So, I’m in Reno for Worldcon. I’m having a blast, thank you very much.
But anyway, this isn’t the whole of the story. It starts on Tuesday, when I go to check into the place I’m staying. I’d specifically allocated room on my credit card for this purpose, so you can imagine how shocked I was when the card came back with a denial message. I log into the bank website via my phone and confirm that the credit’s there. WTF, I say.
So I get directed to the nearest Bank of America branch, which was conveniently across the street. There I was helped by Andrew, who was completely awesome and tried to do everything he could to help me out. (Plus, he was really excited to hear about Worldcon.) Unfortunately, bank branches can’t do much about credit cards, but he was able to talk to the folks at card services for me to figure out what’s going on.
Turns out there was some mass compromise of credit card numbers — I wish I knew who was responsible — and the bank, rightly, jumped immediately to keep the fraud loss to a minimum. I just happened to go on vacation at exactly the wrong time for this. Luckily, there’s provisions for people on vacation when such a thing happens, and they were able to unlock the card long enough to allow me to pay for my motel and ship me a new one via FedEx (and I’d have it by Thursday). Okay, no big deal, this sort of stuff happens and they’re taking care of the problem.
Fast forward to Thursday. Stumbling in from the convention near midnight, I pick up my FedEx package from the front desk. I get it back to my room and open it up — it’s a shiny new card. I went to activate it and found that it wouldn’t activate. The customer service rep tells me the number’s been cancelled and a new card has been issued to replace it. I said, no, this is the replacement card.
They transfer me to fraud protection, where I find out they shipped me the wrong bloody card. Yes, they shipped me a card they had ALREADY CANCELLED OUT. And the only thing they can do to mitigate the problem is to ship me another card (it’ll be here Saturday) and in the meantime, if I want to use the card, I have to call fraud services before I make the purchase and get them to temporarily release the cancel so I can use the card.
I point out that absolutely none of this was my fault. I didn’t lose the card; I didn’t use it in a risky situation; I gave it to a company that played fast and loose with their database security. And I know they’re trying to mitigate the situation, but at the same time, this is a bloody pain when you’re on vacation.
Between this and the whole fiasco with my parents and their mortgage, I’m really not happy. The short version of the mortgage fiasco: parents bought house in late 2005, just before the bubble collapsed. They put 40% down (proceeds from the place we had in Redding) and, of course, when the bubble went bust, the house my parents bought dropped in worth by just about half — to the point that they owe more on the loan than the goddamn house is worth right now. So, the parents asked if they could do a loan modification, bank trialled them at a lower mortgage payment while they asked for paperwork to see if they would qualify for a permanent modification. The bank drug this on for eight to ten months because they kept losing the friggen paperwork, and then said that (a) they didn’t qualify and (b) btw, the difference between what we had you paying and your original payment? You owe us that or we’ll foreclose — the exact situation my parents were trying to avoid. My parents came up with the money somehow, but if they had known that if the bank denied the modification they’d owe the extra money, they might have handled things differently. They trusted the bank and got burned.
And on top of it, I point out my parents have been banking with them for nearly as long as I can remember (they brought me in to open my first savings account in 1989, I think) and my own card dates all the way back to 1998. The frustrating part is that when the bank screws up, the person doing business with them is the one that takes it on the chin.
Yeah, extremely not happy right about now.