CapitalOne – A Lesson in LOSING Customer Loyality for Other Companies

Edit December 10, 2015: Life is nothing but disappointment – just when I thought CapitalOne was an amazing company with amazing employees, they prove that they aren’t. Their fraud prevention system is so screwed-up they managed to decline my card at a local merchant for some non-existent fraud…and then the Customer Service rep I talked to suggested it was my fault that I didn’t have their app on my phone so I could clear it. Yeah, no accepting that it should never have happened in the first place, no apologies for the inconvenience, just a smug suggestion that it was my fault for trying to buy glassware at an outlet. Clearly the thousands I charge with them every month pales in comparison to the $70-worth of “fraudulent” coffee mugs and extra serving spoons they declined and pushed-off to another card (which, by the way, cheerfully accepted the business).

(*shrug*) So much for CapitalOne. Back to Bank Of America, Chase, American Express, et al – at least I don’t have to worry about their fraud prevention computer triggering arbitrarily and embarrassing me unnecessarily, like another customer who was declined today because they bought a burrito…

Sorry, I have to give you some background information, so hang with me a sec. Our household adopted, or was adopted by, an emaciated stray cat. I will explain this bizarre sequence of events and introduce you to our newest family member in another post on another day, but you need to know that this poor cat is not in excellent shape, and required a pretty substantial veterinary visit. It was the visit, and the Vet’s bill for services, that began this odd yet wonderful journey.

Shortly after we got home from the visit, I received a telephone call from someone purporting to be from CapitalOne’s Fraud Prevention Department. Anyone who knows me knows I do not provide personal information to anyone I do not personally know who calls me – I mean, after all, how can I possibly know whether they are who they say they are, or just some scammer attempting to steal personal information? I politely but firmly told the person I would telephone the number on the back of my CapitalOne credit card. Which, of course, I did almost immediately (I needed to get a stronger pair of glasses to read the d*mned thing…hey CapitalOne, how about making that number bigger for your older customers?).

I was almost immediately diverted to Fraud Prevention, where I spoke with a most pleasant soul, to whom I explained why I pushed off the person who called me. He let me know a fraud alert was triggered by a purchase, gave me the Vet’s practice name, and asked if the charge was valid. I admitted it was, mentioned the cat’s condition, and had a short but pleasant conversation. When we hung up, I pretty much forgot about it, other than briefly wondering why a guy who routinely purchases stuff from England, Hong Kong, and other countries would trigger an alert with a charge a few blocks away. (Much later I discovered the practice bills out of Los Angeles, CA, which explains why the transaction was flagged.)

Anyway, didn’t give it any additional thought…until today.

My daughter had a half-day of school today, and was home when the doorbell rang. I sent her to see what was what (c’mon, what good are kids if you can’t use them as free labor?), and she went outside, but didn’t come back in. I went to the door to see her struggling to pick up a very large, very heavy box left at the door by the UPS delivery guy.

I helped her get the package in, checked that it was indeed addressed to me and not a neighbor, and was completely confused as to why Amazon would be sending me anything. I carefully opened the box, and found inside a smaller, seemingly heavier box…and some paperwork:

A Gift from Capital One Financial Corp

Mr. Summers, it was a pleasure speaking with you recently. We hope your cat recovers smoothly and is back to normal in no time. Warm regards, Affonso.

You could have knocked me over with the feather on the toy mouse.

A huge financial corporation, one of the “too big to fail” companies I’ve always believed should be broken up into parts small enough to implode if their management screws up, sent me a beautiful cat domicile (sorry, can’t bring myself to call it a “cat house” and not giggle like a 10-year-old) along with wishes this poor stray whose luckiest day of his so-far short life was the day he begged food from Katie would feel better soonest.

So to CapitalOne, the huge financial corporation humanized by Affonso, I offer a sincere and humble thank you. So you know, you had me at giving me a half-percent more cashback on purchases than the other cards I carry, and with no foreign transaction fees…but after this act of kindness it’ll be a cold day in Hades before anyone pries the CapitalOne card out of my hands.

So…what’s in your wallet? (Edit December 10, 2015: Right now, Chase, Bank of America, American Express…pretty much anything but CapitalOne. Yep, the Devil must have had a snow day today – between the unnecessary decline, and the unforgivable Customer “Service,” they won’t be getting my business.)

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