Colin Timothy Gagnon (sacredspud) wrote,
Colin Timothy Gagnon

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Do you have a tracking number for that, you bigot?

Visa and MasterCard look at the dispute process as a last resort, not that anybody really thinks of it that way. Before you can dispute something, you're required to exhaust your other options for recovering the funds, and we have to demonstrate that you've done this via specific and accurate documentation of names, dates, phone numbers, and such.

It is because of this requirement that I often send requests to our client banks asking for the cardholder to document an attempt to resolve directly with the merchant. You'd be amazed at how difficult it is to get people to do this. Sometimes I get long letters back about How Good a Customer I Am and How Unreasonable This Is and Why Do I Have To Jump Through So Many Hoops All The Time Just To Keep My Money With You People, but the request doesn't come from your bank, or from Visa or Mastercard. It comes from me. It's not unreasonable -- I'm happy to walk your bank through the process of walking you through it -- but you can only dispute a transaction once, and you will lose your shot at recovering the funds if we do not submit all of the required information. And hey, there's also the chance that you'll work things out with the merchant, and maybe even get a coupon or discount for your inconvenience.

Anyway, I digress. As I was saying, I frequently have to request that the cardholder contact the merchant before I can process the dispute.

Today I got a phone call on one such request, and the bank said, "actually, the cardholder provided us with that information, but we had to white it out because we didn't think you'd want to send it to Visa."

"What did he write?" I asked.

"Well, you asked if he had tried to resolve with the merchant--"


"And he says that he called them on August 24th."

"Okay," I said. "And what was the outcome of that call?"

"Well, the next line on our form says 'merchant's response.'"


The woman at the bank paused for a couple of seconds, and then said (quietly): "I'll see you in Hell, you racist prick."

"Did he say anything else?"

"He put three exclamation points after 'prick,'" she said, and paused, probably waiting for me to laugh. But I didn't, so she continued: "He's being a pain and he doesn't want to talk to us."

So here's how the attempt to resolve went down, as far as I can tell from the documentation I've been given:
Merchant: Thanks for calling the Mail Order Head Shop!* How can I help you?

Cardholder: Hi. I ordered some incense that was supposed to arrive more than a week ago, but it's still not here.

Merchant: I'll see you in Hell, you racist prick!!! [Click!]
Something tells me that I'm still missing information, but this is technically enough to file the dispute, so uh, we'll see how that goes. I'm definitely filing it this way, because although Visa usually levies fines for the use of words like "prick," it's safe if it's part of a direct quote from the cardholder or the merchant. Incidentally, nobody uses as much profanity in their business correspondence as lawyers.

* Not the merchant's real name.
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