Transcripts Of Discover Card Allegedly Tricking Customers

The Minnesota AG is suing Discover Card for allegedly duping customers into thinking they were just getting a courtesy call about their card but then actually signing them for a payment protection plan. The AG gave copies of the audio files of the customer calls to the New York Times. Here is a salient selection of one of the transcripts.

The transcript starts off with the rep saying to the customer that he needs to check the spelling on her name and address. The customer says “correct” several times as they go through her information.

Call Rep: (Reading some kind of details about the payment protection program). (Unclear) per $100 of the balance will be charged monthly to the Discover account and then (unclear) in each billing (unclear) but payment protection is optional and whether or not you enroll will not affect the terms of any credit agreements you have with us. (Unclear) something is noted. You can cancel anytime by calling (the customer service number). If you were to cancel anytime within the first 30 days you will receive a full refund. I’d just like to thank you for your time …

Customer: I want to verify that I need to enroll, I’ll fill out paperwork if I want to enroll. You don’t automatically enroll me.

Call Rep: Before you are enrolled ma’am, you will receive our terms and conditions before you are required to pay anything. We just want you to review some of the benefits in the privacy of your own home so you can make your final decisions there.

Customer: O.K. Perfect.

The lawsuit contends that some customers say “OK” to end the call. Discover itself however considers this an “affirmative response” that is “proof” the person is agreeing to buy the plan.

If you feel you were unfairly enrolled in the Discover Payment Protection Program and want to join the class action lawsuit which has also been filed over this same issue, there’s more info at discoverpppclassaction.com.

The Tactics of Discover Card Reps [New York Times Bucks Blog]

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  1. georgi55 says:

    But I had no idea what Peggy was saying!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8L2cI8brzQ

  2. Hi_Hello says:

    my english isn’t that good and I know that the customer said okay to the call rep last statement about the term and condition being mailled… and NOT to the enrolling part…

  3. somedaysomehow says:

    As soon as I hear them start into anything regarding protection… or a plan… I just say “no thank you” and kindly but firmly interrupt them when they start in on their schpiel again. “No thank you.” 2-3 times of doing that and it’s over. lol. They’re just doing their jobs, so no reason to be rude, but I don’t want there to be any question that I’m not interested.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      And their job is to use your answer of “OK” to one question as the answer to another question?

      I don’t think so.

    • failurate says:

      Given the way this shakedown worked, you might want to drop the “thank you” portion of your response.

    • Skyhawk says:

      “They’re just doing their jobs, so no reason to be rude”

      They are committing a crime and your are the intended victim. Yes, there is reason to be even more than rude.

    • runswithscissors says:

      Your “Thank you” constitutes affirmative response and so you will now be signed up for all sorts of fees. Thank YOU.

    • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

      Thank YOU, Mr. Acovano!

  4. Aaron Anderson says:

    I went through this with Discover. Actually, every time my card is renewed. It drives me crazy. My story is similar and it sounded like I was going to be enrolled no matter what and they’d send me a form and all I had to do was “not fill it out”…. etc. I took a breath and said

    “I want to be very clear and on the record that I under no circumstance want any part of this offer or any related offer and wish to receive no further questions. My answer will be NO to this offer regardless of any further questioning; I’d like to hang up now.”

    • tbax929 says:

      Every time I check one of my credit card balances online I have to tell them I don’t want over limit protection before it takes me to “My Account”. Totally annoying.

    • nutbastard says:

      Which they whittle down to:

      “I want to be very clear and on the record that I want this offer and wish to receive this offer.”

  5. Mecharine says:

    Ah yes. The old “sphinctersayswhat” trick.

  6. Clyde Barrow says:

    I found out with my latest Paypal Plus Master Card statement that I am enrolled with the payment protection plan which I NEVER WANTED. The plan is 50% of my monthly payment. Un-fing-believable. I hope that any AG out there sues Paypal also.

  7. dolemite says:

    Heh ran into this on Saturday…activated a new card, and the person wanted me to enroll in their protection plan. Basically she mentions it, then says she needs some more info. The way the script reads doesn’t lend itself to you saying anything other than “ok”. When she says “ok, let me get some info on you to enroll you”, you have to interrupt her and state “no thanks, I’m not interested”. Then she makes a few more statements (not questions), then you have to answer “nope, still not interested”.

    • Mom says:

      I had the same thing happen when I activated my last card. After the first time, I said no. After the second time, I said “is there anything left besides you trying to sell me stuff?” She said no, and I said, “we’re done then,” and hung up. I hope I didn’t say anything that could be misconstrued.

