Shophacks: How to Force ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ at Many Stores

This scheme is a bit duplicitous, of course, but we feel no compunction passing on ways to game the same system that so often screws us over. Use these tricks at your own risk.

Dan M. writes:

This will explain how I have signed up for credit cards and avoid paying my first bill for at least an extra month(60 days total), after first purchase. In one case four months after first purchase. This has only been used on retailer credit cards mind you. i.e. best buy, American eagle, gap…

Here we go.

Lets say, Santa didn’t drop a 360 down your chimney and “store x” just received 300 units(ya right). Unfortunately, $6.75×10 hours a week doesn’t equal a “360” if you know what I mean, and credit assistance is required from the store. Sign up for their credit card as normal and buy that bad boy.
Of course you’ll receive the card in the mail a couple of days to a couple of weeks later.
DO NOT USE THE CARD. Freeze it, cut it up, anything to stop yourself from using that devil in the store again.

The rest of the scheme after the jump.

If you want to purchase ANYTHING from “store x” on the credit card you signed up with, use the account look up feature that almost all retailer’s offer in-store. It exists for people who forgot their card at home or in our case, “have not yet received card in the mail”.
Bring your drivers licence and social security number, as this is used in the account lookup process. I’ll explain why you don’t use the card later.

Next you’ll receive you first statement. Take note of the payment due date. Here is where all is explained.
So you’ve signed up and made your FIRST PURCHASE on January 14th 2006. And your bill DUE DATE is for February 12th 2006. Call “Store X’s” credit card department a few days before your due date. Talk to an agent and let them know that you never received your billing statement in the mail. They will verify your billing address and ask a few questions I’m sure. Also let them know that you did not receive your credit card at all either.
Make sure to be very concerned that your AWOL statement is the main problem. Something like this..”It’s not a big deal that I have not received the credit card, I just had to use the account lookup account look up in-store, but I REALLY need to make sure that my billing statement gets here ASAP” (this is why you do not use your actual credit card, just the account look up, my guess is that its very easy to call your bluff if you do use the card. You run the risk of letting them know that THE card showed up, but not your statement)
The least amount of time I have been extended is a week, since I did exactly as above. To extend the payment a month,do the same as above BUT, wait until a few days after the bill is due, then state the same case. They will automatically remove the late fee (any anything potentially harming your credit score/record) and make the due date a month later. I have use the late payment option twice (sounding outraged the second time), and after signing up for the credit card in October did not make my first payment until January.

I have used variations of this. Perhaps using the online payment option one month. To keep my “no statement received” case clear. Only to find a month later, once again, that the bill is due tomorrow, not wanting to pay a 15$ processing fee to call it over the phone. I let the payment run a few days late, then call them up again. “Yes Sir, according to my calendar I should have received my billing statement already and I need to make sure you guys are not charging me for anything, I have had issues with your company in the past, and this is starting to become very frustrating”


Edit Your Comment

  1. nweaver says:

    In other words, deliberately lie.

    You know, a good DA would call this a minor piece of fraud.

  2. nweaver says:

    You know, this isn’t really a “Hack”, its “Lets commit a little minor fraud because I bought things I couldn’t afford on credit”

  3. airship says:

    Other scams you can try after this dodge is played out:
    (1) Pay the bill with a check for $10.00 made out to “Dr. Jones”. Oops! Sorry, you ‘accidentally’ put the wrong check in with the bill!
    (2) Wait until the bill is almost a month overdue, then call and explain you were in an accident and have been in the hospital in a coma for five weeks. Slur your speech.
    (3) Same as #2, but tell them your (mother | wife | child) was killed and you had to bury them. By this point, make sure you bemoan the fact that you have had such a string of bad luck. Cry.
    (4) Get another credit card, and pay your first card off with it.
    (5) Rinse. Repeat.

  4. Joel Johnson says:

    You’re right, of course, but is it any more fraudulent than calling Joe Customer Service Dude and being lied to when he represents a company? What’s good for the goose…

  5. Johnny says:

    I don’t know about “more fraudulent,” but this certainly strikes me as worse. If this hamfisted nonsense caught on, the retailers would just respond by making it harder for customers with an actual billing problem to resolve their dispute. The sob story would look something like this:

    “I signed up for a credit card at Best Buy to purchase an Xbox. A month later, I still hadn’t received a bill or a card in the mail, so I called customer service and informed them of my problem. The asshole CSR rep said that I would need a copy of my birth certificate, social security card, and 2 forms of government ID, along with a NOTARIZED AFFIDAVIT from my mail carrier! I asked to speak to a manager, and after a half hour on hold, he finally got on and told me it was company policy to prevent fraud. WTF?!?!?!”

