Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Crisis – Challenge – Opportunity

So I mentioned going to a real estate seminar over the weekend.  I don’t think I mentioned how much of a stretch it was financially getting there.  I managed to find a way to afford the 3-day – but I used up most of the buffer in my checking account to do it.

Then I decided to go for the advanced training.  Now there’s simply no way I could come up with the scratch to pay for even the least expensive package deal.  They are all four figures.  CORRECTION: Looking at the paperwork again, the package deals are all five figures!  After reviewing our finances and even deciding which bills we could put off paying for a little while, Mum and I agreed on a way that we could do the least expensive single module.  With some cash from Mum and splitting the rest across my checking account and two credit cards we came up with the three grand we needed right away. 

Now the night before, while I was putting together a spreadsheet to work out if we could even come up with the initial payment I called the 800 number on one of my credit cards just to find out my available balance.  The answer was ‘some but not much.’  After getting the information I needed I said “While I have you on the line, is there any way you could help me out by increasing my limit?  I have a purchase coming up and I’d like to put it on this card…”  This is an exercise everyone is supposed to do during the lunch break on Friday.  I was in no shape to do that then because I was having a hypoglycemic crisis at the time.  The Friday session started at 0900 sharp and lunch didn’t come along until ten past two.  That’s just too damn long for this diabetic to go without eating!  The trouble is that I could also out stubborn a mule and I’d paid dearly to be at this seminar.  I wasn’t about to split early for lunch and miss anything.  I spent the Friday lunch break trying not to go into diabetic shock.  But I digress...  So anyway, my credit card company offered to up my limit by about 30%.  That was enough for me to feel comfortable with the initial payment.  I almost fell off my chair when Rick said we’d need to find the balance within three weeks! 

I almost said no.

Reluctantly I agreed with the terms and went through with the deal. 

Then Tuesday morning Mum called me at work with a crisis: One of the cards was rejected.  OMG!  I’m back to dear in headlights for a minute.

Okay let’s try to turn this into a challenge.

I dove into my computer and checked the banks web sight.  No sign of a problem.  Nothing’s posted and nothing is showing as rejected.  I called the 800 number on that card and drilled down through their phone tree until I managed to actually find a human.

Pro tip: Often saying “Operator” or pressing “0” will shortcut the phone tree and get you to an actual person.

After explaining what I was looking for the CSR found that there was an item that had been rejected that morning.  The name sounded right but the amount was for four thousand dollars instead of four hundred.

Now before anyone goes jumping to contusions’ that they were trying to rip me off – let me state for the record that I have been known to double-clutch on my keyboard from time to time.  An accidental extra zero when keying in a number is an easy thing to do.  In this case it self corrected by there not being enough available to cover it anyway.

I told the bank what I surmised had happened and the CSR agreed with me that that was the most likely cause.  I made sure that when the correct amount was entered that it would clear this time.  It would.  Good.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“As a matter of fact, there is.”  (I bet you can see where this is going…)  “Is there any way you could increase my limit?  I have a purchase coming up and I’d like to put it on this card.”

“As a matter of fact, we may be able to lower your interest rate too while we are at it!  Let me connect you with someone from our loan department…”


After going through essentially a new full application the very pleasant person from the loan department said that I should have my new limit in place in seven to ten days as soon as I fax in my latest pay stub.


I called Mum to pass on the good news and to get Rick’s number so I could let him know what had actually happened.  Once I got Rick on the phone and explained the whole thing to him he was all apologetic and said it would be fixed immediately.  Problem solved.

I called Mum back to tell her and her call waiting beeped.  It was the bank.  She gave them my number at work and the phone rang here almost as soon as she came back on my line.  It was an actual loan officer this time.  She said that after reviewing my credit score and based on my payment history I was all good to go.  Instead of seven to ten business days it would be “seven to ten minutes.  I am checking off the things on my computer to increase your limit” even as we speak.


This card did lower my interest rate as the first CSR thought they might and my limit was increased by a full 60%!  I now have enough wiggle room on this card to cover the balance for the course I’d signed up for right now today!  As Rick said on the phone when we talked “The technique really does work.”

Oh, one more thing…  The loan officer invited me to call back in six to twelve months to repeat the process!

Next up is to learn some investing techniques that I can make work to make the payments on my newly expanded cards…

Stay tuned.  This should be a fun ride!

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