My HSBC / Best Buy fraud story!

LincLinc OwnerDetroit Icrontian
edited October 2010 in The Pub
I went to get my HDTV back in '08 from Best Buy. It was on sale and had zero interest for 3 years. Pretty sweet deal right? The nice girl at the checkout asked me if I wanted "debt protection insurance" which she explained would be an extra charge for $20 that would indemnify me of responsibility for the credit card debt if I lost my job, had an accident, or whatever.

That's when the warning flags should've gone off.

After accepting, I soon realized the charge was monthly (sweet! thanks lying Best Buy lackey!) and varied between $10-$20 each month. To avoid further charges I quickly expedited my payment schedule and paid it off 8 months earlier than the 2 years I planned to allow.

But that was just the start.

I recently went back to Best Buy to purchase a MacBook Pro because I wanted one quickly, it was the same price as online, and it featured 2 years no interest (on the BB card I already had). Sweet!

What showed up next month? That damn charge again! Apparently it was a permanent "feature" to my account.

I called the number on the statement for HSBC, the company behind the card, and an Indian named Roger (riiiiight) answered. He was an A+ asshat and told me the charge could not be refunded because I had signed the agreement, but, after repeating his script 8 times to tell me about all the benefits of the program, finally relented and let me cancel the "protection."

Next month? SAME CHARGE.

I called the number again. This time I got a woman who asked for my cancellation number. "I see we have a record of your call but unfortunately I cannot confirm what that call was about." What a great game!

Me: "Skip to the part of your script where the customer becomes irate and starts cursing."

In a very rapid exchange, I made it clear my intention to sue them for fraud over this stunt should I see another charge on my card. There may have been yelling. I got my "cancellation number." (Yeah, it's 3 digits. I'm sure that's unique or meaningful other than as a way to screw their customers over for an extra month.)

tl;dr: Never using HSBC for credit again, cancelling & destroying my Best Buy card when my laptop is paid off in a year, never making another purchase at Best Buy, and they can cram their deals where the sun don't shine.

:vimp:
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Comments

  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Stay classy Best Buy.

    Damn, what a giant pile of bullshit.
  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Good luck never using HSBC for credit ever again. A lot of major sales outlet (Art Van, Sears (iirc), Best Buy, etc.) run their in-store credit through them. Of course, I suppose you could always avoid using in-store credit (I tend to avoid it like the plague.... well... except for with Home Depot and NewEgg, my two major weaknesses).
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Submit to the consumerist and tweet this (mention @bestbuy)
    RyanFodder
  • LincLinc Owner Detroit Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    ardichoke wrote:
    Good luck never using HSBC for credit ever again.
    I only have 2 other cards; one thru Barclay's and one thru Chase (that's basically just a backup). Those Best Buy purchases represent the total of my lifetime in-house credit spending. I'm deeply paranoid about losing track of payments. Much simpler to just use 1 card for everything.

    // edit: To digress, I'm so very poor at remembering short-term to-do items (like "pay your bills") that I pay my bills immediately following every paycheck (every 2 weeks) so I don't slip up and miss one. Paycheck = pay bills even if they aren't due.
  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    = pay bills even if they aren't due.

    I do the exact same thing. I also have all my bills set up as private events in my Google Calendar and I have an email reminder set a week before each one is due. That way I have it staring me in the face every time I log into GMail or look at my calendar.
  • CrazyJoeCrazyJoe Winter Springs, FL Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    I also use Google Calendar for my pay bills reminder... It works for me...
  • NiGHTSNiGHTS San Diego Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Bummer about the headaches...

    FWIW Mint.com will send e-mail/textoso reminders to you, too. But they're sellouts so I know we don't use the (still free) service.
  • SpencerForHireSpencerForHire Clawson, MI
    edited September 2010
    Best Buy did something similar to me with their "free Magazine" subscription. The Lackey at the counter said I could get a free magazine subscription with my purchase I sighed and thought to myself "whatever, I'll never use it but meh." Next month I get my magazine as well as a bill explaining that the mag I got in store was free but to continue I owed (and owed retroactively for what they just sent me).

    F-f-failure.
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    This is why the wife and I have joined the church of Ramsey.

    We're currently in the process of paying off ALL debts, regardless of their interest rates or terms or special dealings.

    By the end of 2012, we should have everything but the large mortgage (we did a 70/30 split) paid off completely. No debt whatsoever.

    Screw credit.
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! TX Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    This is why the wife and I have joined the church of Ramsey.

    We're currently in the process of paying off ALL debts, regardless of their interest rates or terms or special dealings.

