Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Discover Card is Crap

*Update: About a month after this post was made, Discover card found it and contacted us in the hopes of remedying the situation. You can read about it here.

Before we left the country to travel to Southeast Asia, Cale called Discover card. He wanted to know if our card would work in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. He was assured by the woman on the other end of the line in customer service that the card would work at any ATM in Thailand that carried the Diners' Club logo. Granted, we knew that these would probably be rare, but we figured we would be able to find one or two in the big cities. She couldn't say if there would be anywhere to use the card in Cambodia or Vietnam.

We quickly discovered that our card didn't work in Thailand. We located several ATMs with Diners' Club logos and none of them would take our card. At first we weren't to concerned about this, however, as time progressed we were more and more interested in having access to our Discover card. We wanted to keep as much real money in our bank account in case of an emergency and use cash transfers or cash advances from credit while we were overseas. Once we got back to the States we would pay off the credit from the bank account.

While in Phnom Penh Cale called the Discover card's 24-hour customer service line using Skype. He complained to the person on the other end that he had been lied to about being able to use his card in Southeast Asia. The customer service rep seemed to be surprised that some one had told him the card would work at Diners' Club ATMs and assured him his card would not work in Asia. Yeah, we had kinda figured that one out. However, this new rep assured Cale that he could use his card at Western Union to get a cash advance. Eager to test this information Cale went out in a down pour to a Western Union around the corner. They looked at him like he was a crazy person and had no idea what to do with his card. Cale returned to the room and took a look at Western Union's web site. They claimed to only support Visa and Mastercard.

He called Discover back.

He told the new rep that the last two reps had lied to him about where he could use his Discover card. This new rep was surprised that someone had told him that he could use his card at Western Union. "Oh, no. Western Union doesn't support Discover." Yeah, we had kinda figured that one out.

Cale was starting to get a little frustrated. However, he is significantly nicer than I am in these sorts of situations. I would have been getting a little irate. In fact, I was from off the phone I was furiously scribbling pointed notes and angry questions that I wanted Cale to repeat into the phone. He tried to ignore me.

Cale went from one rep to another, explaining to each one that the information provided by the last one wasn't true. He continually asked why they couldn't just enable the balance transfer feature that would allow him to transfer a cash advance from Discover to our bank account online. The answer, because you have to make at least three "qualifying" payments and though we had paid Discover card more than three times since getting the card, these payments were not "qualifying" because they had not been done through the Discover web site. At this time we had a $0 balance with Discover and would have to make a purchase online with the card so we could then pay them back using their web interface to get the qualifying payments. How stupid is that. Cale also repeatedly asked how it was that because he had the wallet protection program if he lost his card they would find a way to get him $1,000 no matter where he was, but because he still has his card they cannot help him.

"I don't want to lie to you guys and tell you that I lost the card, but that is the only option you are giving me at this point."

I am not kidding when I tell you that at one point while Cale was on the phone with a rep told him to "Hold on, let me get you some
real information." Seriously? Now you are going to get the real information? What was all that previous information you were providing us with?

Long story short? We are still in Southeast Asia and we still cannot use our Discover card and Discover seems to have no problem with that even though they repeatedly claimed there were ways to use the card here.

Discover card is crap.

— Sara

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