In a time when all of us decry the power of huge money and the corporations who wield it, I’ve got a nice story about a big corporation. Two big corporations, in fact.
A few days ago I handed my Amex/Fidelity credit card to a lady at my long-time music implementation store, Stereo Exchange, where I was buying an outrageously expensive grouping of record cleansers. (When they’re expensive, it’s proper to term them “cleansers,” not “cleaners.”)
The Amex/FIA card was rejected. Not possible. I have a ton of credit on it. But the young lady ran the card two more times. Each time it was rejected.
Stereo Exchange was kind enough to lend me their phone and I called Amex/FIA. Yes, they’d put a block on my card—and had called me about it (but I never pick up unidentified calls or calls identified as “credit”)—because they suspected some unauthorized charges. The Amex/FIA lady read a couple of charges to me and, indeed, I hadn’t made them.
Two things really surprised me. First, the charges were for small amounts: 25 bucks, 32 bucks. If someone had ripped off my card number, this person was certainly not adventurously larcenous. Maybe she (I sort of thought this was a female, I don’t know why) was testing the card, seeing how much she could get away with.
But the biggest and best surprise was Amex/FIA. Three days after the first unauthorized charge, Amex/FIA put that block on the card and called me. “What made you suspect?” I wondered. I was told that the charges seemed to be foreign, in both senses, to my usual use of the card.
Amex/FIA temporarily released the block so that I could make the purchase. When I got home, I called Amex/FIA again and spent quite a few minutes in an investigative sort of mutual musing, trying to figure out where the number might have been lifted.
Amex/FIA is removing the wrongful charges and is sending me a new card. In the meantime, I have to use … what’s that thing called? Um, you know the word, that element named … what is it again? Oh, yeah. Cash.
But applause to Amex/FIA. It must have some nifty computer algorithms that (nit)pick up this tiny stuff.