ORCHARD Telephone calls today

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Jim, Jun 4, 2001.

  1. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    On saturday, I lampooned ORCHARD pretty hard for sending me a second invitation for one of their subprime cards with a $59 annual fee.

    Today, I spoke to a ORCHARD rep and a supervisor. They were very pleasant and I have now been deleted from their list of potential customers at my request. Therefore, no more offers.

    Then I contacted a GM card rep and tried to negotiate a higher limit on my GM card. No luck.

    During both conversations it was emphasized that Houehold Financial Services has 2 separate marketing dept.s:

    1. ORCHARD. - I am now out of their database.

    2. Household - They market the GM card, Householdcards (including gold) and Union cards.

    Anyway, I am satisfied with the conversation(s).
  2. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Good for you. They only solicited me when I was truly rebuilding (6 mos or so post bk) and fortunately I responded to Household instead. Then I read every post on this board (the only good thing about having the flu was all the time on my hands)... so now I wouldn't take Orchard on a bet.

    I did find out that my little blue Household card will always be subprime... they don't really upgrade to prime but at least I've gotten the rate to 15 and they waived the $79 annual fee. I'll never pay that one again. They'll waive it again next Jan or I'll cancel. I"m at least at 2k with them. started at 300.

    Later this year I'll likely apply for the GM card but certainly not right now. Don't really care about the GM rewards but I'm hoping my good relationship w/Household will factor into the decision.

    Oh, this month I've certainly verified our discussions that a credit score will only drop so low... I've been pulling my scores the same time every month and tracking activity vs. score.

    I've maxed out all my Cap1 Cards to show my limits... and I was on an upward cycle for balances on the rest of the cards so I decided to see what happens if I max all the cards...

    Now, last month my balances were pretty much the same but I had all my new accounts really showing up. So for the last 2 months or so my score went from 632 to 617. I certainly expected my scores to keep decreasing if I maxed the cards out too. But NOPE, even with all my cards at over 90%... it's still stayed at 617.

    Now, 617 sucks and I wouldn't apply for a thing right now.. But I was curious to know if I did all the "wrong" things (even if it was for the right reason to show the limits)... well, I wanted to know what would happen. So at least that looks to be as low as my score will go with 5 new accounts and all accts maxed to the limits...

    The only neg I've seen so far was I had a screwup on Prov and so they requested a manual review... I always get 200/1000 every 4-5 months or so. This time I was declined for another increase. Reason: too many recent inquiries... bal/limit.

    I just gave them 3K and reduced my bal to 1k, so I'm guessing that in a month or 2 with my regular cards back all under 25% and with this large pmt to Prov... and the inquiries will be over 6 mos old... I think it'll increase then...

    I know we've always wondered what cumulative effects we could have on our credit... and I think our logic has proved to be true.

    From now on, I'll apply for cards only at the end of the year/ or in Jan so I can regain my score for the next round of applications. I'll apply for the cards I really want first, and then do the rest in order of preference.

    But considering I've only been getting credit since Sept 99... I'm pretty happy with my 1 1/2 years of rebuilding.

    Just thought I'd pass this onto you... :)
  3. marci

    marci Well-Known Member

    You've done great, Marie. (how'd you ever get that HHB card to such a high limit from $300??)

    I got a credit denial once and a reason was balance:high credit ratio (not balance:limit). I think this was an internal reason, since I don't recall seeing it in a CRA lost of reason codes. Admittedly, my balances have been inching higher the past 2 months and I've reached new highs, though my balance:limit ratio is under 40%.

    I maxed out my Cap One card within $2 of the credit limit (thanks to Saar for the Paydirect reference), so I'm set in that dept. However, with this new reason for denial, I wonder if it is better - when one gets a card - to max it out and then return the purchase, so that our reports show a huge "high credit" and it looks like we're really good at paying our balances down.

    What do you guys think?
  4. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member


    Your posts are always welcome reading for me since we have so many similarities in our recent (1998 onward) credit history.

