It’s The Good Advice That You Just Didn’t Take

Logan: Big week for me, Mike. I finally paid you back the $20 I borrowed from you so I’d have enough to pay my therapist two weeks ago (he loved that) (actually he hated that).

Mike: Haha. Yes, I told you that you didn’t have to pay me back that money, but you insisted on it. Which I think is good! Holding yourself accountable for things and all.

Logan: Yes, well, having an outstanding debt for money borrowed to pay a therapist with whom to talk about one’s debt seems … problematic. I pay my therapist in cash, by the way, so that it will feel like real money. This was his idea. It’s a good idea. Also so he won’t worry about my checks bouncing. Also his idea. Also probably a good idea.

Mike: So, the other day, I was in the room with you when you called your credit card company and insisted that they reimburse you for a returned payment. I was so glad you did that! And the interest rate on that credit card is killer, and you asked for them to lower it, which was also great!

Logan: I think “insisted” might be a really strong word there, Mike, but I’ll take it. I really really reallllllllllly hate calling customer service. I mean, everyone does, obviously. Last time I had to call the credit union (last month) I emailed them instead, which is less effective. Or at least didn’t inspire the lady who got my email to reverse some ATM fees based on … me wanting her to reverse them.

But yes. I called the credit card customer service line and asked them to reverse that fee and they did! The main purpose of the call, though, was to ask for a lower interest rate. I had done some ill-advised and day-ruining math and realized that I paid $1,000 in payments to this credit card last year, but my balance only went down $500. Meaning I paid $500 in interest. AHHH. So I called the credit card company and I asked to have my interest rate lowered. I was a little bit in shock. And really grumpy. And you were like, “That is how interest works.” And I was like, “I know! But I forgot!”

Mike: And after the call, I misheard you, because at first, I thought that you said you convinced them to lower your interest rate by 3 percent—which isn’t something to scoff at! But what did they do for you really?

Logan: They lowered it by three QUARTERS of a percent. Which is not even worth me doing the math to figure out what that will be “saving” me each month. I thanked her profusely anyway.

Mike: And then you hung up the phone! That was the first thing they put on the table, but I think you could have pushed back on it and convinced them to lower it even more. We sort of talked about the strategy before you called—how you could have told them that if they didn’t lower the interest rate, you would transfer the balance to a lower interest rate card and close your account (and you didn’t have to actually follow through on this—just threaten to do it, basically).

Logan: I know, I know and then I used all of my energy just, like, dialing and trying to get them to find my account, and I took their first offer. Their first, generous, three-quarters of a percent offer. Credit cards are terrible. Don’t ever use them. Wish I’d learned that lesson the first 480238490284 times someone told it to me. I think I’ve got it now, though. Pretty sure.

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