Monday, April 18, 2005


I got back from Las Vegas last night. It was my bachelor party weekend, and it was great to see my good friends from various stages of my life. I'll write more about random, less serious stuff from Las Vegas at my Friendster blog, BeefChickenPig, and moving forward. I decided to place all my humorous or random thoughts and stories at that blog. It will be less frequent (once a week or less), but an outlet to the other sides of my life.

One experience I have to gripe about from this weekend was my interaction with Providian, the credit card company. I recently received their credit card and use it once in a while. I typically use my Starwood Preferred American Express lately to build up points, but I use my Providian card once in a while. I made a couple small purchases in Las Vegas and then it got flagged by their fraud department since it was the first transactions I made outside of my area code.

I got a message to call them on Sunday, so I did. I answered a few initial questions, such as verifying my address and confirming a transaction at a Korean restaurant, and I assume everything would be cleared. Then they told me I would have to answer a series of questions with a 'yes' or 'no'. I thought it was strange, but I went ahead. I don't remember the exact questions, but they were something like this:

"Did Flora Moon buy property in ---- last year?"

My response, "I don't know who Flora Moon is."

The fraud representative asked two more questions about two other Moon's financial activities, and I responded in the same manner. I didn't know who they were.

Since I couldn't answer these questions, she suspended my account. I asked where they derived these questions from and she said that it was from my public records. I told her I saw my credit report a few months ago and all my information has been updated, and I know I didn't see any of these names on my report. She said that they are from another source.

"Look. This isn't logical or making sense to me. You were asking me questions to verify myself, but those questions were not relevant or related to me. I'm Bernard Moon and I don't even who those people are that you asked me about."

She explained, "Well, this is a new procedure in place that we are using. I don't know the exact source we are taking these questions from. Your account will be review and we will get back to you in 7-10 days from now."

I went on to state that I'm not upset at her and understand that she is following procedure, but to help improve their process and not get other customers upset that she should inform her managers that those questions were not effective in seeking the answers that they wanted.

Whoever developed that process or whatever third party company that pitched it to Providian should be fire or the partnership severed. Providian annoyed me yesterday with that showing of incompetence and poor customer relationship management.

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