Today I broke up with my gold credit card. We had been together since I got out of university. Things had been going well until I found out that it was all about him and not me. What I had been promised wasn't what I was getting in this relationship, and when I found out -- I kicked him to the curb.
"Gold Card" was happy to gobble up my $120 annual fee each year, plus the one to three per cent fee collected from the vendors every month. I put business expenses on my gold card, racking up over $13,000 in charges in just the last three months. Those charges were also made abroad, so my card got the extra 2.5 per cent foreign exchange booty. I always pay my bill in full and have the best credit rating. I had always taken care of him. But no longer.
It all came to my attention when I asked my gold card for something back. I was out with friends when my four-day old iPhone was stolen from a bar. I felt like an idiot because it was a replacement phone from when I dropped my previous iPhone in the Mediterranean while on vacation. It burned me that it was only a few days old -- but wait! I had purchased it with my sexy gold credit card, which comes with purchase insurance.
I put in a claim under my gold card's purchase security and extended warranty plan. I've never used my fancy gold credit card services, but after years of spending and my annual $120 fee, I thought that I'd get gold service. I was very wrong. This is where it all went sour between us.
When I first called to ask how to make a claim I was greeted, not with first-date flirting or the warmth you receive when you apply for a new card or increase your limit, but the cold, curt, suspicious voice of an insurance company rep. Where was my golden honeysuckle?
I was told that they needed to examine the information for the claim and I could email all the info that they needed. After that, maybe the claim would be awarded. Nothing was guaranteed. My claim was actually denied before I had even hung up the phone. My claim rejection letter was dated the same day that I had emailed my information! Here was their reason: "'Insured Item' means new item (a pair or set being one item) of personal property (not purchased by or for use by a business or for commercial purposes), for which the full purchase price is charged to the card."
Gold Card had found out that Apple uses refurbished components in their replacements and decided that they don't count as new items. But that was new to me. I didn't get it at a garage sale or thrift store. Plus, what does it matter, since it was stolen and I had charged the phone to my card?
This was Gold Card's way of avoiding committing to me! I went to my branch to grab the Credit Card sales brochure and the policy agreements to see what other sneaky ways that they could weasel out of paying the benefits they advertise.
The two brochures couldn't have read more differently. The glossy sales brochure lists "card benefits" while the mice-type, legal jargon-laden agreement brochure describes "policies." What happened to "benefits"? Gold Card was wearing socks to bed. The honeymoon was over.
Here are more policy exceptions that could have cost me an emotional roller coaster and my financial fortune:
1. If you are 64 years old or older (most Canadian boomers are approaching that age) you are not eligible for the travel medical insurance.
2. If your rental car is over $65,000 Canadian MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price), you're not insured. The problem is that in Europe and the U.S., CAD $65,000 isn't that expensive any more. Chevy suburbans, any kind of luxury or full-size car and convertibles are all over this amount.
3. They have a list of exotic cars, "such as but not limited to Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lincoln Navigator, Porsche..." Wait? A Lincoln Navigator? That isn't a James Bond kind of car!
4. All of your camera equipment is considered one item and claims max out at $500. Camera bodies are usually more than $500, never mind lenses, flashes, tri-pods, etc.
5. There is an "a la carte" list of injuries on common accident insurance. You get different amounts if you lose a leg, thumb, hearing, etc. You receive get $500,000 for loss of speech, but $375,000 for a limb. Thumbs and index fingers are worth $125,000. What's the point of the chart? It's just weird.
6. Extended insurance protection extends your manufacturer's warranty up to one extra year, however if your toaster dies due to "normal wear and tear or inherent product defects," it won't be eligible. Aren't those the only two reasons why my toaster might die -- other than me throwing it out of frustration with my gold card?
Sure, Gold Card was happy to join me for expensive dinners, exotic trips and drives around in my fancy rental car -- as long as I paid and he got paid. Now, when it is his turn to pick up the cheque, he's forgotten his wallet.
That's why I've upgraded to a no-flash, no-benefits, no-points, no-hassle and fee-free card -- who will only be invited out when I need him. I think I'll be taking "Cash" to nice dinners from now on.
You know exactly what you're getting with him.
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