Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Dominos Start To Topple

As previously mentioned, we had decided to get a couple thousand dollars transferred to our checking account from our VISA card to help underwrite this car purchase. I had called from work earlier in the week and the only reason I didn't do it then was that, for security purposes, I had to call from my "home" telephone.

Since the customer service center is a twenty-four hour operation, I decided to call them Friday morning at 7:15, while Michelle was getting ready for work. That way, she'd know the score by the time she left the house.

I dialed the 800 number and got to a service rep fairly quickly.

I went over all the pertinent facts with the VISA person and they confirmed yes, there'd be a $60 (3%) service fee on a $2,000 transfer to checking. Yes, the interest rate is o.99% until March 3, 2008, after which it will go up to a fixed rate of 7.908%.

"Great, said I. "Let's do it!"

"Yes sir, Mr. Davison." replied the service rep. "In order to complete this transaction, you must first be calling from your home telephone."

"Oh, I know! I am calling from my home telephone," I said, because I was home and I was using our telephone.

"Well, the number coming up on my screen doesn't match the number in our data base."

FLASHBACK: According to the 800 number's automated account info, Our card has a zero balance and the last transaction was August first, 2001! We moved into our new house in July of 2001. Obviously, we had gotten the card prior to our move.

"Oh, yes," I told the operator. "We moved back in the Summer of 2001. Is the number in your data base [insert old number here]?"

"Yes, it is, sir." came the response.

"Well, our new number, since July of 2001, is [insert new number here]. Can you update the database?" I asked.

"Oh, yes, sir." she replied. "There, I've done it."

Whew. I was worried there, for a minute!

"Okay, now that we've cleared that hurdle, let's transfer the money," I suggested.

"Mr. Davison, the system won't let me proceed," said the service rep. "I think you'll have to call back, so that the phone numbers will jibe. Sorry about the inconvenience," she said soothingly.

"Oh, no problem. Thanks for your help," I said while reaching for the redial button.

I was connected to a (different) sales rep and I re-started the process by confirming (for the third time) all the amounts and interest rates. Everything rang true to the rep's data base info.

"Okay," I said, once again. "Let's do it!"

"All righty, Mr. Davison." came the reply.

After a couple beats the rep came back with, "Uh, Mr. Davison, the system's not letting me do this transaction."

"Well" I replied, "Is there a problem with my phone number? You see, I just had them update the data base because there was a six year old phone number in my card user information."

"Ah, that's it!" came the response. "There's a note here on your screen that says you just changed your home telephone number."

"Good," I said with a false sense of relief. "Now we can go froward, right?"

"Uh, no," the response. "You see, Mr. Davison, for security purposes, this sort of transaction cannot be completed until thirty days after you change your home phone number."

"Gnong, gnong, gnong!" I responded.

In a daze, I updated my wife on this unforeseen turn of events.

We huddled and came to a provisional agreement to go ahead and nearly empty our savings account (there'd be about $400 left), buy the car and then replenish the account thirty days later when the VISA transfer could be completed.

The spider sense was tingling mildly, but it seemed like a low-risk proposition.

Michelle left for work and I resolved to take Mariel and go to the bank as soon as they opened.

Next: What went wrong at the bank...

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