And finally this gem, brought to our attention by Long Island’s Newsday: Apparently, a Ms. Mona Russo recently received an unexpected letter from Michael J. Barrett, president of Chase Manhattan Bank, USA, N.A. The top of the letter, in bold type, read: “Beginning 5/1/03 you’ll enjoy more benefits than ever before. You’re being upgraded to the Continental Airlines Visa Signature from Chase.”
Russo nearly threw the letter away, but for a portion that caught her eye: “Your upgrade is automatic — and recurring charges transfer instantly,” it read. “The transition is seamless. We’re rewarding you with the upgrade, the $99 Companion Pass and waiving the $20 incremental annual fee until your next anniversary. Still, if for any reason you would rather not receive the new card, simply call [a 1-800 number] before April 15, 2003.”
Russo could apparently think of any number of reasons she didn’t want the card, not the least of which was the new $20 fee. She called the number.
She was immediately connected to a recording of a strange female voice. “Mmmmmm,” it said. “Ah haaah. Now that I’m 18, my body is so hot …” Russo hung up, assuming she had misdialed. She tried again.
“Mmmmmm,” said the voice, “Ah haaah. Now that I’m 18, my body is so hot …”
Russo hung up, again.
She finally had to call the main number at Chase, but it wasn’t until she contacted Newsday that she received a response. Via email, JP Morgan Chase spokeswoman Kristen Batteria wrote, “Unfortunately the phone number printed on the conversion mailing was incorrect. We are currently sending letters to these customers and, where possible, calling to apologize and provide the correct number. The phone number is 1-800-972-8386.” It’s one digit different from the phone number in the letter.
Thanks to Newsday for illustrating this important lesson to those of us who live and breathe the world of affinity cards, miles and points — those who spend many precious hours scrounging the best possible deals out of unsuspecting phone reps: for great customer service, you can’t beat Chase.