two days after that, and on and on and on until they get so sick of hearing from me that they do reduce my rate. It's a little maneuver I like to call, "The Human Hairshirt" (hairshirt, from Wiki - a garment made of coarse cloth or animal hair. In more modern religious circles, the word has come to simply mean an object that can be worn to induce some degree of discomfort or pain.) While I'm not trying to cause anyone pain, I've found that some minor discomfort can go a long way toward getting what you want. And, for all the discomfort they've caused all of us over the years, I consider this simply returning the favor. Reciprocity. I love it.
I'll keep you posted.