On the Warpath

I have spent way too many hours today cleaning up after various little financial mishaps. It’s about high time I got actively re-involved in financial matters at The Landfill. I’m pretty good at keeping track of money — or lack thereof, as is mostly the case around here. I’m not very good at *investing* it and I am *abysmal* at *making* it. And that has got to change. But for about the last couple years, the zombie that took over my body would not let me even look at financial stuff. That is not good and that zombie was one bad aminal, but I seem to be back in the saddle again (knock on wood) and today, I was on the warpath!

The first situation had the best ending. We got a second notice about our North Country Trail membership dues. Hmm, *had* we paid? A little sleuthing turned up a payment record on my “second” VISA, which I almost *never* use. I called up the NCT. I got a *person*. A friendly one! And a clear phone line. My person *quickly* looked up our records, found the payment, said that the expiration date didn’t advance for some unknown reason, and *fixed* it. Then and there. So, kudos to the NCT!!! That’s how it *should* work!

Unfortunately, when I went on to the next couple of little problems, things quickly got weird, bad, and ugly. First, a Visabuxx card that’s not being used and getting charged an “inactivity” fee every month. I want to cancel it and send the balance to the card owner. How hard can that be? I started working on this last week. I’ll spare you the details but I have been through a couple rounds of *excruciatingly* slow conversations via phone and email. I am getting nowhere. I wanted this to be a little surprise for the former card owner but I guess it isn’t. And “little” is the operative word here. There’s not a whole lot of money remaining. But it’ll be even less if they insist on charging me $5 to close it. I don’t know where this is gonna go next but I’m-a gonna fight it.

And then things got really weird. When I found the NCT membership transaction, I noticed that we were being charged $10 a month by reservationrewards.com. Who what? After *much* navigating around, I found that Reservation Rewards provides paying members with printable coupons for businesses in their vicinity. Hmmm. Was the Westgate Kroger one of them? Noooooo. Some grocery store over in Canton was though. Naw, I don’t think so. Even if any of the businesses were ones that are already on my beat, I am not a coupon clipper. They just aren’t worth the trouble. And they aren’t worth $10 a month. Sheesh. I’m not sure how that whole thing got started. The GG is a computer scientist with a whole career of experience behind him. And he is a skeptic. The LAST thing he would do is KNOWINGLY sign up for any such thing. Our best guess is that it’s related to classmates.com, which also had a transaction on that VISA. Maybe I’ll get some of those ten-dollarses back or maybe not. I’m gonna ask for them. Buyer beware!!!

What irks me is how complicated all this stuff is. When my body is not inhabited by a zombie, I am pretty good at tracking down discrepancies in bank statements and things. I can navigate automated phone systems and understand people with heavy, non-American accents. I can beat my way through a badly designed web site with the best of them. What bugs me about all this is thinking about the absolutely clueless people out there. Those who cannot easily beat their way through about a million unintelligible automated phone prompts or a website that doesn’t give you an easy, obvious way to cancel an account. What do you do if you are hard of hearing or can’t see well enough to read a computer screen or suffer from cognitive issues? I was impressed by how a relatively small organization like the NCT dealt with an issue and I wish more companies would follow that kind of example.

Okay. Rant over. Moral of the story: watch the detailed activity on your bank and credit card statements. I sloughed off on that for a bit. Never again. Zombie OUT! At ease!

UPDATE: I’ve been contacted by someone from Reservation Rewards who ran across my blahg and I’ve cleaned up the “late-night” language in this entry so as not to slander them. That kind of talk really isn’t my usual style but I spent a lot of time on this stuff yesterday and I was frustrated and angry. Apparently, the GG signed up for a Classmates.com membership in May 2006 and somehow inadvertently signed up for a Reservation Rewards membership in the process. He has no memory of doing that and this isn’t the kind of thing either one of us would knowingly buy into. He subsequently received emails from Reservation Rewards but deleted them, thinking they were spam. I’d’ve done the same thing. I get a *lot* of spam. In June 2006, they began charging one of my VISA cards a $10 monthly membership fee. From my standpoint, this was not authorized by either of us. Reservation Rewards has offered a refund. The Visabuxx situation is still not cleared up.

2 Responses to “On the Warpath”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    We had something like that “reservation rewards” thing happen to Jim a few years back – another one of those “if you don’t look carefully at one of those intermediate screens embedded in a registration process, you have just signed yourself up for something” things that is otherwise known by me as a “nuisance screen”. These types of things are also embedded in monster.com and careerbuilder.com and can wind up getting you involuntarily signed up for email spam, if you aren’t careful – not to mention whatever else is embedded.

    We also managed to get refunds from whatever it was that was ganking $$ out of our account through that involuntary sign-up, as i got pretty nasty about the whole thing with them. You can also go to your credit card issuer to get those charges negated (to some extent, if you have problems). As for Visabuxx, never used them – my credit union did not participate in that program.

  2. ababsurdo.com » Blog Archive » Git those dad-blasted scammers! Says:

    […] nothing. They had been charging my credit card that fee for 13 months. Yes. Say what? You can click here to read what I cobbled together more than two years ago about the whole thing. Was it really that […]