Another EECB Scores Direct Hit On Best Buy And HSBC, Saves You $180

EECBs are scoring direct hits on HSBC and Best Buy. Reader Chad was having the same problem with his Best Buy credit card that reader Jason wrote in about. After he saw Jason’s successful EECB he launched one of his own. Reade Chad’s letter and Best Buy’s response inside.

Consumerist,

I read your article about the EECB sent to Best Buy about the “Account Shield” used on the Best Buy Credit Cards. I kind of dealt with this in March and April and decided to give the EECB a try.

Here’s what I wrote:

Hello,

My name is Chad [redacted] I’ve been a long time customer of Best Buy.
Best Buy has always been my first choice when it comes to consumer electronics. I almost always buy my video games, music, movies, and etc at my local Best Buy.

I happen to be an active reader of The Consumerist. I recently read about a Best Buy customer that was sucked into an Account Shield service that was automatically enabled once he signed up for a Best Buy credit card. I learned that this is a type of insurance for the purchases used with the Best Buy card.

In March, I believe, I called the Best Buy customer service line to get more information on this. After getting transfered a couple times I was connected with someone and asked what this “Debt Cancellation” was. The person was explaining it and after they finished I told them that I wanted to cancel this service as I did not need it. They kept saying why I needed to keep this service only to have this explained to me why I need it. I decided I would try my luck with someone else at a later time.

In April I gave the customer service line another try and was met with the same situation from before. I had to be a little rude and interrupt the employee I was speaking with to tell them that I did not want this on my bill anymore. I was relieved to finally get that removed from my statement, but now I’ve ran into another problem.

After reading the article posted on The Consumerist I decided to take a look at the online statement for my card. I was looking over my statement and seen that the promotional rate that ended this month actually ended on May 8, 2008 and I was charged interest on my previous balance. I had just sent in $400.00 to pay off this promotional amount yesterday with an electronic check from my bank, Chase, only to see that I had already been charged because the promotion ended. What I don’t understand is why this ended on the date it did intstead of my bill’s due date. This date was before I had even received my statement.

Now, not only was Best Buy profiting off this Account Shield that cost me $20 a month which I did not sign up for, but I was just charged $75 for not paying a bill that was due 20 days before my actual due date. I estimate that Best Buy made an extra $175 off me just because I decided to sign up for their credit card and make quite a few large purchases at their stores.

Today, I spoke with Shabham through the customer service line. I was trying to get some information on my current balance and had a question about the recent purchase I made using my Best Buy card. I wasn’t sure if this Account Shield was going to come up again or not. I had a hard time understanding him. I thanked him for his help and wished him a good day.

I’ve never had a problem with Best Buy until these last few months. The in-store customer service has always been great when it come to returns which defective products. Recently, with the Account Shield problems setting me back about $100 and the random date of my promotional six months no interest ending setting me back about $75 from what I’m told, I’m not sure how I feel about Best Buy anymore.

Sincerely,
Chad [redacted]

Here was their reply:

Dear Mr. [redacted]:

I am writing in regards to your email dated May 23, that you directed to the multiple Executives of Best Buy. The Executives have referred your correspondence to my attention to investigate and respond accordingly.

I’d like to apologize on behalf of Best Buy for any difficulties you may have experienced regarding this matter, but I appreciate the time you took to voice your concerns to allow the company an opportunity to properly address them. Indeed, Best Buy values this sort of contact as it provides the corporation with important feedback to make decisions regarding its future direction.

I am sorry for any disappointment that surfaced from this situation. As you are probably aware, Best Buy’s credit cards are administered through HSBC, and you can contact the latter for any questions or concerns relating to your account via the customer service phone number referenced on your billing statements. Since I do not have direct access to your account for privacy reasons, I forwarded your complaint to my contact within HSBC upon its receipt to look into the issue. She reviewed your file and told me that HSBC’s records indicate that you first called the organization about the Debt Cancellation program on March 11, 2008. According to the documentation from that interaction, the Customer Service Agent explained the benefits of the program to you and you decided to retain the service on the account. The next note regarding the Debt Cancellation benefit was on April 5, 2008, and the coverage was cancelled at that time. As of that date, you were charged
$108.56 in Debt Cancellation fees, but my HSBC contact waived these charges and assured me that no additional fees will be assessed for this coverage since it was cancelled.

Regarding the promotion, your particular incentive expired on May 8, 2008, as you mentioned, but payments were not received to pay off this plan by that date, so finance charges of approximately $72.80 will be charged to the account on June 1 when the statement cycles. However, since you initiated a total of $400.00 to pay off the plan, my HSBC contact will make sure that this amount pays off the promotion for you and waive the finance charges as a courtesy (when they bill in June).

Thank you again for allowing Best Buy to respond to your concerns.
Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. [redacted]

Sincerely,

Michael Arrighi
Senior Executive Resolution Specialist
Best Buy Corporate

As you can see they pulled through and helped me out by crediting me $180. This has been my only problem with Best Buy and they fixed it for me. They have kept my business.

I want to thank Mr. Arrighi for doing everything he did.

Thanks,
Chad

For more information about launching your own EECB, click here.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Hanke says:

    I still say READ WHAT YOU SIGN!!!!

  2. spoco says:

    Exactly – when I was in college working in retail, I was amazed that someone would come in, want to finance that TV, and would just sign without reading. They could have signed away their house, their first born, or anything and they would not have known it. They wanted that TV.

