Last week, I got my Capital One Annual Summary of all of the purchases we put on our credit card for 2008. It pains me to read through it every year because it amazes me how much we put on our credit card. And while we pay off the balance every month, 2008 was a particularly rough year for the ol' credit card. I mean that literally--she is bent, and the numbers are filed down from use--no lie. I was filling up my gas tank up to three times a week because my Xterra gets about 18 miles to the gallon and I was driving 130 miles a day, 3 days a week. My EZ-Pass was $70 every three weeks. Keep in mind, at this time last year, gas was starting to creep up in the $3 to almost $4 per gallon range.
In addition to my commuting expenses, we had a lot of major purchases because of our move (Hellooooooo Sears Kitchen Appliance Department!) We also had a mountain of expenses pertaining to the move that were reimbursed. And, to be honest, there are a significant number of frivolous or just plain stupid purchases that were made on that card. And don't even get me started with Continental Airlines. They have almost $700 of my money because of two plane tickets I purchased last summer (for me and Genna) literally minutes before Corey told me our house was sold and we needed to postpone my trip to Indiana with Genna and go find a home in Nashville. Did you know that once a ticket is purchased that even if you cancel the trip, the new tickets purchased must be for the original people on the original tickets? Every time I try to book my old ticket, it gets screwed up and the credit still exists. AND it costs an additional $150 to change the original ticket?! I'd like to use my credit in April when I go to New York, but the flights are almost cheaper than the $150 it would take to change the $336 ticket I previously purchased. AND, I would have to pay $50 for a customer service rep to book my travel over the phone since their website can't seem to ever find my old ticket. Flights from Nashville to Newark are about $180 currently.
So back to my summary. The grand total is almost my salary for last year, which was a good year, even though I was part time. I skimmed through the pages of purchases that were broken down by category, $8891.64 spent on gas/automotive, $5497.80 for travel, blah,blah,blah. Then, I noticed a category for , "Monthly Bills/Internet." I noticed a $15.00 charge for Classmates.com. I rolled my eyes at that one. Who needs Classmates.com when there is facebook now? How is Classmates.com even surviving? Glad I cancelled that. Then I noticed a $69.99 charge for Register.com made on 9/21. I had never heard of Register.com, so I decided to check them out on the internet. It turns out that Register.com is a web hosting site. While I have this blog, I don't pay for it, so I knew this was a mistake. I couldn't believe I didn't notice this on September's credit card statement. I went ahead and called the website, thinking this was some huge mistake and that I would get my money back.
Me: Hi! My name is Dawnan, and I just noticed that I got charged $69.99 by you guys and I don't have an account with you so...
Mohammed (Cust Service Rep#1): OK, I need your email address to pull up your account.
Me: OK, it is firstname.lastname@example.org.
M(CSR#1): Umm, we don't have an account with that email address.
Me: Well, that's good. That means I really don't have an account with you all, so how 'bout I get my money back?
M(CSR#1): Actually, Ma'am, I'll need to pull up this account by your credit card number.
Me: Well, OK, it is xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx
M(CSR#1): Got it. Now, what did you say your email address is?
Me: It's email@example.com.
M(CSR#1): Umm, so you don't have the email address, firstname.lastname@example.org (I forget exactly what it was, he rattled it off too fast.)
Me: Uh, no. Whose name is on the account? Please tell me that the people who used my credit card number didn't sign up a porn site.
M(CSR#1): (Laughing) No, they didn't put up a porn site. They actually didn't even put up a site at all.
Me: Well, then who in the hell used my card?
M(CSR#1):Ummmm, I need to put you on hold. I'll be back.
Hold music... Not Herb Alpert...I'm getting sleepy...
(CSR#2): Thank you for calling Register.com. My name is Tom/Dick/Harry. May I help you?
ME: Are you kidding me? Where's Mohammed? I just spent 10 minutes on the phone with Mohammed. Do I have to start all over again?
(CSR#2): Why don't you give me your account number?
Me: But I don't HAVE an account number! Someone used my credit card number in September to set up an account on your site, but it isn't mine. I want my money back.
(CSR#2): OK, I will need the credit card number then.
Me: Argh. Ok, here it is: xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx.
(CSR#2): Ok, got it. I see the charge. I will go ahead and remove your credit card number so it won't be used in the future and we will shut down the account.
Me: So who opened up an account with my credit card?
(CSR#2): I can't tell you that.
Me: WHY NOT? Someone stole my credit card number in September and used it to purchase a bogus site through your company. I deserve to know the name. Mohammed told me the email address, so why can't you tell me the name?
(CSR#2):He told you the email address? He wasn't supposed to tell you ANYTHING! Look, what happens if it turns out that it was your neighbor who stole the credit card number and you go and punch them out. I'm the one that gets sued, not you! I'm not going to be liable. This happens all the time. Someone steals a credit card number, they use our site to see if the credit card number will go through, If it does, then they start shopping.
Me: Wait, WHAT? Let me get this straight. YOU are PROTECTING the thieves? Are you going to turn this information over to the police?
(CSR#2): (Laughter) Not without a warrant I'm not.
Me: So when can I expect my money back?
(CSR#2): (More laughter) Ma'am, you're going to have to take this up with your credit card company.
Me: Well, what if I said I wanted a refund because your web hosting sucks? Then I could have my refund, right?
(CSR#2): Ma'am this $69.99 charge from September is a renewal charge. The account was originally opened September 21 of 2007.
Me: Wait, WHAT? 2007? So I have actually paid $140 to Register.com in the past two years?
(CSR#2): Looks that way. You may want to start looking at your credit card statem-
Phone is slammed on the desk.
It's bad enough to not notice the charge form September. To not notice the original charge is inexcusable. We are lucky that these are the only fraudulent charges on our credit card. At this point, I have signed up to have our credit card statements mailed to us again. When I started to go green and had them emailed to me, I obviously started slacking. It will also be a lot easier to track our purchases on the credit card since I no longer commute and we are hardly putting anything on the credit card anymore. I am still feeling really, really stupid.