    My revolving credit limits are now at $25,000 since the Macy's and Robinson-May limit increases last month. I have 6 visa cards, 4 retail cards and a car payment. A total of 11 tradelines. But this month and next month, I will only make 10 payments because I am letting Cap ONE rest after 30 months of continuous use. Then back to 11 payments each month to make my goal of 114 on-time credit payments during 2001. I posted earlier that I let the Macy and Robinson accounts rest for 2 months before I asked for a limit increase in May.

    I really am only carrying a balance of $3,000 of the $25,000 available credit. The $3,000 is divided between Nextcard at 6.9% and GM card at 2.9%. The balances I run up on the other 8 visa and retail cards are nominal and paid in full every month. I am going to keep a balance with Nextcard and GM for a few months while I build a strong credit history with them. Then pay them off. Then ask for limit increases when I have 6 months of history with them.

    I hope to have $30,000 in revolving credit by early next year. I will then reexamine the Diners Club card issue. Then buy a car for my daughter. Then a home in 2003.

    Marie, it sounds like we both have credit plan(s). LOL I think they will work out for both of us.

    Now a side issue. When I spoke to Household FS today, they made it very clear that we consumers can have 2 cards with them. In my case , I mentioned that I might be interested in a Household Gold card later on. No offers were made, it was just said as part of a pleasant propaganda discussion. You might consider upgrading your Household card to gold. I haven't really checked on their terms but it might be worth a look.

    A question for you regarding Providian? Do you know the regular Providian ( not Retention) phone number. I am in my 5th billing cycle and got my apr. reduced to 19.8% via Planet Feedback. But no one has mentioned a limit increase from the $3K I started with. Maybe they won't because of the apr. reduction. I don't want to contact Retention because it would look ludicrous to threaten them with leaving.

    Any thoughts?
  5. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    To Marci,

    That is an interesting thought about maxing out a new card. I don't have an opinion because the only card I ever intentionally maxed-out was Cap One for obvious reasons.

    I am sure Marie will have some good insight about how she got the Household card limits raised.
  6. marci

    marci Well-Known Member


    The regular Providian number is 1-800-356-0011. I hardly ever use it anymore -lol!
  7. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    Thanks Marci.

  8. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Well, I kindof agree with you. Once you get a card, your creditor and other creditors want to see not only that you use the card but also that you aren't over your head...

    How do we accomplish that? I think by maxing every card at least once. That way even if the limit shows, your "high credit" shows that you'll responsibly used the card and then... paid it down.

    I used to have different cards doing different things. One at 0, one at 25%, one maxed... to use all of the cards.

    Now ai'm doing them all at once and I'm watching the scores change. I'm aware that there's pretty much a 2 month lag time... I just paid off/ or made huge pmts to all the cards... putting all but Cap 1 to under 25% utilization. I'll check the score again in 3 months or so.

    I'm also curious how much aging will affect my score. My oldest account is now at 21 mos (showing 19). I'm going to get the balances static in several months and see if that magic 24 months thing really exists. Within 2 months 3 cards will age to 2 years.

    I'll let you know how it affects me.
  9. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Limits and increases


    My limits are now at 22250. 8 major credit cards and 1 dept store card (300 Target) :) Not bad considering my bk does show ;)

    I've also gotten all my terms to either no annual fee or rebated annual fees. I'll pay no fees this year whatsoever. But, I'm still profitable.

    I'm keeping at least minimal balances on all my cards though the 36 month period. Then I'll start zeroing them out.

    Reason? I've had long and confusing conversations about what's used for aging. Is it the column that says "months reviewed"??? or do the scores look at time open til closed (or til now).
    I'd love some feedback on this one.

    I think it's months reviewed. And if so, I've been told that we don't get credit if an account is open, it must have had "activity". Or more correctly, activity REPORTED to the CRA for that month. Meaning, a charge, a pmt, a change in balance. something.

    I think an account with no activity doesn't age the account. Just my theory...

