Thursday, May 10, 2012

Liberty



It all began with a discovery. That I, Mugen the careless didn't pay attention to my credit card's billing statement. It took me a week to realize that I was way past the due date, and that, a heavy penalty was already forthcoming.

I paid the full amount the next day and called the credit card's customer service hotline to report my delinquency. At first, I said that I'm planning to cease using the card. Terminate it. But when they hit back and told me that I still have to settle the P600 interest, I toned down my rhetoric and begged for clemency instead.

"Kasi, I went to the province last Holy Week." I explained. "I only saw the bill yesterday." 

It was a creative ruse. 

"Baka naman puwede niyo i-reconsider. Kasi pag hindi na-retract yung penalty, ang babayaran ko next month ay interest lang." I pleaded.

"After all, I am a long-time and good-paying customer."

"I understand sir. Your request has been forwarded to our collections department" The agent said. "Let's hope they listen to your appeal."

"Sana nga."

"Is that all sir?"

"Yes."

The phone call ended.

It took them four days to reply. I called the same hotline twice before I got an answer. And when the agent delivered the outcome, their decision was a disappointment.

"I'm sorry sir but your appeal was rejected." 

"Ganun?" My hand was squeezing the phone's headset. "Hindi ba masyadong unfair na mas mababa pa sa singkwenta pesos yung utang ko, tapos ang interest eh six hundred pesos?"

"I'm sorry sir, but that's our card's policy." The agent's response was cold. Almost unsympathetic. "If you want, we can conduct a further investigation, this time involving the person who delivered your bill."

My head was screaming. I can't believe the credit card company would waste that much time and resources for a P600 profit. To a fault, I thought it was pathetic. I'm not that desperate to fight over something that's been my fault in the first place.

But I know how to hit where it really hurts.

"Okay. Please write this down." I calmly said. As an officer who requires to know something about customer service work, I'm certain that the agent handling the call is required to take notes, especially in escalation cases like the one he's about to face.

"Tell the one who reviewed my appeal that his decision was a big mistake." I said. "I will cut this card, as well as my Visa." 

"I can't believe that this is the price of my loyalty."


Three weeks had passed before the new billing statements from the credit card company came. The first thing I did was pay the five pesos balance, for me to be able to cancel my Visa. It was a sweet vengeance I tell you, especially when the escalation officer called. She tried to bargain - convince me to change my mind by way of scrapping my membership due.

"Revoke the penalty on my Mastercard and I'll keep my Visa." I commanded.

"I'm really sorry sir, but my superior said it can't be done."

"Well then, goodbye." I said, smiling. "It was fun doing business with you."

With the Visa gone, the next thing I did was to return to the bank a few days later and pay for my Mastercard. Seven hundred pesos. That's enough cash to dine my mom in a restaurant, or have a movie date with Baabaa. And it will all go to waste simply because some wise corporate drone thought he'd get rewarded for bringing money to Metrobank.

Unfortunately, he forgot. Long-term earnings rest on the customer who uses the card.

"Hello Metrobank, my name is Mugen. Here is my account number."

"What can I do for you Mr. Mugen?"

"I'd like to know if my payment yesterday has already appeared on my balance?"

"Yes. You have zero balance left."

"So wala na akong utang sa inyo?"

"Wala na po."

"Very well, I'm terminating my card."

I'm sure, the person on the other end of the line was caught unprepared. After all, most people call to ask their balance so they maybe able to purchase more items on credit. Once again, my concern was escalated.

This time, my mind is set. There is no turning back.


I used to think credit cards define status; so people would know that you are rich, and that you have been privileged to spend without using cash. It was Metrobank who first placed their trust; my first credit card was Visa. I bought gifts for loved ones. Slept well at night, knowing I have emergency funds. Went to opulent places without stuffing my wallet with cumbersome cash. It even guaranteed my online acquisitions as Paypal uses the card as monetary substitute.

I could have kept one for sentimental reasons. But with a P600 penalty charge and a feeling of betrayal clouding my judgement, I decided to cut both.







I do not know if the message got across, or whether the inconsiderate bastard would ever find out the outcome of his decision; of how we tend to lose more because of our short-term vision.

As for me, the dissolution of two cards meant a permanent cash-flow problem resolution. Credit purchases will significantly lessen. I will be forced to spend within my means. In the long run, the absence may turn out more beneficial than what I have foreseen. For instead of my earnings being eaten by bill payments, whatever money I receive will now go directly to the bank.

At long last, I will have my savings back.  



17 comments:

Louie said...

I used to have a credit card with them too, at dahil sa mga penalties na yan nabaon ako nun sa utang at hindi na ako naka catch up sa bayarin ko sa kanila. It took me years para ma zero ang liability ko sa kanila. Haha. Kaya ngayon, kahit anong offer ng credit card, inaayawan ko na talaga. Lol.

Cheers to your financial freedom, idol! :)

RoNRoNTuRoN said...

I never had a credit card. Ay once pala. Pinadalhan ako ng BDO ng Gold card na MasterCard. But I terminated it after a year without ever swiping it.

My mom's voice still rings in my ear: never use a credit card. Spend what you have on hand.

It's almost cashless transactions na dito, and With regards to online transactions, I use my savings account's debit card which for me is better kase you get to spend what you only have.

Kudos! I hope ur finally free from the credit card monster.

