The Hunting of the Snark

06/04/2010

My favo(u)rite credit card company

Despite having lived in the UK since late 2006, I maintain strong financial ties to the US (i.e., student debt). And most companies have taken the move of a customer to another country in stride.

One, however, repeatedly stands out as an example of What Not To Do: Capital One. They say 1/3 of American households hold an account of some kind with them. So I suppose if they could manage to get their act together regarding overseas business, they might become competition for Bill Gates and Disney in the taking-over-the-world market. But fortunately, that doesn’t look very likely. See what you think.

Below is a scan of the letter they sent when confirming that they’d updated my address ‘to one outside of the United States’:

Scan of a letter from Capital One

An actual letter sent to me by Capital One

I’ve blocked out some of the address, naturally, but they did have it correct. Except for one important thing.

The various handwritten notations tell an interesting story about the steps taken to get it to me in Bishop Auckland (United Kingdom). As far as I can guess, someone at Capital One, cluing in on the ‘Auckland’, decided it should go to New Zealand, and wrote that by hand with ballpoint pen. Then a baffled someone in the New Zealand Post hesitantly guessed that the postcode might be in Canadian format (it isn’t) and stuck on a sticker accordingly. Finally, upon its arrival in Canada, a resigned someone in the Canada Post recognised the UK format, crossed out ‘Canada’ and succeeded in getting it to the Royal Mail and to me. Over two weeks after it was dated.

One more thing here. Suspiciously, that scribble over the word ‘New’ may actually be the letters ‘AUS’…

'AUS' appears to be overwritten by 'NEW'

Auckland, Aus... er, New Zealand

I do hope my letter enjoyed its world tour.

Inside, among other inanities, it repeats the company’s belief that they are not permitted to mail a new payment card abroad. This has always baffled me, because no other financial institution seems to interpret the law that way. They see the sense in sending new cards to, well, me. At, well, my residence address.

There is some good news here. In recent weeks, Capital One incredibly has been surpassed as the US company most incompetent at handling (my) foreign business…

– The Snark

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