When my Capital One Visa card went missing a week or so ago, our worst fears were confirmed when we got a call from Capital One warning of potential fraudulent transactions.

But that’s only where the adventure begins. Every day new bogus charges were added to the card. Every day we called Capital One. Every day they assured us the account was frozen and they would issue new cards. After four calls placed by three different Sea Changers, we crossed our fingers that we had finally dealt with the problem.

Nope. The card thief managed to rack up another five grand yesterday. Two more calls and we think we may have seen the end of this. Fingers crossed…again.

What’s the lesson here? One bad experience eradicated a billion dollars worth of brand advertising. We don’t trust Capital One, and all their silly clever ads now only increase our skepticism.

Some companies — but almost no non-profits — understand that your brand and reputation are made (or broken) out on the front lines, where your donors meet a receptionist, a junior staffer answering email, or a baffling website where all they want is your mailing address and it’s unfindable.

We had a non-profit client that spent half a million dollars on a new logo but wouldn’t hire someone to answer emails from members. That’s not uncommon, but it’s just dumb.