Nomadic And Crashing With Friends? No Computer Parts For You

Joshua is a functioning adult with plenty of money to spend at TigerDirect, but they don’t want to sell computer parts to him. That’s because he leads sort of a nomadic existence. The billing address for his cards doesn’t match his address history in the various “public records” databases. He could fix all this by sending in his photo ID, a utility bill, anything that proves that he is where he says he lives. But he’s crashing with friends, and that doesn’t get your name on the power bill.

Recently I figured it is time to build a new PC. So I visit the Tiger Direct website and order up $1400.00 in parts for my build on a Saturday. I opt for 2 day shipping because as a musician I need the equipment quickly.

Well, they charge my Mastercard. Then something strange happens. They call me on Monday. Apparently my address doesn’t match “public records.” So they need verification of my address. In fact, my billing address doesn’t match their “public records.” Even though they had already ran my card. Now they are demanding that I send them paperwork and ID.

As a person who is currently staying with friends and is thus not on the bills this is difficult to do. Any sort of professional on the run who requires frequent relocation will find the requirements to order arduous as Tiger Direct’s system is clearly not intended to serve mobile professionals. Below are my concise complaints.

1. Tiger Direct took my money by running my Mastercard which verifies my zipcode but did not ship the product as they required further identification beyond the Mastercard verification process. This is a violation of the Mastercard TOS and I will be contacting them.

2. They placed this extra verification process AFTER they had taken my money. If Tiger Direct can’t ship too you fine, but they should NOT be taking your money before they determine if they can ship to you. This is just bad form.

It’s comforting to know that merchants and financial companies are looking out for potential fraud committed against us, but less comforting when those same safeguards keep us from making completely legit purchases.

Comments

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  1. mikedt says:

    Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to get his credit card company to accept his current address. (I know at one point I contacted my CC and had them add my work address to their valid addresses.) THEN get tigerdirect to contact the credit card company. If they refuse, cancel the order and resubmit (now that new address is on file) or go with a different vendor – like newegg.

    • ahecht says:

      “Tiger Direct took my money by running my Mastercard which verifies my zipcode”

      Sounds like his current address is already listed on his credit card.

      • AldisCabango says:

        Not really because my billing address is a PO Box. My shipping address is not always my PO Box.

  2. jiarby says:

    that’s the price of the hobo life…

    pay your buddy, get him to buy the gear for you.

    • Elizabeth B says:

      I agree. Chargeback to get your money back. Then pay your roommate or another friend with a stable address to order it.

  3. Schildkrote says:

    “He could fix all this buy sending in his photo ID, a utility bill, anything that proves that he is where he says he lives.”

    Come on now, I know you’re in a hurry to post that picture of a tiger, but even one pass would’ve caught this one.

  4. SaltWater says:

    …He could fix all this buy sending in his photo ID, a utility bill, anything that proves that he is where he says he lives.

    It should be by, not buy.

    • SaltWater says:

      …If Tiger Direct can’t ship too you fine,

      It should be to, not too.
      I usually stop reading and article when I encounter typos and poor grammar. I just happened to spot this one because it was at the very end.
      Seriously, who writes this stuff?

      • Schildkrote says:

        “I usually stop reading and article when I encounter typos and poor grammar.”

        It should be “an” not “and.”

        • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

          ++

        • CubeRat says:

          Do you know, I believe I’ve learned more grammar by reading the comments on this blog than I was ever taught in school.

          Unfortunately, my spelling still s&^*(.

      • ovalseven says:

        It’s an easy mistake to make, huh?

      • nocar says:

        To be or not to be…

        Agreed that grammar mistakes make writers seem less intelligent.

        Two, Too and To, By, Buy and Bye are not difficult words to use correctly.

  5. comatose says:

    Newegg, that is all.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      I had a similar problem with Newegg. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I think that if the billing address does not match the shipping address, they won’t take the order.

      • Captain Spock says:

        I send gifts to people via amazon all the time with a different address I have never lived at… perhaps that is the answer.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        weird.. that happen to me with newegg when I got a new credit card. Call the credit card and added the shipping address to their file, then chat/call with newegg and have then process the charge again.

