Picked the worst enrollment offer for my credit card, how can I persuade the issuer to give me a break?
January 6, 2013 7:32 PM   Subscribe

I was sent multiple versions of the same (or so I thought) credit card offer and accidentally applied to the one that charges interest from day one, instead of the one with 0% introductory APR for 12 months. I called customer service and got a boilerplate letter of refusal back. Now what?

I got credit card offers via email and snail mail from a certain famous outdoor recreation company. One offered a $75 gift card, the other offered a $100 gift card, so I wound up selecting the $100 one, assuming all other things were equal. I didn't even notice anything awry until my second statement, which showed I was getting charged interest on my balance transfers.

I had saved all the offers and the fine print revealed that the one with the $100 gift card said nothing about 0% interest, and the one with the $75 gift card offered an introductory year with 0% interest on transfers and purchases. Yes, I am an idiot.

I called and was asked to fax in the 0% offer I received. I did and got a boilerplate refusal in the mail that said "Enrollment offers can't be combined."

What do I do now? Write a letter? Try to find a backdoor number? Keep asking for a higher-up on the phone? Threaten to transfer the balances elsewhere? All of the above?

In case it matters, I didn't use the stupid gift card yet.
posted by ziggly to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Pay off/transfer the balance and close the account. You freely entered a contract, and they have your faxed acceptance that probably says that you agree to all the terms and conditions.
posted by scruss at 7:53 PM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yeah, all you can do is close the account and wait for them to offer you join-back deals. It won't take long....
posted by SakuraK at 7:59 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you need to carry a balance this year and zero interest is worth more than 25 bucks to you, you could ask them if they'll trade you the deal: you give them a partial refund and they give you the other interest rate.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:22 PM on January 6, 2013

It doesn't hurt to ask; all they can say is no, right? And then you can pay off/close the account and move on.

So; be persistent, write down who you talked to, and try the Consumerist approach of emailing and/or calling the CEOs (or as close as you can get) of the parent company. In your email, talk about how you love their stores/company but found their sales tactics confusing and frankly a little shifty and if it can't get fairly resolved, well, you'll just have to shop/get a card elsewhere. Because you are no longer confident they care about their customers' well-being.

Yes, they are within their rights, but as you said, they had mailings that were from all appearances deliberately confusing. See if you can pressure them to make it right to keep your business.
posted by emjaybee at 7:11 AM on January 7, 2013

Call customer service and see if they can offer you a 0% interest rate promotional interest rate anyway. Sometimes the agent has the power to do this to make a sale.

For example, I called one company to just check a few transactions, and after speaking to an agent he told me about their x% balance transfer offer. I told him No thanks, since another credit card company offered me something better. Right there, he was able to counter with an even better deal.

Like emjaybee said, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Caveat for any of these balance transfer "deals": many of them charge you a 1% transfer fee up front, so if you transfer $10000, you automatically get charged $100. So depending on the amount that you are transferring and the money that you will save overall, you need to see if it's really worth it. (Sometimes the agent can waive this fee as well, btw).
posted by bitteroldman at 8:21 AM on January 7, 2013

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