OK, so, maybe I’m just slow on the uptake, but here comes a rant.
Lisa was in Pennsylvania over the weekend, visiting her grandmother (who, by the way, is doing quite well, surprisingly enough). She went to a gas station to get gas to make the 200 mile trip home and, when the cashier ran the credit card, it came back as “restricted.” Not “declined,” but “restricted.” She called me because she needed gas, and wondered what she should do as she had no cash with her — and was unwilling to use the debit card without checking with me to see if we had money to cover the purchase. I told her to go see her grandmother and I’d call the credit card company to find out what the deal was, and that she should call me when she was ready to get gas again.
The credit card company informed me that there is a $300 limit on gas purchases each billing cycle. Fuht the wuck? With the national average for gas at $3.07 per gallon, that’s less than 100 gallons per month. For two vehicles. In a large metropolitan area. During construction season.
Let’s break this down.
LISA: 64 miles round trip to work, 20 mpg (at best), 5 days a week. That’s 16 gallons of gas and, at $3 per gallon, or $48 per week.
PAT: 26 miles round trip to work, 22 mpg (on average), 5 days a week. That’s 6 gallons of gas, or $18 per week.
If all we drove for was to go to work, that’s $66 per week in gas, or $285 per month, combined.
This doesn’t include trips to the grocery store, chiropractor, hair appointments, or other personal uses — just commuting to work. We make a point of driving my vehicle when we’re together, as it gets a little bit better mileage than her truck. But I still go through a full 12 gallon tank of gas each week. And here’s the other thing — if you go inside the gas station’s convenience store to get a cup of Joe every morning, THAT counts against your gas purchases. And guess what? Lisa smokes. And buys her smokes at the gas station when she fills up. At just under $5 a pack.
It takes Lisa 4 days to go through a tank. We have a gas budget of $500 each month.
It’s unclear as to whether this is a national thing, or just a thing with the company our credit card is issued through (Providian).
But I can tell you this much…if I find out it’s a company policy, I’ll be getting myself a new credit card company.
I called the credit card company back today, figuring that maybe the janitor had answered the phone on Sunday. I spoke to “Joseph” who seemed rather surprised at the idea that there would be a limit on gas purchases on the card. He put me on hold and when he came back, he told me that there was no such thing. I asked him “Then why would he have said that on Sunday?” Of course, Joseph had no ideas that he could articulate to a customer, but I’m sure he had a few thoughts bouncing around in his brain. I may well have gotten the janitor on Sunday…
Joseph believes that the problem with the card might be the magnetic strip. Well, hell, that makes a whole lot more sense than a $300 limit on gas purchases during a billing cycle!