29 July 2009

More Phone Problems UPDATE

SOLVED. See end of post.

It never ends. First there was Staples, way back when. Then Google AdSense. Then this online retailer or that one - all of whom make the telephone field in their web forms mandatory.

Now it's RBC (Royal Bank of Canada).

Monday, I received my new 'chip' Visa card. It bore the following instructions.

Before you use your new chip card:
1. Know your PIN. [Not a problem]
2. Call to activate from your primary phone number. [Problem]

I send this message from within my RBC online account, under their subject heading VISA Products:

Received my new Visa chip card today with the sticker advising to "call to activate from your primary phone number." I haven't a phone and therefore haven't a 'primary phone number'. How do I activate my new card under these circumstances?

The reply I received:

Dear Ms. Ocean:

My name is Brad, and I'd be happy to assist you with your inquiry concerning our activation procedure.

I'm sorry for the confusion--I want to assure you that you don't need a landline in order to activate your card. However, you do need to call from the primary number we have on your Visa profile--which is (250) 748-8095. This is the number you last had both your Visa file and your RBC client profile updated with; our automated card activation system will need your call to come from that number in order to validate your card and make it ready to accept charges.

Thanks for contacting us, Ms. Ocean, and I trust I've cleared things up for you. We'll be happy to help you again if there's anything else you d like to discuss.

If you prefer, you can call us any time at 1-800-769-2512.

To which I respond:

In my initial message, I stated "I haven't a phone." How is that not clear?

At one time, I had a phone. Now I don't. Therefore "I haven't a 'primary phone number'" and my question still stands: How do I activate my new card under these circumstances?

I swear these people DON'T READ.

And yes, I'm dirt poor and have a Visa card whose balance I maintain at zero. Yet it wouldn't surprise me if, despite my flawless payment record and a high credit rating that I'll be denied its renewal because I no longer have a phone.

UPDATE: This time the squeaky wheel, perhaps oiled by my blogging & twittering about it, produced a satisfactory - and fairly prompt - response. My latest Visa card has been activated, after a verification process that didn't involve a damn phone.

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