20/02/2003 @21:17:50 ^00:42:06

Before I start, I'd like to announce the addition of Amy's Weblog to SNAFU. It seems she moved her site having moved house and thus having lost the ability to dial up to Freeserve to update the old one.

She didn't tell anyone about this relocation and took a certain amount of persuading before she allowed it to be monitored by SNAFU, so everyone tell her how good and interesting a site it is. I'm not being sarcastic. It is good and I look forward to further updates.

Want a credit card? Look no further!

We're all familiar with unsolicited mail. For example, credit card applications. My address has been cheerfully sold to no end of credit card companies, so every few days I get another letter inviting me to apply for another one.

I've seen all the gimmicks they use. Free gift offers, zero APR for 6 months, no annual fee, whatever. Pre-approval jazz, making it sound like you've more of a chance that you'd succeed in your application (why would they be checking on you, personally, to see if this were the case?) Dressing down the envelope so it looks like a letter from the taxman, so that you open it instead of just discarding it (I was very annoyed when I fell for that one, so the letter was torn into several dozen pieces more than usual)

However, this morning a new standard of lunacy was set, a whole order of magnitude in excess of the previous. I am hoping that by reproducing the contents of the letter here, somehow, it will seem a little more believable. Remember I'm not making this up.

[University of Warwick logo]

Mr Robert James Young
somewhere in the middle of England

January 2003

We've still got a great deal to offer you
(and it's your chance to give something back)

Dear Mr Young

As an alumnus of Warwick University, we want you to feel proud of your achievements - and get as much from them as possible. With the Warwick University Platinum MasterCard, you can.

In terms of performance, the Warwick University Platinum MasterCard offers and excellent balance transfer rate of just 0% per annum¹ for your first five months. After this it will revert to the standard variable rate for purchases, which is a very competitive 14.9% APR.

So, if you've built up balances on existing credit or store cards or have a loan, you might find that transferring them to your Warwick University Platinum MasterCard could save you money. It would also make organising your finances simpler, as you'd have just one statement to check and one monthly payment to make. And it couldn't be easier to do - just fill in the balance transfer section on the application form overleaf.

Do your University proud for a second time

As well as offering you exceptional rates, taking out the card also benefits Warwick University. So, when the card is first taken out, Warwick University receives a payment from Beneficial. Subsequently, for every £100 spent, an additional payment is made to our funds - and at no extra cost to you.

What's more, as a Cardholder, you can expect a credit limit of up to £20,000², up to 56 days' interest-free credit³, no annual fee and free Purchase Protection Insurance*.

You'll find additional information in the enclosed brochure, or if you have any queries, please contact Beneficial Customer Services on 0870 240 0990. There's also an application form overleaf. All you have to do is fill it in and return it in the envelope provided - you don't even need a stamp.

Yours sincerely,

Tess Robinson
Alumni Officer
Development and Alumni Relations Office
Senate House
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

This letter must be read in conjunction with the accompanying leaflets.
1, 2, 3, *, please see enclosed leaflet for details.
For privacy reasons, your name, address and all other personal information contained in this letter has not been passed on to Beneficial.

No, it didn't work, it's still unbelievable. But why stop here? If you're going to licence credit cards for graduates, why not other stuff too?

But whatever they choose to do next, I'm sure it'll be in the best interests of their customers. That is, HFC Bank plc, trading as Beneficial.