    So I've had activity on all my accts consistently. Lots of activity, balanced every 2 months or so by LARGE payments, makes me safe and profitable.

    Profitable makes them WANT to give me increases.
  10. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Household increases

    ok this is an easy one. I bugged the poor guys to death. No joke.

    I had 300 for 8 months with no increase whatsoever. I didn't ask, they didn't offer. I got irritated.

    I got nice increases from Providian and even my Cap1 limits were higher.

    But part of it was my fault. I'd used the card every month and Paid it off every month. Bad customer. If I can pay it off why do I need more credit. Twisted logic, but true.

    So in Aug I left a balance of 200 or so. Got a free 100 increase.

    I started calling them asking about increases and terms every month. The reps encouraged me to call in every month.

    I have paid small "fees" for increases because I am not paying an annual fee and I really wanted the credit line up. I also started using the card a LOT. I now charge everything to one card or another. I pay 2 - 5 times the minimum one month, the next month 500-700 or more for a payment. Household's system is VERY large payment sensitive.

    Oct I called regular customer service. If they don't have "anything" on the computer they now have a "special program" they'll run and see if it offers you anything. It's a fee of $5 per 100 or so increase. I think the special is the fee :_)

    Nov retention raised me 300 for free.
    Jan 01 I paid $5 for 100
    Jan 15th retention gave me 300 for free

    I'm at 1200 here. from 300-1200 in 5 mos.
    Very high activity. 200-500 balance every month.

    Jan 31st my card hit the 1 year anniversary.
    Feb 15th I got the 79 fee rebated. (The retention rep told me I could have ONE of the following: 79 refunded, interest rate down 2%, or 500 line increase). I took the 79 back because I knew I could get the rest later (But it's harder with them getting fees rebated).

    Ok, so I ask the retention rep WHEN can I call back for the rest (I want all 3!!!) after all :)

    She says 30 days (and they mean by the day, call the 15th of Jan, call back 16th of Feb).

    So I know there's 500 sitting there for the asking. I tested their systems. I called the regular customer service reps the next day and asked in any line increases were on my acct. She said no, but she'd run the program.... yaddayadda. I got 100 for $5. I took it because I thought I'd get that in Addition to the 500 I'd get from retention the next month.

    Nope, I called retention in March and they offered my $400. So I paid $5 for 100 for not waiting. Oh well, such is the price of experimentation. Total limit 1700.

    April I called in about the apr. Now this call was interesting as I was routed immediately to a retention supervisor. I was told off the bat that I was playing a "game" with them and that they knew it. I was amazed at how blunt he was, so I decided to test the limits again.

    I turned the situation around by explaining that I have only said I would cancel my card around Aug 2000 for a low limit and then in Jan for the fee. Also, I called their number directly because I was given the number by a sympathetic rep who told me their regular customer service reps have no power to help me and they don't answer the phone "hello, retention". (the regular reps have also transferred me to retention saying "here's a dept that may be able to help you") but not saying it's retention. All true.

    Now, I guessed who I was talking with... but that's another story :_)

    Anyway, I nicely let him have it. I negotiate for a living after all.

    Why do they play so many games with me! What do they expect I'll do when they give me 3 upgrade options and I can only pick one... but they tell me to call back in a month for another upgrade... Of course I'm going to call back. If they want different customer behavior, design the system differently. Give me normal increases and fair terms and I'll call less. But I took their nice reps at their word when THEY SUGGESTED that I call every month. After all, it's ludicrous that an upgrade in terms or credit line will SIT dormant on my account until I CALL. Why aren't those upgrades processed automatically???

    (Yes, I stayed calm cool and collected... and I had a LOT of fun on this call).

    Anyway, I got my interest rate dropped to 15% and he actually put notes on my account that I "wasn't playing the retention game" so when I called in the future I'd be treated with respect and still be given upgrades. He politely asked me not to call retention again for 6 months. That seemed fair considering the recent upgrades :)

    It was an interesting call that's for sure.

