November 22nd, 2005
|01:02 pm - "The rental car came with somebody else's family still in it."|
One of the merchants whose account we handle is a car rental. They get a lot of business because they're inexpensive, and they generate a lot of disputes because their service is incredibly poor. I'll tell you who they are if you ask me in person, but it's not really important, since they have only one location and it's not even in this state. The better thing to do would be to ask me my advice on renting cars, and it is simply that you should examine the car and the contract before you sign anything.
Apparently nobody ever asks to examine the cars, and the cars are in terrible condition. You know that Volkswagen Rabbit your friend Paul drove in high school? The one with the broken seat and duct tape around the windows to keep them from leaking? Well if you cleaned the Big Gulp cups and Quarter-Pounder wrappers off the floor, you'd have the cars this company rents. No, you don't have to bother vacuuming -- they certainly don't. I've read letters from their customers alleging everything from "the car had no windshield" to "a previous renter spilled cottage cheese all over the back seat, and no one cleaned it up."
It's usually hard to feel sorry for the rental when I read letters like this, but it's even harder to feel sorry for the cardholders when I read letters like the one I got today which states that the rental is "run by retards and foreigners who got deported by their own countries and are free now to scam Americans - God's chosen people." The cardholder goes on to claim that the rental operates using "what are commonly known as bad business practices." This is one of the least helpful statements I've ever read in my life.
He doesn't go into any more detail than that; the rest of the letter is just insults. I have little doubt that he got screwed by the car rental, but it's hard for me to feel any level of compassion for him. As per usual, I'm going to send his letter to the rental, and the rental is going to send me a copy of his contract and maybe a letter explaining their side of the argument. Unless there's more here that I don't know (which is not at all unlikely), this fits into a gray area where the cardholder's not happy, but the merchant didn't really do anything wrong. Either one of them is eventually going to give in and accept the charge, or (more likely) it's going to go to Visa for "impartial" arbitration. I put those quotes there because Visa's rulings are incredibly skewed toward their cardholders (Merchant: "Well, the cardholder's signature and voiceprint match the ones we have on file, we have proof that the card was physically present, and here's our security tape showing the sale." Visa: "Who cares? You have ugly letterhead.").
Presumably Visa splits their rulings when everybody's wrong, but there's more to the story than what I've read, and I just know that they'll rule in favor of the cardholder on some stupid technicality.
Current Mood: grrrrr.
Current Music: Kraftwerk -- Electric Cafe
Sometimes I wonder if there's hope for humanity...
On the other hand, this is the sort of thing I live for.
Experiencing it second-hand, I mean. First-hand not so much.
I don't think that people, in general, are this stupid, but I do think that money brings out the worst in idiots. At least, I hope that's all it is.
GOD I hate ugly letterhead. ROFL
I find that the attractiveness of a person's letterhead is the best judge of character. Except in the case of normal people who don't use personalized letterhead.
|Date:||November 22nd, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)|| |
Merely receiving horrible service isn't enough for your credit card company to rescind the charge, is it? If I paid for my meal at (say) Wendy's, then waited half an hour and got cold food, the staff at the Wendy's is still allowed to keep my money if they have no interest in getting future business...right?
'Cuz otherwise it opens the door to everyone playing Leona Helmsley over every charge they make. Does Visa cut the whiners off at some point, or what?
Well... Yes and no. The dispute process is like passing a ball back and forth. At any given point, one side or the other has the debt. The thing is, every time you pass the debt, it costs you more in processing fees to state your case. Eventually, there's a point where you can't pass the debt anymore, and you have to pay a huge fee if you want to have Visa or MasterCard rule on the case. Most disputes don't go as far as ruling. Either one bank decides that writing off the debt would be more cost-effective than escalation, or (more often) the other side provides a really good argument (such as a sales receipt bearing the cardholder's signature).
Can you dispute your late, cold food at Wendy's? Yes, you're allowed, but we don't see this kind of thing often because most banks have a cutoff below which they won't initiate a dispute (typically either $10 or $25). Also, your right to dispute merchandise or service goes away after you consume it. Special exemptions are made in certain circumstances (say your new carpeting spontaneously discolors a month after it is installed), but once your burger is eaten, your only recourse is to take it up with the shift manager.
|Date:||November 23rd, 2005 02:38 am (UTC)|| |
So if I spend $25.01 at Wendy's and call Visa at the instant that my order comes up, will I have succeeded in making your life just a little bit harder?
No. These days I'm working in favor of our merchants, and Wendy's doesn't bank with us. You could make somebody else's life harder, but you might as well go home and sleep on it first as you're still going to have to write a letter stating that your food was not as described (ie, cold), and that you've tried to resolve the matter with Wendy's. You don't actually have to try (and apparently nobody ever does), you just have to state in writing that you tried.