I receive a call on my cell at 8 am Saturday morning. I was just waking up and missed the call so there's always voicemail if the caller leaves a message. After listening to the voicemail, the Citi Costco Fraud Department informed me of possible fraud on my credit card in the amount of $69.95. It was an expense associated with Spirit Airlines; that was all I knew. I immediately called Citi and said I had no idea of that charge. I asked them to cancel my card, and they promised to expedite the new card so it would be arriving in roughly 2 days.
After trying to make sense of it, I logged on to the Spirit website. I wanted to do some investigating, and perhaps this had to do with the Spirit Saver$ Club. I joined the club in 2018 and wanted to know if I was still part of this club. Which meant I was paying $69.95 whether I used it or not. Anyway, my wife suggested I book a flight and see if I was part of the club. After completing the information on several screens, it appeared that I was not, as I would be charged that amount while I was close to booking a flight. So it appears at this point that I was not part of their club.
To investigate further, I spent about 15 minutes reviewing the different pages and screens on Spirit Airlines. I thought it shouldn’t be difficult on their website to make that determination. Besides, I was logged in, so the answer could be forthcoming. I had no luck finding the answer; I couldn’t determine the effective date and when it needed to be renewed. I decided to contact Spirit.
I didn’t know if I should chat or call, but I decided to chat this time. It took about 5-10 minutes before I was connected to Elle G. The entire interaction took about 66 minutes. Elle and I were not on the same page today. Here are some examples: I asked if my membership was automatically renewed. Her response was, “Hang on, let me go ahead and check on this.” After 4 minutes, her reply was, “Membership Type Cost 12 Month Membership $69.95” I’m still trying to get her to understand my dilemma, and I then asked, “I need dates when it expires and renews for that price. I can’t find it on your website.” I hadn’t heard from her, so I asked, “Are you still checking.” Her reply was, “Yes, your membership is still active.” Honestly, I was annoyed, so I said, “Could you please help me? I’ve chatted for 30 minutes; chats should not take this long.” Elle’s response was, “There is no expiration. You will be requested if you want not to be a member.” I believe she’s trying to say that if there’s no expiration date and you don’t want to continue being a member, you need to cancel. At least I’m getting somewhere, or I think. I asked about my effective service date, and she replied, “As long as you are a member, 12 Month Membership is $69.95.”
She finally committed to me that I’ve been a member since December 7, 2018. So I asked, “So I will be charged on December 8, 2022, for another year of Spirit Saver$ Club? Her reply was, “Yes.” I thanked her and left the chat. For a little context, I had asked about the effective and termination dates a number of times trying to piece together this vital bit of information, and it wasn’t until towards the end of our 50-minute chat that she mentioned December 7th.
Not completely satisfied with that information, I called Spirit and spoke to Ismael, thankfully this exchange only took five minutes. Ismael said Spirit was trying to charge that fee but was denied by the Visa credit card. I asked him why it was going through on December 3 when the service didn’t expire until December 7th – in other words, because I don’t know their procedure, it’s harder to realize the fraud alert was actually for a legitimate charge. He said that sometimes they charge the card the week before it expires. All of this information would have been helpful to learn during my chat or even when I was perusing their website before chatting.
Fully transparent, mistakes were made on my behalf. I should have known the date of this new service or that Spirit has been debiting money from our credit card account for the past 4 years. (Gives all the more reason to watch your finances closely.) Even if I didn’t know this information, I could have called Spirit quickly to learn more about this charge or at least given it a shot. I was a little flustered at this early Saturday news that I assumed it was a fraud and that the credit card was canceled.
After this interaction, I wondered how the fraud department caught this latest charge from ’22. And how it was caught today but not during the last several years; just things to ponder after this ordeal. One more comment about my chat interaction, in the end, she says, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” You hardly helped me with the first issue; why should I trust you’ll help on the second try?
It’s interesting that I’ve been a part of this club before and after Covid 19 and the purpose of this club was to save money on flights. However, during much of Covid, I didn’t fly Spirit or any other airline. So I tried to save money by joining this club but spent this annual fee for several years which provided a limited amount of value.
I needed to chat about this charge that may pertain to Spirit’s Saver$ Club. I wanted to save time, so thought chat was my best resource. After incomplete answers to my questions and not addressing my concerns directly, this exchange took over 60 minutes. So much for chatting being more efficient.