    So I was able to hold myself from calling until three weeks ago or so. They offered my 100 for 25. I think their system was testing me. I said no.

    I called the regular line a week ago and asked about upgrades. NO, of course not for free. But they ran their little program and I got 200 for 10 fee. I took it. So now I'm at 1900. I'll get another free 100-200 or so this summer (I think you only get a free increase once a year and it's about time in July or Aug)...

    I hate paying fees. I'd rather go the retention route :) But since I have no annual fee and I'm rebuilding, I just consider a few fees and interest payments as the cost of rebuidling. After all, I just realized I've only had credit since Sept 1999.

    22250 in available unsecured credit with a 2 1/2 year old bk7. Not bad.

    Now I'm going for all cards to be 5K minimum in the next 12 months. Then I'm fine :)

    Hope this helps you understand the Household "system". Now go forth and bug them til you get what you want :_))))
  11. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    Re: Household increases

    Marci and Marie,

    Thanks again for the Providian phone number. I telephoned them today and somewhat sweet talked the providian rep. She said that there was nothing in the computer for me yet but that Providian reviews accounts after 120 days or so. I told her I would love to start carrying a balance and using the card more often but why do it when I have 2.9% with GM card etc. etc. She took notes and indicated some offers may be forthcoming in a month or two.

    Standard answers from Providian.

    When the offers come in then the negotiation begins.

    Marie - as to your Household limit increase technique: All I can say is WOW!!!! I don't know what your profession is but you should be an Attorney or Contracts Manager.

  12. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Jim call this number

    800-215-7318. it's the retention number.
    The earlier number is just the regular customer service reps... they really don't offer much ever.

    Just tell them you were told this was the department that could help you :)

    If you've had the card over 120 days... try for an increase. If you're still above 16.9 definitely get that too.

    In one call I got a refund of my 59 fee and decrease from 23.99 to 16.9. :) Now that was fun!!!

    The automated system will give you a free increase and then an offer for a paid increase. Once that offer is in the system, you can also call and get the increase from the offer... but withOUT the fee :_)

    I am spoiled now. I have a rep I call by name now. She's in retention (account benefits). I try not to use her every time.. but she's there if I need her. She told me most people are SO grumpy when they call that she didn't mind talking with me. While she's talking with me she's not talking with "them". HA!

    Oh, if you don't get anything from retention (unlikely) then call back again and ask for the San Antonio Tx location. They've been the nicest by far!
  13. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    Re: Jim call this number


    This is kind of fun!!!

    I'll be on the phone tomorrow negotiating.

  14. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Re: Jim call this number

    Yep, my hobby for the last year had been HOW much can I get from my credit card companies???!!!

    All my credit card terms are better than a PRIME friend of mine's terms. All my Aprs are better. His best rate is 18, mine is 13.

    Once you have your foot in the door, open it :)
    If they say no this time I'm just one no closer to getting what I want. :)

    I even used to keep up with my no/yes ratio. Prov was the easiest but you hit a point where there's nothing but line increases.

    Cap 1 is much more fun. baby line increases. interest rate deductions. They toss their interest rate out faster than anyone... I'm waiting til they pay me to keep a balance on their card.

    Oh wait, they are. I've got 0% on a maxed 5K card... and even though it was supposed to be through Aug, I'm getting it through Dec. Hmmmmmm. :) I'll work on my go to rate between now and then. I'll get it to 9.9 before Dec without a doubt :)
  15. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Re: Jim call this number

    Try 2-3 more times in the next 2 months. If you don't get what you deserve by then, we can talk offline and I'll give you a contact person. She's honest and unbelievably sweet. She's the one person I believe.

    Course, I also think it's all madness and no method. Cap1 told me no to a line increase and 5 minutes later I called back with a different question, asked if there were any improvements to my account, and I got a line increase.

    The difference 5 minutes can make.
  16. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    Re: Jim call this number


    I will update you as to what happens.