  8. Nighthawke says:

    They have tried to blow smoke in my eyes more than a few times before they finally quit. Their website is notorious for attempting to fool you into buying into it.

    You just have to be wary of their tactics folks.

  9. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Yeah, they did this to me. Fortunately I review my bills and called them in the 30 day window as pissed as a bear with bees in his boxers. They reversed the charges with no problems. Still, now I know to just hang the hell up when a Discover reps calls to ‘see how happy I am’ or some other such stuff.

    Just let me use my card in peace please!

  10. Hotscot says:

    I’m depressed…I don’t think the corporate world is ever going to get better in dealing ethically with the public.

  11. Power Imbalance says:

    LOL when I worked for AOL back in the day our policy was like that for up-sells as well.

  12. Ramona_Little says:

    I’ve been boycotting Discover for years. They just made too many “mistakes” that seemed like a class action waiting to happen.

  13. sonneillon says:

    Yeah they did that to me and I had to call to cancel. Now any time I get spam I respond with f*ck off and hang up. Hard to make that one sound like an affirmative.

    • George4478 says:

      “We’d like to acquaint you with our new program “Free Urgent Cash Concerns”. The FUCC program, when turned on, allows you access to easy cash withdrawals without fee. Opting out of this program costs a one-time, nonrefundable $79 fee.”

      “F*uck off”.

      “I understand, sir. Your $79 fee with be on the next statement.”

      “Wait, what?”

  14. TooManyHobbies says:

    They’re really bad for this. I have caught them using extremely deceptive wording in their calls, definitely designed to weasel you into allowing them to enable the protection.

    What I do now is, whenever they (or other card companies, they all do it) call me, I just keep repeating “I do not want to purchase any form of protection for this account. I do NOT authorize you to make any changes to my account. I will never purchase protection for this account and I do not appreciate the deceitful tactics that you use to try to sell this unwanted product.”

    Even after being quite rude to them, they still try to sell it. It’s maddening. Even yelling does not help, I’ve tried.

    • Englishee Teacher says:

      you mean

      “I do (unclear) want to purchase (unclear) protection for this account. I (unclear) authorize you to make any changes to my account. I will (unclear) purchase protection for this account and I do (unclear) appreciate the (unclear) that you (unclear) sell this (unclear) product.”

  15. kateydidnt says:

    Discover called me and tried to get me to sign up a while ago. I stated very clearly “I do not want to sign up. Thank you, Goodbye.”

    • TheWillow says:

      is this standard? My Visa has never called me, ever. I’ve spoken to them exactly two times and they never tried to upsell me on anything

      • Mom says:

        Some of the others will do it, but Discover is especially bad. It was so bad that I gave them a bogus phone number for awhile to keep them from calling me. At some point I sent them a letter telling them not to try to sell me anything (I think it was in the fine print of the annual privacy notice), and they haven’t called since.

  16. nellybelly says:

    This very thing happened to the business I work for. Some company called our store, asked one of our student workers to verify our address. The student said “correct” a few times and then wham! Two monthly charges–one for IT servivces (I work at a college and we have our own IT department) and one for a “healthcare plan”. The bogus company played us a totally garbled tape and then said that they do not record the portion of the call where they explain the plans, terms and charges.

    Once we were onto the scam, my boss and I googled it and founds dozens, if not hundreds, of other small businesses that had been fleeced by these companies, which work hand-in-hand with Discover. We have since refused to accept Discover cards and the employees who had personal cards have cancelled them. We also got all of our money back but that is only because my boss is a badass and they did not want to deal with her daily calls anymore.

    • DJSeanMac says:

      Could Consumerist please call out the real bully with this nonsense: AT&T. They allow third parties to buy blocks of line usage and re-sell it as AT&T, without distinguishing a third party is involved. They give the third party company access to all of your billing information, including address, lines, and plans. So when this third party company calls, the first statement is “May I speak to the person who handles your AT&T telephone services?” You ask “who is this?” They answer “This is AT&T”…but they’re not. And this is completely with AT&T’s blessing.

      Standard answers I give to calls (no wiggle room to manipulate the call):

      “We do not deal with solicitations over the phone.”

      “All of our contact information is clearly displayed on our website; phone numbers and address are listed in the phonebook and on Google.”

  17. RxDude says:

    My response any time my credit card company calls me:

    Me: Am I late on any payments?

