Leadership

Capital One: What's in your database?

Justin James recounts his recent experience with every developer's worst nightmare: severe data corruption in the database. What compounded his anxiety? The corruption was in his credit card company's database.

I encountered every developer's worst nightmare this weekend: severe data corruption in the database. The corruption was in the worst place possible from my viewpoint as a consumer: my credit card company. Not only did I uncover a case of significant data corruption, but it looks like the backup system was out to lunch too.

A few weeks ago, I received a paper bill from Capital One instead of the usual e-mail notifying me that my statement was posted online. When I went to pay my bill, I didn't notice anything unusual -- although, in retrospect, I should have. I paid my bill a few days before the due date and went on my merry way. This Saturday (after the due date), I received a letter in the mail informing me that my payment was rejected due to an invalid bank account number used for payment. Huh? My checking account has not changed in well over five years. The number of the checking account the company tried to debit was definitely not mine, but the number was striking a chord deep inside.

Customer service tried to help me, but they were having a hard time understanding that the last time I changed that information in their system was five years ago; they kept reminding me that no one other than me has access to the system. "Then how did it change?" was my usual response. Near the end of the customer service merry-go-round, I found out on my own what happened.

I went through the bill payment system to see what account they had on file, and I figured out why the checking account number on file looked familiar. It was the checking account I originally had in the system -- the one I shut down more than five years ago. That data was removed in Capital One's system at that time and was replaced by my current information.

Data corruption is the silent killer of databases and the source (and often the result of) security breaches, system failures, and programming mistakes. I hit the panic button, big time.

Customer service transferred me to its Web site support team, and I spoke to a friendly woman named Megan. Unlike the people I spoke with at customer service, Megan immediately had an answer for me. She told me that during a "Web site upgrade" some data had been "deleted" with no knowledge of what data was lost and whose data was affected, leaving no possibility of restoring it. I thought her explanation was pretty bad; how can a "Web site upgrade" affect the checking account I have on file? I am also unsure why the company cannot inspect the database changes to determine what records were altered. I am baffled why "deleting" data reverted it to values from 2002. And if Capital One did do a database restore, why is the most recent data from 2002? Finally, why was the customer service department ignorant of this situation, leading me to spend an hour winding myself up with fear of a hacked account and frustration at them?

From a customer service perspective, Capital One did a good job of reminding me why I have been a customer for so long. My Capital One card is not my best credit card; it has an extremely low limit, a fairly high interest rate (I got it right after college), and few benefits. I usually just use it to "firewall" myself from untrusted vendors online.

Megan transferred me back to customer service, and they reversed the "past due" fee and took the associated black mark off my record within a minute or two. She also told me that the message was passed to customer service to let them know what had happened globally, but obviously not everyone got the memo (which was odd, since I spoke to three customer service representatives and a floor manager). Despite my increasing frustration and volume of voice, the customer service representatives stuck with me and treated me quite well. I still like Capital One as a company and as a vendor of financial services.

But, at the end of the day, Capital One committed more than one of the top 10 "thou shall not's" in IT with this incident.

  • It allowed data to be severely corrupted.
  • It deployed code without an appropriate rollback or backout plan or path.
  • It did not notify its customers despite that the mistake is costing its customers to have late payments, resulting in fees and credit history problems if uncorrected.
  • It did not properly prepare the customer service team to handle the situation.
  • It allowed the user to see that data had been corrupted, which has destroyed all trust in the system.

The real problem with data corruption is that fixing it completely is nearly impossible unless you shut everything down and perform a full database restore from a backup that is known to be good. For something like a credit card system, that is close to impossible and possibly/probably illegal. It is why the folks who work on those systems get paid so much. An event like that puts the company out of business nearly instantly. Even if the system survives the issue at a technical level, the effect it has on the users' trust will ruin you. The last thing the user of a system that handles money or "identity theft class" data needs is to ever ask themselves, "What else was changed or lost?" To the user, it looks like the system was hacked. There is a fear that someone else's account is now tied to your data. It makes users worry that their history with the company, past payments, or other details are also messed up.