    All I can say is LOL.
  17. bbauer

    bbauer Banned

    I'd like to get some solid info from somebody here who knows the answer to a problem I'm having.

    I've got a real old (early 90's) account with Orchard that's gone bad and I've got a report on that account from Plaza Associates collection agency who has been trying for 3 months to get the account validated and cannot seem to get the job done.

    I understand that Orchard sold out to some other company and no longer exists.

    Now then, either Orchard still does exist and this collection agency is too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time or Orchard sold out to somebody else so that's why Plaza can't get the job done or what else I don't know.

    What's the deal on Orchard?

    Are they dead or alive?
  18. judyputy

    judyputy Well-Known Member

    Re: Jim call this number


    I can't believe that providian was the easiest! I must be doing something wrong. I have tried sooo many times to get a lower rate and failed. I finally got 19.4 and I have been a customer for about 10 years. A Prov Gold Visa.

    I have tried retention, I have tried nasty, mean, stupid, sweet, dingy, all of the above and gotten nowhere. Well I shouldn't say that. I got them to go from 20.4 to 19.4%.

    I want the 16.9% that almost EVERYONE here seems to have. How did you get them to work with you? I have about 50% of the account used. I didn't use the account for about 3 years while I paid it down, but have made some large payments and now have begun to use th card more during the last few months. I am going to call today and try to get the 16.9 rate.

    Wish me luck. You are definately in a league above me when it comes to negotiation.
  19. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Re: Jim call this number

    They've been the easiest for me. I will admit, I negotiate for a living... :) so maybe I'm better than most...

    But you're right, I have seen a lot of people also getting it.

    Try this: call the retention number. Try and get San Antonio. I don't know if they have nicer reps or different standards... but they've been the nicest to me.

    I normally start the conversation with "I've been told you're the department that can help me"... sets a nice standard for them to live up to :)

    But I also have multiple Providian accounts so I have used a real gripe to get what I want. For example, I can't get online access to 2 of my accounts (Prov Mc and Aria visa). That's a HUGE deal and it's ridiculous.

    I feel as though I'm being MORE than reasonable accepting their huge computer screwup... but they have to at least give me something back for me waiting until their system gets fixed...

    See :) I try to give them a logical reason Why they should help me... not just (I want a better interest rate... whine). NOw meeting their competitors is also a good reason...

    Then, after I state I'm SO frustrated with their system but I've liked their cards... I also say that my Cap1 cards are so much better in rates too... better interest rate, no annual fee...

    And to top that off my friend, who has had a Prov Visa for only a little over a year, has 16.9 interest and a refunded annual fee... and I just don't get that since I've been with the company longer with a great payment history...

    and then I'm quiet and I listen for what they have to offer...

    and the key is also this... if they say they'd like to help but can't... then I say "well, who can help US make the account better"? That way the rep is on your side.. get it? :)

    Ok, it also lets them know you're not going away this time empty handed. If that rep really doesn't have anything to offer, ask which supervisor can help you...

    Most people give up after the first "no". The rest give up after 2. I NEVER give up... and if I do, I make them say no 20 times. Yes, 20.

    I phrase things differently, I go about it at different angles... I didn't even initially know that you could get the annual fee rebated until I asked "what other improvements could we do to my account that I don't yet know about? I'm relying on you for help since you're the one of us who knows how to make my account best for me."

    stuff like that. Ask direct questions. If a supervisor says... xyz can't happen now, ask what has to happen in order for you to get xyz. Ask them to Document the account ... see :) To my that's the worst case scenario because if the account is documented... and say the required 2 mos passes... then I call back for the promise that was made to me earlier... see :)

    I think I'm a mix of very nice and supremely stubborn :) So they want to help me because I make them laugh... and they want to help me because I'm really likely not to get off the phone until they do something...

    Also, if you know the standards like 16.9 is what you want.. it helps you to play their game.

    Call them, ask for San Antonio and try again. Tenacity is also a key here :)

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