    By the end of 2012, we should have everything but the large mortgage (we did a 70/30 split) paid off completely. No debt whatsoever.

    Screw credit.

    :respect: Welcome Friend, Ramsey changed my life.

    "The debtor is a slave to the lender"

    -Digi
  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Man I'd love to be able to do that... I don't make anywhere near enough to get rid of my consolidated college loan any time soon though =/
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    I believe Alex says it best.

    "Screw Credit":mad2:

    I have a nice little pile of debt, I am working on it myself. I have been off the cards for about a year and a half now, and you know what, its changed my mental state. You really figure out that you can live without allot of the crap you really thought you "needed" at the time.

    Credit cards are the devil... They are designed to tempt you, then keep you in financial hell.

    Alex, forgive me for asking a silly question, but what Church are you talking about? Is it a methodology for dealing with the debt?
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited September 2010
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    ardichoke wrote:
    Man I'd love to be able to do that... I don't make anywhere near enough to get rid of my consolidated college loan any time soon though =/

    It's not easy. Check out Dave's stuff. Anyone can do it, really. You just have to get 'Gazelle Intense'. It's worth it in the end.
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    I've been a credit card holder since the age of 17 (seven years now), and not once have I ever put more on it than I could afford to pay in cash. Credit cards are not evil; bad habits with credit cards are.
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Thrax wrote:
    I've been a credit card holder since the age of 17 (seven years now), and not once have I ever put more on it than I could afford to pay in cash. Credit cards are not evil; bad habits with credit cards are.

    Few people are equipped well enough psychologically to deal with credit, particularly with the way companies were handing out multi-thousand-dollar limits like they were candy.

    I have to ask, though. If you are able to pay with cash, and you won't buy something on credit without having the cash available to back it up, why use credit at all?

    And don't say 'Credit History', 'cuz it's utter BS.
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! TX Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Thrax wrote:
    I've been a credit card holder since the age of 17 (seven years now), and not once have I ever put more on it than I could afford to pay in cash. Credit cards are not evil; bad habits with credit cards are.

    Cool Story Bro

    -Digi
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Few people are equipped well enough psychologically to deal with credit, particularly with the way companies were handing out multi-thousand-dollar limits like they were candy.

    I have to ask, though. If you are able to pay with cash, and you won't buy something on credit without having the cash available to back it up, why use credit at all?

    And don't say 'Credit History', 'cuz it's utter BS.

    1. Credit history: With no other credit history on record, I was able to purchase a brand new car with no co-signer at the age of 21. GMAC was not desperate for buyers at this time. Reliable credit spending/payment was the only way I made this happen.

    2. Convenience: I never have to visit the ATM, check if I have cash, make change, worry about lost money or currency conversions. If I need to make a purchase, I can make one any time, anywhere, no questions asked.

    3. Rewards: Spending every dime on my credit card has afforded me the opportunity to obtain rewards I would not have been eligible for without a credit card. If I'm going to spend the money anyhow, I might as well benefit.

    4. Savings account: US banking laws limit the maximum number of direct debit/withdrawals on a savings account to five per month. By using a credit card, I'm able to keep all of my money in a savings account, giving me a higher interest rate and lower bank fees. As all of my bills are on the credit card, I can simply online transfer the sum of my credit card bill to my checking account each month.

    5. Insurance: Whereas lost money cannot be reimbursed, or a fraudulently-used debit card likely features no protection, numerous pro-consumer protection laws virtually guarantee that I will not be on the hook for illicit transactions or egregious issues experienced with my card.

    These are just some of the reasons why I prefer a credit card and will likely never carry cash.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    It's to the point that I don't even listen to the register jockeys anymore, especially at Best Buy. Of the stores I go to they seem to be the worst for offering me bullshit at the register. Nothing they have to offer me is worth anything. I just block it out now. They could be offering me free double rainbows, and I wouldn't even know it.

    Register Jockey: For only $30, you can get a hypergravitic protection plan.

    Me: No.

    Register Jockey: Would you like super double-dog-dare installation package?

    Me: No.

    Register Jockey: You are the 100 billionth customer and your reward is a monkey juggling a chainsaw.

    Me: No.

    Register Jockey: Would you like a bag for this?

    Me: No.
    I have to ask, though. If you are able to pay with cash, and you won't buy something on credit without having the cash available to back it up, why use credit at all?

    And don't say 'Credit History', 'cuz it's utter BS.