        And I think one time, I had to call the credit card automate number to confirm the order since it was the first online transaction for the credit card. (renewal).

  6. GMFish says:

    I’m assuming your current address does not match the address with your credit card. Assuming that, I’m not at all surprised. That’s what scammers do. They steal credit card information, buy stuff online, and have it sent to a different address.

    However, if your addresses do match, this is way more than bizarre. Why would TigerDirect verify your address independently from the address you gave and the address with your credit card information?

  7. Hi_Hello says:

    mastercard…Debit or Credit? Everyone seems to think Credit..maybe I missed it.

  8. GrimJack says:

    “I opt for 2 day shipping because as a musician I need the equipment quickly. “

    Huh?

    Ok, that aside, all computer and component retailers have the problem of people committing credit card fraud and having the purchases sent to different, dummy addresses. While all online retailers have this issue, I’ll bet it’s more common for companies like TigerDirect. On the OP’s side, they should have done a pre-auth instead of a full transaction on his card, then worked out the address issues…

    • Omali says:

      He’s a musician, which means he likely plays gigs and hot spots with the women who throw their panties up on the stage as a means of implying that they would like to consumate the sexual intercourse with the members of the band on the stage.

      In short: Stuff tends to break, go missing, or otherwise be either not present or in working condition on short notice, and need to be replaced otherwise the gig is FUBAR, SNAFU, TARFUN.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        That seems like a good time to buy from a place locally who has it in stock. If I lost a gig due to not having equipment because company x had shipping issues, suddenly the $10 I saved cost me whatever the gig paid.

        • VintageLydia says:

          It depends on what he needed. A lot of things can’t be bought at your local Best Buy or other chain stores and independent computer stores, if they even exist anymore where he’s at, are small and may have to order his parts anyway without options like overnight shipping.

  9. scoutermac says:

    I’ve had this problem with Fifth Third Bank while shopping at buy.com

    Ultimately I ended up shopping at Newegg because buy.com is apparently too incompetent to handle billing not handled by Paypal or Google checkout

  10. Hoss says:

    Pick the stuff up at the billing address and realize they demanded nothing other than some assurance they are dealing with the person who has the card card. Life gets a lot tougher than this

  11. LabanDenter says:

    If this is a credit card, what money did they take?

    OP.. how about you find a place to live or at least settle down in one spot, so that you dont like like a guy that just stole someones credit card.

    Consumerist future OP story:

    Someone stole my credit card and order 1400 dollars on it, tigerdirect didn’t even check if the address matched, what should I do?

    • VintageLydia says:

      Because he’s a professional musician who makes his money on the road. He’s probably traveling so often, it doesn’t make sense to “settle down.” Why pay rent on a place you’ll never be at?

      • RedOryx says:

        I actually had a friend who did that. Not a musician, but crew on touring Broadway musicals. Her permanent address has been New York City for 7 years but she’s only actually physically lived there for about four of those years.

      • LabanDenter says:

        there are other ways of settling down.

        • VintageLydia says:

          Such as…? If they have a permanent address for their statements (like a parent’s, trusted friend’s, PO Box, etc.) they’d still have the same problem of having different billing and shipping addresses. So how can he “settle down?”

    • Jawaka says:

      “Consumerist future OP story:

      Someone stole my credit card and order 1400 dollars on it, tigerdirect didn’t even check if the address matched, what should I do?”

      You know its true.

  12. ferozadh says:

    Fraud prevention…. what’s the problem?

    • FatLynn says:

      I, for one, am glad that TD tries not to accept stolen credit cards.

    • psm321 says:

      The problem is that there already is a mechanism in place for this, namely the addresses stored by your credit card company (who is experienced at dealing with this, including unusual situations like the OP’s). There is no reason for TigerDirect to be throwing their own roadblocks in the mix.

      • RedOryx says:

        But that assumes this other address is also listed on the card. As a “professional on the run who requires frequent relocation” it seems unlikely that he’d update his card everytime he’s crashing somewhere new.

