Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Delta Sky Miles

Delta Sky Miles
If you have one of these cards, you might be in a world of hurt the next time it needs to be renewed. They may ask you for your mother’s birthday and if you don’t know it, you are screwed.

My most recent problem occurred when a new card arrived in the mail. It had the usual sticker with a message to call a number to “activate” it. I don’t know why it needed to be activated because they certainly didn’t have any problem billing me, nor did I have any problems paying the bills.

The automated activation procedure went along fine until the voice wanted my mother’s birthday. Now, since I grew up in foster homes and other institutions, I certainly didn’t know my mother’s birthday. I did, however, know my mother’s maiden name, often asked for identification, because it was on a birth certificate I obtained so I could get a passport. Nevertheless, the “voice” insisted, and eventually I was connected to a “real human,” who went through the same scenario, demanding to know my mother’s birthday. I told the attendant that they certainly couldn’t use that for verification because probably nobody knows my mother’s birthday, certainly not them.

Cancel the account
This was very frustrating so I told the attendant to just cancel the account. The ominous voice claimed that he couldn’t cancel the account because he couldn’t verify who I was. I hung up, cut up the card, and threw it in the garbage. When they send a bill, demanding the yearly fee, I will write them, telling them that I have no such account, because they didn’t “know” who I was.

American Express
I have an American Express Business card which will probably expire in a few months. I really need that card for business travel. American Express is the parent company of Delta Sky Miles. If they use the same “verification” procedure, I’m not going to be able to just throw that card away. Nobody from the company answers regular Email and I can't Email those employees through their Web page because, you guessed it, I can't set up a "login account," because I don't know my mother's birthday. I will probably have to send a certified letter to the corporate offices. This is what happens when companies just don’t give a damn.

Database errors
In fact, I had to get an American Express “business” card because some error in their database had me taking an airplane trip from somewhere they wouldn’t tell, to somewhere they didn’t know. In spite of the fact that they could never show any paperwork about the flight for which I refused to pay, I was permanently barred from obtaining a regular American Express card. Every few months I’d get some, “You’ve been pre-approved for the American Express card,” advertisement in the mail. I’d fill out the form, send it in, and immediately receive a rejection notice. That’s when I decided to get an American Express Business card --after they had given me the "business."

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