    Them: No, but…

    Me: Then don’t call me. (click)

  18. GearheadGeek says:

    Calls from Discover go straight to voicemail, courtesy of a filter in my voip service. The logs show that it’s usually 2 calls per weekday. Apparently if you turn down their offerings they just keep calling, hence the filter when I got tired of having to look at the caller ID and then let it ring.

  19. Michael Belisle says:

    Ooooh I’m a member of this class. Reps from Discover called me 7 times one day. The ensuing conversations were not unlike this classic AOL customer service experience. I treated it like a game, which I lost when I found out the next day that I’d been signed up. Nothing an EECB couldn’t handle.

  20. oldwiz65 says:

    All of the credit card companies try to do this. I just got off the phone after activating my card (CC sent me new cards which were expiring), and I had to be very firm to say no to the pitch. It’s not the rep’s fault – they have to read from the scripts.

    • Mom says:

      Not all. When I activated my credit union’s visa, I just entered the card number and the last 4 of my SSN, and it was activated. The whole process took 30 seconds. CU for the win!

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      I’ve never received a call for my Costco branded AmEx. I wonder if I’ve just been lucky or if they don’t do this.

    • Doubts42 says:

      BS. On the not blaming the reps.
      You have choice what job you accept, you have a choice to keep doing that job when you are told to do immoral and quasi illegal things.
      By choosing to accept and keep this job you have chosen to accept all the abuse that does (and should) come with it.

    • nonsane says:

      it is the reps fault
      it’s called
      be a human being.

      To knowingly sign someone up for a service you know they don’t want just because it helps pad your numbers is immoral. Just like selling a service someone doesn’t need.

  21. UltimateOutsider says:

    As someone who has worked every crummy customer service job I can think of (convenience store, restaurant, electronics store, call center, tech support) it is my nature to be polite with people who are “just doing their jobs.” However I have become a bit paranoid about just about ANY offer I get via phone calls with any company I’m currently doing business with. My feeling is, “they wouldn’t be calling me if they weren’t trying to get more money out of me,” so unless they’re calling to tell me that someone’s stolen my credit card number (which did happen recently), my line is, “Do not sign me up for anything, do not send me anything, we don’t want any changes to our existing account/service. *click*” Not rude, but firm. Any overt attempts at politeness or accommodation can get you in trouble with these folks.

  22. Cantras says:

    aw man. that makes me feel terrible because I work in a cancellation dept for an extremely similar product, and I do not doubt they’re doing shady things with sign-ups. And i feel like it’s a legit product and if they just included info with people’s bills or gave them honest calls, we’d have plenty of signups.
    But I get so, so many calls from people who say they didn’t authorise it, and I don’t doubt this is what’s happening.
    AND when I change a customer’s plan (like to a lower priced one), I have to read them a bunch of disclosures AND get an actual “yes” for permission to change the plan. It’s ridiculous that the sales department doesn’t.

    At least when people call me and they’re *furious* about this and they want to write and complain, 90% of the time when I say “Sir/ma’am, I completely agree and would love for you to write them a letter, I have that address for you right here if you’re ready to write it down,” it takes a lot of angry wind out of their sails.

  23. kamikasee says:

    I went through this with Discover a few years ago. One thing to note is that (at that time at least) the people cold-calling to sell these plans were not the normal customer service representatives (the people you get if you call the 800 number on your card). After I finally got fed up, I called the 800 number and said, “I’m tired of getting these calls. If they don’t stop, I’m going to cancel my card.” The CSR put me on a no-marketing list, and I haven’t gotten a call from them since.

  24. BETH says:

    All the credit cards do this–Discover, Chase, GM, Bank of America, Citicorp. Whenever I have to activate a credit card, a service rep will get on the line to read a script offering some kind of protection plan.

  25. BurtReynolds says:

    I called once with a question about my card. At the end of the call, the rep went into a pitch for “credit protection” and said it in a manner like I was automatically signed up. I had to reiterate multiple times that I did not want it, and then made me say it back to me that I was not signed up for this service. I’ve had Discover for a long time and this was the first time I felt queasy about doing business with them, like I just narrowly avoided being ripped off.

    I sent an email to CS afterward saying this much and they apparently have a note on my account to not pitch me any products. I haven’t had a reason to call since, so who knows if that happened (or works), but it might be worth asking about.

  26. Murph1908 says:

    I think the story and the comments are missing an important point.

    I don’t answer ANY questions from anybody calling up claiming they are my credit card company.

