Hope everyone had good Labor Day, whether you were relaxing or keeping your entrepreneurial pedal to the metal.
My weekend was very productive and enjoyable. I got some serious thinking and writing completed. I played solid tennis and watched the US Open too.
Holidays on Mondays always seem to throw my calendar off a bit. I thought it was Monday all day.
It likely didn’t help matters that I spent half the day grueling over two fraud charges on one of my credit cards.
A lesson about fraud for everyone with a credit card.
Six months ago, I noticed two charges on one of my credit cards. The first flag: it was a card I never use; the second: it was paid to Web hosting company with whom I have not done business.
I immediately called American Express. They opened an investigation and removed the charges. I never thought about it again, until this morning when I received two letters from a collections agency about these two charges, demanding payment and informing me that my credit score was at risk.
Again, I called American Express immediately. They were very nice and helpful, but explained that once something goes to a collection agency, they are out of the loop and the responsibility is back on the card owner. They said I needed to call the collections agency. Boy that was a treat. Even though they tell you that the calls will be monitored, the service and level of kindness was a minus 15 on a 1-5 scale.
This took one and one-half hours. I got disconnected twice and rerouted three times. When I finally had a live person on the phone, she scolded me for assuming the credit card company had handled the matter and informed me I needed to call the company who registered the charge. Here we go again.
I called the Web service provider and experienced the same dreadful phone tree, excessive hold time, disconnect, and redirect for around an hour more. Eventually, I heard “Customer service and billing how can I help you?”
I explained my story again, now for the third time to the 11th person, and he said, “Ma’am, just because American Express removed the charge from your card, does not mean you don’t owe us this money. It is your responsibility to contact our fraud department if, in fact, you think its fraud. Would you like me to connect you?”
In a calm, yet hostile voice I said, “Please!”
Wouldn’t you know it—the fraud department voice mailbox was full. I had to leave a message and I got a double shot of tequila.
About an hour later a gentleman phoned me back. “I’m Josh from fraud services at company XYZ returning your call.” I explained my situation again; I don’t know this company, never bought anything from them, etc. He put me on hold and said, “Let me look into something.”
After grilling me with bunch of questions, there was a pause. “Ms. Post, I see a series of missing information in this record. That means I believe you are telling the truth and concur that this is fraud charge. I will remove the charge of $39.00 from your account and you are free to get back to your life.” OK, I made up that last part.
Here’s the point. A small charge like this one for $39.00 can screw up your credit for a long time and cause you to waste a boat load full of precious time along the way.
If something appears on your credit card that is not yours, you must file a claim with the provider, and monitor it until it is resolved. Filing a claim with your credit card is not enough!
In the midst of this bloody mess, while on hold, via one of my great interns, I did discover two very cool, FREE tools to help monitor your competition and your online footprint success. Check these out.
Find out what your site is worth
$timator.com is a calculator that ranks a site’s worth based on SEO, content, back links, traffic, and more and provides you a snapshot of your online effectiveness. Happy to report, Oddpodz earned a “very good” on overall site evaluation and a valuation of just under $600,000. You can run your site along with any of your competitors.
Find out how your site is ranking with social media, buzz, and other marketing channels
Dataopedia.com provides a lot of diverse data concerning the Web; gathering data from more than 50 sources. Datopedia.com is an aggregation web service that lets users find out all the valuable facts about any website, such as traffic, online buzz, contact information, popularity in social bookmarking services…in short, all the essential facts about every website you can come across on the Internet.
This tool is one-stop resource for finding website facts, and the service can be accessed via the website, the mobile site, embeddable widgets for your website, and browser add-ons.
About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com.