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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Betrayed by Frontier Airlines - another loyal customer lost

I'm upset because this came out of the blue, and Frontier has lost the trust of a loyal customer.

I fly to Oklahoma City every week, and often, I'm on Frontier Airlines, connecting through Denver. The Frontier Airlines folks have UP TO TODAY earned and kept my business, I trust them to fly me there and back on time mostly and the flight crew are friendly.

So, when I was approached by someone dressed in a Frontier Airlines uniform at the Denver airport, I was receptive. I had some time, so I filled out a credit card application - my current card has an annual fee, and I'd started looking for a new card without an annual fee, and this seemed to fit the bill, plus the 5000 miles would come in handy as I was building up miles on Frontier, going to Oklahoma so often.

When the card arrived, I put it aside, not planning to use it, not charging anything to it till I was ready to transition from my old card. Today, I received a statement from BARCLAYS Bank which charged me $24.95 for a Time Magazine subscription.

Ok ok, I had checked the box on the credit card application which had said check here for some free copies of Time Magazine. BUT I had expected that after trying it, I would be offered a chance to sign up or decline. But NO - Time Magazine set me up for automatic renewal and charged the credit card.

Do I hold Frontier Airlines responsible. YES I DO! I had trusted them to do the right thing by me, and not be part of a scam that tricks people into signing up for magazine subscriptions.

Do I hold Barclays responsible? YES I DO! I had to endure the Barclays call center quality monitoring requirements that lead to me being asked 7 times, please call Time Magazine and cancel my subscription.

Surely it is NOT good business for a bank with a long and proud tradition like Barclays to have their contact center employees spending so much time with angry people who have been tricked into paying for magazine subscriptions. But no... I have to be asked over and over again, to cancel the Time Magazine subscription, when I am calling Barclays to cancel the credit card.

There are policy decisions going on at Frontier and Barclays and Time which present their companies in a poor light. And the employees I have spoken with, who know my frustration and fury, have no avenue to communicate this up the line.

Well there are ways to get the word out now, that are no longer under the control of Frontier, Barclays and Time Magazine managers. Thank goodness for the Voice of the Customer on the Internet.

At a time of recession when every customer counts, and I represent a stream of hundreds of dollars on average every month to Frontier.... wouldn't it be sensible for the folks at Frontier to want to know how unhappy they are making mainstream Frontier-flying customers through the Barclays credit card offer with the so-called "free" (I call trap) subscriptions to Time Magazine?


lamar5000 said...

Just a note here. Unless you are 22 or younger, getting your first card etc. you should know better. If not then the lesson is a good one for the rest of your life. Rarely, very rarely do you get things in life for free. In the future before you sign anyting, check a box or agree to have someting sent for free, please read the fine print (dont rely on the sales person to tell your or to even know what you are siging up for). Having said that I still dont like the practices of any company, much less one that gains your trust,to expose their customers to these types of deals.

Anonymous said...

I just cancelled my Frontier Airlines card yesterday. It all started with a "good deal" from Expedia for $12 a month. I wrote a check to Frontier MasterCard on April 24 for the $12 charge - the ONLY charge. They never cashed the check until May 5, said I was late, tacked on a $25 late fee and jacked my interest rate to 27.25%! When I called to straighten this out I was given a lecture on "following rules".

Mei Lin Fung said...

Dear Lamar - I should know better, you are right. I now know better.

Dear Anonymous - thanks for sharing - your story makes me relieved that I didn't get the late fee charged too. I have since recovered and was able to tell the whole story as an amusing episode last weekend. Re-reading it today brings back the memory of how upset I was. And by the way, I told the story at dinner because 2 other people had had the same thing happen to them

One suggestion for the future that was given at the dinner: Fax your cancellations - because you are documenting the cancellation when the fax goes through.

Thanks for your comments

Mei Lin