    Rewards points. I get about $80 back from my AmEx rewards program every February. Betsy and I use it to go on a nice Valentine's Day Date.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Thrax wrote:
    I've been a credit card holder since the age of 17 (seven years now), and not once have I ever put more on it than I could afford to pay in cash. Credit cards are not evil; bad habits with credit cards are.

    To have such a black and white view of the world again...

    Have your local utility slam you for a $4000 bill all at once, threaten to shut you and your family off, charge it, then see how you feel....

    Get behind in medical debt for your child's care, have your pediatrician turn your kid away, charge a couple grand in that to keep your kid in care....

    Thats not to say I have not done knuckle-headed stuff.... But Robert, every situation is different. I'm not saying your statement is not without merit, I am just saying, you can't take a really complicated problem for millions of people and simplify it for everyone like that. The system is rigged that when you realize you are in trouble, and you want to work your ass off and sacrifice to dig out, they make it as hard as possible to reduce your balance because they want that debt and your regular contribution on the balance sheet for as long as possible. You can say thats a good business model, and a fair agreement, others might say its a little evil...
  • BasilBasil Nubcaek England Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    ...why use credit at all?
    Because if you play the game right you profit.

    Example: My airline of choice gives away 2 free return flights with their card, that's about £500 worth of tickets (I'm on a low traffic route) at no cost to myself.

    ...They make it as hard as possible to reduce your balance because they want that debt and your regular contribution on the balance sheet for as long as possible.
    True dat.

    But ultimately a card never put anyone in debt, their spending did.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    I think what Cliff is trying to say is that sometimes life happens, and you are forced to spend more than you can afford, and credit card companies are willing to be there with the stuff you need when you need it.

    I think he's also saying that they don't, however, have your best interests in mind when they do that.

    Life is extremely messy and complicated, and sometimes you need help and you need to be bailed out. Those of us lucky enough to have friends and family with money don't have to rely on loansharks (read: credit companies) to bail us out. But if you do need a credit company, you can get in for years and years, and they can make your life a living hell.
  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    I want to follow Mr. Ramsay's way out of debt and then start to use my credit card to my advantage.
  • BasilBasil Nubcaek England Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Yeah I got that, and don't get me wrong I'm not some unsympathetic bastard who has never gone short, life happens and the best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry.

    I just can't understand the 'credit cards are evil and you shouldn't have them' argument.
  • NiGHTSNiGHTS San Diego Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Thrax wrote:
    ...Sums up exact argument I was going to go with...

    This is exactly the same way I use my card and my rationale behind it. Doesn't look like we're going to win over the hearts and minds of many here, though. Keep doing what you're doing and let me know when you're able to fly to Tahiti with the airline miles you've earned, we'll go together.
    Basil wrote:
    I just can't understand the 'credit cards are evil and you shouldn't have them' argument.

    IMO, ~75% due to lack of understanding what exactly that card means at the end of the month. The other ~25% for unforeseen events that entail larger principle amounts (medical bills), resulting in more difficult payment plans. However, that same credit may have literally just saved their life, but hey the hell with that.
  • CrazyJoeCrazyJoe Winter Springs, FL Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    CB wrote:
    Rewards points. I get about $80 back from my AmEx rewards program every February. Betsy and I use it to go on a nice Valentine's Day Date.

    To Costco?
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Crazy Joe wrote:
    To Costco?

    Yeah, $1.50 Polish Sausage combos with flowers and candlelight. Better than Valentines day at White Castle!

    Seriously though: Even though it's a Costco AmEx, the AmEx reward is separate from the Costco reward. But even if it wasn't, one can take their Costco rebate certificate up to the CustServ desk, and they'll give you cash for it. That's usually also around $80 or so for us, and we usually use it toward something we've been wanting for the house. This year, we upgraded our waffle iron (We were still using the one I had bought for $10 at Meier when I was in college).
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited September 2010
    Let me just add, that I don't mean to be belligerent with Thrax, he is about 85% right IMO, but I just mean to say, its hard to make a blanket statement for everyone. The corporations and banks do share at least a little of the blame with the consumer. Maybe not the bulk that the so called "victims" would claim, but I'm just saying its not totally black and white.

    Anyhow, point being, I read my last post back, and I did not intend it to come off quite as rude as it read. Thrax raises a good fundamental point, I just find the problem to be a little more nuanced than that.

    That is all...
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited October 2010
    This is one of the many reasons why I don't shop Best Buy.

    It is also why I don't use credit cards for anything. I despise debt.
  • edited October 2010
    LOL, here goes another, Cliff. :rockon:
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