  13. dolemite says:

    “I’m sorry, your Facebook profile does not match your credit score. We absolutely know you are you, but until all of the information we’ve mined about you matches, we just can’t sell you anything.”

  14. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Did they really take his money or just get an authorization? Now if it’s a debit card the distinction is rather small to the OP, but a huge difference when it comes to policy.

  15. Blueskylaw says:

    “I opt for 2 day shipping because as a musician I need the equipment quickly.”

    So much for planning ahead, but at least I got a hearty chuckle out of it.

  16. IphtashuFitz says:

    Have your buddy place the order for you and then pay him.

  17. AldisCabango says:

    Perhaps what happened is when they verified the address, prior to shipping, with the Post office database of addresses it did not come up has a valid address.

    If this is what actually happened this is not an extra verification process, but standard shipping practice to make sure you are shipping to an actual address.

  18. craftman says:

    I don’t think this thread can go on any longer without someone mentioning that a “musician” who is crashing at a friend’s place – presumably for free – while ordering $1400 in new computer equipment (a self-proclaimed upgrade, not because his old one died or anything), is possibly the perfect characterization of what is wrong with young people today. This coming from a 27 year old. He’s even learned to identify not as a ‘bum’, but as a ‘mobile professional’.

    Now get off my dern lawn, you crazy kids!

    • FatLynn says:

      Yes, the very first sentence, “Joshua is a functioning adult” is called into question, here.

    • ovalseven says:

      presumably for free

      That’s the problem with old people. They’re quick to judge without knowing the facts.

      A younger mind might conclude that a person who has $1,400 to spend on computer equipment can easily afford to pay his friends for rent, and probably does.

      But in either case, we don’t know for sure. So why speculate?

    • KatieNeptune says:

      Or possibly the OP is staying with a friend because the friend’s roommate moved out and needed someone to sublet and is doing the friend a favor? But no it’s easy to just assume that he’s a freeloader. Carry on.

  19. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Tiger Direct is no Newegg. Half the products they ship suffer from ‘rebate scam’.

  20. sixsnowflakes says:

    It’s usually possible to specify a separate shipping address, but the billing address must match the one on file with the credit card company. Where are your credit card statements being sent each month? When I was a frequently relocating student, I had the statements sent to my parent’s address and shipped to my current address.

  21. g051051 says:

    It’s certainly no violation of the Mastercard agreements for the fraud department to get notified on Monday to a possible id theft in progress. All Mastercard did was authorize the payment, but if Tiger Direct needs more info, that’s their business.

  22. SteveZim1017 says:

    so just make a utlity bill with your name on it at that address and send it to them. pay the people you are staying with a dollar and tell them its for utilities. there ya go.

  23. CubeRat says:

    Well, having several family members that travel for their jobs I have this suggestion.
    Get a permanent address for your credit cards, this could be a close friend or family member.
    Purchase stuff and list it as a gift to be delivered to the address that you are currently living.

    I think most credit card companies allow you to get your statements online, and many now allow the option of no snail mail at all, so the nomadic musicians in our lives (that qualify for credit) shouldn’t have a problem. Other nomads probably have an easier time than musicians (yes, my nephews, that is a jab at you).

  24. chucklesjh says:

    I’ve never had a problem using my old billing address on file with my credit/debit card and having it shipped elsewhere. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work.

  25. speaky2k says:

    One time I bought a large item that had to be delivered by Truck to my friend’s business where it could be unloaded via a dock. When I placed the order the company told me to call my credit card company and let them know there was going to be a shipment going to that specific address and to not flag it as fraud. Maybe the OP should call his CC company. I had bought and sent various other items from this same company to my house, my friend’s house, my dad’s house, and my work, all without problems since I let the CC company know whenever there was going to be a large charge shipping to my non-home address.