Don't let this happen to you, your code, or your systems. There is just no recovering from it, folks. I am not taking any chances -- I am paying off my balance (through the mail) and closing the account that I have had open since right after college.

J.Ja

Note: Edited on 12/24/2007 to correct the incorrect spelling of "Capital One". Sorry folks, ever since I read "Swiss Family Robinson" I always spell it with an "o" even when I should not!

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

64 comments
obFuscAted
obFuscAted

2008-05-27: I received my statement today from Capital One. This is right on time ... but the Due Date reads "Apr 28, 2008". Moreover, the date span on the statements reads "Mar. 04, 2008 - Apr. 02, 2008". It looks like their computer system or data entry clerks have gone haywire once again. What really pisses me off about Capital One is that their "APR" is of less importance, in comparison to their "Minimum Payment Percentage" formula. They calculate how much you own, based on a percentage of your current balance ... which they raise AT WILL if you're late even by a day and only once in 12 months. Crooks is what they have become, despite their fancy commercials.

m2c2
m2c2

You may want to rethink closing the account. It is my understanding that closing the account may have an adverse effect on your credit score (it may go lower) for a little while.

tb01
tb01

For my CapitalOne account, the website shows the bank name, and last four digits of the account number that is being used to make the online payment. Did you just blindly click-through the payment confirmation pages without looking...??

The-Bytemaster
The-Bytemaster

When they rolled out the website upgrade initially, they asked you for new security questions and their answers. Later, however, they apparently "forgot" what you answered and thereby locked you out of your account. Trying to get web site support on the line, I went to the wrong numbers. I also had late charges because I payed my bill on-line on time, but for some reason posted a day late (This was definitely before there cut-off time). Then I ran into human error. In trying to reverse one of the fees, it posted as an additional charge instead of a negative correction, thereby truly putting me over the limit (one of those close months). I got another call through customer service that unlocked my account and it re-asked me to fill in all of the security questions. Also, all of the fees were finally fixed the way they should have been. Definitely not the way you handle a software upgrade, and one I won't let my development team make!

enriquehernz
enriquehernz

This might explain why they missed sending me an e-bill for the month of November, costing me a past due fee, which I might add was lifted after I was notified through e-mail of a "technical problem" that caused it and was corrected.

mattohare
mattohare

I've been with them for a few years now. They use authentication schemes that are a bit different from what I've had in the states. They have a six digit pin that they assign to you. Every time you log in, you enter three of those digits. Recently, they changed the screen for the majority of their accounts so that you pick them from drop-down boxes. Once you pick it, it turns to a star. Never quite works right and I find I need a few tries to get in. I also noticed they seem to test stuff on the majority of their customers, before rolling it out to a minority. The divide is the country of their accounts. Those in the Republic seem to get the latest version with all the features. The UK customers get a something several versions behind. (I have accounts on both sides.) I'm kinda glad my main accounts are on the old version now.

steve
steve

Most of those people are outsourced, limited experience because the businesses are more worried about how much profit is made so they make the risk assessment figure the lower pay, limited experience people are worth the gamble. When things blow up, the fingers get pointed and the customers suffer because these businesses knows that it is about impossible to nail them due to cost of getting lawyers involved. the government doesn't care as long as it is not high profile.

sanjsharma83
sanjsharma83

I also faced problem with Capital One. 10 days back I made the payment of my credit card of Capital One from my checking account. Yesterday when I saw my checking account, the money was not deducted till yet. Then I logged to my capital one site, there was no payment history. I really pissed of. I think my transaction is lost. Today i am going to talk to Customer Care guys. Let see what they will say.

tracer
tracer

Good luck on closing that account. I'd be willing to wager a modest amount that it will be still be around to haunt you from time for at least five years. :-)

BobHB
BobHB

I caused a database meltdown once through a program design flaw; not proud of it, and it took a Thanksgiving weekend to recover the database. But we did. For a sophisticated, transactional database such as CapOne's to have these problems??? It is scary. As Justin points out, so many normal upgrade procedures were violated that some heads should roll. And CapOne should come clean about the extent of the damage. I bet - or at least would hope - that they will now have much better procedures that are followed, to the letter. As a customer of theirs now I'll have to review everything for the last 6 months. Still don't know if I'll keep the account though.

