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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dumb Things Corporations Tell Us #3

Today I set out to replace a new clothes washer because our previous one gave up the ghost and, as all things are in this throwaway society, it will cost more than a brand new one to get it fixed. Silly me for not paying the "protection" money ... uh, er, buying the extended "warranty."

Anyway, I went to Sears and found a great deal on one of their many Kenmore (see Whirlpool) models. Upon check out, there was a slight glitch in the process in that the register told the clerk to call a number, verify it was me making the purchase and then get an approval code.

Okay. I've worked retail and I know the drill. This is a major purchase so the credit card company is probably just verifying it's me.

And that, indeed, appeared to be the case because the purchase went through at that point without further complication.

Until I went to PetSmart and my card was flat out denied. After paying with another card, I went out to the car and immediately called Chase to find out what the deal was.

It turns out that because I bought gas the same day I purchased the clothes washer, their "security" system was triggered and flagged the card as potentially stolen. So they froze it.

Here's where it gets dumb.

The "Chase representative" on the other end of the conversation with a customer who was obviously upset told me the following:

1) The fact that I bought gas before buying the washer is what triggered the alert.

Right. I can verify that it's entirely possible to use the card to drive all the way to Minneasota, blow a gob of cash at the Mall of America and then drive home without ONE security alerty being triggered. (Because we all know the first place a thief would NEVER go is the Mall of America!) BUT if I buy gas for MY car at the same gas station I ALWAYS go to and then buy a washing machine and have it delivered to MY home ... well, that's the FIRST thing a card thief would do. Of COURSE!

2) The purchase at Sears did not match my normal purchasing patterns.

Well DUH! It's a washing machine! WHO buys washers as part of their normal pattern?

3) I didn't TELL them I was going to make a purchase of this size.

I'm sorry, but where in my customer agreement does it say that I need to ask permission before using my credit card? Okay, I'll put it in writing here for them. Please Chase Bank? May I pleeeeeeease buy a new washing machine to replace my old one? I PROMISE I'll pay you back ... I'll use my allowance! Really!

So there you have it. I should point out that it's not just Chase who does this. I had the exact same "gas station" trigger pulled on my CitiBank card a number of years back.

Hmm. I wonder if CitiBank noticed I stopped using their card then? Probabaly not.

Well you know my ol' saying. Screw me once ... well, just screw me once and I never use your service again.


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