Mac Callister said...

nag iba na nga tingin ko sa credit card ngayon e,pag madaming credit card isang tao ibig sabihin mas madami siyang utang!LOL

iisa lang card ko ngayon HSBC at la na ko balak na dagdagan yun. dupang sila sa interests e. mababaon sa utang ang isang tao hehe

tama na din yan decision mo na yan.

Drama King said...

Gusto ko lang sabihin na naiinggit ako. Haha. Binabayaran ko na now ang mga cards ko and hopefully kapag tapos na, makapagpost din ako ng ganitong picture sa blog/fb/twitter ko. I think you made the right decision idol! :)

Lady Datu said...

Credit cards are for me simply the sole gateway to international online purchases. I don't see the point of owning more than one.

Banks are simply not the most well known for sympathy. Penalties ARE penalties.

Eternal Wanderer... said...

ang linya dyan, "i want to talk to your supervisor."

escalation kung escalation call ang labas :P

*nagmamadilta*

Lone wolf Milch said...

in my case ginagamit ko lang credit card ko sa pagbili ng airline ticket. more on cash pa rin ako kasi ayoko malubog sa utang

Gian said...

good job! spending pattern and earning program re-initializing..

loading..

updates completed. =)

Ms. Chuniverse said...

I am actually considering doing the same thing. The same credit card company, charged me for late payment recently. I paid them 3 banking days prior to my due date with my personal check. The payment was cleared on the 2nd day. But they posted payment on the 4th day. Now they want me to pay for the late penalty charges?

I made a request and I am still waiting for their response. Ay, pagbutihin nila or i might do a Mugen.

Pahiram ng gunting. Char. :)

Lance Baydal said...

Hi mugen!
It's been a while since i last posted a note here in your blog. Though I was reading every post you have through an rss reader.
I have a card too but i make sure I pay every sweldo time, so that's every 15th so that in case i miss the end of month's deadline, at least naka bayad na ako 15 days earlier..:)
I used to play that kind of bargain game with ISPs for my internet connection..so funny lang talking to agents knowing that i used to be one before..:))

rudeboy said...

Credit cards do have their uses, but I agree that they are mostly insidious tools for the banking industry to yoke you into financial slavery.

So, congratulations on your freedom from that particular bondage, Joms.

Mugen said...

Rudeboy:

With FOUR credit cards holding me hostage, the financial freedom I get from this is life changer.

Thanks

Lance:

Of course I remember you. You're one of my first readers, doon sa old blog pa. :)

Tama ka, when you used to be in their shoes, you somehow know what they're going through.

Kaya nga kahit galit na galit ako, I can't vent my frustration to the agents. I had to emphasize that its their superiors who's at fault.

Miss Chuniverse:

Ay nako, the moment you're forced to pay the penalty. There's no turning back. Goodbye Credit Card company ka na.

Gian:

Thank you.

Mugen said...

Milch:

As a rule, as long as my savings is bigger than my credit, I could still spend. Pero lately, nawawalan na ako ng savings. So I have to change the trend.

Besides I still have a credit card to dispose. :)

Mac:

Andami daming nag-aapply ng credit card. Andami dami rin naman tumatakbo sa utang. Haha.

When this is over, I'd just maintain a single card. :)

Ron:

Kaya hindi affected ang Norway sa financial crisis eh. Norwegians really know how to spend within their means. Hehe.

Louie:

Mapalad naman ako na hindi pa ako umaabot sa ganung situation. Pero. Better stop the trend now, bago pa maging too late to change it.

Thank you!

Ternie:

Sus, yung ibang agents sasabihin nila, "My supervisor's not available." Etc. Etc. Pero kung power trip talaga ang usapan, magandang idea yan. Haha.

Lady Datu:

Yes, I thought of that too. That's why I hit back by way of ending my business relationship.

They won't earn when they lose card users. Malas lang nila, I wrote about it as well. Haha.

Drama King:

Mga next year pa before I could say I'm free with my obligations. May dalawa pa akong card na binabayaran. Recently, I used one to buy aircon for my mom.

Small victory pa lang ito. Hehe.

Nate said...

@Kuya Joms: "i'm not a fan of credit cards.." yan ang laging sinasabi ko sa mga nag-ooffer sa akin.. :/ and lately, BDO sent me a pre-activated one; i'm like, WTF!!

anyway, gusto ko yung linya ng mahal na reyna: "Ay, pagbutihin nila or i might do a Mugen."

natawa ako, as if Mugen = some kind of a fit; like a bitch fit or something.. :))

red the mod said...

Sadly your message of distrust and the pangs of betrayal, lack of consideration, and apathy are easily erased by time. At the end of the day, both to the manager and the agent you spoke with, you are a mere digit in a countless sea of accounts, faceless people who trickle and flow their dreams into the bank's profit-driven machinations.

But financial freedom is a good vindication. Although I personally do not possess a credit card, nor do I believe in its logic; the best way to spend is within one's means.

wandering emo said...

Wow... Natupad mo ang isang bagay na pinapangarap ko hehe...

By the way sir, I have a very important thing to tell you... Concerned lang ako... Just shoot me an email ASAP sana...

jasetiojanco said...

Congratulations on your financial freedom, Mugen! :)

I'm considering doing the same. I thought I'm disciplined enough to own a credit card since I've been saving money consistently. Sadly, ever since I received my credit card, I've hardly saved a peso. Sometimes, I even 'borrow' from my savings.

Right now, the only reason why I want to keep my credit card is so I have something to use for emergencies, like when my mom was rushed to the hospital. I had to buy medicines but I haven't transferred cash to my ATM so it was a good thing that I had a CC.