The Cursed Credit Card


All of us must have read the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp. In that there is a sequence where the evil wizard disguises himself as a lamp seller and goes about offering shiny new lamps in exchange for old ones. “What is the big deal?” some may say. Even now we have exchange offers for cars, watches, pressure cookers and many other items. But the catch is that it is not a straight exchange but just a small reduction in price. But in the case of the lamps, it was a straight exchange. As it turned out later, this wizard had ulterior motives. Now I encountered a similar situation in the current times. There was this stranger who called me up and said “Sir, we are calling from Customized Unchartered Bank. We are offering you life time free credit card. All you need to do it to furnish a Xerox copy of your identification card and put one signature. We will take care of all the documentation.

 I being a strong believer that ‘there are no such things as free lunches’, was naturally suspicious. But he was persistent. “You don’t have to pay a penny, sir. Also we are offering free gifts for all subscribers. Additionally we have a whole lot of schemes with our partner merchant houses offering discounts on a wide range of products

The whole deal sounded very fishy. Who would lend you money and also give you gifts for borrowing from them? But then everyone seemed to have one. Also I found I needed a credit card for online transactions. So I told myself that all my suspicions are a result of paranoia I had inherited from my dad and brushing them aside went ahead to put my signature on that form.

Let us now move ahead 1 year ahead to see the consequences of this small moment of weakness on my part. I am frantically calling a customer service executive at the bank.
Can you please cancel the credit card?

Why do you want to cancel the card, Sir?

Because the card has brought nothing but trouble

What is the problem, Sir? Some way I can help you?

Yes. It would be very helpful if you can cancel the card.

I shall do that, Sir. But can you tell me the reason for cancelling?

This way the conversation kept going on and on without reaching anywhere. I realize that come what may she is not going to take the cancellation request. These call center employees are not paid to make decisions but to keep talking smoothly, beguile the customer and lead them around in circles. If you are a busy person and want to get something done, they are probably not the best people to talk to. On the other hand if you are a desperate Indian male deprived of female company, eager to have any kind of communication with a female, and don’t have money to pay for professional chat services, then this is the best alternative. Getting back to the telephone conversation, she continued,
Sir, any way your card is due to expire in another 3 months. So why unnecessarily cancel?

By then I had realized the futility of this enterprise. So with an air of resignation, I replied.
Ok, whatever. So you are not cancelling my card. Thank you for nothing.

You are welcome, Sir. Can I help you with something else, Sir?

Why don’t you go and stuff your pretty little empty head down the lavatory pot, you bitch?

Probably I was over reacting and crassness was uncalled for. But the smooth unperturbed and of course unhelpful voice was getting to my nerves.
Ok, Sir. Hope you were satisfied with our service. Have a nice day, Sir.

This was the last straw and I broke out into an outburst of expletives. But she had already kept the phone down. So now getting rid of the card was becoming difficult. My earlier attempt to rid myself of the card 6 months back when I had received a bill for the annual fee, had resulted in my gold card being replaced by a downgraded classic. But this classic one seemed more difficult to get rid of than the gold. Maybe that’s why it is called classic. Because it is timeless, lasts with you forever.

But I was not the one to give up so easily. If the mountain did not come to Mohammed, Mohammed had to go to the mountain. So if they did not come for the card, the card will go to them I decided. And I marched boldly towards their office. But my courage lasted only till I reached the office. At the entrance of the office was a burly security guard, who was looking quite menacing. I tried to ignore him and walk in with a bold face. But he stopped me. I told him I had come to meet the customer service executive and told him my purpose of visit. He sent an attendant boy to get me audience with his or her royal highness the customer service executive. He came back and told something to the security officer. He turned to me and told me that customer service executive is too busy and I have to wait. I had been prepared for this and had brought along a nice novel to while away the time. But just as I was about to proceed inside to make myself comfortable on the sofa, the guard stopped me. “Sorry, Sir. That area is only for new customers.

I again lost my cool and was about to give him a dose of what I had given to that call girl. Did I just say call girl? I meant call center girl. But then I realized that prudence is the best part of valor. Hurling abuses at an unknown unseen girl down a telephone line was one thing. But this was a different ball game. This guy was here in front of me, 6 feet tall, muscular and a mustache that would have given the brigand Veerappan inferiority complex. Wish our nationalized banks had these kind of security guards. So I decided to live to fight again another day and made my quick exit.

I contemplated just throwing the credit card somewhere and forgetting about it. But credit cards bills don’t get forgotten along with forgotten credit cards. They linger on long after credit cards are forgotten and keep coming after you, with interest being added to the annual fee every month. And some people warned me that if the bill is not paid for a long time, I would be on the hit list of their bill collectors, who weren't too unlike the security guard I had encountered. So this was fast becoming a matter of life and death. As I was pondering over the issue, the postman arrived. It was yet another bill. Examining it closely, I found some mistakes in the address. But the local postman knew my name. So he had been delivering it correctly. Strange are the ways of Murphy, I mean God. The letters that you do not want always have some uncanny knack of reaching you against all odds. However, this gave me an idea. I put an online request for change in address. I gave the address of an empty plot 15 Km away, near my colleague’s house. I then went to that site by nightfall, dug a hole and buried my credit card there. That way I was ensuring that I was not being untruthful. I have always believed that honesty is the best policy. Some of the local stray dogs were looking at me curiously. They must have been wondering if humans had at last begun to see the merits of the ancient ways of canine kind. They had been burying bones for centuries.

There was still the danger of the bill collectors tracking down the old address after finding me missing from my new address. But that was where my company came to my rescue. I was going away to Germany on an onsite assignment for 9 months. At last my salvation had come. So I fled the country and was absconding for the next 9 months. I think things may have cooled down by the time I returned for I have had no communication from the bank after that.

