Irritating: The One Time Exception When You Did Everything Correctly

Many companies have been forced to accede to customer demands which are normally not part of their policies once the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic swept around the world and forced millions of people to stay in their homes — and that includes companies within the travel industry, who have extended expiration dates on points as well as elite status levels…

Irritating: The One Time Exception When You Did Everything Correctly

filet mignon baked potato meal dinner

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…but I have been noticing a slow return of the “one-time exception” — you know, through which the customer service person is letting you know that even though what you want is against the policy set forth by the company, they are being generous enough to grant you an exception and give to you what you are seeking.

That can be irritating enough when you committed a mistake or an error on your part — but it is even worse when you have done everything correctly and it still occurs.

As an example, I had an experience with one of my credit cards, for which had a special offer at a specific restaurant: I can get 25 percent of the total bill applied as a one-time statement credit by using your enrolled credit card for a single eligible purchase in-restaurant or for takeout dining, with a limit of 1 statement credit of up to $150.00.

I added the offer to my credit card.

I ordered $85.00 worth of food at the restaurant in question, of which only one location exists. It is not part of a chain of restaurants.

I paid for the order with the credit card in question prior to the expiration of the offer.

A total of five dollars was applied to my credit card statement.

My math may not exactly be the best in the world, but even I knew that five dollars is not 25 percent of $85.00.

I called the customer service department of the credit card company. I explained the situation to the customer service representative. She surmised what was my situation, which I politely responded was completely incorrect. She then assured me that I would be placed on hold for no longer than two minutes.

Six minutes later, she asked if I could remain on hold for another few minutes, to which I agreed.

When she returned, she said that the offer was for a flat five dollar statement credit.

I then read to her the offer — which had since expired, but I had the exact verbiage saved, just in case.

I was placed on hold yet again for a few minutes.

When she returned, she politely chastised me that I did not add the offer to my credit card — but “I will make a one-time exception and give you a statement credit of $21.25 in your account.”

I calmly responded that I always add the offer to my credit card when I have even a passing interest in an offer; but I thanked her for her help.


Columbia Restaurant

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I was grateful that my request was fulfilled in my favor — and yet, I was irritated by the unwavering condescending attitude of being chastised for not following instructions when I precisely followed all of the rules to qualify for this offer.

To stress my side of the situation after I already received what I sought seemed rather fruitless at that point; so I just let it go. Does this mean that I used up my one time exception in case something goes wrong next time — regardless of whether or not what happened was my fault?

Have you ever had a similar situation happen to you — that is, you receive a one time exception for something of which you were not at fault at all? If so, what did you do about it — and what happened as a result?

All photographs ©2015, ©2016, and ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “Irritating: The One Time Exception When You Did Everything Correctly”

  1. Shaun says:

    Was the $5 credit a credit for the amex Shop Small? Maybe the other amex offer would hit up later?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is actually a possibility, Shaun; but the credit should have posted already at this point anyway.

      This is not the first time I have had to call to have a credit properly applied, though…

  2. Marc says:

    I tend to respond the same way in these situations. I got the line “as a courtesy, we will” when my bank agreed to reverse two fees that posted to my account due to there own error. Classic.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      “As a courtesy” is definitely a derivative of “One time exception”, Marc. Definitely classic.

      Even worse are those times when a customer service representative seems to be reading from a manual on how to go through the process step by step…

  3. George says:

    So the Amex Offer didn’t “stick.” Happens every once in a while. Since they’ve been taught the system is fail-safe, in their mind, the customer must be wrong (i.e. the customer just neglected to add the offer); so of course it ought to be a one-time courtesy. But in reality, the next one will extend that courtesy again, in order to keep you as a customer. On the off-chance they don’t, you escalate it, and a higher-up (one with the knowledge that it’s not fail-safe) does it.

    The $5 was the Shop Small offer; no math required. But you already knew that.

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