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kitten
5-4-11, 1:55pm
I wonder if anyone else has a Discover card and has received a call like this? The lady was so nice, I feel sorry now that I yelled at her and hung up. I'm angry, but mostly at myself for getting into debt.

She starts with, "Hi, how's your day going?" And doesn't identify who she's with. It was an 888 number, so I figured it was the card. But what do they get out of playing that politeness game? I know you want money!

So she's all, "Miss Kitten, we value you as a customer, and we were wondering if we could be of any assistance in helping you pay off your card. Are you planning to pay it off?"

I said I was. She said, "Is there anything that has happened recently that has made it more difficult for you to make payments?"

I said, "Sure, you tripled my interest rate about a year ago. It suddenly made it very hard to pay off my card."

No response for a sec, papers shifting under the phone. "Oh, okay. I was wondering if there's anything specific to the economy that has affected you lately?"

She wants to have an economic discussion with me? She apparently wants to bond with me, urging me to put the blame on large, vague forces for my situation - the economy, civilization, the invention of money, the emergence of carbon-based life forms on the planet billions of years ago. If the fault is way out there somewhere, then it's not Discover's fault for sending my interest rate sky high. And it's not my fault either. So it's kind of a nice thing, except it skirts the issue.

So I said, "Can you lower my interest rate?" I might have added a terse "Yes or no!" I was in the middle of my work day and already behind. Just getting cranky.

"Oh, ah, sure, I can look at some options..." And I don't know whether she was actually going to look at some options, or whether she was going to start asking me about my political views. I just hung up.

Now I feel bad. Should I feel bad?

I owe $3000 on my card, and I'm also paying off another card that mushroomed into 10K over the past few months. We are way behind for the first time since we got out of debt two years ago. Just feeling really sad and overwhelmed...I shouldn't have blamed the twelve year old on the phone whose job it is to read a script. I just get annoyed at this stuff, whether they use hardball or take the absurd I-feel-your-pain tack.

I'm just mad at myself for being in debt!

loosechickens
5-4-11, 3:47pm
well, it sounds as though you may have missed an opportunity to discuss the possibility of the interest rate being lowered. Since credit cards are unsecured debt, when the companies REALLY think it's in their best interest to adjust the rate, etc., as opposed to perhaps having the debt go bad, sometimes they are able to "make arrangements".

Unfortunately, it hit you on a bad day. Perhaps you might call Discover yourself, or write to them, and ask if there isn't something that can be done to lower the interest rate on the account. If you were paying regular payments before the interest rate skyrocketed, and were not late or behind on payments, you may have a good case that if the interest rate was more reasonable, you could pay them what you owe.

It's too bad that your emotions got the best of you, and you're probably right in recognizing that you're really mad at yourself, but at this point, this particular opportunity to open lines of discussion has been lost. Hopefully, you'll find a way to open them again before they just turn your account over to a collection agency, who will not be nearly so nice.

Don't beat yourself up......stuff happens. But, since it did, try to figure out a way to salvage what you can from the situation, because there still may be room for negotiation.

(guess you could always say that you "got cut off", if you just hung up, (as opposed to hung up after a few choice comments)........

good luck!

heydude
5-4-11, 4:16pm
What sucks is the person has probably very little control on the "script" at which she is being paid to say to you. I always try to be nice to the lowly workers as I have to deal with the same thing at my job (getting yelled at for things that I cannot change because the big wigs are the ones that set that policy).

But, at the same time, you can only take so much. I mean, are we to go along with all this script stuff constantly with a smile? I think it is just fine you hung up. If you regret it, then just try not to do it in the future. You can't change the past but you can decide your future. Never forget that.

mattj
5-4-11, 4:23pm
I remember how stressful it was to be in debt... I still have a mortgage and even that freaks me out. We've been through bankruptcy and had to change our phone number during the process because of the stress of constant phone calls. I'm not sure if it's a company policy or something or if things have changed recently but Discover always seemed to be the first company to stop charging interest or negotiate or whatever over other debtors. I remember growing up when my dad started his own practice that, I think, money seemed tight. They started buying all our school clothes at Sears (which is or was part of Discover or vice versa). I don't know if they did this because of any of the issues I mentioned but it seemed noteworthy. I'd try calling them. I eventually found Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and started going with my wife... it's made a huge difference.

When we were last in dire straights financially my wife found an article that explained how even though money can't buy happiness, not having enough can be miserable. I feel for you.

kitten
5-4-11, 6:37pm
Thanks for your responses, guys. Good advice. I appreciate it! - k.

Rosemary
5-4-11, 7:25pm
If it were me, I would call the customer service line and telling them that without a substantial rate reduction, I was going to transfer it to another card that has a 0% transfer offer, or something of that sort. If you want to really be official about it, you could research current offers in advance, but I get those in the mail frequently.

kitten
5-5-11, 5:44pm
Thanks Rosemary, I might do that! -K.

Tammy
5-7-11, 3:27am
Her first line of questioning may have been her leading you down the road of giving a reason that the company would count as valid for a hardship -- and perhaps with that hardship they have guidelines to decrease interest rates or minimum payments ... maybe they can't say that outright, but she was trying to lead you there ... just a thought. Discover has always treated us well.

sweetana3
5-7-11, 2:06pm
I NEVER EVER talk to a call out of the blue from any company, except about fraudulent charges on our account, whether we do business with them or not!!!!!!! They are not calling to help in any way. They are calling to make money for the company. I am a true skeptic regarding corporate issues. We are on the do not call list and I have no qualms about hanging up immediately.

What really makes me mad is the use of my first name by strangers on the phone. How phoney can they be? A professional call begins with clear identification of who is calling and why. Any less than that means an immediate hang up.

Sorry rant over. I hate marketing calls.

herisf
5-7-11, 6:56pm
First off, I would be *very* upset that someone called me about a personal issue while at work. That alone would make me want to hang up on them. Well, that and not introducing/identifying herself. That being said, I would definitely call them back at your convenience to ask for an interest rate reduction or some other kind of deal. The worst they can say is No, so really nothing lost except a few minutes of your time.

kitten
5-12-11, 5:53pm
Thanks for that, Tammy, I'll bet you're right. I just jumped the gun :)


Her first line of questioning may have been her leading you down the road of giving a reason that the company would count as valid for a hardship -- and perhaps with that hardship they have guidelines to decrease interest rates or minimum payments ... maybe they can't say that outright, but she was trying to lead you there ... just a thought. Discover has always treated us well.

kitten
5-12-11, 5:55pm
Yeah - I hate being called at work, but I have such a strange schedule that they'd never be able to get me at a good time. And I hate being called at home just as much! ;)

Yes, I need to not give up on that interest rate thing. Thanks herisf!


First off, I would be *very* upset that someone called me about a personal issue while at work. That alone would make me want to hang up on them. Well, that and not introducing/identifying herself. That being said, I would definitely call them back at your convenience to ask for an interest rate reduction or some other kind of deal. The worst they can say is No, so really nothing lost except a few minutes of your time.