Adrian Loveridge Column – Sleight Promotion

Delivering consistently good customer service, across the board, has for a long time has been one of the greatest and contentious challenges on Barbados.  And even if locals have been conditioned to accepting the many failings, our visitors are starting to rebel, contending whether increasingly high prices, are indeed offering actual value-for-money or justifying the prices charged.

While running a business may not totally equate to the same experience as the majority of our visitors, there are clear overlapping areas where guests to our shores are confronted, if not challenged with poor and indifferent services.

Our banks are a classic case.

Their given mission statements often appears to alienate everyone, regardless of origin and they seldom seem to learn by their mistakes. If only each ‘manager’ would become a customer for a day and subject themselves to what any ordinary mortal has to endure.

Recently I received through the post (mailed in Canada) a personalized (Christian name) letter stating ‘You’ve been selected for a card upgrade’. Two telephone numbers were shown on the document and as I had some queries called the first, a local number which eventually connected me to a remote offshore call centre, perhaps in Jamaica. The ‘agent’ after extracting all necessary security information, knew nothing about the promotion, as frequently happens, so obviously, they were unable to help with my questions.

This outsourcing of such a critical component of good service delivery seems to have become a fashionable trend among larger organisations, in their apparent belief that it brings reduced operating expenses, often to areas where some of the employed staff even struggle to speak the same language.

The second number under the name of the local branch manager connected me to a voicemail, where I left contact details. Much later in the day, the assistant manager called and was again unable to answer my concerns, but promised to call me back the following Monday, which sadly he did not, or the next day.

And subsequent emails to the Managing Director, branch manager and other senior personnel remain unanswered up until submission of this column.

The credit card promoted promised ‘You’re on your way to more places’ offered a sign-up bonus of 7,000 points provided the card was used for a minimum spend of BDS$1,500 by 31st March 2020.  Subsequent purchases using the card would earn 1 point for every US$1 spent. And went on to promise ‘Just 20,000 points, earns you a flight to New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, or anywhere in the Caribbean’ and ‘all for the annual fee of BBD$199’.

Now remember the opening statement mentioned ‘upgrade’.

Our current credit card (issued by the same bank) includes one which offers a cash back facility that pays a minimum of 1% (other purchases) and a maximum of 4% (groceries/gas).

So for the new ‘upgrade’ card to achieve sufficient points for one airline ticket it would require a minimum spend of BDS$27,500, plus the upfront cost of the annual fee.

Using our existing card, which has a much lower annual fee, that same BDS$27,500 would return at least $275 in cash back and as much as BDS$1,100 at the higher rate.

So where is the ‘upgrade’?

Is it an ‘upgrade’ in bank profit?

We have become all too willing or docile to accept a level of service here that would never be tolerated in the domain of these foreign companies.

18 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – Sleight Promotion

  1. I suspect you did the necessary checks before making the first call and ruled out the possibility of a scam to collect information.

    Would suggesting changing what security information you can change.

  2. @ TheOGazerts at 8 :26 AM

    Welcome to the Digital World. It is new but it is still a work in progress. What Adrian has described is reflective of the new financial system. I have had similar experiences originating locally and internationally. Very often there is a disconnect. I have received information from an offshore clearing centre inviting me to collect a card which I had in my possession for almost three months.

  3. @VC
    Interesting response.

    Here is how I would handle such a letter as we now live in fear of scammers

    a. Most likely I would thrash it.

    B. Google the names on the letter as I would not call based on what is in the letter .
    My phone now identify some numbers as ‘Scam Likely’

    On my TV, sometimes when I see a local number, I also see an out of area number just before it (spoofing).

    The game has changed and is changing. More players than before

  4. @ TheoOGazerts at 2:57 PM

    Thanks very much. Yes I noticed the increase in scamming. What a world to live in!!

    • @Vincent

      Adrian states he called the number/manager on the letter. What is not clear is whether there was an internal breakdown in communication or if the letter is part of a scam. Adrian should clarify.

  5. @ David BU at 3 :57 PM

    Adrian stated that he contacted and talk to the Bank’s officers. This suggested that there was a breakdown in the internal (to the bank) communication.
    This happens on a regular basis ,especially where the call centres are off island. There is no longer personal banking. We are paying more for deteriorating services. It is international.

    • @Vincent

      Extracted from Adrian’s submission:

      The second number under the name of the local branch manager connected me to a voicemail, where I left contact details. Much later in the day, the assistant manager called and was again unable to answer my concerns, but promised to call me back the following Monday, which sadly he did not, or the next day.

  6. @ David BU at 4 :19 PM

    The extract is enough to suggest to me that there is a breakdown in the internal communications of the Bank. He spoke with an assistant manager who clearly did not how what Adrian was talking about. The Manager is still trying to find out what Adrian is talking about.

  7. @ David BU at4:51 PM

    Not in the context so graphically described by Adrian.Did Adrian express any doubt about the authenticity of the letter/brochure? Would his inquiry at the local branch not trigger an investigation by the local branch? Did you see any local warnings to the public by the bank?

    But you may be right.

  8. Scammers everywhere.

    ““When I saw the receipt it was for $4,050 and I thought that’s about right. That’s about $9 Canadian, but when I got my credit card statement that wasn’t the case,” Kindrat said.

    But the vendor charged him $4,050 U.S., which is equal to $5,285 Canadian. When he contacted his bank and credit card company about the mistake, he was told he authorized the charge.”

  9. No doubt that the letter received is genuine. Posted from Canada with a return address P.O Box 99999 Stn T, Ottawa ON K1G 3X7 and individually printed Christian name (Adrian)

  10. Adrian,
    I am an old geezer with little or no computer skills. I googled and found the following:

    “In her memory, donations may be made to these organizations which were dear to her heart: the GFA World (Gospel for Asia), 245 King Street East, Stoney Creek, Ontario L8G 1L9 (;

    World Vision Canada, PO Box 99999, Station T, Ottawa, Ontario K1G 3X7”

    So I matched the address. It may be old an old one, but what I am trying to tell you and other Bajans is be careful with what you reveal online/ on the telephone or to unsolicited mail.

  11. Theo, thank you. I contacted Canada Post/Canada Postes to verify the PO Box number, but sadly no response yet.

  12. @ Adrian

    I am very disappointed that your bank/card provider has done nothing so far to deal with your concerns.

  13. Seems like scam.I live I N.Y and gets these type of calls daily.Some even threaten to close your bank account if you don’t comply by the dead line being offered

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