Should We Believe Bloggers, CSR, or Terms?


Today we are going to talk about something more ethereal. As we all know, playing with credit card is an issue of YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). In most cases, similar situations that encountered by different people may lead to different results: why your card got approved while mine was rejected immediately? Why your limit is much higher than mine while my income is actually higher than yours? Why the customer service told me that it works, while I was told that it won’t work like this? Why the customer service says “no” while you bloggers say “yes”? There are too many questions like these. So today, let’s talk about this issue: who is the most authoritative?

In fact, this problem sounds funny, how can we bloggers be more authoritative than the authorities and the customer service of the banks? To be honest, we can’t compete with them at all! However, since a lot of things are operated by human beings, the same standard produces various strange results.

Seriously speaking, the core of everything is Terms & Condition. Undoubtedly, this is the most authoritative thing. All “players”, “content of games” and “GM” must obey the T&C. But the problems is: how the Terms are enforced? T&C can be executed by a machine, or manually executed by a human. Terms executed by computers are often referred as Hard Code, for instance, you cannot recharge a Target Redcard with credit card. For most Hard Code, there is little room to negotiate. But things are different when it is a human. Terms cannot be changed, but people’s mind will. Different service staff may have different understandings and different enforcement of the Terms, thus, lead to different results. When T&C is not written in detail and with flaws, it will make the manual execution more flexible. Many people may have been rejected by the customer service when trying to do the recon chase in the first call, but if you try again and if it is another service staff, you will get approved. To put it bluntly, this is the situation that on the verge of breaking rules: whether approve it or not, it all depends on the service staff’s mood. I think this is a typical example of different customer service staff may enforce the terms differently.

Apart from Terms & Conditions, which can be seen by everyone, there are some unwritten rules, which will also be executed, for instance, the “five cards in two years” rule of Chase, and the 8/65 rule of Citi . These rules may also be Hard Code, such as Citi’s 8/65, although this time interval may vary (8/65 is generally the safest), but if you apply twice within one day, then at least one of them will be rejected, (except pre-qualify, details in Citi FAQ), which is executed automatically by the computer system. Some may ask: the rules handled by the service staff may be flexible, but is it possible to get any chance in front of hard code rules? Actually, sometimes it’s possible. Now we are going to talk about those who are closely related to this issue: the customer service representatives (CSR).

We have just talked about the most important feature of the customer service: for most (note that I didn’t say ALL) Terms, different people will definitely enforce them differently. It is actually quite diplomatic to say that they may enforce the terms differently, many service staff are not even clear about the standard of their own company (especially for those in branches) … Besides, different service staff have different authority limits, some may have high level of authority. To what extent? They are not limited by the computer system, and can rewrite the decision made by a previous service staff. The most typical example is the back door call center representative of Chase, they have the privilege to overwrite the decision made by a previous representative or computer. Another example is the platinum card of Amex and PRG, we know that every year there are flight subsides, and once selected, it cannot be altered. But in fact, the customer service representatives have the power to change it. As long as you haven’t used the subsidy, you may ask the online chat representatives to change it for you. But no one can assure you that you will be successful. Therefore, more variables is added to this issue. What causes the seemingly strange results? The change of standards or the privileged representatives? Who knows? But if most people are rejected and a few are approved, then I tend to believe that it is a representative who pleases his customer with his privilege.

At last, it is the bloggers. To tell the truth, we are unable to do any authoritative decision… or we will work in a bank, not to write blogs. Most bloggers work is to gather data points on the Internet, or draw some conclusion from their own experience to see whether a term is executed or not. Is there any hidden rule? Is this a hard code, and is it possible for the representative to change it? And so on and so on … Some of the blogger may have friends working in the bank, and may give more authoritative explanations, for example, the famous Doctor of Credit. At least, on the whole, all the bloggers will strive to give you the most authoritative and most accurate information, but after all they are not the people who make decisions in banks, so mistakes are inevitable.

So back to our original issue: customer service representatives, T&C and bloggers, who should be trusted? Well, with all the discussions above, no answer can be given, it depends:

  • Terms may be changed; or it is written in a way, and executed in another way; it could be executed by code, or by people; code could have bugs; there might be hidden rules.
  • Representatives may be unreliable, also there may be different results executing the same term; they might have strong power to control your results. Your results depend on how they click their mouse…
  • The bloggers are trying the best to search for clues and data points, and we can only provide the right thing that we believe and try to help the readers…

You may trust any of them. You can ask the representatives, Google and the blogs, and make your own decision with the information you acquired. Or the best way to find out the answer is to try it. You won’t lose anything for a try, but please keep one thing in mind: be polite! And who knows, maybe the representative is in good mood and you will get approved!

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