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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Then we had to call the credit card representative a second time to confirm that the charges were reversed.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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?