Tig2
Tig2

I lost my identity some years ago and proceeded to fight with my bank to make the shortfalls right. I lost that game. The significant one has all his money with that bank. Is it any wonder that I have all mine in an undisclosed third location? I'm just waiting for the day HIS identity is stolen and he loses everything. Cap One is CR@P about taking care of their customers. Well known and little disputed. There are more that have even more serious issues. Ever wonder why Target knows so much about you? How about Sears? JC Penny? The words of Fox Mulder resound. Trust no one.

obFuscAted
obFuscAted

Bank of America's policy of Overdraft Fees is nothing short of debilitating. As of this post (May 2008), BofA has recently changed their policy on PENDING TRANSACTIONS which - in particular - has resulted in numerous overdraft fees on my account. It took 3 calls to their "customer service" department, before someone admitted to me that their policy has indeed recently changed. In the past, using my bank card (non-debit) on a Friday would NOT see those transactions post to my account until Monday. That meant I had until Sunday's "cut-off time" to fund the account to cover Friday's charges. As of this writing, BofA has CHANGED that policy so that (quote) "Pending charges may in fact pull the funds from the account that same day". To clarify, BofA is saying that I no longer can wait until Sunday - I must fund Friday's charges before Friday's cut-off time. While this is a simple change of protocol for me, why was their policy change not made well known? HINT: Instead of the onslaught of advertisements upon logging into the BofA website (www.bankofamerica.com), such that often require my clicking a "Not Interested" button, why not post a message that says "Dear Valued Customers, please avoid overdraft fees by keeping your account funded Monday through Friday, as we have recently changed our policies in that we now post Friday's activity ON Friday." Why didn't BofA make this well known? In my opinion, they make BILLIONS off of Overdraft Fees. It's a planned event, not unlike insurance companies who calculate who and how many people will die this year. This is one of their money-making scams ... um, I mean schemes. Yes, I know that I can assign an overdraft account to protect myself, but that would not be necessary if they made their customer well-aware of policy changes ... nstead of tell me (as their Customer Service department did) that "Didn't you see the notice? It was included with a recent statement." So, instead of further insulting us with your videos ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT77_8kEJvk&feature=related ), why not spend the time and energy to keep your "valued customers" well informed? [sigh]

Justin James
Justin James

Yeah, I've heard stuff like that, particularly for accounts that you have had open for a long time. Just a few days ago on the radio, to be specific. I also know that having open accounts diminishes the amount that another lender is willing to lend. The reasoning is that if your debt payment capacity is $10,000, and you already have the potential for $8,000 worth of debt through existing, open accounts, they should not lend you more than $2,000, even if you have only $2,000 in actual, current debt. Regardless, with these kinds of issues, no way do I trust Capital One anymore with my financials. A small ding on my credit score is worth closing an account with these folks, especially since my credit score is already in very good standing and I do not plan on doing anything involving my credit score for some time. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

Yup, I sure did blindly click. I've been using their Web site to pay the bill for roughly 7 years now without a problem. Do you perform a full walk around your car, check the tire pressure, and inspect the brake pad thickness before driving somewhere? I bet not. Same principle. When something works every time you use it, you learn to trust it. Why would I continue checking the bank account information that I never changed? Of course, I *should*. But I *should* do a walkaround of my car each time I drive it, too. The DMV manual says so, they can take points of on the driving test for failure to do so, and my car's manual says to do so. This is why in the article that I say that I should have noticed this when I paid the bill, because it was right there on the screen. It's a testament to the general quality of the system that I built an expectation of it working. Of course, what I always check before hitting "submit" is the numbers that have been put in for the payment amounts. That being said, there are two responses to this: 1) If I distrusted the system so much that I feel the need to re-verify every detail each time I use it, I will not use it. 2) So what if I did blindly click through? All it would have done for me to not do so would be to discover the data corruption before I had a late fee. Note that the late fee itself is not my concern. Capital One swiftly and accurately took care of that. It's the underlying data corruption that I have a problem with! J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

