Thoughts on CapitalOne

[Begin rant]

As you all know, I’m pretty dorky, I’m way into money, and I’m totally detail oriented. This means that I am the go-to expert for all my friends and family on credit card rewards programs in Canada.

The CapitalOne World Aspire Mastercard has the best reward rate in Canada for most economy seats (about 2.5% in the first year and 1.9% every subsequent year).

I say most economy seats because every once in awhile you can get a good deal on Aeroplan economy seats. For business class rewards points, the CIBC Aerogold card is the clear winner.

Since we switched, we’ve been generally happy with the card. Well, other than the fact it is a Mastercard and it’s cheap looking (what can I say, we’re sort of snobby).

Then we came to Argentina. And I will no longer be recommending CapitalOne.


Delayed Baggage Insurance

Our first bad experience was when the hubs’ luggage was lost by Continental. The World Aspire card includes a pretty-shitty $100 per day delayed baggage insurance for up to three days.

The big Canadian banks delayed baggage insurance ranges from $300 to $1000 right away when your bags are 4 to 6 hours late.

First call, to CapitalOne, and the hubs was given a number to call to speak with the insurer.

Second call, wrong number – redirected back to CapitalOne.

Third call, to CapitalOne, where he got another number to try.

Fourth call, wrong number.

Fifth call, back to CapitalOne, where he got yet another number.

Sixth call, correct number. Apparent one-person (very unprofessional) insurance affiliate run by an extremely rude woman who told him to make the claim when he got home. Click.

Not the gold-standard in customer service. Especially not when you are tired, cranky, and in a foreign country calling from Skype (bless Skype) on a free wifi connection in a bus terminal.


Fraud Protection

For the most part, I think that credit cards’ fraud prevention systems are awesome. These same systems saved me from a fraudulent $2,500 charge earlier this year. But there has to be a line.

Seventh call, to let CapitalOne know we were going to be in Argentina for three months.

Eighth call, to warn CapitalOne that a large transaction was going through (Antarctica tickets). They put a note on our file and promptly hung up. Click.

The next day, our card was restricted….

Because of the Antarctica tickets.

A human left a message on my parent’s answering machine for us to call CapitalOne back. So, a human clearly had looked at the potentially fraudulent transaction. However, said human clearly didn’t look at the notes to file.

Ninth call, to un-restrict card. We learned on this call that no one actually looks at notes to file. Click.

We noticed yesterday (12 days later) that our Argentina tickets hadn’t been posted to our account.

Tenth call, making sure Antarctica tickets are going through so we’ll have a spot on the boat on Saturday. The customer service man told me the transaction had been removed from our account because the vendor hadn’t sent the requisite invoice. Click.

This caused me to, in a panic, call my travel agent to ensure that we were still going to be able to get on the boat on Saturday. This caused a lot of panic on her end, as well. This is all worked out now, but it has been 22 hours of stress.

Today, our credit card was restricted again.

Eleventh call, to un-restrict card … again. Would you like to know why it was restricted for the second time? Because I called them yesterday from Skype and Skype routed our call through Illinois not Argentina. Do you know how many times they verified my identity yesterday? 3. Do you know how many times today? 6.

Today’s call was 35 minutes long. I spoke to three different people. (And yes, I verified my identity 6 times). The last of whom, Cindy, a supervisor in the fraud department, was particularly rude. And I get it. When I’m on the phone with you for the eleventh time in twenty-one days, I’m probably straining just to be civil. But you being nasty to me? Well that’s going to make me tell the internet about my trouble.

And it will probably make me start using my TD First Class visa.

[End rant]

8 Replies to “Thoughts on CapitalOne”

  1. Omigod! That’s so brutal. Thanks for sharing your awful experience. I’m not sure what it is about an internet rant (be it blog, FB or Twitter) about $hitty customer service that makes a person feel better. Thankfully everything is still fine for your trip (whew!). I’m guessing you won’t need a credit card while in Antarctica! ;)

    1. I was feeling pretty annoyed and it was actually Jon’s suggestion. Then I felt better. And maybe someone will listen so that others don’t have the same problems!

      What’s interesting is that if 1) we were given a direct number to call the insurer, and 2) the card wasn’t restricted a second time – which is the most ridiculous part of the story given how many times my identity was verified, OR 3) customer service people had been nice and apologetic as we got escalated, instead of increasingly snarky, this internet rant probably never would have happened.

  2. Brutal! Best of luck with the TD First Class Visa. I’m all about the Aerogold due to my frequent work trips and I *love* the status points and first class upgrades…. but I haven’t had the experience of booking an Antartica cruise from Argentina, so I truly can’t compare credit card experiences. ;) I hope it works out well and we see a happy credit card post in your future!

    1. Status points are awesome – and they totally don’t play into this analysis at all!

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but you only earn regular points for your spending on the Aerogold card, right? The card itself doesn’t help accumulate status miles? I totally agree there is an economic value in not splitting your points programs, but haven’t excel-ized it yet!

      1. That’s exactly right, status points are only accumulated on flown miles. I just use the one card to maximize my points but there are so many cards out there that it is a tough decision!

  3. That’s SO frustrating! I’ve had various US cards randomly blocked – I say randomly because it would happen after months of being in Chile, making purchases, so I’m not sure what would somehow set off fraud alarms – but luckily it’s always been easy to unblock them. Then again, two ATM cards got cloned on my last trip to Rio, and over $7,000 was taken from two accounts (the banks refunded me, thank god), so apparently there is no rhyme or reason to these things.

    1. $7,000?!? That’s insane! I’ve never heard of anyone (other than people on tv) having that much taken. Thank goodness the banks refunded you. That would have been horrible if you had to fight it, or even worse, if they ultimately didn’t refund it. That must have been pretty stressful.

      Do you want to know what’s funny about the CC restrictions? It’s not the restrictions that bug me, I actually appreciate them. It was the rude service. That was the discussion my husband and I had last night: was the rude service and the run around and all the time worth the difference in rewards points we would earn every year (about $150 – $200), and the answer is probably not. It took 35 minutes to reactivate my card yesterday. Shouldn’t it take 5 or 10?

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