Let me tell you a story. Well, two stories.
Once upon a time, there lived a guy in Singapore who decided that he was ready for his first credit card. He'd held out for a while but thought it was time he got one. So he shopped around on the Internet for a good deal and decided on a couple of banks. Both seemed to have pretty good deals and both had good reputations. So the guy went to each bank's website and filled in the application form.
The first bank said, "We'll get back to you about the documents we need. Until then, sit tight."
It turned out that the guy didn't really have that much sitting around to do. The bank sent him a letter a couple of days later with instructions on how to proceed. The guy was pleasantly surprised at the speed of the whole affair. He followed the instructions he'd been given and was soon the proud possessor of a piece of pearly plastic.
And what of bank number two? After he'd filled in the online application firm, the website displayed a fax number and instructed the guy to send in his supporting documents within two days. Stick to the deadline and we'll give you a little freebie, said the bank.
The guy was well prepared. He sent in his documents the same day and sat back to wait for the plastic to arrive in the mail.
Days turned into weeks. The guy couldn't feel his bum anymore what with all that sitting around.
Then, a phone call: "Sir, we need you to send in your documents again."
"Oh. Why, what's the problem?"
"No, sir, sorry, sir, the fax didn't print okay. Could you try again?"
"Ok, sure. But it's been a few weeks now. Do I still get my freebie for meeting your submission deadline?"
"Don't worry about that, sir. I have it right here ready for you."
So the guy faxed them his documents again.
A few days later: "Sorry, sir, it didn't work this time either. Please try again."
(Time check: 6 weeks since the original Internet application.)
Then: "Now we need you to submit this other document."
"You've got to be kidding me. Please just cancel my application."
"I'm so sorry about all this, sir, but I understand how you feel."
Fifteen minutes later: "Hello, is this Mr The Guy? I'm a manager at Bank Number Two and I just heard you decided not to apply for our card."
"You heard right, buddy. You guys had me training for the Faxing Olympics. Thanks, but no thanks."
"Oh, I'm sorry. Bye-bye then."
"That was weird", thought the guy. "I thought these chaps knew what they were doing. Obviously not. The really weird thing is, this manager chappie took the time to give me a call but he didn't seem to care enough to redeem the situation. Maybe it was just standard operating procedure and he was making the token call. If he'd done something to clean up the mess, I might even have switched from being a disgruntled prospect to an evangelistic customer of the bank. After all, I'd been patient enough to wait this long so I was already mentally invested in this."
Some days later, the guy was checking his banking records (bank #3) and noticed he'd been charged an annual fee for a debit card he'd held for a few years now. He decided he'd just cancel the card. After all, he didn't really need it now that he had a credit card (issued by bank #1).
So he gave his bank a call and explained that he'd just been charged a fee for a card that he didn't really need. What would they suggest he do? Hang onto the card for a year since he'd already been billed for the year in advance? Or convert the debit card to a credit card? Either way, he just knew for a fact that they wouldn't refund the fee if he simply cancelled the card.
To his amazement, the bank officer offered to cancel the card then and there over the phone and credit a refund of the fee to the guy's bank account.
The word "refund" had been uttered by a bank employee! Surely they had rules about these things? A list of banned words? Wasn't the phone call being taped?
Was it because he was a long-time customer of the bank? Was it because the amount to be refunded was so, well, piddly?
The guy pushed his luck further. "Can you tell me if I have any recurring bills linked to this card? I'll need to move those over to my credit card. I don't know if you have that information."
"Yes, sir. You have an arrangement with __ company. No one else. Can I help you with anything else?"
"No, that's all. Thank you, you've been very helpful."
And the guy lived happily ever after.
So. Two very different stories. Anyone want to guess who banks #2 and #3 are?