    And we would all sympathize and rail against Best Buy. I’m not denying that big (and small) companies routinely treat customers like crap, but it’s also lowlifes like this guy who make things worse for the rest of us.

    The Consumerist should be about “biting back” against out-of-control corporations, not sinking to their level.

  6. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    I’ve dealt with Best Buy on this very issue. As someone who has been chewed up and spit out by their remorseless CSRs and the horrible people at Household Financial Services, that handle the Best Buy credit cards (or did at the time), I should be in favor of this, but am not. This is fraud plain and simple. You’re not sticking it to the man, you’re making my life more difficult.

    Here’s the rundown:

    In December of 2001 I went to purchase a digital camera at Best Buy. I was planning on paying cash for it, but I saw the offer on no interest financing for 12 months and figured, “hey, I could use extra holiday money, so why not defer the expense”. I signed up for the card, bought the camera and headed off on a three week christmas vacation.

    I arrived home, went to the post office and got my mail. There was no statement from Best Buy. I called them and asked for a duplicate bill. They said I should expect the duplicate bill in 7-10 days. Looking at my calendar, I asked if I would receive my bill in time to remit my first payment. They said likely not, but they would make a note of it and there should be no problem…unless of course I wanted to spend the $15 to pay via phone.

    Ten days later, still no bill. The CSR initially sounds sceptical, saying it doesn’t seem possible that I would not get two bills in a row. After asking me if I had checked my mail…and if I was getting my other mail the CSR verified my address. Aha!! Problem solved. My street address and apartment number had been transposed. They would make a note of this and send my next bill to the correct address.

    Several weeks go by, no bill. Sceptical CSR, checked your mail? Yep. Check the address…Aha! they replaced the apartment number with the street number, but not the street number with the apartment number. Problem solved, note made.

    Finally 10 days later I get my first bill. There was a $10 minimum payment required. Additionally there were charges for late payments and wonder of wonders, interest on my no interest credit card (at 22% no less). I call Household Financial and explain to them the situation, which was allegedly noted copiously during my previous calls. At first the CSR tells me there’s nothing he can do. I was late, if you miss a payment you owe late fees and start accruing interest. The CSR then tells me it’s not their fault that I didn’t give them the right address. Didn’t give them the right address?? Wouldn’t they have to have that to run my credit?? He didn’t know, but did finally concede that the info could have been erroneously input into their system.

    After 15 minutes of going in circles I let him know that they would not receive one thin dime until they removed the late fees and interest payments. He told me that he couldn’t do that and strongly advised me to make my payment…and use the $15 over the phone service to do so. After telling him to go pound sand and hanging up the phone I put the whole thing to the back of my mind.

    Fast forward 60 days. I start to get calls from HFC. For two weeks I answer every one and tell them in the first 30 seconds what it will take to get me to pay. They flatly refuse and advise me to live up to my obligations. One of them callse me a deadbeat and says that it’s pretty sad that I can’t make my $20 minimum payment. One of them tells me I’ll never get credit again.

    After over one year of stonewalling I was refered to a collection agency. It really only took about two weeks and a handful of phone calls to get the whole situation resolved. I ended up paying nothing but the initial balance. That’s all. I also got a letter stating that I had satisfied my obligation fully. I talked to the collecytion guy a bit and he explained that they were such dicks at the CSR level because people scam them by giving them bad info or claiming not to get bills. So thanks, your little tip to avoid paying for something you can’t afford right now chewed up approximately 12 hours of my time. Where shall I send the bill?

  7. Plaid Rabbit says:

    I agree with all the above. I’m all about legal things, even if they’re a little slimey and slighly to moderately unethical.

    This is just fraud, plain and simple.

    Further more, it reaks of amateur fraud that could be busted quickly. I mean, really, if you’re going to be criminal, but a good criminal.

  8. billhelm says:

    this is an ethical gray area and for what, a savings of a few dollars?

    If one has to pull this kind of stunt, one probably shouldn’t be buying whatever they are buying at Best Buy.

    This is one of the problems I have with the rampant credit card issuance going on in this country – it’s getting to the point where people have no conception of what they actually have versus just sticking it on the plastic.