update Jan 26, 2012:
In addition to the renewed HBC store master card the other day, a National bank manager called today to say that the bank’s mistake has been corrected, and the limit restored to what I had before the “incident.”

As you can imagine, I am doing the ecosonance tune-up routine, developed in my doctoral thesis of January, 2012. 🙂 That aside, the principles on which the credit machine operates pose a lot of ethical-philosophical questions, for financiers and for us customers.


Case Study I

Today, Zellers restored the strore MC that had been cancelled.

That happened basically because I had not been using it “enough.” [undefinable quantity] A while back, when I made a purchase at a high price relative to income, and Zellers had a promo through the MC, I decided to put the purchase on the card. I could not. The card had not been extended after a date by which I had had to call them, confirm, or something. As I talked to progressively more senior supervisors, I finally heard that “yes, I see this-and-that, I see you made purchase, but you paid off right away (!!!)”

Case Study II

A couple of years ago my regular master card lost credit limit. I had neglected to pay the annual fee of $20.00 for 90 days+ (!), so my limit was brought down to a hundred and fifty dollars. [shock!!!] It did not matter that I had had a good balance pay-off record. It did not matter that the amount was only $20.00. It did not matter that that was an “annual fee,” and since I had not made a purchase, I would not have been expecting to have to clear balance at all. It did not matter that some credit card accounts waive annual fees altogether. What mattered, an instructive, short-tempered voice at the other end said, was BEHAVIOR.

I was careful not to use the card for perhaps over a year. When I called to have my limit restored, for “good behavior,” you understand, I was told that I had no proof I am a …[disciplined???]… customer. I had not made ANY purchases. I had no record to judge buy [kinda like this typo, so leaving it as is] if I am “reliable” or not.

I understood I have to make purchases and pay them off within deadlines for awhile, to earn “reliability points.” It was not clear how long and how many points. Of course, the credit bureaux still had a black point for me.

Development to Case Suty II

Now that I got back my store card, I decided to call the National Bank again. I asked to speak to the most senior person I cold possibly speak to, related the “case” yet again. It was acknowledged that I had made purchases and paid off on time. However, since I called at a time when a supervisor was not available, I was asked about a “convenient time to call.”

For the record, I stated that I have “philosophical, if you like” objections:
1. If I had been apprised about the rule of credit record creation, instead of NOT using the card I would have used it.
2. I can accept suspension based on tardiness.
3. However, irrespective of whether the rules of the bank consider “behavior” and not literal amount, for a regular person the amount of $20.00 IS minimal. AND, annual fees are “waive-able” (one might guess, if there is good behavior on record, and similar)
4. I have been a customer for about 15 years. Went at some point in the past through a rough student period* but cleared that up. (Learned about the “7 years” rule.) I cannot accept that I would be “punished” for the “wrong” kind of good behaviour. If there is penalty for a rule you were not apprised of, so that you can observe it, that has the taste of UNFAIR. For the regular person, and common sense.
5. This is a principled issue, since there would be others in the position of guilty-and-punished-without-being-given-any-notice. Imagine someone very young, who does not know ANY of the “rules” above, and thus totally defenceless. They may not even be able to phrase what it is that feels SO unfair.

Should it be the (credit card) case that the more one needs money, the more one needs to pay?! Of which system the banks are ONLY a link, not THE system.

So, awaiting conversation with supervisor. If they cannot “resolve,” the next step is “mediation,” I was told. Will there come a time for SYNTHESIS after the multiple rounds of THESIS and ANTITHESIS?

* That was when—being “overqualified” with 2 MAs AND guilty of “pursuing a PhD”—I could not find an entry-level job, and was practically ineligible for jobs “with qualifications” in the absence of an “employment record.” [that word AGAIN] The local bakery had a job sign for over a year, got from me several resumes. Never called back. Resorted to evasive tactics when I was asking to speak to the manager/owner, and explaining to a potential colleague how I love decorating cakes. I DO, actually.

WP’s comment on this one:

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. — Anais Nin

ES: but of course 🙂