(Posted Monday 7-23-01) This I feel concerns anyone over the age of 18 and who lives in a civilized country and hopes that they still have some kind of personal rights left as a human being. You just have to read this story, think about the simple logic that’s involved and wonder why these corporations make YOUR RIGHTS TO PRIVACY such a fucking nightmare to protect.
I’ve never owned a credit card and to be honest I have no time for them. But my wife said to establish ‘Good Credit’ is better than having no credit background at all. So at some point down the line there’s at least a history there. I have to agree with her it’s a good point.
So why have I bought you here to tell you this story you ask, well it’s simple, I am just amazed at how stupid our society has become. I’ll give you a very quick interjection here before I start, just to give you an idea of where we are going as a society. On Friday 7-20-01 I called up our long distance company. I told the Deborah, the operator (who was looking at the same on line statement that I was) that the only ten calls on our bill were to the UK. It even said that on the screen; “UK”. With talk.com all our calls to the England are 7 cents a minute 24/7. Yet on two calls, I was charged 31 cents a minute. (Hence a 3 minute call was billed at 93 cents and a 15 min call was $4.81.) “I see that,” she said “it will take THREE to FIVE days for one of our technicians to look at that and “IF” you’re to be credited it will happen after FIVE days.”
I was flabbergasted. Firstly, talk.com only has one rate to the UK (once you pay the $3.95 a month) and that’s 7 cents a minute. That is obvious if you just look at my on line statement.
1) Why does she have to get somebody else to credit me, it’s an obvious 100% error?
2) Why can’t this simply be corrected while she and I are on the phone?
3) And this fucking amazes me, why on earth does it take 3 to 5 days to fix? If it takes talk.com that long to correct a very simple logical error then why don’t they tell the operators who you’re calling at that time to correct the error on the spot?”
OK, so now you’ve got an idea of what I’m about to get into regarding my original story. So on Friday 7-20-01, I called Washington Mutual Bank (1-800-382-3334) to apply for a platinum credit card. I was told to call “1-800-649-4090” where Charles came on the line. He took all the relevant information from me. After we were done he said, “Is there anything you would like to ask before I submit this?” “Yes” I said, “the same question I’d asked you before I gave you my social security number. ‘Can your company (Associated Credit) and Washington Mutual assure me that once you have my personal information you’re not going to sell it or give it out to one or more of these lists? Coz to be honest the next thing I know I’ll be bombarded with loads of crap mail from companies trying to sell me stuff that I’m not interested in.’ You have all of my personal information there from my social security number, my mothers maiden name to how much I earn in a year and to be frank that’s between YOU and ME and NO ONE else PERIOD!
To my surprise he really couldn’t answer the question. I told him to take his time while he spent 15 minutes asking supervisors that exact question and again none of them knew how to answer it. That’s disgusting? It should be a simple case of “We don’t give your personal information out to ANYBODY if you request us not to?” Shouldn’t this be the case, I think it should?
So after the weekend I called back the first number again. I explained everything to Cheryl. She told me that I was THE FIRST PERSON TO HAVE EVER ASKED FOR A COPY OF THE PRIVACY ACT “before” opening an account. Within that document I can sign my name stating that I wish Washington Mutual and Associated Credit not to sell my information to anyone. I told Cheryl once I had that document I’d sign it and mail it back. Then a few days later I’d call and they’d take my information for a platinum card. That way they’d instantly put a flag on my account stating that I don’t want my personal information given out. Doesn’t that sound fucking simple? Well get this, she informed me that THE COROPORATE OFFICE WILL ONLY SEND THE PRIVACY ACT OUT TO EXISTING CUSTOMERS.
I was beyond words when she told me that. Talk about a VIOLATION OF YOUR RIGHTS TO PRIVACY? In other words:
I CANNOT REQUEST TO HAVE MY INFORMATION WITHHELD BY THE BANK OVER THE PHONE AND ON TOP OF THAT BEFORE OPENING MY ACCOUNT THEY WONT EVEN MAIL THE PRIVACY ACT OUT TO ME EITHER.
If you’re following what I’m saying here, this is a complete Catch 22 situation. Overall, it takes two weeks to open an account over the phone. When I say two weeks, this includes mailing the Privacy act out to you. Upon receiving it you have to sign it stating that you don’t want your privacy violated and of course you have to mail it back to them. THEN and only THEN, once it’s back in their hands they can finally put a flag on your account. BUT there’s a two week gap there! Very clever don’t you think? It’s during this time period that they sell and give out your information to any Tom, Dick and Harry that wants it. Is it me or is there something radically wrong with this picture?
If that wasn’t bad enough, the supervisor, Jessica listened to me and said here’s a phone number that will answer all of your questions. So I called 1-888-567-8688. Here I found it impossible to talk to a live person, and all I found was automated recordings.
I apologize if this kind of subject doesn’t interest you, but sadly if we don’t wake up, this kind of shit will blanket any rights we all once had as human beings. At this rate we’ll have none left with crap like this.
I thank you for your reading again, regards, Johnny Anderson.
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