Should I send this to Providian?

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by DaveLV, Jul 14, 2001.

  1. DaveLV

    DaveLV Well-Known Member

    I'm considering sending this letter to Providian on planetfeedback because of my experience this morning. Should I?

    Dear Mr. Mehta,

    After more than three years as a Providian customer, this is the second time in a month that I've felt compelled to use PlanetFeedback to write to you about a customer service issue. When I wrote to you last month, my issue with my Visa account was resolved to my satisfaction -- thank you. I've really never had problems in the past, and overall I am still very happy with my experience with your company. Here's what happened to me today that caused me to want to write again.

    On May 15th of this year I called your telephone customer service to inquire about obtaining improved terms on my Providian MasterCard account. I wanted to know if I could have my account terms changed to include a grace period on purchases. The person who answered the telephone transferred me to an "account benefits" department. The person who answered the telephone in this department was very helpful. She told me that not only could she offer me a grace period on purchases but she would also upgrade my account to a Gold MasterCard, and give me a $1,000 credit line increase.

    I was very pleased by the generous offer and gladly accepted. The credit line increase took effect the very next day. It took a long time to receive the new card but I finally got it in the mail a couple of weeks ago.

    Yesterday I got my first billing statement in the mail since May that showed a balance. I was surprised to see that finance charges had been assessed.

    I called your customer service number today to verify that the terms of my account had been changed to include a grace period. The woman who answered the phone immediately told me "We don't offer accounts with a grace period." I was confused and told her that when I last spoke to Providian in May I was sure I was offered one. She again told me there were no accounts with grace periods and asked me if I wanted to close my account.

    I told her of course I don't want to close my account; I just wanted my terms to match what I was offered.

    She then began reading aloud what I assumed were the notes that had been entered for my account when I last called. She read "grace period" and then asked me what my question was and had my account been assessed a late payment charge. I told her I'd never paid the account late and it had a zero balance in May and June so of course I wasn't assessed a late charge. She then explained that there are two types of grace periods; one on finance charges and one on payments. I replied that I had never heard of a grace period on payments, and I had assumed that my conversation with Providian in March was about a grace period on finance charges. I tried to ask her how Providian had two types of grace periods when the very first words out of her mouth when I called were that Providian had no accounts with any type of grace periods, but she did not answer.

    She then told me that another department had made the changes in my account terms and asked if I wanted to speak to them. Of course I did. Then she said almost all in one breath "My goal is 100% customer satisfaction. Have I answered all of your questions today. Let me transfer you." never giving me the chance to tell her she'd answered none of my questions and she'd only really succeeded in confusing me.

    The "account benefits" department then came on the line. I explained my conversation with the previous representative and the woman from account benefits just chuckled and read the notes on my account. She told me that I indeed had a grace period on purchases but it took 45 days for the new terms to become effective. She said I should see the new terms become effective as of the next billing period. I asked her why the previous representative had told me there was no such thing as a Providian account with a grace period but received no answer. I didn't mention to her that more than 45 days had elapsed since I was offered the improved terms on May 15th, 2001 because she really seemed very nice and I didn't want to badger her.

    I am satisfied that I will see a grace period on purchases on my account effective in the next billing period. What makes me angry is the (I'm sorry, I can think of no softer term) lie that I was told by the first person who answered my telephone call today. How could she say at first that there are no grace periods available on Providian accounts and then go on in the next few minutes to explain to me that there were two types of grace period available? Is it Providian's policy that their telephone customer service representatives lie about the availability of improved account terms? What if I had first spoken to this person on May 15th when I originally called to ask the question? Fortunately for me I got through to someone at that time who had a more customer friendly attitude.

    I'm not sure at this point what Providian can do to make up for this experience. I know from writing you last month that your company really takes letters from PlanetFeedback seriously and I wanted to write to you about this not because I expect something in return, but because I really think you'd like to know what your front-line telephone representatives say to customers.

    I realize that Providian is a sub-prime lender and I know that I don't have my Providian accounts because I have stellar credit. I do however have a very good account history with you over the last three years and there is no reason I can think of that I should be lied to when I call to inquire about the availability of improved account terms. If improved terms are not offered to any Providian customers as a matter of policy, fine -- they shouldn't be offered to me. If improved terms are available but because of my account history I do not qualify for them, that's fine too. Tell me what the requirements are and why I haven't met them and I'll be satisfied. But sir, the first person who answered my call today told me twice very firmly that Providian doesn't "...offer accounts with a grace period" when I clearly knew better. That's terrible customer service, and treatment that I find personally offensive.

    As I said at the beginning of this letter, overall I still have a positive impression of Providian but today's experience is going to leave a bad taste in my mouth for a very long time. At the very least I'll treat as suspect any information given to me over the telephone by your employees. As my credit situation has improved Iâ??ve been offered accounts with other lenders. Iâ??ve never considered leaving Providian because you were the first to extend credit to me after Iâ??d made credit mistakes in the past and that really matters a lot to me. Iâ??m in a better position today than I was three years ago, and while all that mattered back then was getting the credit card, today things like customer service are very important to me. I hope that Providian continues to be the right match for me now just as it was three years ago.

    Thank you for your time spent reviewing my letter.
  2. texastrini

    texastrini Well-Known Member

    Go for it.

    It's a bit long--but it will cut down on call backs and stall tactics
  3. MartysGirl

    MartysGirl Well-Known Member

    It sounds good to me. Go For It...!!!!

  4. fingrrrl

    fingrrrl Well-Known Member

    Great letter DaveLV! I was thinking of writing something similar since so many reps at Providian tell me there is no grace period on the GetSmart classic yet when I mention the fact that it states there is a grace period for it listed on their website, they tell me the site is wrong and they'll tell someone to change it. Yet it remains the same day after day. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one getting the 'ol bait and switch.
  5. MiamiBlues

    MiamiBlues Well-Known Member


    I like the letter, however, I would delete the part about the stellar credit because thats not the issue. I'm sure you have an excellent payment history with Providian otherwise you wouldn't have the credit line that you do. Also, fax a copy of it to their corporate office.

    Good luck to you!!!


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