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birt01In Beware Of Credit Card Reward Redemption Theft, I’d written about the many occasions in the past when I didn’t receive my credit card redemption until I chased the bank in question. In all those cases, the courier company in question seemed to be waiting to decamp with the gifts if I hadn’t followed up on their non-receipt.

A recent experience made me wonder if the the bank – the Indian subsidiary of a Top 5 UK bank – has decided to cut out the courier company from the loot.

I recently placed a redemption order for rewards on this credit card. As many times in the past, I didn’t get the consignment even after 30 days. But, this time, when I complained to the bank about non-receipt, I didn’t receive the consignment within four hours. So, I couldn’t suspect the courier on this occasion. I was right – the needle of suspicion clearly pointed towards the bank when I got its reply the next day.

The bank claimed in its message that it had canceled my order because I’d selected items that were only eligible on a Premier Card. I pointed out to the bank that I’d no reason to find out which category my Visa Gold card didn’t belong to and posed the following questions to it:

  1. birt03You let me see your gift catalog only after I log into your rewards redemption portal with a user name, primary password and a secondary password generated by a hardware device that itself needs a PIN to display the secondary password. Therefore, you very well knew my identity upfront. Using that info, you could figure out at the very start of my online session that my card wasn’t a Premier Card. So, why did your portal even show items applicable only to Premier Cards? That too, in this day and age when technology is available – e.g. Birdvision Redemption Hub – that can help you to personalize the assortment of displayed gifts by customer segments as granular as “segment of one”.
  2. Why didn’t your portal stop me from adding ineligible items to my shopping cart?
  3. After receiving my redemption order, why did you send me a confirmation email saying I’d get the consignment in 3 weeks (instead of summarily rejecting my order)?
  4. Why didn’t you check back with me, as a matter of courtesy, when you took the decision to reject my order?
  5. Above all, why did you have to wait for my reminder to tell me that you’d canceled my order?


I never received any reply from the bank.

I tried to think of an innocuous way to explain what happened but nothing fit. What didn’t fit may have acquitted OJ – remember his defence attorney’s rallying cry, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” in the most famous trial of the 20th century – but hooks my bank more and more I think about it. I hate to say this about the bank with whom I’ve been having a decade-long relationship but, absent any clarification from its side, I’m forced to conclude that the bank (A) realized credit card rewards are lucrative (B) found out from somewhere – by reading my previous post? – that courier companies were dipping into its rich mother lode, and (C) decided to stop outsourcing the theft.

Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions. If you can think of any alternative explanation for this incident, please let me know in the comments below.

Ketharaman Swaminathan On September - 18 - 2015


BFSI, Uncategorized


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