It sounds like you at least eventually got the customer service team to do the right thing, which is often quite a chellenge! My story has that happy upside as well, but from what I am hearing in this forum, we seem to be in a minority. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

That is a part of the story that got edited out. I did not receive an email reminder in November, but I *did* get a paper statement. That should have been my first warning sign that something was quite wrong. At least I got that. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

Matt - Testing on a segment of the customer base is actually pretty smart. The trick is to only do it to a *small* fraction of the customer base. :) The rest of it... sounds sketchy to me. 3 out of 6 digits to log in? Odd. but it does, I suppose, reduce attacks like play-back or watching you put them in. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

Sadly, it sounds like you got hit by the same problem I did. My mistake was that I didn't follow up on the payment (I had been too busy to check what cleared my bank), and paying the bill a few days before the due date (gotta love the holiday season). One way to check for sure, is to go to the "Pay My Bill" and look at the bank name and last 4 digits of the checking account number. That's where I saw the outdated information. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

... that seems to be the experience of others on here as well. I have never had a problem closing an accout before, other than call center staff who aggressively try to convince me not to close it. Chase Mahattan was the easiest, by far. All they did was say, "sorry to hear you're leaving, and thanks for the business", and let me know that a check with my $7 over-payment would be arriving in a few weeks. Very pleasant. Hosuehold Bank was a different story, it took forever to get through people convincing me to stay. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

I have done the same thing too... I think nearly every developer worth their salt made a critical mistake like that once... but only once. We learn from it, never repeat it, and as a result, we get a lot better! I think what hurts the most here is the reactive attitude of Capitol One, which is to tell affected customers only when they ask why things are goofy. If I had not asked, I would have swallowed the late fee and a bad spot on my credit record. I suspect many less "credit literate" people will do just that. A company that proactively tells me of a mistake and what they will do to set it right will keep a lot more of my trust. J.Ja

fconti
fconti

My wife and I both had Capital One. She spent three months trying to get a late fee taken off. I couldn't get them to raise my credit limit past $3500 and I have a score over 750. We have now both closed our accounts.

Justin James
Justin James

A while back, an AmEx pre-approved item was mailed to an address I moved out of a day or two before it arrived, and the new tenents signed my name to it, sent it back in, and started enjoying an AmEx card somewhat based on my history. AmEx did exactly what they should have done, and I was quite satisfied with the results. On the flip side, Fleet Bank lost an ATM deposit of mine years ago, days after they officially cleared it and I spent against it, and I incurred hundreds of dollars in NSF fees and it tooks months to resolve the issue, and it was never resolved to my satisfaction. I was not aware that Capitol One was so bad about my information. It certainly does explain the high volumes of junk mail I receive that follow me (with my name on them) without a moment's hesitation when I move! I ahve had a Capitol One card for so long, I just assumed this was normal, that they were pulling it from USPS. Regardless, I am grateful that I am in the process anyways of shutting down all but 2 non-cash accounts in my name. I was going to hold onto Capitol One, but now they are definitely history! J.Ja

Jaqui
Jaqui

here's your meds for that paranoia issue ;) I agree though, most websites, even those dealing with financial matters, are not as secure as they should be. I will not do online banking. I do not carry a credit card. [ deficit bugeting is bad for people as well as government ] I rarely make any purchase online, since I don't trust people in general to not screw up. I don't agree with a list of "Trusted Certificate Authorities" for ssl certificates. There is no regulations determining how a certificate must be issued, so there is no trusted C.A.

