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Discover Card’s Idea of “Hurricane Relief”

By JLP | September 18, 2008

I just received this email from Discover Card:

Subject: Hurricane Relief Information

I’m very sorry to hear about the recent disaster that affected your community. Please know that Discover Card is here to help you through this difficult time.

We can assist you with locating ATMs, issue emergency PINs to access cash, and provide additional/replacement cards for immediate use. You can also view your statement summary online and make an immediate payment or schedule a payment in advance – whenever it’s most convenient for you. We also have additional services for qualified accounts that may be helpful.

Thanks for being a Discover Cardmember. If there is anything we can do to serve you better, please let us know. Knowledgeable Account Managers are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-668-8767, or you can always visit Discover.com.

Edward Stolbof
Senior Vice President
Customer Service and Engagement
DFS Services LLC

One question:

Where exactly is the “relief” in that email?

It sounds much more like a call for customers to use their cards to rack up some good ol’ American debt. I hope not very many people have to take them up on their offer. Evacuating for a hurricane is a perfect example of why families need an emergency fund.

Topics: Hurricanes | 19 Comments »


19 Responses to “Discover Card’s Idea of “Hurricane Relief””

  1. Julia Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Were you expecting money? Deferred due dates? What? I think that was a nice letter.

  2. nice Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    I got that, too. Gee, thanks for letting me make an immediate payment since my city just got smashed and barely anyone has had power for a week!

  3. JLP Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Julia,

    It was a nice letter, I suppose. But, I still fail to see what exactly was related to any sort of “relief.”

  4. Tina Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Yeah…THAT is classic. I love the “make an immediate payment or schedule a payment in advance”…

    credit card companies = ambulance chasers :)

  5. ahc99 Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I think their “help” is either letting you take out your own cash or borrow some more cash. I’ve never expected to get relief from credit card companies though. It’s not how they make money.

  6. Jim Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I really wouldn’t expect them to offer you free money. The letter does seem really to be expressing sympathy and saying “we’re here if you need us” which really isn’t a bad thing.

    I’ve had a Discover card for years. My impression of them is pretty positive and they are not at all what I’d consider to be a predatory lender in any way.

    On a related note they were fairly generous after Katrina / Rita and they did offer ‘payment relief’ to card holders then :
    https://www.discovercard.com/discover/data/disasterrelief/

    Jim

  7. Kimberly Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I’m not sure what more they could have been expected to offer. If you’re in a situation where you *need* to use the card, then there are some options. If you didn’t have an emergency fund and you will be going into debt, well, an email saying “you should have had an emergency fund!” doesn’t so much help either.

  8. Julia Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    JLP,

    I guess I’m just not sure what it is that’s prompting you to say that you fail to see the “relief” in the letter. Why were you looking for it?

    Was this an email with a subject titled “Hurricane Relief” or something? Perhaps it was the second sentence of the email that lead you to think the assistance would be better? Did it come in the bottom of a brown paper package tied up with string? :)

    Julia

  9. fivecentnickel.com Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I’m confused. I’m not sure why you’re expecting them to included some sort of “relief” in their message. Did the subject line say something about relief? Or are you just thinking that they should have done something but didn’t? Another alternative would have been for them to do nothing, not even send the e-mail. Would that have been better?

  10. fivecentnickel.com Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I just re-read their message. All they said is that they’re willing to help, and then offered emergency PIN numbers, replacement cards, etc. If you left your card behind when you evacuated, or if it was lost amidst storm destruction, I can see this being useful.

  11. Stacey Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    They only stated they wanted to “help”; they did not state it would be financially lucrative :)

    However, no one has commented on the one glimmer of hope: “We also have additional services for qualified accounts that may be helpful”

    I wonder what those services are(wink!)

    I’m a proud Discover Card user since 1988. They should have a cubicle named after me somewhere…We have “earned” (ok, spent our way!) to over $2,000 in rebates during the last 5 years. I esp. enjoy their quarterly targeted 5% bonuses–I just wish they didn’t cap them and then I really could have some fun w/it…

    Thanks for the new posts, JLP.

  12. JLP Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Nickel,

    Sorry. I should have mentioned that the subject line of the email was “Hurricane Relief.”

  13. Seamus Says:
    September 19th, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Actually, your initial post states the subject as “Hurricane Relief Information’ not Hurricane Relief. It’s all in the wording. The information about getting replacement cards, pins, etc, could be very welcome information for those who have lost more than just power during the storm. Always remember that these companies have first obligation to their shareholders, not their card members.

  14. fivecentnickel.com Says:
    September 19th, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Ah, that makes more sense. Yeah, I don’t see any relief in there. They’re offering to be helpful, which is nice, but they shouldn’t call it relief.

  15. Julia Says:
    September 21st, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Ah, that makes a lot more sense. That’s what my second post was asking, too. :)

  16. Chris Says:
    September 22nd, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Helpful, but I think they could have done better. Example, here’s a snip of what USAA is doing for customers who were affected:

    * 0% APR for up to 12 months on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers made by December 31, 2008.
    * Late fees/finance charges waived for 90 days (three statement cycles) for accounts in good standing.
    * No payments for up to two months with our Payment Deferral program.

    https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_utils/McStaticPages?key=2008_09_Gustav_Offers

  17. Jerald Says:
    October 11th, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    They really do provide relief, they postponed my due date and stoped the interest and gave no fees for a month due to Dolly !

  18. Melissa Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Disover postponed two of my payments due to the hurricane, sent me an emergency card replacement and waived late fees!! Discover is fantastic and very responsive during times of need, all you have to do is call them. Don’t forget, the credit card companies aren’t the bad guys, the dumb ass customers who spend $100 on a haircut and buy your dogs $300 beds should be ashamed of yourselves!! Perhaps people should quit calling your creditors for help, get a second job!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Brigitte Says:
    August 20th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Great article, JLP. My comment is to the last post.
    Melissa, Discover (not “Disover”)did the same for me after Katrina and Rita, and, yes, they are responsive in times of need.
    You obviously missed the point of JLP’s well-written article.
    And NO customers have ever bought MY dogs $300 beds, nor have THEY ever called MY creditors for help. AND I don’t need a second job.
    You, however, obviously, need a grammar course to learn spelling rules, pronoun and antecedent agreement, and how to avoid run-on sentences. And… you need to clean up your language. It makes you sound trashy.

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