Post Published on August 2, 2021.
Last Updated on August 2, 2021 by davemackey.
I’ve held a few retail (store) cards in my day. I’m particularly fond of them when they offer x% cash back and more generous terms (e.g. lower APR, longer repayment plans, etc.) are nice even if I try to avoid using them. A number of these cards have been managed through Synchrony, formerly GE’s financing arm (now spun-off as a separate entity). Overall the experience has been unremarkable. The Synchrony site management is fairly bland but that’s fine by me. I’m looking for functionality, not a visual experience.
It has always been a bit of a nuisance that the cards have to redirect to GE/Synchrony’s site. If you hold multiple retail cards at the same time and they all use Synchrony behind the scenes one’s password manager tends to become confused. But this is a fairly minor annoyance (though one you’d think they could rectify…).
I try to write here more about what I enjoy than what I don’t…but every once in a while I feel like talking about a negative experience I’ve had with a company / service might result in something positive happening. I know, kind of shocking, who am I? But the power of the internet can make it so.
In any case I’ve had a pretty unpleasant experience with my Amazon Synchrony account the past two months. It happened after I switched cellular carriers. It seems Synchrony (and a few other accounts) decided that my number was no longer valid and reset it to nothing (sweet!). With the others I’ve been able to resolve this with a single phone call – but Synchrony has required two phone calls and both time consuming and frustrating.
Here’s what happens.
- I attempt to log into my Amazon Synchrony account.
- I’m told that they can’t verify my identity or some such nonsense and that I’ll need to verify my identity via a phone/text message to my phone on file.
- The phone number they list as being my account number is one I don’t recognize (maybe a generic place holder value?).
- They offer me the option to enter the correct number, which I do, but then instantly refuse to accept it (why offer me the option to provide a number if you will just refuse it?).
- I have to call a number they provide, wait on hold, verify my identity (e.g. account number, last four of social, name, etc.), and explain to a representative the problem.
- They begin a verification process
The verification process is as follows:
- Request my correct phone number.
- Send me an SMS message with a web link.
- Provide verification information about myself again (name, address, zip, etc.).
- Open the web link and record a 5 second video of myself slowly shaking my head from side to side.
- Take a photo of the front of my driver’s license.
- Take a photo of the back of my driver’s license.
- Wait for the system to be happy with my video/photos (if not, go back to step 4).
- Receive a confirmation code (fairly lengthy, alphanumeric).
- Provide confirmation code to representative.
- Log out of all open Synchrony sessions.
- Representative overrides verification.
- I’m now able to log in.
Doing this once is annoying (and a waste of time) but now I’ve had to do it two times and according to the representative the issue is that it takes them 30-60 days to update the number for verification purposes (even though it shows as updated in my account). This means I could end up doing this again in another thirty days.
At this point I’ve invested nearly 30 mins on the phone with representatives. I know, it isn’t that much. But what if I changed that time into money?
Below is how much that time is “worth” based on how much you make hourly:
- $10/hr = $5
- $20/hr = $10
- $30/hr = $15
- $40/hr = $20
- $50/hr = $25
- $../hr = $??
We’d probably feel a bit more irritated if they charged us $x for their mistake – right?
So, dear Amazon and Synchrony, please get it together. Thanks.
Sidebar on Expectations
I know I may come across as a bit of a grump in this post…and maybe I am. However I’d like to explain some caveats to my approach:
- My expectations decrease as the size of the business decreases. e.g., what annoys me about a large, multinational corporation I’m much more ready to accept from a smaller company.
- My frustration is not with (usually) the individuals I interact with but with the larger corporate entity – which certainly has the assets to do better.
- I’m particularly frustrated when core functionality fails and that isn’t functionality that shows similar failures from similar businesses.