    A few would look for the paragraph regarding interest rates, but no one would read the entire document.

  3. bdgbill says:

    Hey, what happened to the story about the pregnant woman on Jet Blue?

  4. dragonvpm says:

    Normally I don’t like to blame the poster, but in this case I feel like pointing out that BB does do a good job of informing you when the grace periods you get for “Same as Cash” promotional purchases are about to end. Normally you get a nice list of all the relevant purchases, how much interest has been deferred and when the grace periods end so you can decide if it’s worth the effort to make the extra or early payment.

    Plus those aren’t arbitrary dates, they’re actually date of purchase + the days or months of the promotional period. Over the last few years, I’ve saved a several hundred dollars by paying attention to those dates and paying those balances off before the interest gets added to my account.

    While I think it’s a bit underhanded for BB to throw in the “Account Shield” stuff when people don’t actively want it, it also seems a bit dishonest for someone who claims that he “almost always buy my video games, music, movies, and etc at my local Best Buy” and presumably carries a balance on his BB card to also claim that he couldn’t have known that his deferred interest was going to hit (and $75 of deferred interest would take a few months to rack up). He would have gotten at least a couple of months worth of statements showing the interest being deferred and showing the 05/08/08 due date.

    While I know I can get things cheaper online, sometimes I like the convenience of being able to go to a store (instant gratification, easier returns, better feel for what is being bought etc…) and their no-interest promotions do make it a more attractive option. I find it a bit hard to believe that this person seriously didn’t read SIX months worth of statements and hadn’t bothered to see how the no-interest promotions worked despite apparently spending so much money at BB. Hell he should have checked his statements just to make sure he wasn’t being charged interest in the first place (I know I’ve caught mistakes where no-interest promotions didn’t get applied to large purchases and had to be fixed)

    Kudos to BB for going above and beyond to keep a customer happy, but I don’t think this guy honestly deserved to get his $175 back. Getting randomly hit for an unjust fee once or twice is one thing, but going months without seeing, addressing, or fixing a problem that shows up on your monthly statement is kind of stupid (i.e. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”)

  5. MissPeacock says:

    @bdgbill: I’ve been wondering the same thing for over half an hour now.

  6. baraboo says:

    I went through the same situation with my Best Buy Reward Zone Program Mastercard. I asked “What can I sign up for that will give me a discount on this laptop?” They said the FREE, no annual fee credit card, so I did. Then I started getting charged for Account Shield…I called to complain…they said that they couldn’t refund the charges b/c I signed for them, but I could cancel the service..which I did. However, I DID end up keeping the card because I earn “Best Buy Reward Certificates,” which are gift certificates for use at Best Buy for every purchase that I make on the card, regardless of the merchant. I’ve earned about $135 in Best Buy Gift Certificates since Christmas. Hello Wii games for my son!

  7. Navillus13 says:

    In reply to the comments above about ‘reading what you sign’ and ‘signing away your first born’:

    The fact of the matter is, 99% of all business-to-consumer contracts never hold up in court. Best Buy could put whatever wording they want in those forms… it wouldn’t matter. Judges will side with consumers because it is known that NOBODY reads those entire contracts before signing. The only reason those exist is for legality reasons to protect the business from lawsuits. Consumers pretty much always win.

    Also… how can you blame the original poster for being charged interest before an actual bill had arrived? As soon as a promo period ends means you get charged automatically? If I buy something today for 50% off, and the promo ends Friday, then I should get charged the extra 50% when my bill arrives in a month?

  8. eelmonger says:

    From reading the response, it basically seems like the OP was unfamiliar with the terms of deal and when things didn’t go his way decided to whine to Best Buy until things went his way. This is ruining EECBs for people with legitimate complaints.

  9. P_Smith says:

    He wouldn’t write Arrighi, he’d just say it.

  10. chiggers says:

    @bdgbill: Perhaps a Jet Blue rep wrote in to say “take down this article or we will sue you”. That’s probably all it takes to have an article removed.

  11. Ein2015 says:

    HSBC sends me a “preapproved” application every week. It’s really getting annoying.

  12. dveight says:

    @eelmonger: Agreed. Though I do have to say that it was sneaky that they included the account shield, but people are starting to abuse these EECBs.

    Once everything comes down to it, the OP not read the terms and condition correctly. Same as cash terms are always based based on when you had purchase the item, not what the due date is on the bill.

    I hate to say this, but Consumerist is getting worse and worse each day. We are getting BS stories where, lets face it, the consumer is in the wrong and not the company. Yet they try to spin it as if the company did something wrong.

  13. dragonvpm says:

    @Navillus13: On a 6 month “no-interest” purchase he would have received 6 bills that showed the purchase, how much interest had accrued each month and the due date of 05/08/08.

    If he had sent in his $400 payment the previous month he would have been fine. He had up-to 180 days from the DATE OF PURCHASE to pay it off before he got hit for interest. That’s the way all “no-interest” promotions work and people like him are exactly why.

    Companies know that plenty of people will say they’re going to pay their bill off before the time is up but end up not doing so and getting hit for interest for the 6-months or year etc… The only reason I don’t think it’s a scam (like say mail-in-rebates) is that if you’re dealing with a reasonably scrupulous company and if you watch what you buy etc… you can actually get a nice “no-interest” loan when you make purchases like that.