My Experience with Synchrony Bank (formerly GE Capital Retail Bank) and Dick’s Sporting Goods

synchrony-bank-logo225NOTE: This article originally appeared in 2012 but still has relevance, so it continues to reappear from time to time…

Today I have mixed emotions about one particular credit card company. They screwed up in a way that I find somewhat unimaginable, but in the end got things right. Should I be grateful they corrected their error, angry that they made the error, suspicious that the error was not really an error but instead a business practice that brings in additional revenue, or all of the above? Here’s my story…

I have a Dick’s Sporting Goods credit card that is issued & managed by Synchrony Bank, formerly known as GE Capital Retail Bank, which is the bank behind many department store credit cards. My latest statement arrived with the news that I had not made my last payment (I had a roughly $25 balance) and thus would get a late fee equal in size to my balance as well as now having interest accruing. The problem? I DID make the payment and my balance should have been zero.

I found my bank statement confirming that GE Capital/Synchrony had cashed the check I sent in, but failed to credit my account with the payment. I know they have many customers, but it seems difficult to believe they would open my payment, take the check and cash it without ever crediting it to me.

Anyway, I call up GE Capital/Synchrony, already furious because their error is now my problem and I am ready to get the runaround on this issue. At first I do get the runaround. The customer service rep agrees to waive the late fee but can find no record of my payment and tells me in some vague way to send in proof of my payment, without telling me what constitutes proof and where I need to send in this proof. I hang up and try again, hoping a different rep will be more helpful.

The second rep is more helpful, giving me a fax number to which I should send in a copy of my bank statement, but giving me no phone number to follow up with, except for the general customer service number. I sigh, thinking to myself “Yeah, like faxing in my statement is really going to work with this faceless corporate credit card company.” But I do it, and wait to see if anyone will contact me.

Yesterday I found out that my payment was credited, and all interest charges were removed. Today I got a letter from GE Capital, apologizing for their error.

In the end, I am still peeved at GE Capital/Synchrony for screwing up. However, I am pleasantly surprised that somewhere in the depths of their operation a real person actually looked at my fax, used his or her brain, and righted the wrong. I definitely expected to have to jump through further hoops.

While this is certainly not a ringing endorsement for Synchrony Bank / GE Capital, I am willing to give them credit for getting it right in the end.