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8 1/2 hours on hold: One woman's troubles with Target

Sunday - 12/22/2013, 10:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Target is offering a 10 percent discount this weekend and free credit-monitoring to try to win over shoppers scared by the massive credit- and debit-card breach announced Thursday. But some customers are not in the mood to be won over yet.

When customers call Target, they're hearing: "We're sorry, but we're extremely busy, so the wait to speak to a team member is much longer than usual."

Mary, of Potomac Falls, Va., tells WTOP that she tried to cancel her Target debit card on Saturday, but her call was repeatedly disconnected and after calling nine customer-service numbers she spent more than eight hours on hold.

"After two hours on hold, my call was answered," Mary says. "I didn't even get the sentence out: 'I want to close my debit account' - and I was cut off." She tried again, spending hours on hold, and was cut off again.

At 4 a.m. Sunday, Mary began trying again. After an hour on hold, she got through to a representative who said she would have to be transferred to someone else. She spent another hour on hold before being cut off again.

Finally, she said, "I was able to get through to someone, and the young gentleman said to me, if I hadn't been hacked already, why am I worried?" He evidently wasn't able to help her either.

In response to similar complaints posted on their Facebook page, Target writes, "We are experiencing significantly higher volume than normal to our call centers and RedCard website, causing delays. We are working hard to resolve this issue by adding team member support and system capacity as quickly as possible."

Mary doesn't think that's accurate. "I worked in consulting for 25 years. If I treated one of my clients the way Target has treated me in just one of the last (few) days, I would have been out on the street."

She's also not happy about the 10-percent discount offer, saying that it only applies to purchases up to $300, thus making it an effective $30 discount. "I'm gonna go and risk my credit again, for 30 dollars? ... Obviously, they think my time is worth nothing."

WTOP's John Aaron and Jamie Forzato contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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