Several weeks ago, I received through my letterbox, an unsolicited piece of mail which had attached to one part of the letter a credit card. I have received many mail shots in the past from credit card companies where they have included a cardboard mock up of a card to try to tempt me into applying for a real card. This one, however, was a genuine credit card complete with the new contactless technology!
I was quite surprised to receive it as I had not (knowingly) applied for it.
The accompanying letter informed me that I would receive my PIN in a separate mail a few days later. A few days later, I did receive some more mail, however, the post I later received from this particular credit card company was the letter I should have received before the card itself.
The letter informed me that Egg, my existing credit card company, had now been taken over by Barclaycard, and that I was now the proud holder of a Barclaycard. In fairness to both companies, I probably received a letter much earlier in the year when the takeover was first announced (March 2011), but I don’t recall it! In truth, I probably ignored it because I haven’t used my Egg card for a few years! And yet they still sent me a new card back in the summer when my existing card expired!
This morning I received another letter reminding me about my new Barclaycard, and that I will be able to use it later this month (November), even though the ‘valid from’ date printed in the card is October 2011. The letter started:
Dear Mr Better Offer
From 7thNovember 2011 it will be time to start using your new Barclaycard. By now you should have received your new card and PIN, if you haven’t, please call us as soon as possible on 0xxx xxx xxxx.
As I still hadn’t received my PIN, I thought I would, for once, act immediately, as prompted. So I dialled the number and sat in a queue listening to some absolutely dreadful music, interspersed with a recorded message saying that Barclaycard are experiencing a heavy number of calls at the moment and I could either sit and listen to some absolutely dreadful music or I could try at another time!
Suddenly the music was interrupted by a request for my card number which I would have to key into the phone. I was just about to enter it when another voice asked me to hold whilst they transferred me.
To where I thought? I hadn’t chosen any options from any menus. I hadn’t yet spoken to a human being. I hadn’t even keyed in any one of my sixteen digits! I was, however, delighted the music had stopped!
On came the voice of a man at the other end of the phone. I explained why I was phoning, to which he replied “you need to phone our credit card number, we only deal with debit cards”. To which I naturally responded that I had phoned the credit card phone number, the one not only printed in the letter I received today, but also on the actual credit card itself!
With an apology, he transferred me. Oh no, more music! Fortunately not for too long. Once again, I was prompted to key in my sixteen digit number followed by my date of birth. And in case I wasn’t completely sure how to do that, the recording gave the following explanation:
your date of birth must be entered in a six digit format, day day, month month, and the last two digits of the year, for example, if you were born on the sixth of march 1995, please enter 06 03 95.
I am so glad they cleared that up!
So with all twenty two digits successfully entered, a human started to speak. Sadly, I struggled to understand the accent, as they were not particularly local! However, once again I explained why I was calling and was told that I would receive my PIN. I reiterated that I had received a letter prompting me to call if I hadn’t, as yet, received the PIN, and as I hadn’t, as yet, received my PIN, I am calling.
Ah, came the response, but you will receive your PIN shortly. I reminded the person on the other end of the phone that my new card was due to start in 5 days time and I had, as yet, not received all I need to be able to use it. Ah, but you will, came the response. I love their optimism!
I mentioned, again, that I had received a letter that very morning advising me that if I had not yet received everything, then I should telephone Barclaycard, which is what I was now doing. Yes, was the reply, but you will receive your PIN. Why then, I asked, did you send me a letter telling me to call if I hadn’t received it? So that we can send you a new PIN. Oh good, can I have a new PIN please. No, you will receive the original in a few days, but if you don’t, responded the assistant, please call us on November 7th for a temporary PIN.
Let’s get this straight, I am sent a letter several weeks ago with my card telling me that I will receive a PIN in a separate mail in a few days. And now this morning I get a letter prompting me to call if I haven’t yet received it, and now I’m being told that if I still don’t receive it, then I should phone again on the day my card becomes active. So what was the point in sending the reminder letter if no action is being taken when people phone up? I’ve also just received an email which is a complete copy of the early paper mail!
Perhaps they should try to use the contactless technology on their help desk! 😉
Now I know why the card is valid for four years – it will probably take two years for the PIN to come through!