Three years have passed since and I have been managing without credit cards managing my online transactions thanks to those kind souls who carry the heavy burden of credit card on their shoulders. Recently I received a call from a stranger, “Sir, we are calling from JDJDJ Bank. We are offering you life time free credit card. All you need to do it to furnish h a Xerox copy of your identification card and put one signature. We will take care of all the documentation.”

I had heard enough. The credit cards were out to get me again. I immediately put on a mechanical voice and told him, “Please check the number you have dialed. This number currently does not exist”. I repeated it again to seem like a recorded message. I had at least learnt something from that call center executive.

If credit cards had existed in Greek mythology, cancelling a credit card would probably have been one of Hercules' 12 tasks. I remember a sticker on some vehicle with the words “Jesus never fails”. Someone had scribbled below it. “Ask him to try the chartered accountants exam.” I would have written “Ask him to try to cancel a credit card.

27 comments:

phoenixritu said...

This is wonderful .... and so true

Luscious Sealed Lips said...

Lol.

I have encountered something similar. Despite repeated efforts and running from one office to another, innumerable patience-testing calls to the Customer Care I have decided not to settle the annual amount because I was told FREE and had not signed any papers. Instead, on their continuous scary warnings 'Your name shall be put in the defaulters list', I replied 'Please Go Ahead! I can live a life with Debit Cards and Cash. Thank you!'

I have not received any call after that.

Kisses.

Cris said...

LOL!
>>On the other hand if you are a desperate Indian male deprived of female company, eager to have any kind of communication with a female, and don’t have money to pay for professional chat services, then this is the best alternative.<<
ROFL!

I too once made the mistake of falling for the JDJDJ bank guys. They had come to where I work and got the details of a few of us. Fortunately they completely forgot about it inspite of a number of calls I made and I was spared from possessing a credit card!

But like you say on the other hand, it brought with it nasty Indian males who decided to call the female subscribers from unknown numbers and pass unknown messages which always ended on the receipt of a male voice from this end. For months! And the male voices from this end using crassness had absolutely no effect like that female CC person you talked to! They are all the same! So much for customer care!

The Fool said...

Thanks phoenixritu

@luscious - Yeah. Firmeness helps in dealing wit them.

@cris - Thats another nuisance for girls.

buzzzzzzzzz... said...

lolz.....lolz ..lolz... u manage to make a problem so hilarious...

The Fool said...

Thanks Buzz

Niv said...

lol!!! cool post...

The Fool said...

Thanks Niv

dvirada said...

Your skills of trivializing a catastrophe is exemplary! Humor at its epitome, I can say.. I had a knitted brow before i bumped across your post. And just 10 minutes after that I found myself in to a fit of laughter.

Kudos to your etymological prowess and soul elating post!

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot for your kind comments dvirada. I am surprised you found such an old post from my blog. Do check out some of the other humorous ones too - Bride hunt, Nostalgic reminicences

dvirada said...

I bumped across your blog only recently.Your posts are really a perfect conglomeration of humour and innate spirtuality. Will post comments to your individual posts separately:)

shibani said...

I am really glad that I came across your blog. The way you express trivial things with a tinge of humour makes the readers glued to your blog.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Shibani. Glad you liked it.

Micky Fernandez said...

I do not quite understand your viewpoint. Assuming that you were a good customer of the Bank, the Bank (as would all businesses) would want to keep you as a customer. You ought to have been honoured that the Bank was trying to resolve any concerns you might have had, in order to try to keep you.
I am sure that if you were a business owner, then you would want to retain any customers that you would have.

The Fool said...

Well, Mickey, the point is simple. I was sold a product I never wanted saying it was free. Then I was charged for it and asked to pay. And they did not have clear procedure to address my concerns. And I wanted to cancel to avoid further payment. For that also they was no mechanism. Anyways I am not using this post to take out my frustrations. More a humorous take on troubles I underwent.

Pramod said...

Nice write-up. A word of advice though. I strongly recommend that you check your CIBIL report. Chances are high that your buried credit card troubles may come back to haunt you, since not paying any of your credit card bills will reduce your CIBIL credit rating making it difficult for you to avail loans in the future. The longer you delay payments- knowingly or unknowingly- the lesser your rating.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Pramod. I think I should check.

Rickie said...

This was too funny! I have never had to cancel my credit cards, but I am going to check which ones of mine are called Classic! Got to be very afraid of those!

The Fool said...

Thanks Rickie. I managed without a credit card for many years after that incident. Now finally I have taken a credit card again and one year free period is expiring. Don't know what is in store for me.

Ritu said...

As a former credit cards owner I love this. I need to write a blog about my experiences

The Fool said...

Thanks Ritu. You must.

Btw, did you notice the first comment on this post? This was from a time I was not on any forums or social networks. I wonder how you landed on my blog at that time. It is a strange coincidence you chose to comment on the same post again now 5 years later.

JANU said...

Nice one. Yet, we get sucked in this vicious plastic world.

The Fool said...

Thanks Janu.

Rachna said...

I like CC for their convenience. But these days you do get lifetime free cards and customer service people though thick headed do get some work done. Though, I agree they are maddening in their responses. And when they say in their mechanical voice, "What else can I do for you today, Ms. Rachna?" I have so many things that I want to say to them but abstain :).

The Fool said...

I don't understand their complicated plans and how things keep changing from time to time. I can get most things done through debit cards.

Pankti Mehta said...

Lol. This reminds me of my credit cards woes. I have 8 credit cards and managing them is a real pain in the ass.

The Fool said...

8 cards? Wow! I must bow down to you.

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