NaughtyMonkey
NaughtyMonkey

Last time we went and I made the reservation, they reminded me where I stayed last time, place I ate, me and my wife's names and age, both my children's names and their birthdays. Even what car I drove. Be afraid of that flying elephant, be very afraid. He may just swoop down and take your identity. ;)

mattohare
mattohare

I had four cards, and closed all but one. This included closing the two older and one more recent. As a result, I got a massive increase on the one I kept within a few months. That said, I did keep the advice of keeping my balances under the 25% mark. I hear that goes a lot farther in helping score in a lot of cases.

mattohare
mattohare

Most of my banks give me the option of naming my accounts. And, when I move bank, I still use the same names for accounts for the same purpose. If all I did was change the account number, I may not have known there as any issue at all.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Pay off the balance and enclose a letter "regretfully" asking that the account be closed because pending financial obligations "may interfere" with your ability to make payments. I know a couple of people who swear the card company will take your name off their mailing list and never bother you again.

cmiller5400
cmiller5400

This happened about 6 years ago... It was fairly painless to close the one of my Providian accounts. Then the 2nd card that I had with them, they went up on the interest rate to like 32% within a month or two for no reason. They stated that they were "concerned" about getting paid (I had never been late.) Creeps. Credit cards are evil.

alaniane
alaniane

the production database only when I need to and never use the same Query Analyzer screen for both the production and developement db. I learned that the hard way when I accidentally dropped a table from the production db instead of my development copy. I was fortunate in that the table was sparsely used and there was a backup copy that was less than 15 minutes old; so, minimal data had been lost and much of that data was on paper copy. However, I can still remember that sinking feeling I got when I looked at the database being pointed to and realized that it was not the development db.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I have gotten screwed several times from MC and will never get another. In all cases they threw on 'extra' late fees. The first one, I put it in the mail the day after I got it. It said the due date was 2 weeks away. Then I got late fees and they would not clear it, so I cancelled it. A couple of years later I got another one from MC, no idea why, but I did. I got a $32 item with it, paid within the timeframe and they tacked on a $15 late fee. I called and they stated that they needed to 'receive' the payment and 'process' it within the timeframe. So, I ended up paying the $15 fee on the next bill, which I sent out the next morning from when I received the bill. That was all that was on it. I again got a late fee, but this time I saw why. The day before the last payment date they added a $.15 fee, and then charged me $15 late fee. It was cancelled immediately, and they would not reverse the charge or anything. So, MC got $45 extra from me for nothing, now I tell everyone to watch out for MC and extra payments.

Tig2
Tig2

I have begged the significant one to end that account. He won't. I have nightmares about them- probably brought on by their own adverts. I had a Cap One account that I tried to end. Paid off my balance by cashiers check. Then spent 12 or 13 months trying to get them off my back. Seems that if you pay them off, they get irritated. On 9/13/01, I got a call from some tool in their call center being rather abusive that I had not paid my bill. As I had paid off my card weeks before, I thought this was out of line. I dragged out my cashiers check number and gave it to this dirtbag. I was then subjected to additional verbal abuse because he couldn't check it in the system. That was the point that I insisted on speaking to a manager- something that the phone staff don't admit to having. The manager told me that my payment in full had been processed and I was done. He LIED. I fought with them for another year before they would admit that I closed my account. They tried to get delinquent payments until I had an attorney point out that I had made payment in full. That was three years later. Now I shred the constant offers I get to come back. In other words, now they spam me with unwanted and unasked for letter mail. And they include my personal details, including SSN in their offers. Significant one is getting a grip on how they operate. Cap One is the worst of the worst. I think they eat their young.

paul
paul

I have used my credit card all over South America and parts of Europe and use it online, have done so for years. I have never had any data loss and the the only time I have had any problem with fraud is once when using my card at a local gas station. The card was immediately canceled by my bank before anything happened and they automatically issued me a new one. I do employ some basic security practices such as having a unique bank password which exists only in my head. I also always take the receipt and shred it.

