Perils of Black Friday Shopping – Beware the Store Credit Card Upsell!

AddingOil:

This is JiaYou’s first Black Friday shopping experience, and it wasn’t the enjoyable, fun-filled day that we were planning. But she had her first encounter with STORE CREDIT CARDS!

credit-cards
Useful and necessary tools, but there are pitfalls (credit: publicdomainpictures.net)

Admittedly, we have never been eager or die hard shoppers, but in this case we were looking forward to taking advantage of 50% off sales for my wife as we shopped for clothes at a name brand clothing chain.

 

The problem happened when JiaYou lined up at the store’s cash register, and I went to look for some clothes for myself.

When she came later, she told me that she got a store coupon for me. My first reaction was that it was a useful, pleasant surprise.

But when I asked how she got it, she showed me the store receipts, and it showed that she opened a STORE CREDIT CARD!

It turns out that when JiaYou presented her current credit card (which is actually an authorized card under my account) to the cashier, the cashier asked if she wanted to apply for a “store card” for an additional discount on current purchases, and, not understanding that this was an actual STORE CREDIT CARD, my wife accepted. And, oddly, when my wife who does not work yet told the cashier that she had ZERO income, the cashier (rather unscrupulously) instead entered income of $20,000 into the electronic application.

When I discovered this minutes later in the changing room, I was upset and told her to go back to the cashier to cancel it immediately.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite so simple. We had to go through several steps:

  1. The cashier told my wife that she needed to call the main credit card customer service number. Unfortunately, the cashier couldn’t supply it so JiaYou had to google it.
  2. The credit card representative we got on the line said that they can cancel the card, but there’s a balance on it, and we would receive a credit card statement to be paid before they can actually cancel the card. (Apparently, JiaYou didn’t even realize that the purchases were made on the store credit card, and not her existing credit card.)
  3.  So we had to go to the cashier, return the purchases on the store credit card, and repurchase them on JiaYou’s existing credit card.
  4. Then we had to call the credit card representative a second time to confirm that the charges were reversed.
  5. The representative could not see any charge reversals at that time and so Jiayou had to hunt down the store manager to talk to the representative directly.
  6. When JiaYou finally did that, the representative confirmed that the charges were reversed, that no statement would be mailed, and that the credit card was closed. (Or so we hope – I requested a written letter to that effect to be sent to our mailing address and hopefully will get it soon.)

Needless to say, this was a very frustrating experience that quickly ended our Black Friday shopping , but at least there was only modest affect to JiaYou’s credit score (at least thus far, when I checked on Credit Karma the next day).

And JiaYou learned a valuable lesson in credit cards!

This is a classic example of culture clash. She didn’t realize that so many seemingly minor things could affect one’s credit score (and she had only a vague idea of what a credit score and its significance).

Lessons Learned:

  • Talk about the different payment types in the U.S. versus their home country. In China, debit cards are prevalent but not credit cards. Chinese stores often offer a free “membership card” that offers discounts and only require giving your mobile phone number or WeChat (the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp) ID. JiaYou thought it was that kind of card.
  • Talk about personal credit scores and factors that affect them. And explain how a bad credit score can affect your lives in the future if you want to get a mortgage for a house or any type of loan. Credit scores are still so nascent in China that having a bad one has little impact on one’s life, which is in total contrast to the U.S.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

JiaYou:

黑色星期五对于初次居住在美国的我来说,是一次值得体验的活动。由于是第一次也不知道自己要买点什么,正好看到自己没有袜子了,想今天是黑色星期五,所以就跟AddingOil说我想到品牌连锁店去逛一逛。

在品牌连锁店挑好了裤子和袜子,当在结账服务台时(此时AddingOil正在找适合他的东西),柜台收银员说可以在半价的基础上还可以打个八折(需要开通店里的会员卡。在中国开通会员卡,只是品牌连锁店的卡而已,并不是信用卡),我想办个会员卡就可以再打个八折是很不错的。就按照收银员的指示操作,要了我的名字,出生年月日,住址,年收入,驾驶证以及社会安全卡号。在输入年收入时,我输入了0,收银员一看说不行要输入$20,000,她就自作主张的帮我输入了$20,000。当时我的脑海里就在想这是在欺诈啊,我想反正就办会员卡,收银员要求这样输入就这样输入吧。输入完后,我以为是没有通过,对收银员说无所谓的,我也并不是很在乎这个,结果我办理通过了。收银员刷了我的信用卡,我以为就跟往常一样结束了,她给了我一张$25优惠的券+一张10%的券(送新用户的)。关于再打八折却没有下文了,我想估计被骗了,谁叫我英文没那么流利呢?

拿着我的优惠券就去找正在试衣间的AddingOil了,把优惠券和收费的纸条都给他看了,一看是办理了信用卡,当时AddingOil就跟我急了,你知道这个是会影响你的信誉吗?赶紧去取消掉!

对于我这不怎么买衣服的人来说,还真不懂这些。老老实实听AddingOil的话去柜台找收银员取消信用卡。结果那收银员说:她那里取消不了,就叫我到网上搜她们家的连锁店客户服务号码,然后打电话取消。折腾了好一会儿才找到客户服务电话号码,打了2次才接通到人工服务(在那之前听电话里播放,我的账户是1000美元的信誉 就剩下916左右的费用了),跟电话那头的客服人员说明情况,问怎么可以撤销账户?客服人员说:将购买的东西退掉才可以撤销账户,然后在拨打电话销户。按照客服人员的要求操作完,然后又打电话过去了,可是并没有我们所想象的那么简单,客服人员说要跟店里的经理确认无误后,才可以撤销账户(找到门店经理又重新解释整个事件的过程,门店经理给跟电话那头的人说我的确取消了那笔交易)。兜了好大一圈之后才真正的销户。

这次经验告诉我以后不论买什么东西,人家给你打折都要问清楚后,再实际操作。不懂的一概拒绝!

 

Let us know what you think and share your experiences!