ExxonMobil Mails Customer 2,000 Credit Cards

ExxonMobil sent a box containing 1,000 credit cards to Frank Van Buren, who had requested two (2) new cards to replace one that was about to expire. The cards contained Frank’s name and account number, and would have worked right out of the box since ExxonMobil saw activation stickers as an unnecessary extravagance. Frank saved the two cards he had requested, and spent three hours shredding the remaining 1,000.

He thought that was that. Until another box arrived this week.

“How could you send me 2,000 cards by mistake?” Van Buren said he asked customer service after the second plastic payload arrived.

When he was again told that it was a mistake and that he should destroy these, too, he balked and said he’d rather return them.

“They refused to take them back,” he said.

Citibank, which issued the credit cards, apologized to Frank, and is investigating the incident with ExxonMobil.

“One of the main ways identity thieves work is by stealing credit cards right out of your mailbox,” added Zulfikar Ramzan, a security expert at software giant Symantec. “For all you know, there could be a third box that he didn’t get.”

Man orders 2 credit cards, receives 2,000 [New York Daily News] (Thanks to Sarah!)
(Photo: Michael_L)


Edit Your Comment

  1. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Gee, and I have trouble getting ONE. (Try staying completely out of debt for 15 years and see how that endears you to the credit card companies, lol.)

  2. mrjimbo19 says:

    This made me laugh for some reason, then I remembered a real person had this happen to them and it is not really so funny. What the hell would make something like this happen?

  3. bnet41 says:

    It sounds like a automated process is messing up and causing the machines to run the same job over and over.

  4. BStu says:

    Honestly, this is deeply puzzling. How on Earth could this happen? Someone had to box up the 1,000 credit cards. Twice. Didn’t it occur to someone that sending 1,000 credit cards to someone doesn’t make sense? I get that an automation mistake could have started this, but isn’t there any step in the process where a human being would have responded with the warranted incredulity to sending a customer 1,000 credit cards? Twice?

  5. JayXJ says:

    The joys of automated business.

    I was billed every month for a year, by T-Mobile, for $0.00. Calling them didn’t resolve it. In a fit of boredom once I sent them a check for that amount…wonder if they cashed it?

  6. banned says:

    I’ll bet some company will complain tomorrow that they ordered 2000 gas cards for their business and only received 2.

  7. vr4z06gt says:

    @JayP71: :-D

  8. mrmysterious says:

    Wow, someone needs to let the drones know that they can go home now.

  9. beyond says:

    Jay, did it stop the billing?

  10. supra606 says:

    That picture is hilarious to me for some reason. But I wouldn’t be laughing if that were my name on all those cards.

  11. ancientsociety says:

    The funniest part is on the box itself – Exxon-Mobil purchased both USPS Delivery Confirmation and Insurance for the package! So if someone “lost” the package of already active cards at least EM would get their money back!

  12. CreativeLinks says:

    I may be wrong here, but since these cards are already activated. Doesn’t that mean on this poor guys credit report he has like 4,000 open lines of credit?

  13. DeeJayQueue says:

    @CreativeLinks: not if they all have the same number.

  14. Hawkins says:

    @CreativeLinks: Not if they’re all the same account number.

  15. kamikasee says:

    At least he got 2 boxes of 1000 cards, not 1000 boxes with 2 cards each. See, there is always a silver lining.

  16. queen_elvis says:

    @JayP71: I did send a $0 check to stop a persistent $0 bill (from a long-distance provider) and it actually worked. But YMMV.

    Card-shredding party at Frank Van Buren’s place!

  17. virtaaj says:

    2000 credit cards..! maybe their machine went in to a loop or maybe they jus dont care about consumers anymore.

  18. Nakko says:

    He could use one card for each purchase he makes, then shred them. Buy something, shred the card. Buy something else, shred that card too…

  19. DjDynasty says:

    Man, That’s just asking for him to go on a shopping spree at ExconMobile and buy thousands of dollars in gas cards at one time and then play stupid! LOL

  20. Trick says:


    The joys of automated business.

    I was billed every month for a year, by T-Mobile, for $0.00. Calling them didn’t resolve it. In a fit of boredom once I sent them a check for that amount…wonder if they cashed it?

    I was billed $1.07 by Mobil after closing my business account with them. They said I owed and if I didn’t pay, there will be a late charge.