Professor8
Professor8

There's no way I'd do on-line banking. The whole goal of CRM is to violate customers' privacy. Actually, I'd like to get rid of most scrip and go back to hard currency with actual gold, silver and copper in it. What with inflation (due to all that scrip and e-money) one old-fashioned silver dollar sized coin would now be worth something a lot closer to $1K. Think of the convenience of walking into a car dealer and buying a vehicle for the change in your pocket... assuming you could get a decent job in the current economic climate, that is.

Tig2
Tig2

I used to work for them. I get it.

Justin James
Justin James

This waitress had a PERFECT memory. Before I even sat down, she remembered my mother's name, when I was last there, what I ate, the whole routine. Apparently, she does that for everyone who comes in, too, from other people I talked to who ate there. It was a small mom 'n pop place (in fact, she was the mom), with top flight food, I highly recommend it if it is still in buisness ("The Pasta House" in or near Jackson NJ). J.Ja

Tig2
Tig2

You can go to each of the credit reporting agencies and sign up on a "Do Not Solicit" list. This service is free to the consumer and works somewhat like the Do Not Call registry. When a card company requests information on you to solicit, the agency may not supply information to them and must advise the requester that you are on the list.

mattohare
mattohare

It surprises me no end when I get asked that when there should be a log of my contacts with them. Ulster Bank here kept promising me a regular current (checking) account over and over, but kept me on a simple account that only allowed deposits and ATM use. First it was 'When you have your first job', then 'When you have a job with enough regular money', then it's 'After at least three months' then it's 'After six months.' They also told me I'd not get an account anywhere else. Well, I went somewhere else. The new bank gave me a proper current account, savings account, and a credit card with a credit limit over $3000. What you said about trust is right, though. Not only did i strike off Ulster Bank, I also look at their affiliates with distrust now. (That includes sidestepping WorldPay now.)

Justin James
Justin James

I agree that I should have been more careful. But the failed payment was an easily remedied symptom of the root problem. Even if I had not had the payment problem, the trust breakage would still be just as bad. Corrupted data in a financial service is too serious to ignore, in my book. It's a shame. I had that account longer than I thought. When I closed it yesterday, it turns out I was with them nearly 10 years. That's longer than most marriages. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

I agree that I should have been more careful. But the failed payment was an easily remedied symptom of the root problem. Even if I had not had the payment problem, the trust breakage would still be just as bad. Corrupted data in a financial service is too serious to ignore, in my book. It's a shame. I had that account longer than I thought. When I closed it yesterday, it turns out I was with them nearly 10 years. That's longer than most marriages. J.Ja

d.k.rich
d.k.rich

It has probably happened to many people. We should all heed the carpenter's rule "Measure twice, cut once". Try to avoid the "flow rhythm" and stop and think before pressing OK. As for Capital One, they need someone to enforce processes which include backout, etc. Too many developers fly by the seat of their pants until they crash.

Justin James
Justin James

One that I have made (more than once) is accidentally selecting the wrong schema from the drop down, and when 2 different DBs have the same structure, that can be a mess. Another one is having one app opened to Prod, another to Dev, and hitting ALT-TAB *twice* by accident, meaning that you are in Prod instead of Dev. A major lesson I learned throughout is to never open to Prod unless I need to, and have the ID I connect to Prod to by default have SELECT only rights, to prevent "fat finger" mistakes. J.Ja

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I have always thought that people relied on credit too much. Personally, I use my card for ER's, and convenience. I always have the money available before I purchase, and I always pay off the total when the bill arrives (after review). Personally, I have never had issues with Chase (Visa), and have had a card through them for years.

sboverie
sboverie

Credit card companies are able to change the contract with you without your approval. You can be faithful in paying on time to one company and still have the interest rate go up if yo miss a payment with an unrelated credit co. The one constant everyone should know is that the credit card industry wants you to be a permanent customer; in other words they want you to be in debt permanently so that they can have long term profits. The additional services they offer just add to the debt load and provide little benefit; it is just something to keep people paying. If you are paying the minimum payments, you will be running backwards because the minimum payments are mostly for interest and very little for principle. Best advice is to only borrow what you need at the moment and pay the whole bill off as fast as you can. Try to never carry a balance. This way, if the credit card company changes the contract and you don't like it, you can move on to another bank. Credit cards are incredibly profitable scams. I recommend the documentary "Maxed Out" as a look under the slimy rocks.

