I recently called to cancel an old American Express card that I've had for many years. I cut the card up in earlier this year, and had stopped using the account several years ago. It was time for the card to be gone for good.
When I called to cancel I was promptly transferred to the “cancellation department” where I was given the hard sell. I was told why I should keep the card, and asked why I would want to get rid of the card when there were SO MANY benefits, all with no fee?
The Hard Sell
Here are some of the tactics the customer service rep on the other end of the phone line used to try and get me to stay.
- You've been with us for 8 years, why would you want to cancel?: They made an emotional appeal to me reminding me that I'd been a loyal customer for 8 years, and why would I want to cancel a card I've had for that long? It'll hurt your credit! (I don't care) Stick with a company you know!
- You know there's no annual fee attached to this card. It won't hurt you to keep it!: They asked me why I would want to cancel this card when there was no annual fee? just keep the card, you'll find a use for it soon! (that's what I'm afraid of!)
- Did you know there are a ton of benefits to having this card?: They asked me if I realized all the benefits that this card had. Free rental car insurance, replacement value on stolen items, travel insurance etc. After they rattled off the long list of benefits, I told them that I knew about those things, but I still wanted to cancel. A lot of those benefits are duplicated through other insurance I already hold anyway.
- How about if we lower your rate, or do a 0% balance transfer?: They then made their final ditch effort to get me to stay. They offered to lower my interest rate, or do a balance transfer at 0% for another card. I told them that I'm not using credit anymore, and that i just wanted to cancel the card. Having exhausted her script, the rep finally agreed to cancel the card.
Don't Give In – Cancel The Account!
Don't give in to the appeals to keep a credit card that you don't need. Remember these things about credit cards:
- You will probably spend 12-18% more when you use a credit card instead of cash because spending cash hurts more.
- Depending upon credit means you're always dependent upon the credit card companies and their whims. Remember, as the bible says, “The borrower is the slave to the lender”.
- You'll probably be paying a ton of interest and late fees. Most people intend to pay off their credit card bills every month, but can't because life comes knocking. This means they are paying interest, and late fees if they send the payments in late. Instead of depending upon credit, set up a fully funded emergency fund for when those unexpected bills com knocking.
- Having a card means you're more at risk for identity theft and fraud. If you have no card, you automatically lower your risk!
If you have an account that still carries a balance, wait to call and cancel the card until you have it paid off. I've read that credit card companies will actually raise people's rates if they cancel before it is paid off. Instead, cut up the credit card, pay it off as fast as possible, and then call to cancel as soon as it is paid off.
Have you ever called to cancel a credit card and gotten the hard sell? What were the reasons your representative gave you that you should stay? Did you still end up canceling the card?