Disclaimer: This is NOT a crib post about my present work which involves a lot of credit card analytics :)
Less than a year back i had 0(read as zero) credit cards in my wallet. I was a firm believer in the debit card system. And then i always had my dad's debit card too for that added security cover :) Its not that i hadn't been wooed by the ICICI's and the Citibank's but i was always wary of these credit cards. I had turned down numerous 'free credit card saar' salesmen outside my offices and had vowed that i would never take a credit card. But times change and so do our vows. Change is inevitable but then you don't expect a river to change its direction overnight. So when i looked into my wallet today and found 5 cards there, i happened to remember those broken promises. And the worrying part is that the card count is increasing every month.
And just how did i start accumulating these cards is the crucial question. Its all due to my negligence i must say. All of you definitely must have got calls from unsolicited females asking you to take the XYZ free credit card that gives you all the possible benefits a credit card could give you. Then you get 10% off on all blah blah blah stuff. But i don't think anyone responds to these people. And therein lies the single greatest mistake in my life. I fell for one and that set the ball rolling. The result of this has become an avalanche now and i cant stop it :( Yes, i made the cardinal mistake once and agreed to take a card. I revealed all my information to this charming lady from Citibank who spoke to me like she were an angel. Now there are hardly any days when a few chosen expletives aren't uttered in her memory and none of them has any angel in them. I realized very late that all they need to do is to break you once and then pretty much every bank will have you number.
The very next day some girl from ABN calls me and asks me to take their card. I refuse immediately and hang up. A few seconds later the same girl calls me up and asks me the same thing. I politely remind her that i had just spoken to her and hang up. A few minutes later and its her yet again! I always knew that you don't need to know rocket science to do such work but i didn't know that common sense had been taken off the list too.
Well, a week and then two passed after i applied and i didn't get that Citibank card. So I assumed that my application was rejected. I felt hurt that i wasn't even considered trustworthy of a credit line. So i did what millions of Indians do. I got an ICICI card. After all they offer a credit card to practically everyone. As luck would have it, after a few days i did get that Citibank card. And a few days later i also had an ICICI card waiting for me. All was well till then. I asked for one but even with two cards i wasn't really complaining.
That's when all the trouble began. A week after the first ICICI card arrived i got the ATM pin, the internet banking pin and the phonebanking pin. A week after that i got an Online Add On card for online transactions. Then came the internet banking pin for the new add on card. A few weeks later i got a new credit card, again from ICICI. Some card called ICICI Preferred. I noticed that they increased my credit limit by a few thousands too. I never asked for the online add on card in the first place and now i was stuck with a preferred card too. I called up the ICICI customer care but before i regale my problem they started selling me an insurance plan. I hung up in exasperation. After the first ICICI preferred card came along i got the ATM pin, internet banking PIN and the phonebanking PIN for that too. Now, a few days back i got yet another ICICI Preferred Card. My credit limit has gone up again and the new set of PIN's arrive. My room is now full of PIN's and credit card and their booklets, vouchers and whatnots.
If you thought ICICI was bad then the state run credit card companies were not too far behind. SBI must take the cake for ingenuity. A few weeks back i got an envelope from SBI Cards. It said "Dear Mr Sreejith P C, Your application for SBI gold credit card has been rejected. Thank you for applying". Well that's a perfectly normal letter except for a small glitch. I never ever applied for an SBI Card!! Now how a company can process an application and then reject it and then send it to the correct address is beyond my understanding. Only an SBI could have pulled that off.
If you thought i've had enough trouble with these cards then wait. There is an unsavoury episode of an online transaction. When i received that bloody ICICI Online Add On card, i also received a booklet with some promotional offers. One such was that online purchases at the LG site would get me 'fabulous discounts'. So not being one to lose out on an offer, i promptly and very foolishly i might add, went right ahead and bought a television from that site and asked for it to be delivered in Trivandrum. The site said the order would be delivered in 2-3 days. So i waited and waited and, being the patient types, waited some more. After a week and with no sight of the TV, i got suspicious and called up the customer care number listed on the LG site. They patiently appeared to listen to my problem and then transferred my call to the LG Service guy. This guy after listening to my problem for a whole 5 minutes connects me to the so called concerned people at LG's internet customer care. It so happens that there is NO such division at LG and the phone just keeps ringing. Its like the dead end of customer care. So i again call the customer care and the same vicious cycle repeats with the call ending up at the very same dead end number. Now i got really pissed off and call the head delivery manager's number. He listens to my rants and tells me to talk to the guys in Trivandrum(the manager at the delivery point) and he promptly gives me a number. When i call this number(STD), the person on the other end listens and tells me that the reason for the delay was because that particular brand was out of stock. After about 5 minutes of trading heated arguments he finally backs down and tells me that he will have the TV delivered that very day and asks me for the address. I tell him my Trivandrum address and that's when the bloody idiot tells me that he is in Tirupati!!! The moron of a head delivery manager had passed me the Tirupati branch's number instead of Trivandrum's! At this point i gave up and resigned myself to my fate. The domestic customer care is like an impregnable fortress. Try as hard as you can, but you can never get through. Well i guess in the end everything finally ends well. After more than 2 whole weeks a TV finally turns up at my home. Someone up there must really like me. By the way I never got that fabulous discount that the ICICI booklet promised. Someone up there must really love me.