Justin James
Justin James

... you will always have a few that are disgruntled. But, the trends I am seeing here: * Every vendor has screwed up BADLY in a financially and/or legally damaging way * These screw ups happened to enough people often enough so that everyone who has had a bank account or credit card has had it happen to them That's scary. Makes you wonder where that industry is at, doesn't it? J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

... you will always have a few that are disgruntled. But, the trends I am seeing here: * Every vendor has screwed up BADLY in a financially and/or legally damaging way * These screw ups happened to enough people often enough so that everyone who has had a bank account or credit card has had it happen to them That's scary. Makes you wonder where that industry is at, doesn't it? J.Ja

nhahajn
nhahajn

Too many people spending money they don't have. I am currently clearing up all credit card debt - most of it from a card I got when I was 18 and stupid. Never again will I get another credit card, they are more trouble than they are worth!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The consumer's experience. Every institution has at least one customer with a horror story. I wom't have a Sears card because I had problems with it, but I know people who have had Sears cards for decades without a problem. One guy left BofA because they screwed up his accounts, I left Watchovia, somebody else left Wells Fargo, etc. The choice falls directly to the consumer. We makes our choices, we takes our chances. If we don't like our experience, we move on.

Justin James
Justin James

I actually had a great experience with the Sears card. It showed up, pre-approved and unsolicited a few days before my monitor died (ages ago), when I happened to be broke but working on a project at home. The Sears card got activated and I bought a monitor. I used it off-and-on for a few years, and when I paid it in full (this was in my "doing the laundry in the bathtub" era of life) and closed the account, they gave me no problems. It was a truly hassle free card for the few years I had it. J.Ja

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

one of the MasterCards that I had. The 2nd one to be more precise. But I dont blame Sears for the issue, because it was a MC thing. I too have plenty-o-craftsmen and kenmoore products. But I always laugh and tell the staff there about the problem when they ask me to sign up for one, to save $15.... I know how they get that $15 back now.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I had a Sears card when I was active in the USAF; this is back before on-line banking. I was deployed to a [still classified] location for 6 months. Before I left, I moved out of my apartment and back into the barracks so I wouldn't be wasting rent and utility money and filed an address correction with both the post office and Sears. I also made the usual arrangements for mail forwarding and made an extra payment on the Sears card so I would be a month ahead and not rack up late fees due to the significant mail delays. While deployed, I paid each bill I got when I got it. Imagine my surprise to return to the States and have my Sears card confiscated the next time I tried to use it. It seems that I was considered a "deadbeat" because my last several payments were "late." I dug out the cancelled checks, took them to the Sears regional office and asked them to show me the problem. It turns out the problem was the early payment I made; two digits in the account number were reversed when the payment was posted. Fixing that problem took 11 months, by which time I had paid the account in full except for the late fees. Only after they received a letter from the Judge Advocate at my then-current assignment, did Sears finally agree that I had no further obligation to them. Love their tools, but I won't have another store card from Sears or anybody. That's just asking for trouble.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

about bureaucracies (government as well as corporate). Too many people means everyone has "someone else" to blame for why something doesn't work right.

Justin James
Justin James

I have to wonder where the SEC, FBI, and other regulatory/law enforcement bodies are in all of this. The CC companies just blame poorly trained workers, very tricky to establish that it is a systematic thing without a full investigation. J.Ja

dcoreilly
dcoreilly

If the offer includes a pre-stamped envelope, send it back to CapOne... they'll have to pay the postage on an empty envelope...

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

for incorrectly reporting your account as being delinquent when indeed you paid it off.

alaniane
alaniane

that much. I've got about 30 of them, but the last time I checked most of them are worth around $10 to $20.