Blue Nile Phone Fee Doesn’t Ring True

An unfortunate engagement with the online jeweler.

| Jason Bagley

They say you can’t put a price on love but they also say you should spend three full months salary on an engagement ring. So obviously they — whoever “they” are — don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.


To soften the blow to your bank account, online jeweler Blue Nile offers a credit card through which payments can be made over time with no interest if paid in full in the first year. This option appealed to me, due in part to the card’s advertised promise of “convenient payment options,” so last year I signed up and used the credit card to buy an engagement ring from Blue Nile for my girlfriend.

And everything was going swimmingly … until last Sunday. For reasons unknown, I prefer to pay most of my bills over the phone. But on Sunday Blue Nile’s automated pay by phone system, also for reasons unknown, was not working. The system asked me for both my social security number and the last four digits of my phone number to verify my account information. While the system was able to confirm my social the machine repeatedly informed me that my phone number was “invalid.”

I hit “0” to talk to a customer service representative who would put the payment through for me. But when it came time to OK the transaction I was told that there would be a $9 fee for, of all things, talking to an actual human being instead of using the automated system. I explained that the only reason I was in need of personal assistance was because said automated system was on the fritz. (I had confirmed that the phone number I had entered was the one on file so it was the company’s problem, not an error of mine.) But the representative refused to waive the fee.

She recommended that I pay online to avoid the $9 fee. She connected me to another representative who, after a bit of wrangling over a user name that had slipped my mind, helped me schedule a payment that day.

That solved my problem but all that effort was not quite the advertised convenience I had envisioned. And you may encounter the same hassles if you’re a Blue Nile credit card holder who relies on the automated pay by phone system to pay your bill. To this day the system tells me that the last four digits of my phone number are “invalid.” If this happens to you, drop Blue Nile a line at [email protected].

Maybe you can get further with the company than I did. Because even though Blue Nile’s name is on the card, the company referred comment to Comenity Capital Bank, which issues the card. In response to an inquiry, Comenity apologized but didn’t offer any specific steps on how it would fix the problem.

Jason Bagley

Jason Bagley, writer at, is still romantic about journalism and believes in its power to educate and inform.

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