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(c) 2014. Trina Lambert

(c) 2014. Trina Lambert

Details, people, details. The devil is in the details and sometimes the devil is in me when an organization’s lack of attention to detail causes me trouble. This is when I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that I firmly believe in treating service people with respect, no matter whether or not they deserve it. This is when I am supposed to apply that grace (that they most certainly have not earned) while making certain that details do get resolved as needed. This is also when I need both grace for the uncharitable thoughts I am thinking and prayers to help me get that devil out of my head.

Suppose we are buying a car to replace the one we just sold for cash and want to access investments to cover the difference between the cash just received and the purchase price of the new car. Since we do not know the exact amount we will need to cover costs of the car, licensing fees, and any upgrades we do to the car, such as putting on a hitch or other accessories, we decide to complete the purchase using our Discover Card. We have credit on the card, so not only will we know just how much to take out of our investment when the time comes, but we will also buy time to complete the not-so-quick transaction that allows us to receive that investment money, all while earning a Cashback Bonus for the purchase.

So, you ask, how did that really work for us?

Believe it or not, the charge appeared under the pending charges immediately, but disappeared after a few weeks. I finally called Discover Card to find out what happened to the charge—the truth was nothing had happened to the charge. It was still pending but since it had not been finalized by the dealer, the transaction was moved to some inactive file visible to Discover, but not to me. The representative and I had a good laugh about my “reduced” price car, but I told her we would be contacting the dealer.

The dealership thanked my husband when he called about the problem. And then the charges still didn’t show up. By now I was starting to wonder if this would delay our ability to get the license plates by the time the temporary license expired. I mean, the expiration date is July 7, one week from today, which is also the first Monday after a holiday weekend. I know better than to expect a good time any day at the DMV, but especially now thanks to the short work week falling between today and then.

Guess what? A few hours ago I went to my Discover account and discovered (ha, ha) that the pending charge went through, still dated May 9, as well as a new charge dated June 11—which is crazy since the last time I checked the account about a week ago—long past June 11—no charges showed anywhere. Then my husband and I divided duties—he called the dealership and I called Discover.

The representative at Discover Card told me it can take 15 days for merchant-authorized credits to show up, but not to worry. When I still seemed worried, he asked, “Haven’t you had refunds before?” Yes, but not for such a large amount! Forgive me for not feeling that patient. Plus, this artificially high usage of credit will now show on my credit reports, even if all goes as planned.

When my husband called the dealership again today, he was told a credit had been issued on Friday and should show up any time, plus the title should arrive this week. That’s right—don’t hurry with that paperwork. The post office and title offices aren’t affected by the short work week either—which means that at some point this week I may have to choose to go in to get an extension on that temporary plate. It’s only my time and money—don’t sweat the details, right?

I suppose it’s just the devil in me that wants to shout, “People—just get it right the first time!” I’ll concede that we all make errors from time to time, but I don’t believe it’s too much to ask that businesses correct errors in a timely manner after an error is pointed out—and then work really hard not to add more errors to the initial mistake.

Suppose you see me at the DMV twice in the next two weeks, I would advise you to stay the devil away from me—and that’s a detail to which you will want to attend, make no mistake about that.

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