    I just got 2000 computer still checks from my bank as part of business checking deal and knew they would last a very long time, so I sent 107 checks to “The Cheap Bastards at Mobil” and they cashed everyone of them!

    I still had like 1700 checks when I closed out that bank account years later!

  21. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Look on the bright side. I originally thought they did this because their computer overwrote two thousand other orders for cards. Imagine if two thousand cards with his name on it went out, but were mailed to a thousand or so different people.

  22. Bay State Darren says:

    What’s the big deal? It’s not that bad.

  23. Bay State Darren says:

    What’s the big deal? It’s not that bad.

  24. superbmtsub says:

    Getting a credit card and buying an HDTV: $1000
    Getting 2 credit cards and letting the wife use the other: $5000
    Getting 2000 credit cards and snapping a picture of the expression on your face: PRICELESS!

  25. Maulleigh says:

    LOL on that picture. Yeah, somewhere someone isn’t doing his or her job.

  26. evilkoala says:

    Man, he shoulda ordered prepaid gas cards… think of what could have happened…

  27. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @Bay State Darren:
    Now imagine your double post….x1000!

  28. comedian says:

    Umm, I’m not sure, but I think the photo is from the Consumerist Flickr pool.

  29. r81984 says:

    Big deal.
    Call cancel that number and order two new cards.
    Then either:
    A – Burn them
    B – Recycle them
    C – Make wall paper out of credit cards

  30. acceptablerisk says:

    This looks like a job for the Blendtec Total Blender!

  31. timmus says:

    I like the wallpaper idea. I calculate that 2000 cards would yield 92.2 square feet of area, enough to do one wall of a typical bedroom.

  32. rawsteak says:

    i think they’re trying to send you a message…


  33. morley says:

    Bah, shredding is the lazy way out. He should have made them into a samurai costume:


  34. Youthier says:

    When I get a new card, they send it in an envelope. How could they not notice they were putting 1000 cards in a box? Do they HAVE an automated process for that? How many people regularly have 1000 cards shipped to them?

  35. Geekybiker says:


    exactly. I would cancel that number immediately. I wouldnt want to deal with the hassle of worrying if more of those cards were floating around.

  36. rmz says:

    @JayP71: We were getting bills for $-0.71 from Cingular for several months at one point. I would’ve sent them a check if I thought it would work :(

  37. jeff303 says:

    @kamikasee: That made me laugh hard for some reason; thanks

  38. Nytmare says:

    This reminds me of the Hotel Soap story.

  39. fashionista says:

    @kamikasee: LOL!

  40. Bay State Darren says:

    @AlteredBeast: I tried. It didn’t let me.

  41. Major-General says:

    I think he failed to see the humor in it. Coffee table anyone?

  42. manevitch says:

    The $0.00 bill generaly comes from an accounting error, where taxes are not rounded up to the nearest penny. If the tax on service is, for example, 43.3 cents, but is not rounded up to 43 cents, then you get the bill for 43 cents and have a .3 cent A/R. which shows up on your next statement as $0.00 because it’s less than .5 cents.

    Send them a penny and move on.

  43. manevitch says:

    And of course I meant your bill will be for 43, instead of ounded up to 44, cents…

  44. Trai_Dep says:

    Plastic is made from oil. Exxon is running out of ways to waste oil to make gas more expensive. Until now.

    Look, it’s either that or dumping a tanker full of crude on nursing baby seal beaches. Geez, guys, why all the baby seal hate?

  45. Havok154 says:

    Wasn’t there a story about Exxon limiting the amount you could charge at once on gas? If so, maybe this is their answer to rising gas prices. It’s just not too reassuring when they feel you need 2000 cards to pay for 1 tank fill.

  46. JayXJ says:


    No, billing continued for 2 more months. It went exactly one full year. This is for a service I cancelled before activating it or paying anything. If they wanted to waste paper and postage that’s thier call.

  47. stubby says:

    Oh man, wait til he gets 2000 monthly statements

  48. mathew says:

    I would definitely cancel the account, open a new one, and then use the cards for an art project.

  49. hobnob says:

    keeping in mind that just because there are no activation stickers doesn’t necessarily mean they were active cards. cancel and re-issue. fin.

  50. Oh shoot…..that’s ME in the picture. I would much prefer to be promoting a dirty DVD instead of a bunch of Credit Cards?!? ‘ But hey, like Paris Hilton – any publicity is good publicity!

    Thanks Consumerist!