Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Capital One

Have you noticed the way many corporations love to sign you up for new products and services, but ignore you when you’ve decided it’s time to move on? It’s one of the biggest reasons I choose not to accept most marketing invitations for new products and services.

I signed up for a credit card with Capital One a couple of years ago. I thought I did my homework. I searched the Internet and tried to compare the different offers. I was looking for a card with the best cashback rewards. Capital One  seemed to fit the bill, so I applied and was accepted. This part of the relationship building was smooth and fast.

When I tried to use their reward system, it turned out that the marketing material did not accurately describe how the reward system worked. I was disappointed. It was not what I thought they promised me. So, I decided to move on. The basic strategy was … 1) Apply for a new credit card somewhere else, 2) Get the new card and make sure they delivered on what was promised, and finally 3) Cancel my Capital One credit card.

I have high expectations which financial companies I trust. Basically, if I feel I need a lawyer when I sign up for a new service, then that’s not the type of company that I want to do business with. When it comes to who I let manage my money, trust is a mandatory requirement.

Today I tried to close my Capital One account. Their 1-800 number was useless. It was almost impossible to figure out how to cancel my card. Eventually, I found the right option and started my expected wait. After waiting for 15 minutes with dead silence on the line, I decided to look at their website. Guess what popped up on my screen within 15 seconds? 😮 A chat window offering to connect me with someone who would sign me up for a new account. I thought cool, maybe I can speak to a representative from Capital One who will help me close my account. I wasn’t sure if if it would work, but why not give it a try. You can see the transcript of my attempt below.

Hopefully, I can break up the relationship I have with Capital One faster using this technique than expecting them to answer my phone call. Breaking up is hard to do, but some companies make it harder than necessary.

Wish me luck!!!!

Chat Transcript …

Chat InformationHi and welcome to Capital One live chat! One of our specialists will be right with you.  Your chat may be monitored and recorded.
Chat InformationYou are now chatting with Sinclair.
Sinclair: Thank you for visiting Capital One’s website. I’d be happy to answer any of your questions about our online credit card offers. How can I help you today?
You: I’d like to cancel my account please
Sinclair: Alright. Let me help you with that information.
You: great
Sinclair: We’re confident that you’ll enjoy your Capital One card. If you still want to cancel and you have a zero balance, you can call Customer Service at 1-800-481-3239 and they can help you with your request.
You: I’ve called them but I cannot get to a representative
You: can you please help me?
Sinclair: I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Sinclair: I honestly wanted to help you. Unfortunately as you have reached the wrong department, we do not have the access to check on existing accounts due to security reasons. Here we help our customers with new applications.
Sinclair: However, not to worry.
Sinclair: I’ll help you to get connected to a phone representatives.
You: you type fast, but maybe cut and paste is easier
You: that’s perfect
You: maybe someone can call me?
Sinclair: Thank you. I really appreciate your patience and understanding.
Sinclair: I’m really sorry. Currently we do not have the option to call our customers.
Sinclair: If none of the options are working for you and you are unable to connect with the representatives, I’ll suggest that you wait till the end of the call and you’ll be automatically connected with our  representatives.
Sinclair: This way you will get connected to one of our representatives directly and quickly.
You: I’ve been waiting for a long time and nothing is happening
You: not quickly
You: in fact quite a long drawn out process 🙁
Sinclair: I’m sorry for that. may be all our representatives will busy with the calls.
You: it seems you’re quicker to accept a new account than being able to help your existing customers
You: why can’t you help me?
Sinclair: Please allow me a moment.
You: sure
Sinclair: Thank you.
Sinclair: As this is a sales chat support we do not have the access to check on existing accounts. however, not to worry. I’ll surely take this as a priority and make sure this reaches the top level at Capital One.
Sinclair: Right now, what best I can do to get your issue solved at the earliest is, I’ll initiate a call back.
Sinclair: Once I initiate the call back, you’ll get a call from our account specialist/application team who has the authority to look into your account and help with this concern.
Sinclair: Would that be fine with you?
You: That would be very helpful 🙂
Sinclair: Thank you.
Sinclair: To initiate a call back, please provide me with the following information.
Sinclair: Full Name:
You: David Mackey
Sinclair: Phone number and Alternate Phone number:
Sinclair: Email address:
You: [phone number edited out]
Sinclair: Time of availability:
You: anytime other than tomorrow (June 26)
Sinclair: Okay. Can I also get your Email address?
You: [email address edited out]
Sinclair: Thank you, David.
Sinclair: I have initiated the call back for you. You can receive the call anytime from now.
You: Thank you. I appreciate your help  🙂
Sinclair: It’s my pleasure. I really appreciate your understanding and we value your precious time.
Sinclair: Is there anything else that I could do to better assist you today?
You: nope, it’s all good
You: Thanks!
Sinclair: You’re welcome. It was a pleasure chatting with you today.
Sinclair: Have a good day. Take care and Bye!!!

