Dear readers, I come to you now not as your humble blogger spreading the truth around liberally, but rather as a bringer of mirth and merriment as all storytellers should be. Now, you must understand that I have a general rule about posting things about work. I don't find work related post interesting and I firmly believe than most people do not. None the less, I am going to violate this rule now and tell you about a phone call I made today. You see, part of my new job is verification of billing names and addresses on all new credit cards, be they for new clients or established ones. What I do, and as just about everyone in business does, is I call the issuing bank and have them tell me if the name and address I have been provided match those associated with the card's account number. The reason for this should be obvious to you all, but to make sure we are all on the same page, I'll tell you why. It is to protect the client from fraud. It also protects us from fraudulent orders as well, but truthfully, the client is protected the most, credit card theft being what it is. For us, a stolen card is an annoyance. For the client it is a major hassle as most people are paying out of their own pockets. Okay, enough with the boring details and on with the story.
Today I was verifying a card that did not check out. According to the agent I was speaking with the card number did not appear in their database as one of their own. She explained to me that it might be due to the fact that that account is currently being updated, along with others, and that it might show later in the day once the updates are done. It could also mean that the number I had was incorrect. This is the default assumption. In order to make sure that I have the correct number, as it did come from an internet order and we all know that we can miss key anything, I called the person named in the order. When I explained to her that I was trying to verify the card she wanted to know if this had to do with her son's order. Now, you see, I don't see a thing about a man's name on the order, just her name. I tell her that I do not know. Before I can explain that only her name appears on the order, she becomes very angry and wants to know why I don't know and how can any business be calling about his order and not know that it is for him. Explaining to her that his name, and only hers, is listed on the order doesn't seem to satisfy her much. Now, I suspect that she wants to consult with her son about this order because she asked if there was a number she could call me back at. I provide her with the number to the office. We do not have an 800 number. This also made her cranky.
About forty-five minutes later I receive the return call from her. She's already worked up. I suspect that she spent the extra time working up a good rage just to unleash on your's truly. In the process of the call, I explain to her that the reason we verify cards is for her protection. Needless to say she asks how we do that and I explain that I call the card issuing bank and ask them to confirm the name and address I have (which they have provided, I will have you note). She flys off the handle at this point because she is now worried about her bank giving away personal information. I try to console her that they don't tell me anything about the account, just whether or not the name and address I provide them matches their records. They don't even tell me what doesn't match should it not verify. Now, you have to understand that this is something that banks have to do because of federal laws. They must verify cards for merchants. Now, all banks have privacy policies that state that they can not give out any specific information, but that they can do this.At this point she accuses me of being a thief within the company trying to steal her credit card through a process of elimination of names and addresses. I don't even want to tell you how many banks I've talked to in just one week with this company. None of them have been repeats, and there have been a large number of them. You see, it's not just the bank as a whole, but also the issuing branch as well.
Now, if you believe my tale to have hit it's most absurd point, you are sadly mistaken. You see, in the process of trying to explain to this woman why we do this she begins to demand to know why we have to. I cheated at this point. I used every salesman's shortcut. I told her that we were required by state law to verify all out of state credit card usages before billing. This is the "nuclear option" of shutting up a client. Her retort? "Well, you ought to just change that goddamn, stupid law." Yeah, I can do that on a whim. Much to my dismay, she continues. You see, she has begun ranting and raving about how this violates the law and that banks are not allowed to give out any personal information at all. Not even a yes or no. What law does she declaire with complete and total sincerity, you ask? Well, the truth of the matter is that she is not talking about any one law, but rather a whole series of laws. This bundle, which she so emphatically believes protects her privacy and that I am breaking by checking up on the provided information is known to all of us as... The Patriot Act!