The Hunting of the Snark


Capital One strikes again

It was rather difficult to find anything funny about the conversation I had with Capital One the other day.

Perhaps I’ll just let it speak for itself. This is actually what was said, to the best of my recollection.

B: Thank you for calling Capital One, my name is B.
(Security details exchanged, ending with…)
B: And could I have your ZIP code, please?
Me: I live in the United Kingdom.
B: Oh, yes, I see. How can I help you today, Mr. Irish?
Me: Well, I’ve just received my latest statement and there is a $16.00 charge on it for ‘FAST CARD FEE’, which I don’t recognise. Can you tell me what that is, please?
B: Yes, certainly, I will be happy to help you with that. When you have a fast card fee it might be because you made a cash withdrawal, or maybe something *mutter mutter* .
Me: Sorry, just a moment. You said it relates to a cash withdrawal? I haven’t made any cash withdrawals.
B: Oh, all right, let me take a look. A fast card fee could also be if you lost your card and we sent a new one out to you. Are you in California at the moment?
Me: No, I’m in the United Kingdom.
B: Well, we have an address on file in California, and it looks like a new card was sent there recently.
Me: Yes, that’s my parents’ address, which I use because you refuse to send cards to me outside the country. Are you saying you’ve charged me $16.00 for that replacement card?
B: Certainly I will have a look at that. Did you report your card lost or stolen recently?
Me: Actually, the last time you sent out new cards to replace expiring ones, you sent them to my parents’ old address, so they went missing. So yes, I did have to get replacements for those.
B: Oh, I see. When will you be returning to California?
Me: I. Live. In. The. United. Kingdom.
B: But when do you plan to come back?
Me: *splutter* I don’t have plans to move anywhere at this point! I just had to provide an American address for new cards! I’ve given you my parents’ address, but they have to forward the cards to me.
B: Well, it could be that when you requested a new card, you were charged for this because the card can be sent to any address you like, and it was sent to you in California.
Me: *blink* Look, what happened was that the first time, you only sent one card, the one for me. So I had to call and request a card separately for my wife, and I was told that unless cards are specifically requested for authorised users, a replacement card is only sent out to the primary account holder. Even though the reason I was requesting a new card was that you’d sent them to the wrong address, so they both had to be destroyed, so they both obviously needed to be replaced. That meant my parents had to forward another card to me.
B: Do you have your cards now?
Me: Erm… yes…
B: Well, as you have requested the new cards, we sent instructions to MasterCard to make the cards for you. They were sent to you at your address in California, and you have received them, so everything is normal and you don’t have to worry about anything. You can simply disregard it.
Me: No, I’m not going to disregard this. It’s a fee of $16.00 that I don’t know anything about, and I don’t think it should be there, and I need you to tell me what it is for. Can you do that, please?
B: Oh, I see! Well, let me have a look. Can I place you on… Ah… I see here that the card for your wife was sent by overnight mail.
Me: Yes, I recall that; I wasn’t sure why.
B: The reason for the fast card fee is that you have requested the overnight service.
Me: No, I didn’t.
B: You didn’t request overnight delivery?
Me: (Thinking: boy, is this going to make good Snark fodder.) No, I did not.
B: But it says right here that you requested to have your wife’s card sent out immediately by overnight delivery.
Me: No, that was off of Capital One’s back and I had nothing to do with it. You’re telling me I have now been charged for that?
B: Yes, that is the fee for fast processing of a new card.
Me: But it was Capital One’s decision. When I called last time, I was told ‘I’ would have my card in about five business days, but then instead, it was sent by Express. I was not apprised of the overnight service; I was not apprised of any charge; and I am not going to pay it.
B: Oh……… I see……… Let me see if there is anything I can do. Can I place you on hold, please?
Me: Yes, thanks.
(On hold for several minutes.)
B: Hello, Mr. Irish?
Me: Yes?
B: Thank you for waiting. Mr. Irish, I have waived that fee so you don’t have to pay it.
Me: The $16.00 has been waived, then. That’s good news, thank you.
B: Yes, sir. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Me: No, evidently I don’t need to close my account today.
B: *uncertain laugh* Well, before we go, I’d just like to ask if you want to take advantage of our promotion? This is a balance transfer promotion, with a rate of 3.9% APR on balance transfers; would you like to transfer a balance? Or we could send you a check for a certain amount?
Me: No.
B: Okay… Would you like us to transfer money into your checking account?
Me: No.
B: Okay… Well, thank you for choosing Capital One, Mr. Irish, and have a wonderful day.
Me: Thank you. You, too.
B: Good-bye.
Me: Good-bye.

All right, here’s a bit of humour I can interject: after weighing this incident up, I must conclude that Capital One, amazingly, still isn’t the most outrageously inept American company I have to try to work with. Wait and see.

– The Snark



  1. And I think they train these customer service people!

    Comment by Carol — 19/04/2010 @ 14:12 | Reply

    • Well, you would hope so… but somehow, the questions I ask most reps never seem to have been covered by their training.

      Comment by Jeremy Irish — 19/04/2010 @ 15:03 | Reply

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