Coffee heat rising

Privacy: It’s none of their business

Peter at Bible Money Matters reports that when he called American Express to cancel an old credit card account that hadn’t been used in years, he was blitzed with a high-pressure pitch to keep the card. Among other things, the person who answered his phone call asked him why he would want to cancel a perfectly fine credit card. One of Peter’s readers also reported having been asked a similar question and then pursuedwith attempts to discuss balances on other cards and her arrangements for emergency funds. Wow! All of these matters come under the heading of nobody’s business but yours. Stand in front of the mirror and practice uttering these phrases:
That’s none of your business.
Why do you want to know?
I don’t share that kind of information with strangers.

Be prepared to use them at the drop of a hat.

The psychology of phone interactions between companies and consumers is fascinating. Decades ago, my mother worked for the phone company in California. Part of her job was to check up on fraudulent long-distance calls, which in those days were pretty easy to make. When a customer called in and said a call to thus-&-such a number was incorrectly billed to him, she would telephone the number and ask whoever answered who had called them at the time and date shown on the bill. Amazingly, when asked point-blank most people would blurt out the perp’s name without thinking.

She said she’d been taught during the phone company’s training sessions that when confronted with an unexpected personal question, most people will answer honestly before they think about it. A lot of the conversation that Peter and his readers report entails having some minimum wage employee at a phone bank—possibly in some other country—engage the mark in a conversation about matters that are none of his or her business, solely for the purpose of manipulation.

It’s another reason we should protect our privacy and draw a line where information that belongs to us is concerned.

Remember: Just say no!

4 thoughts on “Privacy: It’s none of their business”

  1. You’re probably right about that – it is none of their business. It was kinda fun to see what they would say to get me to stay though – good blog post fodder!

  2. Man, glad it wasn’t just me thinking the credit card reps were getting crazier. I called to activate my new Discover card (evidently they just send new cards because the day ends in “y” not because the old one has expired) and the rep went through a whole speech about how she uses her card and her cash back rewards and how well it worked and don’t we all need some help this time of year.

    That was a whole bunch of TMI right there. Also 10-15 minutes of my life I’ll never seen again. I was tired and hadn’t eaten dinner yet so I just let her say her piece and then ended the call. I need energy to be cranky and contrary.

  3. In ’92. my mother was on the phone for almost an hour with amex over cancelling her card. She was cash only her whole life, got the card for her one trip to Israel. When she got back, she cancelled the card. The guy coddled and finally harangued her. He said, ‘what can we do to keep your business?’ ten different ways. Frustrated, she finally said ‘you are a shylock with a desk’. Silence. They cancelled her card.

    Momma was right.

Comments are closed.