Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I drive a 202 Jeep Cherokee and recently had to take it in to get a Virginia state inspection.   I knew I was going to have to get the brakes fixed, but I didn't bargain on having to get $2,500 of work done, including replacing a rear axle (which I'm still a little fuzzy on with respect to why I needed this done - I was told it was a common defect on older Jeeps ...).

So in the interests of discretion, I'm going to keep the service provider private.  I will say that I've been going there since I've owned the car and I've been happy with them up till this point.

And here's where it goes wrong.   I took the car in on a Thursday and was told it would be ready that day.   When they discovered they needed to fix the axle I was told the vehicle would be ready Friday.   When they had to find a replacement axle I was told it would be ready Saturday.   Waited all day Saturday and finally called them after they had officially closed for the day only to be told that it would be Tuesday before the car was ready.  Let me underscore I had to call them - they didn't bother to contact me.  I eventually got the car back Wednesday.   Thursday to Wednesday - you can do the math.

I realize this was a big job and it took time to track down the parts.  Fine.  On the other hand  be honest and give me a realistic timeframe for the repair.  I can deal with six days if you tell me upfront so that I can plan for it.   Giving me a rolling estimate and then going out of your way to ignore me simply pisses me off.

One last piece of advice - the note you sent me thanking me for allowing you to service  my car ...   don't send it next time unless it includes a rebate or a steep discount on future service.   You may have meant well, but you merely succeeded in pissing me off again. 

Yes, I'm probably taking my business to one of your competitors next time.  Do you want your card back ?

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I've had the same credit card for a decade.  I use it for everyday purchases and simply don't care about mileage points; a pretty "diamond" card; first dibs at concert seats, etc.   I just want a decent rate on my card and convenience.

So with that in mind, my family was at the beach last week and one evening we went into a small local gallery.  They had some cool art glass and my wife mentioned she really liked a piece they had on display. Since her birthday was coming up, I snuck back to the store and bought it for her.  As it was late in the evening, the gallery said they'd pack the piece and I could pick it up the following day.

And that's what happened.   Fast forward a week.   We give the package to my wife for her birthday.  She opens it and discovers the piece is cracked.   The crack isn't obvious, but if you look you can clearly see this thing is damaged.  Given it cost $500, I contacted the gallery; sent them an email with a picture of the damage and asked what my options are.  Remember, they packed the item and I was very careful with the package.   Anyhow, the gallery said they'd get back to me which didn't exactly give me a warm and fuzzy feeling so I decided to contact my credit card company to see what my options were.

The first credit card specialist I talked to listened to my story and told me there were two routes to consider - an item protection program and a consumer protection program option.  Both of these were apparently options I had on my card (which I didn't know about and wonder what they're costing me).  When I asked her for details on how to pursue those options she told me I would have to talk to a specialist.  I was then forwarded to a different department.   After providing all of my account information to the second account specialist I was told the program required me to mail the item to a company warehouse, but the item couldn't be damaged.  When I pointed out this was a broken piece of art glass so it was damaged, I was told the item protection program wasn't an option, but I could try the consumer protection program.  When I asked for the details I was told that wasn't her area, but she would be happy to forward me to another specialist.   After providing the third specialist with my account information she told me to hang on while se read the consumer protection program materials to see whether I was covered - good up to $500; can't claim more than $50,000 over the life of the program; have 60 days to file a claim ...   all good.  Whoops, antiques and collectables are excluded from the program.  Yes, art glass is a collectable.  

I kind of saw that coming.  To drag out this misery, I asked what other options I had.  Could I simply file a dispute on the original purchase ?   Yes, but that wasn't something she could help me with.  I would have to work with a different specialist (I'm thinking I'll end up back with the first person I spoke to).

At this point I had already spent 30 minutes with my credit card company and decided I would give the gallery a chance to make good on the damaged item.   They were nice enough to tell me they'd get back to me the following day.

I'm pissed at myself for not having checked the glass myself.  I'm mad at the gallery for having sold me a damaged item; but above all I'm upset at the credit card company for their BS.   In fact, I'm think I may take up the next offer I get from the Navy Federal Credit Union.