today I had a look at the long list of reminders outstanding in Outlook and among them was my reminder to pay my Alaska Airlines credit card from Bank of America. The presence of this reminder sparked a small debate in my mind. “How could this reminder still be outstanding after having already completed it?”…” because the payment that you’re thinking about was last month’s payment!”… “but how could the time go by so quickly?”… “don’t worry about it, the answer to that question will not change the fact that you have incurred a $40 late fee!”… “where is the handgun?”

After logging in and confirming that I had incurred a $40 late payment fee I told myself “I told you so” and went through the steps of scheduling the late payment. After completing the payment I decided to roll the dice and give customer service and call to beg for a reduction or outright reversal of the charge. “Wendy” answered the phone from the Virginia call center and was the lucky recipient of a schpeel from a guy who always pays his credit bill on time and because of the Christmas holidays happened to forget just this one time. My strategy was twofold… the first strategy was to “suggest” a reduction instead of just asking for an outright reversal. I just figured that if she had the power to give me the reduction than she might just as well reverse the whole thing if she was going to do anything at all. This also gave her some room to exercise her additional power and surprise me by reversing the whole thing. My second strategy was to mention Christmas a couple of times. This immediately put her in the role of the Grinch who could steal Christmas or give me my $40 back. Fortunately my twofold strategy was a success. This marks my first positive customer service experience with the Bank of America. Thank you for the mini bail out Bank of America!