Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Keep on running...

I just had rather a scary phone conversation with Capital One.

Capital One, for the uninitiated, is a big evil credit card company with shit customer service. Their phone line forces you to enter your account number and date of birth before it even gives you a list of options and, if you do get to talk to a person, they are usually in a country far, far away.

I phoned up today to ask about my balance. After pissing about with the options for a few minutes I was put through to a very helpful Indian lady. I asked for some statements and for the current balance, which she told me. She then asked if there was any particular reason for my call. I said I'd been thinking of closing my account (i.e. paying them back).

Within 20 seconds I was on the phone to 'Linda', a suspiciously helpful and very well trained English lady. She was staggeringly eager for me to close my account... so much so that they essentially offered me a discounted rate if I can do so in the next week.

C1 are a load of evil penny pinching bastards who have never, ever before in my life offered me a discount for anything. Most credit card companies don't want you to pay them back too quickly - they are happy for your debt to sit there, having the minimum payment lopped off it once a month, indefinitely, so you end up paying back many times what you initially borrowed.

The fact C1 are so desperate to get my measily couple of grand back quickly strongly suggests that they are royally fucked. Capital one is a small bank, which mainly makes it's money from the sub prime market ( meaning people, like me ,who are a bit shit with money). The fact they are in trouble is hardly a shocker. But the fact they are so crudely grabbing at cash on such a short term basis is, well, worrying. It might not be time for another run on the banks, but I'd pop your trainers on just in case.

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