"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Officials at JP Morgan Chase have apologized and promised to improve their screening policies, after a credit card solicitation letter sent to a 54-year-old naturalized American citizen came addressed to "Palestinian Bomber."
The form letter for a Visa Platinum card arrived earlier this month at the home of Sami Habbas, a grocery store manager from Corona, Calif. The words "Palestinian Bomber" appear above his address and the salutation reads, "Dear Palestinian Bomber." The document included the signature of Carter Franke, chief marketing officer for Chase Card Services.
Habbas is a naturalized U.S. citizen of Palestinian heritage. He told ABC News he is "extremely upset" at receiving the letter, pointing out that he has lived in the United States for 51 years and also served in the U.S. Army, receiving an honorable discharge in 1969....
Habbas was even more shocked when, on several occasions, he said he called an 800-number for JP Morgan Chase and spoke to operators in an effort to complain. Each time, he says the operators called up his information on a computer but apparently didn't catch on. According to Habbas, "The operators always said, 'Yes, Mr. Palestinian Bomber, how can we help you...?' "
The incident comes on the heels of last week's announcement by Comcast that two customer service representatives in Chicago were fired after they changed a woman's name to "Bitch Dog" on her bill. She had repeatedly complained about bad service.
In fact, I understand how things like this happen - I used to work at a video store, years ago, where employees would sometimes place inappropriate comments in the customer database, which then sometimes showed up on address labels taken from the database and sent out with customet mailings. But I do not understand how a live telephone operator, even one functioning on autopilot, could fail to notice that he or she was addressing a customer as "Mr. Palestinian Bomber." I could understand "Throat Warbler Mangrove," but not "Mr. Palestinian Bomber."
Also, it would never, ever occur to me to call someone "Bitch Dog." I'm just not that creative.