Birthday Gift Shopping Experience

I think it’s important to understand the current shopping experience before improvements can be targeted. To that end, I plan to share my shopping experiences with you from time to time. You’re welcome to share your experiences too. Rants and Raves are encouraged. 🙂

So, I was shopping for my son’s birthday last week. Sometimes I’m on top of the gift list, but not so much this year.  James gave me a few helpful hints as his birthday approached. Unfortunately, I did not record the hints in a wish list. It turns out my memory doesn’t work so well when I don’t write things down.

When I finally started to shop for the gifts before his birthday, I surprised myself in that I successfully anticipated one of the gifts even before he asked for it (a Microsoft XBox wireless controller). I was able to buy it on sale when I saw it advertised in a newspaper flyer. I also remembered the most important present, an Xbox Minecraft game. It was released a day before his birthday. During my online research I found out that it could only be purchased online. Not my preference since I did not have an account with Microsoft, but oh well, I decided to wait until his birthday and let him order it online with my credit card. Last but not least, I totally forgot about the Electronic Arts Sims3 game. I felt a little guilty for not remembering the Sims3 game, but part of parenting is learning to roll with the punches and make a quick recovery. Maybe I can avoid the bad feelings next year if I find a better way to track the wish list.

So the birthday comes. James gets his Xbox wireless controller. Unfortunately, when we tried to order the Xbox Minecraft game, the Xbox website would not accept my credit card. The Microsoft website told me to call my credit card company. So, I did. The first person I talked to at Captial One Mastercard was very very unhelpful. To start with, I’m not happy with Capital One Mastercard, but that’s another story. When the customer service person repeated the same thing over and over and expected me to be happy, it only made me more frustrated. I finally had to speak to the customer service manager. She was helpful, because she gave me more information about what was happening and what I could do about it. Ultimately, I had to call Microsoft Xbox support.

I received great service from the Microsoft support process from this point onward. I found the support web page. It asked me if I wanted to chat with someone online or if I wanted someone from Microsoft to call my home. They even gave me an expected wait time for each option. Nice. The phone option was quicker, so I clicked on it and waited. Sure enough they called my house within a few minutes. I worked with a support person (based in the Midwest USA) for about 30 minutes trying different things. He finally decided the Microsoft payment system was not working, offered a month of Xbox Live for free and suggested that I try again later. I thanked him for his help and gave positive feedback about the excellent service to his manager. I don’t usually do this, but the service representative was particularly good.

The Microsoft support guy really was helpful, but the initial web error message sent me the wrong way and unfortunately for Microsoft they could not accept the money I wanted to give them.  In the end we went to Best Buy to get the Sims3 game that James wanted. It turns out it was even cheaper than ordering it from

All in all, it was a more eventful shopping experience than I had hoped for. James was happy with the gifts he got, but we still haven’t had time to go back and purchase the Xbox Minecraft game. I’ll have to make sure that happens soon. 🙂