    When Chase called me to check on possible fraudulent charges on my card (they were right), I asked for a case number and said I would call them back. I called the number on the back of the card, asked for fraud prevention, and happened to get the same guy who called me. He appreciated my taking that step.

  27. FeelinFroggy says:

    You guys are far too nice… being rude is the only way to handle it. This works like a charm with every single call I have received.

    Agent: “Hi I’m blah blah blah calling from business……”
    You: “Stop. Who is this and what company do you work for?”
    (repeat this until they stop and you get an answer)

    You: “I’m not interested in anything. Please remove me from your marketing list.”
    (repeat this until they acknowledge your request)

    You: “I do not want to receive any more phone calls with offers of any kind. Please confirm that you are removing me for your marketing list.”
    (Wait for a confirmation and just say goodbye or hang up)

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I typically follow this approach and will throw in a “I am never going to buy something on the phone from an unsolicited caller”. I also tend to just hang up on numbers I don’t recognize on the caller ID. Sometimes some phone spammers just keep calling so I will answer and tell them they call all the time and they need to stop.

  28. IGNORE says:

    Sorta like those automatic magazine renewalls, aimed at preventing you from shopping around. I just LOVE corporations!! TOM

  29. IGNORE says:

    Sorta like those automatic magazine renewals, aimed at preventing you from shopping around. I just LOVE American corporations!! TOM

  30. gafpromise says:

    Discover called my house 3-4 times during the day. I work and was never home so my husband took the call, and they said they couldn’t speak to him since he wasn’t the account holder. So he and I are both nervous there’s something wrong with the account because they called so many times. So I finally called them, waited on hold for 15 minutes, only to find out they were just trying to offer a protection plan. I’m afraid I chewed out the call center rep for that one.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I had this happen with some bogus number. They called, asked for my gf, and I asked who was calling. They wouldn’t say, and he asked if I was her husband. I said, why does that matter and I asked again who was calling and what it was about. They guy refused to give me any information and said he would try back again.

      She is sitting right there and now we are worried this is some sort of collection agency or something (even though she has no idea what it could be). So I Google the number and it is one number off from a number for a trash hauler in Baltimore (we live outside of DC). So I call the number for the hauler, and a woman answers and I ask if the number that was on the ID was from thier office. She says it was, but they have “marketing” people there and that she doesn’t know what they do. I politely informed her we live in Northern VA, have trash service, and asked her to see about getting me removed from the list. Thankfully, I haven’t heard from them since.

  31. palfas says:

    Hurray for Lori Swanson. Our AG rocks your AG’s socks

  32. quail says:

    This type of crap will always happen when the call center or whoever is doing the actual soliciting gets paid by the number of policies/accounts they get to agree. These solicitors (and they probably solicit for many companies) got into trouble back in the 90s when the long distance wars were going on. Their tactic was the same. As soon as they could get a customer to say “yes” or “O.K.” at the right point of the conversation they would switch their long distance carrier.

  33. u1itn0w2day says:

    Square peg in a round hole. They are trying to plant the seed in your mind that you wanted it and hopefully you won’t take the initative to cancel.

    These are nothing but used car, boiler room or high pressure sales tactics a con man uses on their mark. Except here a big corporation is sanctioning the Madoffing of a customer.

  34. shlni says:

    Oh they’re absolutely sneaky and I’ve been on the receiving end of these conversations. They’re supposed to act like you want these extra charges by being extra chipper and adding on “Okay, so I’ll just go ahead and add on your protection plan…” “NO THANK YOU.” *Click*

  35. williamroy says:

    I just don’t get people who are willing to stay on the phone with a marketer after they’ve already said “No” to them once. I mean, you’re not being held hostage on your phone – it’s yours. Just hang up. I am not going to wait for you, the marketer, to agree to end the call with me, the potential customer, only after you’ve made an indeterminate number of multiple offers I already told you I don’t want. I am going to say “Not interested in anything you have to offer” exactly once, then hang up when I decide, which is immediately. That’s not rude – that’s saving the marketer’s time, as well as my own.

  36. itsjustjane says:

    this happened to me with chase, where they took my “okay” as yeah i’ll enroll in some plan. when i said wait wait wait no i don’t want it, the guy actually ARGUED with me, kept pointing out that -I- was wrong, i should’ve cut him off immediately if i didn’t want it, and wouldn’t let me speak to his supervisor. he finally put me on hold, came back on the line to say it was taken care of, and then hung up on me. i immediately called back and closed my account.