  26. nearly_blind says:

    About 1.5 years ago I ordered a a specific laptop model I wanted from “costcentral.com” using Amex to be shipped to my home and Amex address. I received an order confirmation email, then later an email with a credit card auth form which asked for detailed personal info including a copy of my driver’s license. I called Amex and verified that they successfully charged my account already, and then contacted costcentral to ask what was up. They said the copy of my license was required because of third-party verification issue. I had moved to a new house a year earlier; my first move in 15 years. I refused and they credited my account immediately and canceled the order. I complained to Amex and they confirmed they should not have asked for the license.
    This is off-topic now, but my bad luck continued when I ordered the same computer from Amazon shortly after. There were supposedly “2 left in stock” shipped/sold from Amazon. I received the computer in 2 days, but it was a totally different model and looked like it was used. There was an RMA label on the box that seemed to indicate that it was a return from some company in California. My first bad experience with Amazon in more than decade. There was no problem returning it. However, when I called about the problem Amazon still showed “2 left in stock – order now”, but the guy on the phone said that’s wrong. Lesson: DON”T ORDER STUFF ON AMAZON THAT SAYS THERE ARE ONLY A FEW LEFT.
    I finally got my laptop from CDW, on the third try.

  27. ovalseven says:

    I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of your music, but I enjoyed your portrayal of Andy’s brother on “The Office”. “Crazy, Stupid, Love” was pretty good too.

    Good luck with Tiger Direct.

  28. RedOryx says:

    Okay? It’s fraud prevention and while I get that it sucks for Joshua, thems the breaks, kid.

    TD only has your money if you paid with a debit card. If you paid with a credit card, do a chargeback/cancel the order and get one of your friends to buy it for you. Though I recommend making sure you have the $1400 upfront because as much as I love and trust my friends, no way in hell I’d make that big of a purchase without having the cash in hand first.

  29. Doubting thomas says:

    I am not judging the OP for having a semi-nomadic lifestyle. I did it myself in my early 20s and it was great. However, the opportunity cost of that lifestyle is that some things get more difficult If not impossible. You have to learn to work around them.

  30. scoobydoo says:

    Next week on Consumerist: Man sees $1400 in unauthorized charges show up on credit card bill — why didn’t vendor verify his address?

    You can’t have it both ways – Tiger Direct sells a lot of high value gear, and they need to protect themselves and their customers. You can’t expect a vendor to just blindly ship $1400 in merchandise to any random address. I’m happy to hear they do verifications, as it means they take fraud seriously.

  31. CrazyEyed says:

    Shame on Tiger Direct for trying to protect the OP against fraud. Shame Shame.

  32. BoneThugg77 says:

    Unlike others, I will judge the OP. Couch-surfing is not a behavior that is compatible with being a “functioning adult”. If I found out that the vagrant occupying my home was dropping $1400 on a new computer rather than putting the funds towards a place of his own, I’d toss him out on his ear.

    • VintageLydia says:

      You’re assuming he’s actually a vagrant and not paying rent or somehow contributing to the household. I’d withold judgement unless you actually know what’s gong on.

  33. SpendorTheCheap says:

    I really need to know what “because as a musician I need the equipment quickly” means. Was there an emergency Saturday gig that he promised to do on Wednesday, and included in his promise was the use of computer equipment he didn’t currently have?

    I also LIKE to know what “As a person currently staying with friends” really implies. Oh, you’re currently staying with friends? I’ve done that. I’ve stayed with friends, but if I ordered computer equipment while “staying with friends”, I’d get it shipped to WHERE I ACTUALLY LIVE.

    Also puzzling, he is a member of the group “a professional on the run who frequently relocates”. Wait, no, I guess I read that wrong. He’s a “professional on the run who REQUIRES frequent relocation.”

    So, he’s some kind of musician who frequently HAS to relocate and also needs computer equipment in two-day turnaround periods because of the type of musician he is.

    Did Trent Reznor join the witness protection program?

  34. dilbert69 says:

    Here’s an idea: If you don’t have your own place to live, stop spending money on computer gear and use the savings to get your own place to live. Problem solved.

  35. baristabrawl says:

    If you choose to live differently, then you have to shop differently. As soon as I read “nomadic couch crasher,” I thought: Ex-con, knows how to make meth in his bathtub.

  36. blueman says:

    Sounds to me like they were doing things right. It’s common for thieves to steal your credit card and use it to have goods shipped to another address.