My day, or How many CapitalOne reps does it take to find a mediocre solution to a problem they caused? Eight. Eight CapitalOne reps.
7:00am: Wake up. Check my bank account to see if my CapitalOne and CitiFinancial payments have cleared. CitiFinancial is pending, and CapitalOne has one cleared for $706, another pending for $706. Must be a mistake. Log in to CapitalOne website, and see I have a balance of -$706. Huh. CapitalOne has processed two payments, when it was authorized for one.
7:15am: Call CapitalOne, speak with Inaya (overseas). Could initiate a refund by check tomorrow, and I would receive it in three to five business days. I said thanks, and got off the phone.
7:25am: Call my bank. They can stop the payment, with a $31 fee. Some companies will try to process a payment two or three times, so it may require three stop-payments. I have enough in my account to cover the double-charge from CapitalOne, so it’s not worth $30-$90 in fees. I just really need that money in the bank - it’s my emergency fund, not my CapitalOne double-charge fund.
8:00am: Call CapitalOne, speak with Howard (overseas). Couldn’t do anything until the second payment posted, then I would have to fax proof the payment cleared my bank - even though CapitalOne shows a $700 credit in my favor. After receiving proof, they could initiate a refund by check, that would be mailed November 21. “The previous woman said three to five business days.” In this scenario, she is mistaken. I said thanks, and got off the phone.
8:45am: Tweet. “@AskCapitalOne Made a pmt for $700, and you took TWO $700 pmts. Now saying it will take 5 days to return money I didn’t authorize. Terrible”
1:15pm: Call CapitalOne, speak with Will (US, I think). Refund by check, five to seven business days. I ask to speak to a supervisor.
1:25pm: Speak with supervisor Charlie (US, I think). Says he will try to stop the second payment, if not, he will initiate a refund direct to my bank account, and I will have it back in two days. “By Friday?” By Friday. He will email me his agent ID and confirmation of the refund.
6:30pm: Tom (US), from the CapitalOne Twitter team, calls. He sympathizes, aligns with me, and says he would like to do something for my hassle. He refunds the last two interest charges on my account, about $20. He’s incredibly friendly. He listens to my story, agrees he would be in rough shape if it happened to him… really personable. I ask about the refund process. He said it looks like it was initiated in the afternoon, and expect five to seven business days. Tom tells me the other guy (Charlie) was misinformed or misled me when telling me I’ll have it by Friday. “I guess that’s why he never emailed his agent code like he said he would.”
I ask Tom who a customer calls in this situation. I didn’t do anything wrong, and I just need my money back. There is no elevated customer service, no corporate channel to go through. “I know you and the other customer service reps are the wrong ones to complain to, and I need someone who can fix this. What does a person do when they need an unsolvable problem solved?” Normal customer service line, but there’s really no channel like what I’m asking for. Tom says if I like, I can try the customer service line and see if anyone can help me out.
Tom was very understanding, very relatable, and sympathetic. If anyone at CapitalOne understands what customer service means, I would say it was Tom. The only trouble is, while he refunded some fees, it wasn’t in his power to really fix the problem. Guys like Tom should have that power.
7:30pm: Call CapitalOne, speak with Edwin (overseas). Immediately say I need to speak with a supervisor, and he transfers me to Brian (overseas.)
Same story: after the second payment posts, a refund check can be issued and I would receive it in five to seven business days. “I’m really frustrated with the process at this point, and I’m telling you, that isn’t good enough. You have to do better.” Unfortunately, sir… “You guys took money you weren’t authorized to. It isn’t my fault. You have to do better than five business days.” Sir, unfortunately…
“If a guy steals my car, and I call the cops, they don’t tell me to wait a week and hope I get it back - the cops go get my car back. So you guys took something that wasn’t yours to take, and you’re telling me hopefully I’ll get it next week. That isn’t good enough. You have to do better than that.”
We go back and forth, and then Brian started raising his voice. Would you like me to make up policies for you, sir? Would you like me to tell you the money will magically go back in your account? I can tell you that, but it’s not true. I can’t just make stuff up for you.
That pissed me off. I interrupted him. “Brian, Brian, Brian, stop. Stop talking. When can I call back and speak to someone in the US?” He asked if I would like to be transferred now. “Yes.”
Dakota in Texas picks up. He understands the problem. I re-explain it anyway. He understands. The process is a check in five to seven business days. “That isn’t good enough - I can’t wait a week for you to fix a problem you guys caused.” He understands. Can I wait on hold?
Dakota comes back to say if he can call my bank and verify one of the two payments has cleared, he can process a refund that will go directly to my account in 24 to 48 hours. We conference in my bank, they verify the first payment has cleared, and Dakota processes the refund.
I ask why I had to talk to eight people for a combined two hours, when this is what I asked for at the very beginning. And Dakota does one of the better customer redirects: I don’t know why they didn’t do this for you earlier, but we found a solution and we are doing it now.
True. But what a shit day.
Lessons learned: Apparently, with Bill Pay through my bank, this can’t happen. It’s easier for the bank to control what goes out than who comes in to take money. I’ll be using Bill Pay for my remaining debts.
Also: There’s no real help for customers at CapitalOne. This was a CapitalOne problem, not a Ryan problem. So why the big fuss about a refund? Why a check in the mail? Why waiting for both payments to clear when one already was cleared? And why the inconsistency in the morning over the refund timeframe? The first three people I spoke with gave me three different timeframes.
Also: Ask to be transferred to a US call center. None of the overseas people were friendly or relatable. They said “unfortunately” way too often, and seemed to have no interest in customer service. And the second-to-last, Brian, had the audacity to raise his voice and get smart with me. What kind of customer service is that? It may be cheaper for CapitalOne to outsource, but their overseas call centers have always been worse experiences for me than when I speak to someone in the US.