June 29th, 2008

Change of Plans

After yesterday's Capricon-related runaround and child swap that daisy_knotwise and I performed, I said to her this morning, "I know that we originally said that we'd put both of the large child seats in the van when Julie gets old enough to need one, then swap them back and forth between the cars rather than buy two expensive new car seats and have neither car able to carry more than one adult passenger without rearranging things. Given that we're likely to want to split the kids between us on occasion, we should buy one new car seat for my car so that each of us is capable of carrying at least one kid without a seat swap. When you need my car with the two kids because, for instance, the van has gone with me to a con without you, then we can move a second seat into my car."

Gretchen thought that sounded reasonable and we planned to buy another car seat several months from now. So after lunch, she ran into Michaels looking for ribbon for Julie's christening dress and frame parts for the painting that catalana gave us (successful on the first; no luck on the second). Then we stopped at Sam's Club where I ran in to grab baby wipes and meat.

And there, on the corner opposite the wipes, was a stack of car seats, identical to the two that we have. Now, Gretchen would prefer a seat that's slightly easier to install. On the other hand, this was an expensive car seat that seemed to be here because it was being closed out for $92. I called Gretchen on her cellphone.

And then I bought another car seat.

What I saved on that seat just about paid for two years of Sam's Club memberships. Not bad.

The Incredible Incompetence of Discover and Sprint

So it's like this. Back in April, I got a letter from Discover announcing that they were changing my card number, closing the existing card, and that they would contact all of the people who were autobilling items to the card so that I was not inconvenienced by this. daisy_knotwise, who was a banker up until recently, looked at this and said, "Sounds like they had a security breach somewhere."

All of my autobillings continued to show up on the statement under my new card number, so I assumed that everything had been done correctly. There are only two words to describe that assumption:

Completely wrong.

A week ago Friday, Gretchen got a call from someone at Brookstone who wanted to verify that I wanted a digital camera shipped to an address not on the credit card. They wouldn't tell me who had ordered it, but they would give me the last four digits of the card that had been used for the order. Those would be the last four digits of the closed account.

I called Discover. "Why," I asked, "are you continuing to allow charges to an account that you closed?"

"Oh, we didn't close that account."

"You sent me new cards with a new account number, told me that you were closing the old account, and that you would contact all of the people autobilling to the old account and give them the new correct information."


Three fraudulent charges that day. Two from a week earlier, one of which that the Discover rep couldn't actually find while looking at the list of charges on the old number and being told which were the valid charges. I found that when my statement came that evening.

I called them and was told I'd have to call back on Saturday. On Saturday, when I called back, I was told I would have to call back on Monday. I was also told the biggest pack of lies (we normally hold the card open for 45 days, so that must have been the problem -- until I pointed out that 45 days from April 4th would bring us to May 19th, nearly a month earlier than the fraudulent charges) that I have ever heard from a customer service rep. That seems to include her promise that they would mail me a statement of all of the charges posted to the old account number since the time it was supposed to be closed, as I still haven't received that.

I called back on Monday and added the other known fraudulent charge.

The autobilling changes? Not a one has actually occurred. And I've managed to fix all of them, save for I-Pass (which I'll call in a few minutes) and Sprint.

Which proceeded to distinguish itself by keeping me on the line for over half-an-hour to discover that they couldn't figure out how to make the change with their incompetently programmed systems. Apparently, I could do it on line if I could create a sign on, which I apparently can't, since I have turned off text messaging to this phone, which seems to be required in order to create a signon.

The last of the three incompetent people at Sprint who I spoke to said that she had set up my on-line account and that I'd receive an e-mail within 15 minutes.

That was two hours ago. Needless to say, I have received no e-mail.

I have sent an e-mail to Sprint Customer Service and received the usual "we will reply to you within 24 to 48 hours" message. I'm still waiting for a reply to the one that I sent them on Christmas Eve, so I'm not holding my breath.

Normally, I would cut tag something this long, but I'm just that annoyed with them.