I just love dealing with gianormous corporations.

Well, technically, I don’t deal with the corporations. Despite the fact that corporations have legal status as persons (psychotic persons, but persons nonetheless), what I, like the rest of y’all, deal with is the paid minions of the corporations.

I’ve been in the process of paying off my credit cards, and I had some questions about one in particular. It was one of the earliest cards I got, several years ago, when I realized that my years of not having credit had actually put me at a disadvantage. So, because a person with no credit history is worse off than someone with a bad credit history (take my word for this one), the interest rate and annual fee were fairly large and I wanted to negotiate with them to reduce both of those items.

My current balance is just $8.06, which is the interest accrued on last month’s balance, which I had just paid off. So, I had a simple question, to wit: since there’s a “grace period” of 25 days on new purchases before a finance charge begins accruing, does that grace period also apply to a balance that is entirely finance charge?

Basically, when is the “grace period” observed if we’re not talking about “purchases”? I could read in the contract that there is no grace period on things like cash advances or balance transfers, but it never specifically mentioned, y’know, finance charge.

So, time to contact the minions.

Since this bank has online banking, and by the time the question occurred to me it was after business hours, I decided to shoot them an email. Seemed simple enough. I made two attempts. So far I’ve received two responses. Here they are, edited slightly to remove all remaining accountability:

Response #1

From “Corporate Bank Customer Confuser”

Subject Re: Billing Questions (KMM19842426V5662L0KM)

Date Thu, January 20, 2005 3:08 am

To “Brian Moon”

Dear Brian Moon,

Thank you for your inquiry dated 1/19/2005.

Calculating when your payment is due each month is fairly simple. Your account billing cycle closes on or around the 19th of each month. Household Bank allows at least 20 days from the end of your previous billing cycle for you to make your payment due without penalty. Your current due date will be approximately 02/13/2005.

You are important to us and we appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

EmailMonkey

Corporate Bank Customer Confuser

Response #2

From “Corporate Bank Customer Confuser”

Subject Re: Billing Questions (KMM19842431V5687L0KM)

Date Fri, January 21, 2005 3:08 am

To “Brian Moon”

Dear Brian Moon,

We understand your concern regarding this matter.

Please be advised, finance charges on purchases will be assessed using the Average Daily Balance method during any billing period in which the previously billed balance was not paid in full by the due date. To obtain the average daily balance, take the beginning balance on your account each day, add any new purchases, previous days periodic finance charges, late charges, overlimit fees, and other administrative charges, subtracting any payments and credits. All of the daily balances for the billing cycle are then added together and divided by the total number of days in the billing cycle to obtain the Average Daily Balance. The Average Daily Balance is used in conjunction with your annual percentage rate to determine the monthly finance charge.

You are important to us and we appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

Corporo-Droid

Corporate Bank Customer Confuser

Now, read those carefully. The information in them is correct information. The English is proper and grammatically correct (OK, one typo that I see but it’s not a big deal).

But do they ever actually answer my question?

Ummm… no.

Does anyone think that they actually, y’know, comprehended the question in question?

Ummm… probably not.

*sigh*